Mainstream Media

The Economist Magazine Investigates Preppers

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

-The Economist website, December 17, 2014

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

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

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

“I like my smartphone.” What a goof.

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

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

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

There was also this about present-day preppers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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

You can read Schiff’s entire commentary on the Euro Pacific Capital website here.

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

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

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Peter Schiff Blasts U.S. Jobs Report, Irrational Exuberance 2.0, So-Called Experts

“Bullish U.S. jobs report keeps Fed on track for mid-2015 rate hike”
-Reuters website, December 5, 2014

“U.S. Stocks Rise After Strong Jobs Report”
-The Wall Street Journal website, December 5, 2014

“Hiring surged in November as employers added 321,000 jobs, crowning 2014 as the strongest year for job growth since 1999.”
-CNN Money website, December 5, 2014

Any readers thinking Friday’s U.S. jobs report sounded too good to be true?

Euro Pacific Capital’s Peter Schiff did, and in his Friday entry on The Schiff Report Video Blog on YouTube, the “crash prophet” let the Pollyannas have it. Schiff pointed out:

If you actually look beneath the surface of this “strong” report, there are a lot of problems. First of all, again, more than half of the jobs that were created were low-paying jobs. You’re talking about secretarial, administrative assistant-type jobs, waiters, bartenders, retail. Also jobs in leisure and hospitality, temporary services- that’s more than half the jobs. Also, there’s another report that comes out which is the household survey. This is the establishment survey- the non-farm number. But there’s a household survey, and that one was flat. Basically, no gain in jobs in November. And in fact, they reported about 150,000 decrease in full-time jobs. So it was made up by an increase in part-time jobs. And in fact, in that household survey, you find that the big job losers went to younger people. People 16 to 24- there was a big drop in their numbers in the workforce. But you had a record number of people 55 and older entering the workforce. Labor force participation, which is still 62.8, which matches the lowest level since 1978. The labor force participation for older people, who should be retiring- that’s going up. But the labor force participation for younger people, who should be entering the work force- that’s going down

Why can’t we produce full-time jobs for these millions of Americans who are working part time but who want full-time jobs? And the answer is- because we’re not creating full-time jobs. We’re really creating part-time jobs. And I believe a lot of these jobs have to do with an anticipation of a robust holiday shopping season and a robust 2015. Because everybody is convinced that we have this recovery that businesses are gearing up to prepare for. And I think they’re gearing up for a huge disappointment. I’ve described the recovery as a mirage, and the closer we get to when it’s supposed to start, I think the more people will see it for what it is. It is a fantasy, it is not a reality…

This is supposedly the best year for job creation since 1999- this is what the media is saying. Well if this is really the case, if this is the best year for job creation, why is the shopping season so poor? And why did the Republicans just win in a landslide in these mid-term elections that just happened, when the voters said the reason they were voting Republican, is because they were frustrated by a weak economy. They felt the economy was going in the wrong direction. Well everybody is so excited about this “miracle”- this economic miracle of a recovery- except for the people who are supposedly living in the miracle. Because to them, it’s not a dream, it is a nightmare.

Noting that Friday was 18 years to the day that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan gave his “irrational exuberance” speech, Schiff warned about the new “irrational exuberance” in America that easily surpasses 1996’s version. From the vlog:

If we’re going to talk about irrational exuberance in the markets, eighteen years ago is nothing compared to the irrational exuberance that we have today. Today, we are off the charts irrational and exuberant considering the enormity of the problem…

None of the so-called experts who are talking about the “economic miracle” and “these amazing numbers” and how “our economy is the envy of the world”- none of these guys saw the problems at the peak in 2000. They didn’t see the problems in the housing market or the coming financial crisis in 2007 and 2008. So they have a lousy track record when it comes to identifying in advance the problems that underlie the economy. And I think the problems that are underlying the economy now are bigger than ever, and the “experts” are blinder than ever.


“Does Today’s Overhyped Jobs Report Mean 1 Out of 4 Ain’t Bad?’
YouTube Video

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

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

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Quote For The Week

“By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.”

-Oscar Wilde (Irish writer and poet. 1854-1900)

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

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Sunday, December 7th, 2014 Mainstream Media, Quote For The Week No Comments

China Overtakes U.S. As World’s Largest Economy

“The 19th century belonged to England, the 20th century belonged to the U.S., and the 21st century belongs to China. Invest accordingly.”

-Warren Buffett, famous American investor

Lost in all the mainstream media frenzy over protests/riots related to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner was the following from MarketWatch columnist Brett Arends this morning:

There’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just say it: We’re no longer No. 1. Today, we’re No. 2. Yes, it’s official. The Chinese economy just overtook the United States economy to become the largest in the world. For the first time since Ulysses S. Grant was president, America is not the leading economic power on the planet

The International Monetary Fund recently released the latest numbers for the world economy. And when you measure national economic output in “real” terms of goods and services, China will this year produce $17.6 trillion — compared with $17.4 trillion for the U.S.A…

To put the numbers slightly differently, China now accounts for 16.5% of the global economy when measured in real purchasing-power terms, compared with 16.3% for the U.S.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

While this century may very well go down in history as being “China’s Century,” I suspect the nation of 1.36 billion people will suffer setbacks (some serious) not unlike America did in the years leading up to it becoming a superpower. Despite this, the Chinese look to be taking the baton from the U.S. as far as 21st century hegemony is concerned.


“Little Apple- 2014 Hot Song in China”
YouTube Video

You can read the rest of Arends’ piece on the MarketWatch website here.

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

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Thursday, December 4th, 2014 Asia, Hegemony, Mainstream Media No Comments

Peter Schiff: Swiss ‘No’ Vote May Signal Gold’s Bottom, Return Of Bull Trend

“Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected an initiative on Sunday that would have forced the country’s central bank to hold one-fifth of its assets in gold, a move that would have eroded its ability to conduct monetary policy.

Citing projections from results in 19 of the country’s 26 cantons, Swiss television said roughly 78% of voters opposed the initiative, dubbed ‘Save Our Swiss Gold.’ The gold initiative would have also barred the Swiss National Bank from selling gold in the future…”

-The Wall Street Journal website, November 30, 2014

I hadn’t been paying too much attention to that Swiss vote on gold. But after the mainstream financial news outlets cheered the Swiss citizens rejecting the initiative, I thought this could rank right up there with the United Kingdom selling off half its gold reserves in 1999 when the precious metal was valued at only $300 an ounce- a 20-year low at the time.

In other words, a move the Swiss may very well come to regret in the coming years.

To each their own, I always say.

And Wednesday, the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, Peter Schiff, shared his thoughts about Switzerland’s rejection of the yellow metal. From his December 3 SchiffGold “Gold Videocast” entry on YouTube.com:

I actually believe that the “no” vote- from the long-term perspective- is even more bullish for the price of gold than had Switzerland voted to back their currency with 20 percent gold…

Thinking about it from a historical perspective, if there’s a chance that we saw the lows for the entire gold move on Sunday night, it would be ironic, and then I think makes a lot of sense, that the Swiss “no” vote on adopting even a modified gold standard would mark the low point for gold. Just like you have the Bank of England dumping a bunch of gold at the lows, I mean, central banks or actions around central banks sometimes mark key points. And the fact that the Swiss said “no” to gold, “we don’t want it,” that may be the day that gold actually bottomed out and now we’re resuming the bull trend. Only time will tell whether that is the case. But again, if it’s not the absolute bottom, I think it’s close enough not to worry about it, and I think that people need to be buying the gold that the Swiss citizens just told their bank not to buy. And not only the gold, silver. Because if gold goes up, silver’s going up. So buy both metals.


“Gold Videocast: Swiss Franc No Longer a Safe Haven
and a Possible Bottom in Gold”
YouTube Video

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

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

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Potential Blowback From Chicago’s Minimum Wage Hike

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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

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

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source:

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

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Guns, Ammo Being Removed From St. Louis-Area Gun Shops By Order Of Police?

“A grand jury has reached a decision on whether to indict Darren Wilson, the white Ferguson, Mo., police officer whose fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager sparked days of turbulent protests, sources close to the process said.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) and the county prosecutor’s office are expected to hold news conferences later Monday, and prosecutors have notified the family of Michael Brown — the teen who Wilson killed — that the grand jury’s decision will be announced Monday night, family attorney Benjamin Crump said…”

-The Washington Post website, November 24, 2014

Last night I told my girlfriend that Monday would probably be the day for the announcement of the grand jury’s decision on the Michael Brown shooting (wasn’t going to happen on a weekend- “party time”- or too close to Thanksgiving because of the potential economic impact any violence could have). And by the looks of it, it will be coming Monday night.

There’s no shortage of people predicting Ferguson-related protests are bound to descend into rioting and looting if Officer Wilson isn’t indicted. We’ll find out if they’re correct in a matter of hours, I’m guessing.

I know one thing though. If I resided in an area that could be affected by civil unrest stemming from an announcement of no indictment, I would have prepared for this possibility some time ago as much I possibly could have (I understand financial/time constraints often get the best of us).

Paranoia? Hardly. All I’d be doing is taking responsibility for the safety of loved ones and myself in advance of a potentially-volatile situation where life, limb, and property could be threatened.

Now, I recently blogged about firearm sales being brisk around St. Louis. For those area residents still looking to purchase a gun and/or ammunition- I understand you might be out of luck at this point. From Valerie Beaumont over at the Addicting Info website Saturday:

A St. Louis area gun shop refused a sale to an African-American woman because, according to the clerk, St. Louis police informed gun stores that Darren Wilson will not be charged. To be clear, this was not an instance of racism (not in the traditional sense, anyway) — the shop was just in the process of removing all guns and ammunition from the premises, allegedly on the order of police.

“Did you notice the tractor trailer back there to our loading dock?” the man asked the woman, who responded with an affirmative. “All the guns are already packed in, and we’re taking all the pawns out of here too, just to protect our customers’ merchandise.”

“They’ve been saying that they’re gonna target gun stores and pawn shops,” the clerk told the woman. “This came from law enforcement; it’s what they told us. They sent out memos and everything.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

At this point in the game, for those Survival And Prosperity readers in the crosshairs of potential civil strife related to Ferguson, I pray for your safety. Hopefully, peaceful protests rule the day (and night).

You can read Beaumont’s entire piece here.

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

(UPDATE: I just got done watching a couple hours of streaming video of Ferguson this Monday night courtesy of Bassem Masri on Ustream and Infowars. The situation there steadily eroded after the “no indictment” announcement, and what I saw unfold was much worse than what the mainstream media is reporting at this time. Burning vehicles (I counted three), looted businesses (liquor store, hairdressers, mobile communications store), torched buildings (Sam’s Meat Market- which was defended by armed individuals back in August, a storage facility office, another business that wasn’t identified), multiple gunshots (firefighters had to pull back from Sam’s because they were being fired at), and much more insanity. I was even forced to stop watching Masri’s Ustream feed (approximately 90,000 viewers at one point) because his phone was ripped from his hand and stolen during the chaos. Just plain crazy. And according to the Infowars guys (Jakari Jackson and Josh Owens), it’s been said the second day of the 1992 Los Angeles riots was the worst. Great.)

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FBI, DHS Warn Syria Airstrikes May Embolden ‘Homegrown Violent Extremists’

When I heard last night that the U.S. and its allies had initiated airstrikes against Muslim extremists in Syria, I wondered how long it would be before a retaliatory attack was attempted. It’s nice to see the Feds anticipating the same from the jihadists and/or their sympathizers. From an Associated Press piece today on the FOX News website:

There is no indication of advanced Al Qaeda or Islamic State group terror plotting inside the United States, but airstrikes in Syria may have temporarily disrupted attack planning against U.S. or Western targets, according to a security bulletin Tuesday from the FBI and the Homeland Security Department…

In a five-page Joint Intelligence Bulletin obtained by The Associated Press, the government warned that airstrikes targeting the Al Qaeda-linked Khorasan and Islamic State groups could also embolden homegrown violent extremists inside the United States who already have grievances about the U.S. because of military action in predominantly Muslim countries.

While the intelligence community hasn’t viewed Islamic State an immediate threat to the U.S. homeland, officials have been very concerned about Khorasan operatives plotting attacks against the U.S.

The Khorasan group is a cadre of veteran Al Qaeda fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

If “homegrown violent extremists inside the United States” do in fact strike, how will they carry out their assault? Bombing, mass shooting, poisoning some restaurant salad bar? Who knows? But keep the following in mind- something I blogged back in April 2011:

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.

Add to readiness a healthy dose of situational awareness, and I suspect those practicing both are leaps and bounds ahead of most Americans in being prepared to anticipate and react to the violent acts of some jihadist or sympathizer the Feds are warning about in that latest security bulletin.

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

Source:

“DHS says Syria airstrikes may have temporarily ‘disrupted’ terror plotting.” Associated Press. 23 Sep. 2014. (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/09/23/dhs-says-syria-airstrikes-may-have-temporarily-disrupted-terror-plotting/). 23 Sep. 2014.

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Survivalism ‘Shouldn’t Come With A Bad Reputation’

“Survivalism: The stark ideology that may have led to killing of a Pennsylvania state trooper”

-Actual headline on the Washington Post website, September 17, 2014

“I love publishing material that readers can sink their teeth into and learn a lot from. I hope to do a lot more of it when things calm down on my end. At the same time, I will blog about some topics that might not be so informative- like prepping as a form of insurance, for example. Why’s that? It depends on the situation really. But in the case of “Prepping As Insurance,” I’m disappointed in how the mainstream media often portrays preppers/survivalists. Many times, the so-called Fourth Estate equates preparedness with anti-social behavior, paranoia (sound familiar?), and/or domestic terrorism. I like to point out that emergency preparedness (something Uncle Sam/other levels of government actively push- even while demonizing it in some instances) can be thought of as another form of insurance and one of our civic duties as American citizens (the emphasis on self-reliance/sufficiency frees up public safety resources in major emergencies) by its practitioners. Letting the idea fester in our society that prepping is BAD could ultimately result in way too many helpless Americans in a SHTF situation. My intention with this post- while not really one that is chock-full of knowledge- is to help torpedo that dangerous idea with hopes (dreams?) of a more resilient society once again.”

-One of my comments in a discussion about last Friday’s Survival And Prosperity post entitled “Prepping As Insurance”

I’ve always thought any negative associations with prepping/survivalism stemming from related “reality” TV shows like National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers were essentially harmless. As they were rolling out a couple of years ago, I trusted people would be able to figure out it’s only entertainment television- with some useful knowledge thrown in to keep more “demanding” viewers coming back for more. Entertainment TV with a good deal of shock and awe to ratchet up ratings and score as many advertising dollars as possible.

Several years on, and plenty of critics- particularly in the mainstream media- of preparedness/survivalism base their view at least in part of what they’ve seen on TV.

Doomsday Preppers Toilet Paper

Doomsday Preppers Toilet Paper


They just don’t get it. And if you ask me, in many cases it’s because they’ve haven’t researched the subject thoroughly enough (either by choice or lack of time).

And the ones that do but who still try and push the goofy idea that most- if not all- preppers/survivalists are authority-hating, machine gun-toting, wannabe special forces types who are two sandwiches short of a picnic and long for the end of the world (note I’m not including “as we know it” here) to remake it in their own image- well, don’t forget they’ve got newspapers/other media products to sell.

So it was with some relief that I encountered the following article yesterday on the WFMZ-TV 69 News (Allentown, Pennsylvania) website. Talking about the ongoing manhunt for alleged cop killer Eric Frein, 69 News staff wrote:

This weekend, 69 News spoke with the chief of the Greater Philadelphia Search and Rescue about survivalists.

Mark Hopkins believes Frein will be able to evade police for a period of time, but police will catch up with him.

He says to a degree, everyone is a bit of a survivalist, and that description shouldn’t come with a bad reputation.

“I wouldn’t want to see that lumped together and think that all survivalists or all people that are doing this prepping stuff want to hurt people, because that’s not the case; this is clearly an outlawry,” Hopkins said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Everyone is a bit of a survivalist, and that description shouldn’t come with a bad reputation.”

Something the “haters” would do well to remember. But probably won’t, or choose not to out of self-interest or something else.

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

Source:

“Survival expert believes police will catch up with Frein.” 69 News. 21 Sep. 2014. (http://www.wfmz.com/news/Regional-Poconos-Coal/survival-expert-believes-police-will-catch-up-with-frein/28175968). 22 Sep. 2014.

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Prepping As Insurance

A couple of days ago, I stumbled on a Chicago Tribune piece that made fun of preppers. I’ve encountered a number of these in the mainstream media the past few years, so I wasn’t really surprised to see one in my “local” paper. Columnist Steve Johnson wrote on the Tribune website:

All across the country people are preparing or, in the shorthand, “prepping” for a coming apocalypse — the day when, in the even shorter hand, the “SHTF.” That’s an acronym preppers use that stands, almost, for “something hits the fan.”

I read news stories about this anticipatory readiness. I witness it on reality TV, a realm in which shows are primarily about Alaskans, Kardashians and preppers. Even more meaningfully, I see it in such leading cultural indicators as costco.com and SkyMall. Many people think a social meltdown looms, and they are getting their gear, from canned goods to weaponry, in order.

Yet I dawdle. I toe-drag. Instead of outfitting the family for a dubious kind of survival, I let myself get distracted by such trifling matters as whether my sons have girlfriends and should I try one of those stand-up desks.

But I know, in my heart of hearts, that I am lax, and I must take stock. Let me enumerate the ways in which I am not prepared for the apocalypse…

That included such things as “I do not have a zombie fighting plan,” and “I have not doled out $3,999.99 to Costco for the ‘32,000 Total Servings 4-Person 1-Year Food Storage,’ an actual product,” along with “My cars are not swathed in armor, jacked up to go way off road and fitted with machine-gun turrets,” among others.

The Tribune columnist wrapped up his ridicule of preppers with the following:

When we can no longer hold out, well, that’s when we bite down on the cyanide capsules — OK, I’m going to be a little bit prepared — and thank our lucky stars we didn’t spend the good days cloaked in paranoia, suspicion and highly speculative, ridiculously costly planning.

Now, I’m not a prepper. Nor do I claim to be an expert on preppers. But from my experience researching and writing about them for a couple of years now, the actions of most preppers don’t seem to stem from some belief of “a coming apocalypse” (an image made popular by “reality” TV). Nor have the majority of preppers I’ve met/corresponded with been “cloaked in paranoia” or filled with “suspicion.” No doubt some fall into the camps. But I suspect most preppers are not unlike the Tribune columnist himself- an adult American with a job, car, kids/ loved ones depending on them, and many other “real world” responsibilities, concerns, and problems to boot.

It’s just that the prepper has either insured or is in the process of insuring his or her lifestyle in the event of a lasting emergency which can strike at any time.

This can include anything from a local power outage lasting a couple of days, to a regional man-made/natural disaster, to that “apocalypse” Johnson wrote about.

Many Americans insure their health, their life, their residence, their vehicle, and so on. Why not their ability to live comfortably on a day-to-day basis in the event something terrible happens?

Consider what modern survivalist and The Survival Podcast host Jack Spriko said on August 13, 2014, about prepping as a form of insurance. In episode 1406, “Well, Why Isn’t Everyone a ‘Survivalist’?”:

I’ll say, “Dude, what kind of car do you drive?”
“Well, I have this car. I’ve got this new car and I bought it.”
“Do you have insurance on it?”
“Well, yeah. You have to.”
“If you didn’t have to, would you have insurance on your car?”
“Well, yeah.”
“Well, why?”
“Well, if you get into a wreck, you want someone to pay for it.”
“Oh, so you’re a prepper?”
“Oh, no. That’s not what that means.”
And I’m like, “It kind of does.”
“You have a potential disaster- a car wreck- and I’m sure your insurance covers things like injury or bodily harm or other people if you get sued, things like that. So you preempted a potential emergency with prior planning. This makes you prepared for that. Therefore you’re a prepper.”
“Well, that’s not what I’m talking about.”
And then if you start having a conversation with them, you’ll find there’s all these places in their life that they’ve put some sort of assurance or insurance into. But then there’s the gaping holes of things that are actually very, very important.
So you’ll say, “What happens if one of your family members dies?”
“Oh, well, you know- we have life insurance.”
“Great. Well what happens if you both lose your job for some reason and you’re trying to put food on the table?”
There’s some unemployment, but when you start doing the math, it’s like your whole life is going to fall apart.
“Well, if you have some food set aside- even just a couple of months- and for a couple of months you knew that you could just not go to a grocery store, or only go 10 percent as much as you used to buy, and you can use that 60-, 90-day period as a get-by in-between so you can get back on your feet, don’t you think that would take the pressure off of you, let you make better decisions about getting a new job?”
“Well, yeah.”
“Then why don’t you do it?”

“Then why don’t you do it?”

Short of not having the financial/physical resources to do so, maybe because it’s easier to mock others rather than make the effort to insure one’s way of life in the event of a real, drawn-out emergency?

Prepping as paranoia? Try prepping as insurance. That’s how I’ve observed more Americans considering it these days.

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

Source:

Johnson, Steve. “Completely unprepped for doomsday.” Chicago Tribune. 8 Sep. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-doomsday-johnson-talk-20140908-column.html). 19 Sep. 2014.

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Jim Rogers: North Korea Now Where China Was In 1980

While at my parents’ place last weekend, I happened to catch the FOX News show Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo. Well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers was on, and what he said about a particular East Asia country was so much different than the picture that’s being painted of them in the mainstream media. From a transcript of the exchange between Bartiromo and Rogers:

BARTIROMO: Jim, you just returned from North Korea.
ROGERS: Yes.
BARTIROMO: And you say that North Korea is now where China was in 1980. Washington has yet another country completely wrong.
ROGERS: Absolutely. It’s where Myanmar was in 2010. Washington has this as wrong as they have the Middle East. Listen, North Korea is changing very, very dramatically. Very fast. And it’s very exciting…
(CROSSTALK)
BARTIROMO: What about Americans being held there hostage?
ROGERS: Yes, listen, if somebody comes into my country and tears up his visa and says, I want asylum, maybe he’s a little nuts. I don’t know the guy, I don’t know what he did. But I know what we read in the press — the Western press, it sounds very, very strange.
Many Americans — by the way, many Americans go there. Not all — I went there. I’m not in jail.
BARTIROMO: When you were there, was it completely dark?
ROGERS: What?
BARTIROMO: Were the lights on when you were in North Korea?
ROGERS: Yes, there were there lights on. People were in the markets buying and selling food. All this stuff about starving North Koreans, I didn’t see any of them. There were markets everywhere, all sorts of goods. I didn’t even understand what some of the goods were, they were so modern.
YORK: Was what you were allowed to see controlled by anyone?
ROGERS: No. I went into the market, the market with thousands of people, thousands of North Koreans buying and selling day in and day out.

The former investing partner of George Soros touched on other subjects as well, including the American response to the Islamic State and the 2016 U.S. presidential election, which you can read about in that transcript on the FOX News website here.

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

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

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John Rubino: Tune Out The Noise And Prepare For The Inevitable Crash

On Sunday, as I was pulling up some material on John Rubino for that “Quote For The Week” post, I stumbled on something he penned back on November 7, 2012, which really resonated with me. From the website he manages, DollarCollapse.com:

This story is at least a decade old, and it’s getting tiresome for all involved. For the majority who expect positive change from each election the disappointment must be exhausting, as each inevitable compromise moves their latest hero one step closer to impotence. For the small number of people who see the underlying truth, this show is even harder to watch because the obvious, inevitable ending just won’t come. The zombie that should have died for good after the 2000 tech stock crash keeps shambling along, wreaking havoc or boredom, depending on whether you’re in its path or watching from a safe distance.

The solution? Accept that time spent obsessing over a process with a predictable result but unpredictable schedule is time wasted. So just stop watching. Make the right- and by now obvious- financial and lifestyle choices and then tune out. Turn off the TV and stop reading the business and political sections of the paper. Use the resulting time to develop yourself and cultivate your community. You know what’s going to happen, more or less: A decade hence your gold will be worth a lot more and everything else quite a bit less. And you know your friends will suffer and need your help. So prepare for the things that you can predict.

Once the markets stop providing unlimited leverage and the system crashes for good, then tune back in and add your voice and your capital to the debate over what to build in its place.

“Make the right- and by now obvious- financial and lifestyle choices and then tune out. Turn off the TV and stop reading the business and political sections of the paper. Use the resulting time to develop yourself and cultivate your community.”

I realize the writing is on the wall. Have since around 2004. A coming financial crash (the country has seen a number of these intense periods of economic pain before). But not the end of the world.

Still, I have a nasty habit of immersing myself in too much “news” related to the approaching storm. And often feel compelled to discuss it on this blog.

However, not only has this led to posts of questionable value for the reader, but the “obsession” has also taken away valuable time that could have been spent on that personal development and cultivating the community Rubino spoke about.

I get it now. It’s something I’ll be working on going forward.

And the quality of Survival And Prosperity should improve as a result.

Thank you for your continued readership.

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

Source:

Rubino, John. “Now We Can Stop Paying Attention.” DollarCollapse.com. 7 Nov. 2012. (http://dollarcollapse.com/the-economy/now-we-can-stop-paying-attention/). 7 Aug. 2014.

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Quote For The Week

“We are really past the point where we even need to talk about whether a crisis is coming; we know it is and we know the general outline of the solution, which is massive devaluation. What we do about that as individuals? That is the real question now. So becoming more self-sufficient and lessening your dependence on the local fiat currency- all that stuff is what people should be focusing on now rather than even bothering to watch the news, I think. I think some kind of a crisis is baked in the cake and it is going to be resolved through massive devaluation.”

-John Rubino, co-author with James Turk of the recently-released book The Money Bubble, in a July 12, 2014, podcast on Chris Martenson’s Peak Prosperity website.

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

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About That ‘Sniper Nest’ In Chicago

Sorry FOX 32 News in Chicago. As much as I like watching you on TV on weekday mornings (Jake Hamilton, Darlene Hill, Jon Kelley, Melody Mendez are particularly good), whoever penned the following on your website on June 30 needs to be flogged.

The offending article…

Sniper nest discovered near Kennedy-King College

The Chicago Police Department made a frightening discovery on the South Side of the city last week.

Officials say they found a high-powered semi-automatic weapon about a block from the campus of Kennedy King college, near 64th and Lowe last Thursday. Officers say the nest was found on top of a garage across from a soccer field on campus.

At the scene, officers recovered a fully loaded Mac-10…

“Sniper nest?” “High-powered semi-automatic weapon?” “Mac-10?”

I could’ve sworn the piece originally said “high-powered semi-automatic rifle” when I first read it. But I see it was updated on July 1.

Consider what Elizabeth Kreft reported on TheBlaze website that same day:

The weapon officers recovered at the scene wasn’t a rifle but a fully loaded Mac-10.

“I’m not sure why they are calling it a sniper’s nest, it was a machine gun, not a rifle,” Officer Mike Sullivan, Chicago Police Department spokesman, told TheBlaze.

Sullivan said media members should look up the difference between a Mac-10 and a rifle. “They are very different,” he said…

I was kidding with that bit about the author needing to be flogged. But I concur with the CPD- they definitely need to learn more about firearms (Guy Smith’s free Gun Facts e-book is a good place to start) or risk “cheapening” the FOX 32 brand.

Not like I’m an expert on the subject of guns myself. But I’m not paid to write about such things.

Now if an unpaid intern wrote the article… lesson learned? I hope so. You’d be doing your future field of work and colleagues a favor.

Journalists Firearm Identification

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

Sources:

“Sniper nest discovered near Kennedy-King College.” FOX 32. 30 June 2014. (http://www.myfoxchicago.com/story/25910016/sniper-nest-discovered-near-kennedy-king-college). 3 July 2014.

Kreft, Elizabeth. “‘Sniper Nest’ Found Near College Campus In Chicago — but It’s the Type of Gun Found Close by That May Be More Disturbing.” TheBlaze. 1 July 2014. (http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/07/01/sniper-nest-found-near-college-campus-in-chicago-but-its-the-type-of-gun-found-close-by-that-may-be-more-disturbing/). 1 July 2014.

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