Signs Of The Time

Signs Of The Time, Part 93

“Mandatory depression screening for all Americans”?

Just got wind of this “doozy” Monday afternoon from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. Former Texas congressman and two-time Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul wrote in his weekly column Sunday:

The United States Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended mandatory depression screening for all Americans. The task force wants to force health insurance companies to pay for the screening. Basic economics, as well as the Obamacare disaster, should have shown this task force that government health insurance mandates harm Americans…

Mandatory depression screening will not just raise insurance costs. In order to ensure that the screening mandate is being properly implemented, the government will need to create a database containing the results of the screenings. Those anti-gun politicians who want to forbid anyone labeled “mentally ill” from owning a firearm will no doubt want to use this database as a tool to deprive individuals of their Second Amendment rights.

If the preventive task force has its way, Americans could lose their Second Amendment, and possibly other, rights simply because they happened to undergo their mandatory depression screening when they were coping with a loved one’s passing or a divorce, or simply having a bad day. As anyone who has been mistakenly placed on the terrorist watch list can attest, it is very difficult to get off a government database even when the government clearly is in error. Thus, anyone mistakenly labeled as depressed will have to spend a great deal of time and money in what may be a futile attempt to get his rights back.

Mandatory depression screening will endanger people’s health by increasing the use of psychotropic drugs. These drugs often have dangerous side effects. Their use has even been linked to suicide. The fact that almost every mass shooter was on psychotropic drugs is another good reason to oppose any policy that will increase reliance on these medicines

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Disturbing. You can read Ron Paul’s piece in its entirety over on the Institute’s website here.

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

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Signs Of The Time, Part 92

To reintroduce this special series of posts on Survival And Prosperity, I’ve got a two-fer for readers this week.

When I opened up my Internet service provider’s home page last Friday, one of the featured articles that day included a graphic of a man grasping his head in frustration with the following text below it:

“What to do if your 401(k) is tanking”

Something tells me this piece received a lot of views.

Earlier tonight I headed on over to MarketWatch.com where the main headline on their homepage screamed in big, bold letters:

“Recession risks warn of ‘severe’ drop in market”

Clicking on the link the article had this included with it:

“Most S&P 500 stocks could fall 50% or more if a ‘worst-case’ recession unfolds”

Definitely not the typical fare served up by MarketWatch, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

“Uncertain Times” indeed.

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

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information contained herein.)

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Signs Of The Time, Part 91

The other day I heard a $2 million “Great Gatsby”-themed 60th birthday party was just thrown for manufactured celebrity Kris Jenner…


“Kris Jenner’s Epic 60th Birthday Party”
YouTube Video

The Great Gatsby, a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that portrays that period of time in America known as the “Roaring Twenties.”

Which also preceded another chapter in U.S. history known as the “Great Depression.”

I have a deep suspicion that history is about to “rhyme” once more.

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

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Tuesday, November 10th, 2015 Depression, Signs Of The Time No Comments

Signs Of The Time, Part 90

Ever notice how detailed descriptions of suspects in a crime have disappeared to a large extent from the news over the years?

And often the suspect descriptions that are provided are incredibly vague to the extent of being a complete joke.

“Two males aged between 30 to 60 are suspects in the crime…”

Seeing that’s been the case, it was refreshing (and somewhat shocking) to spot the following this Monday morning on the Chicago Tribune website. From an article entitled “Police warn residents, businesses of robberies on Northwest, West sides”:

All three suspects are black male teenagers who are between 15 and 17 years old. All three were 5-foot-6 and weighed about 150 pounds. They all had black hair.

One suspect was in a black-hooded sweatshirt, another suspect wore a gray-hooded sweatshirt, and the third suspect had a black-hooded sweatshirt with red strings…

In two of the robberies, a suspect is a black man who is between 40 and 45 years old, police said. The man is between 5-foot9 and 6-foot-2. He has short black hair with a birthmark or an impairment on his face. He was wearing a black coat.

In one of the incidents, a suspect is described as a black man who is between 22 and 23 years old. He is between 5-foot-6 an 5-foot-7. He also had black hair and was wearing a black coat…

A suspect is black man who is between 18 and 20 years old. The man had red dreadlocks…

One suspect is a black man who is between 19 and 28 years old and is between 5-foot-8 and 6 feet tall, police said. Another suspect is a black man who is between 38 and 43 years old. He is between 5-foot-9 and 6 feet tall. He weighs between 190 and 210 pounds and has a medium complexion, police said…

Could this be the start of some “new” trend in the news media? Or will the PC Storm Troopers clamp down on such “graphic” suspect descriptions being made available for public consumption?

I suspect it will be the latter, unfortunately.

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

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Signs Of The Time, Part 88

The Financial Times (UK) website reported yesterday that Z/Yen, billed as “the City of London’s leading commercial think-tank,” just published its eighteenth Global Financial Centres Index. GFCI 18, as it’s otherwise known, rated 84 of the world’s financial centers. From a Z/Yen press release Wednesday:

London has moved ahead of New York to reclaim the number one position. London climbed 12 points in the ratings to lead New York by eight points…

London, New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore remain remain the four leading global financial centres. New York, in second place is now 33 points ahead of Hong Kong in third. Tokyo, in fifth place, is 25 points behind the leaders…

Toronto (8th), San Francisco (9th), and Washington, D.C. (10th) were other North American cities in the “top ten” of this year’s Index.

You can read the entire Z/Yen press release on their website here (.pdf format).


YouTube Video

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

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Thursday, September 24th, 2015 Asia, Europe, North America, Signs Of The Time No Comments

Signs Of The Time, Part 87

It’s been interesting watching the run-up to the recent carnage on Wall Street.

For some time now, the “crash prophets” who correctly-called the housing market bubble and 2008 economic crisis have been warning the stock market was frothy, if not in bubble territory.

Meanwhile, the Pollyannas who didn’t see either of those events from the last decade convinced themselves that not only had the United States managed to get on solid footing again after the blatant “papering over” of the debacle that reared its ugly head seven years ago, but that U.S equities and their valuations were a fair reflection of an economic “recovery” that was charging “full-steam ahead.”

At the same time, the Pollyannas (with the assistance of the financial mainstream media) ridiculed the “prophets” at any chance they got.

Reminds me a lot of that time period from roughly 2004 to 2008, until the Pollyannas got spanked hard and many of their mouthpieces were put out to pasture.

Make no mistake about it, America’s financial crash is coming.

The powers-that-be can only “kick the can down the road” until the road runs out. And that time is almost here.

Is the recent stock market plunge the event that pushes us over the edge?

I’m not sure it is. That being said, the dive has resulted in some serious financial losses. Steve Goldstein, the D.C. Bureau Chief for the MarketWatch website, wrote this afternoon:

As of March 31, households and nonprofits held $24.1 trillion in stocks. That’s both directly, and through mutual funds, pension funds and the like. That also includes the holdings of U.S.-based hedge funds, though you’d have to think that most hedge funds are held by households.

Using the Dow Jones Total Stock Market index through midmorning trade, that number had dropped to $22.32 trillion.

In other words, a cool $1.8 trillion has been lost between now and the first quarter — and overwhelmingly, those losses occurred in the last few days…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

$1.8 trillion. Whew. After riding the bull for so long, it looks like the Pollyannas weren’t expecting the beast to pull an abrupt about-face… and gore them.


The White Stripes, Conquest (2007)
YouTube Video

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)

Source:

Goldstein, Steve. “Households just saw $1.8 trillion in wealth vanish as stocks fall.” MarketWatch. 24 Aug. 2015. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/households-still-hold-22-trillion-in-stocks-even-after-market-rout-2015-08-24). 24 Aug. 2015.

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Signs Of The Time, Part 86

Back in 2007 when I was running Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street,” I came across an article which illustrated just how ridiculous the housing bubble had gotten. Several California homeowners were asked about future price appreciation for their homes. Most, if not all, had wildly optimistic expectations about how much their properties would be “worth” down the road.

Fast forward to July 24, 2015, and Robert Shiller, the Yale professor who correctly-called the “dot-com” and housing busts, wrote the following in a New York Times piece entitled “The Housing Market Still Isn’t Rational”:

Extravagant expectations do lurk in parts of the market. In the 2015 Yale School of Management survey of recent home buyers that Karl Case of Wellesley College, Anne Thompson of Dodge Data and Analytics and I direct, our preliminary results confirmed the overall Pulsenomics conclusion yet found that some people have strikingly unrealistic expectations.

In San Francisco, for example, we found that while the median expectation for annual home price increases over the next 10 years was only 5 percent, a quarter of the respondents said they thought prices would increase each year by 10 percent or more. That would mean a net 150 percent increase in a decade. These people are apparently not thinking about the supply response that so big a price increase would generate. People like this could bid prices in some places so high that eventually the local market will collapse…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“The Nastiest Wife on Television”
Uploaded April 11, 2006.
And we all know what happened to housing right after that…
YouTube Video

Irrational exuberance is alive and well, it seems. You can read Dr. Shiller’s entire article on the Times site here.

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

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Signs Of The Time, Part 85

Monday at lunch I finally got the chance to read my Sunday paper. From the Chicago Tribune “Perspective” section, in the part entitled, “Voice Of The People”:

Do not allow silencers

I cannot believe that there is serious consideration to permitting gun silencers to be used by gun owners in Illinois. Anyone with an ounce of common sense will recognize that guns with silencers are the weapon of choice for assassins, terrorists and murderers. What would happen if a nut entered a school and starting shooting randomly with such a weapon? No noise to alert the rest of the teachers and children?

Two things came to mind when I saw the above:

1. The author has quite an imagination.

2. Yet another argument leaning heavily on emotion (plea for “common sense” is often a giveaway), but devoid of facts.

Emotionally-driven arguments. Very much a sign of the time.

But now the facts on this subject.

An ABC7 Chicago I-Team Investigation recently looked into suppressors as legislation legalizing such devices has been introduced in the Illinois House (HB0433) and Senate (SB0803). Chuck Goudie reported on the ABC7 website on April 30:

Silencers used by criminals on TV and in movies; this is how most people know of the device.

Sponsors of a bill to make them legal in Illinois say the Hollywood interpretation is pure fiction…

A 2007 study found silencer use in crime is rare…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Guns with silencers are the weapon of choice for assassins, terrorists and murderers.”

Whatever you say.

And all those “assassins, terrorists and murderers” will be lining up for silencers if they’re legalized in Illinois, right?

As I blogged back on February 11:

Firearm suppressors (or sound suppressors and silencers as they’re also known) are highly-regulated in the United States. J. Guthrie reported on the Guns & Ammo website back on May 13, 2012:

If you lived in Scotland, they would be required for hunting. If you lived in Finland you could saunter down to the local gun shop and buy one over the counter—one more reason to like Finland. In the U.S., suppressors are regulated by the National Firearms Act and you have to first make sure they are legal in your state, fill out a federal form and send it, a couple of photos and some fingerprints into the BATFE for approval. Once approved—the process can take six or seven months—the BATFE sends you a little stamp and some paperwork and you can take possession of the suppressor from you dealer. There are legal considerations for interstate transportation and transferring the suppressor too…

Just like most felons don’t acquire their firearms lawfully, neither will they be obtaining suppressors legally- particularly in a highly-regulated environment like the one that currently exists.

Fears of a proliferation of legally-manufactured, lawfully-obtained suppressors among the bad guys in the “Land of Lincoln” are unfounded.

As for the “Voice Of The People” on these devices? I sure as hell hope it isn’t.

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

Source:

Goudie, Chuck. “Are Gun Silencers A Threat To Safety?” ABC 7. 30 Apr. 2015. (http://abc7chicago.com/news/are-gun-silencers-a-threat-to-safety/689952/). 18 May 2015.

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Signs Of The Time, Part 83

“Fight the power.” The next chapter.


Run The Jewels feat. Zack de la Rocha (Rage Against The Machine),
Close Your Eyes (And Count To F**k) (2014)
Warning: Language
YouTube Video

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

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Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 Public Safety, Signs Of The Time No Comments

Signs Of The Time, Part 82

I had a tough choice to make earlier tonight- either watch President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Speech, or finish up doing laundry.

After all my clothes were put away, I saw on my Internet service provider’s home page some jibberish about how some “shadow of crisis” had passed. I pulled up a transcript of the President’s speech tonight and sure enough there was this:

America, for all that we’ve endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this:

The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong.

At this moment — with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production — we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth. It’s now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next fifteen years, and for decades to come…

Mark my words. The “shadow of crisis” hasn’t passed. It was merely papered over. Keynesian “enlightenment,” government intervention, bailouts, stimulus packages, quantitative easing, QE 1, QE 2, QE 3, willing-and-able presstitutes, and what do we have? The Not-So-Great Recovery. Answer me this- if the economy is so strong, why have interest rates been effectively at zero for how many years now? “But Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve are going to start raising interest rates soon.” We’ll see, but if they do, I suspect rates will be raised incrementally, and I can’t help but wonder if the next few years won’t resemble the early part of last decade when a housing bubble inflated (and eventually popped) under the guise of a strong economy, but with the Fed slow on the trigger to raise rates and take way the punch bowl. This time around, we could even have multiple asset bubbles (in bonds? housing? stocks?) formed before the next installment of the longer financial crash arrives. Who knows exactly how the next crisis will play out, but I’m pretty sure the end result will be much uglier than the last episode. Not many bullets left for Uncle Sam and the central bank to use.

One more thing. “We have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth.” God forbid anyone scratch the surface to reveal how many more trillions of dollars of debt has been piled on our financial house of cards in order to kick the can down the road a little bit more. There’s no escaping the fact that the United States is the world’s largest debtor nation. And another inconvenient fact happens to be that taking on significant debt is akin to slavery.

“Freer to write our own future.” If only it were true. Financial reckoning day is more like it.

I’ll leave Survival And Prosperity readers with this. Back in the early 1990s while attending the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign I remember listening to a recording of “The Rat Pack” in action. Frank Sinatra was chiding Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. Now, the “Chairman Of The Board” made an observation that better describes the situation we’re in than what the President Of The United States said this evening:

You’ve had your fling and you flung it.

Enjoy the “good times” while they last, then prepare to batten down the hatches.


Scene from The Final Countdown (1980)
YouTube Video

Note that it’s not the end of the word I’m talking about here. But things will definitely suck for a while before the economy and society gets better again. By that time, we’ll probably be well on our way to having passed the baton to China.

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

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