South America

Chicago, New York City Cops Talk ‘De-Policing,’ ‘Blue Flu’

“In Oklahoma City, after the terrible bombing, Americans were wearing a T-shirt- I’ve got a copy of it here that was given to me- and I’d never seen this before. But this T-shirt shows all the different things that federal law enforcement officials do and mentions all the different agencies and has the following quote on it:

A society that makes war against its police had better learn to make friends with criminals.

That’s a fact.”

-Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, in a July 20, 1995, meeting with federal law enforcement

I’ve been following the protests, riots, and other activity related to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. And considering the anti-police sentiment that’s arisen and being stoked by certain politicians, the mainstream media, anarchists, and other agenda-driven parties, I was wondering how long it would take before someone in law enforcement uttered the following. From the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop early Sunday morning:

We’re about to see a nationwide “de-policing” shortly.

De-policing. A situation where law enforcement activities are unofficially curtailed.

Comments on that Sunday post lent support to such action:

“De-Policing”, hey, I’m all for it! Give the people/folks what they want, maybe then they will be happy!

Essentially de-policing is the solution to all of this nonsense but it must be a concerted effort by all the police and not just one municipality. That will wake bitch slap the media and politicians into realizing what the consequences are of falsely accusing the police of these stupid excessive force accusations. NYPD did it right by telling the jack-off mayor he is persona non grata. For starters that should be done to mayor tiny dancer, libtard Dick Durbin, jack-off soon to be out of a job Holder and a host of others.

Why are we waiting for de-policing to happen? Start right now, answer all calls and do paper. No more rushing to a man with a gun, burglary in progress, person shot. Take your time and get there safely, take down all information. When the detectives get there they can suspend the case until the offender turns himself in and proceed with paper work. Not charged unless they confess, don’t bother calling the useless Felony Review or asa Office. Sorry, take it slowly, no more racing around for me on jobs. Gotta go, I feel the flu coming on. Take care of those that mean the most to you!

There was also talk of law enforcement officers coming down with the “blue flu” on that Second City Cop post. In New York City, the flu is also known as a “sick out”- which is what a number of cops out in the “Big Apple” are calling for as the anti-police protests carry on. From Thee RANT Forums (“New York City Cops speaking their minds”) website, under “Sick out New Years Eve”:

It’s been said many times now it has to be done! Bratton sold you all out and the Mayor hates your guts. How many Captains and above on the job 700? let them work the detail on New Years. If everyone goes sick this city will be at a fughing standstill! It needs to be done folks to give everyone a much needed reality check. I’m sure the job has a contingency plan in place where everyone who goes sick will have to report to the Police Academy. How many Surgeons do we have? What could they do? It needs to be done! It will cost 2 days pay perhaps but would be well worth it.

Again, commenters lent support to such activity:

The city and the public need a reality check. Can u imagine what would happen in Manhattan alone. A lot of robbed beat up white-boys.

“De-policing,” “Blue flu,” “Sick out.” Personally, I don’t see any of this happening on a large scale just yet. The present animosity being directed at the police isn’t coming from the majority of citizens (despite what the MSM would like you to think), and I believe most LEOs realize this.

However, as America’s finances continue to deteriorate going forward, I can see such work slowdowns and stoppages occurring with law enforcement. Disputes over wages, pensions, working conditions are likely flashpoints.

If the coming financial crash ever gets as ugly as what’s happened in the once-prospering South American country of Argentina, then perhaps we might see incidents like what took place there last year around this time. From the BBC website on December 10, 2013:

At least five people have been killed as looting spreads through Argentina.

Hundreds have been injured as people took advantage of a police strike to rob shops and homes.

Police have refused to go on patrol until their demands for a salary rise are met.

Their move follows a police walkout in Cordoba province last week which also led to lootings, and which was settled after the governor almost doubled officers’ pay…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Looting rife in Argentine city of Cordoba as police take strike action”
YouTube Video

On the third-ever day of this blog (November 24, 2010), I shared the following with readers (not sure I had any at that time though). I think it bears repeating here. I wrote:

This last thought about the individual being ultimately responsible for their own personal protection is hammered home by John S. Farnam, a long-time defensive firearms instructor and deputy sheriff (training officer) in the Park County, Colorado, Sheriff’s Office. In The Farnam Method of Defensive Shotgun and Rifle Shooting, the founder and president of Defense Training International wrote:

It is said by enlightened social scientists, “If it rained twenty-dollar bills every Monday morning, there would still be people begging for their dinner ever Monday evening!” The same is true with criminals. No matter how “civilized” or indulgent our society becomes, there will always be criminals. And, the more foolishly dependent we all become upon governmental institutions as the only means of preserving civil order, the more dubious our continued existence becomes, and the more quickly order will disintegrate when our societal underpinnings are crippled or even imperiled. When citizens become additively dependent on an eleemosynary and paternal government to do for them what they could be, and, of right, ought to be, doing for themselves, that civilization’s days are surely numbered. Never forget, regardless of how politically incorrect it may sound to the uninformed, your personal security is always your responsibility, and yours alone!

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

Sources:

SCC. “NYPD Takes A Stand.” Second City Cop. 14 Dec. 2014. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2014/12/nypd-takes-stand.html). 15 Dec. 2014.

“Deadly Argentina looting spreads as police go on strike.” BBC. 10 Dec. 2013. (http://survivalandprosperity.com/2010/11/24/putting-the-self-back-into-defense/). 16 Dec. 2014.

Farnam, John S. The Farnam Method of Defensive Shotgun and Rifle Shooting. Boulder: DTI Publications, 1997.

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U.S. To Become Argentina After Financial Crash?

Of all the various threats to America today, there’s one that seems more likely to occur than the others and which I’m most concerned about.

So much so I decided to start blogging about it back on Memorial Day Weekend in 2007 as creator/editor of Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street”:

A U.S. financial crash.

And seven years on and trillions of dollars later spent trying to “kick the can down the road,” I feel it’s pretty much inevitable at this point.

Cheery thought, I know. But at least it’s not the end of the world.

Actually, I think we started on that journey even before the 2008 global economic crisis and “Great Recession” reared its ugly head and was eventually “papered-up” by Washington and the Federal Reserve.

So the U.S. economy won’t be doing a high-speed nose-dive into the ground. Rather, it’s embarked on a slow, gradual descent where the end result will be the same- a pile of smoldering wreckage.

If there’s a recent example in the world the United States might end up emulating, I suspect its Argentina, who suffered a financial collapse at the end of 2001 and which still is tormented by their crash.

Enter Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre, who regular readers of this blog might remember me mentioning before. I first brought up FerFAL on Survival And Prosperity within days of launching the blog. I wrote on December 1, 2010:

Last week I mentioned that I follow a couple of blogs on a regular basis. Surviving In Argentina is one of those and is authored by an Argentine named Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre who, like Orlov, has first-hand experience of what a financial collapse looks like. In his blog, Aguirre (who has lived in the U.S.) talks about how he and his young family survived the economic crisis in Argentina and how they’re coping now. It’s a rich source of information for surviving tough times, so much so FerFAL went ahead and wrote The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse in 2009.

Aguirre recently came out with two videos on YouTube.com in which he draws on his experiences in Argentina (he resides in the United Kingdom these days) to share with viewers what life was like after the vibrant Argentine economy collapsed last decade:


“Life after an Economic Collapse: The same… only Worse Part I”
YouTube Video


“Life after an Economic Collapse: The same… only Worse Part II”
YouTube Video

I understand FerFAL plans on releasing a third video to complete the series. In the meantime, I highly-recommend watching the first two to get an idea what life might be like if (when?) the United States suffers a similar fate as that South American country. Pretty sobering stuff if you ask me.

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

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Global Economy Flashes Warning Signals

I’m picking up on a growing number of “bad vibes” about the global economy these days.

First, Rich Miller reported on the Bloomberg website Thursday about the findings of the latest Bloomberg Global Poll of international investors:

The world economy is in its worst shape in two years, with the euro area and emerging markets deteriorating and the danger of deflation rising, according to a Bloomberg Global Poll of international investors.

A plurality of 38 percent of those surveyed this week described the global economy as worsening, more than double the number who said that in the last poll in July and the most since September 2012, when Europe was mired in a recession.

Much of the concern is again focused on the euro area: Almost two-thirds of those polled said its economy was weakening…

Europe isn’t the only source of concern in the global economy, according to the quarterly poll of 510 investors, traders and analysts who are Bloomberg subscribers. More than half of those contacted said conditions in the BRIC economies — Brazil, Russia, India and China — are getting worse, compared with 36 percent who said so in July.

(Editor: Bold added for emphasis)

Granted, it’s just a poll. But there’s also this from British Prime Minister David Cameron in a piece he penned that was published on The Guardian (UK) website Sunday:

Six years on from the financial crash that brought the world to its knees, red warning lights are once again flashing on the dashboard of the global economy.

As I met world leaders at the G20 in Brisbane, the problems were plain to see. The eurozone is teetering on the brink of a possible third recession, with high unemployment, falling growth and the real risk of falling prices too. Emerging markets, which were the driver of growth in the early stages of the recovery, are now slowing down. Despite the progress in Bali, global trade talks have stalled while the epidemic of Ebola, conflict in the Middle East and Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine are all adding a dangerous backdrop of instability and uncertainty…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Cameron added the following, which I thought was pretty funny (disturbing?):

When we faced similar problems in recent years, too many politicians offered easy answers, thinking we could spend, borrow and tax our way to prosperity. Those were the wrong answers then; they are the wrong answers now. We are not going to repeat the mistakes of the past…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Sound like any country you know?

Finally, exacerbating fears about global economic health was the following “shock” announcement. Mitsuru Obe and Eleanor Warnock reported on The Wall Street Journal website this morning:

Japan Falls Into Recession

Japan’s economy shrank for a second quarter in a row, after a sales-tax increase took the steam out of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ’s bid to turn Japan into a global model of revival.

Mr. Abe, who has sought to revive the world’s third-largest economy after two mostly sluggish decades, is set to announce this week that he will delay plans to raise the nation’s sales tax next year and call elections in December…

“Two mostly sluggish decades”

Some really bright financial-types suspect Japan’s so-called “zombie economy” is what’s ultimately in store for America. While I have no doubt about a coming U.S. economic crash, I remain somewhat more optimistic for the country’s prospects upon emerging from the coming carnage.

Stay tuned…

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

Sources:

Cameron, David. “David Cameron: Red lights are flashing on the global economy.” The Guardian. 16 Nov. 2014. (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/16/red-lights-global-economy-david-cameron). 17 Nov. 2014.

Miller, Rich. “World Economy Worst in Two Years, Europe Darkening, Deflation Lurking: Global Investor Poll.” Bloomberg.com. 13 Nov. 2014. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-13/world-outlook-darkening-as-89-in-poll-see-europe-deflation-risk.html). 17 Nov. 2014.

Obe, Mitsuru and Warnock, Eleanor. “Japan Falls Into Recession.” The Wall Street Journal. 17 Nov. 2014. (http://online.wsj.com/articles/japan-falls-into-recession-1416182404). 17 Nov. 2014.

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Fernando ‘FerFAL’ Aguirre’s 2005 Essay: ‘Thoughts On Urban Survival’

I first brought up Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre on Survival And Prosperity within days of launching the blog. I wrote on December 1, 2010:

Last week I mentioned that I follow a couple of blogs on a regular basis. Surviving In Argentina is one of those and is authored by an Argentine named Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre who, like Orlov, has first-hand experience of what a financial collapse looks like. In his blog, Aguirre (who has lived in the U.S.) talks about how he and his young family survived the economic crisis in Argentina and how they’re coping now. It’s a rich source of information for surviving tough times, so much so FerFAL went ahead and wrote The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse in 2009.

I have a copy of The Modern Survival Manual. I’ve found it so relevant to my circumstances (living in Chicago and now its suburbs), I’ve referred back to it on a regular basis.

FerFAL has a new survival-themed book out. From an e-mail I received from him on June 29:

Hello Everyone!

My New Book, “Bugging Out and Relocating” is now available in Amazon!!

“Bugging Out & Relocating” is the “homework” I did for leaving Argentina. Unlike many prepper books floating around these days, this is about what I actually did, picking up a couple suitcases each, leaving everything behind and moving to a country I had never set foot on before. I basically did so by doing what I explain in this book…

Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying Put is not an Option sounds real interesting. I can’t wait to read it.

Now, did any readers know that Fernando Aguirre also published a pretty lengthy essay on urban survival back in 2005? I discovered it while reading his blog. It’s long- divided into seven parts- and chock-full of information and lessons gleaned from actual experiences. Remember, Northern Ireland-based FerFAL lived through an economic collapse in modern times. Even though I read the essay some years back, there’s one part in Thoughts on Urban Survival that still blows my mind. Aguirre wrote:

It happened 4 years ago, almost a year after the December 2001 crisis. It was a social studies class and this teacher, don’t remember if it was a he or a she, was explaining the different kinds of social pyramids. God! Now I remember more! We even had a text book with those darn, cruel pyramids! The first pyramid explained the basic society. A pyramid with two horizontal lines, dividing those on top (high social class) those in the middle (middle class) and the bottom of the pyramid (the poor, proletarian). The teacher explained that the middle of the pyramid, the middle class, acted as a cushion between the rich and the poor, taking care of the social stress. The second pyramid had a big middle section, this was the pyramid that represents 1st world countries. I which the bottom is very thin and arrows show that there is a possibility to go from low to middle class, and from middle to the top of the social pyramid. Our teacher explained that this was the classic, democratic capitalist society, and that on countries such as Europeans one, socialists, the pyramid was very similar but a little more flat, meaning that here is a big middle section, middle class, and small high and low class. There is little difference between the three of them.

The third pyramid showed the communist society. Where arrows from the low and middle class tried to reach the top but they bounced off the line. A small high society and one big low society, cushioned by a minimal middle class section of pyramid. Then we turned the page and saw the darned fourth pyramid. This one had arrows from the middle class dropping to the low, poor class.

“What is this?” Some of us asked.

The teacher looked at us. “This is us”

“It’s the collapsed country, a country that turns into 3rd world country like in pyramid five where there is almost no middle class to speak, one huge low, poor class , and a very small, very rich, top class.”

“What are those arrows that go from the middle to the bottom of the pyramid?” Someone asked.

You could hear a pin drop. “That is middle class turning into poor”.

I won’t lie, no one cried, though people rubbed their faces, held their heads and their breath.

No one cried, but we all knew at that very moment that all we thought, all we took for granted, simply was not going to happen.

“You see, the income from the middle class is not enough to function as middle class any more. Some from the top class fall to middle class, but the vast majority of the middle class turns into poor” Said the teacher.

I don’t know how many people in that room suddenly understood that he/she was poor.

The teacher continued “You see, we have a middle class that suddenly turns to poor, creating a society of basically poor people, there is no more middle class to cushion tensions any more. Middle class suddenly discovers that they are overqualified for the jobs they can find and have to settle for anything they can obtain, there for unemployment sky rockets, too much to offer, too little demand. You see they prepare, study for a job they are not going to get. You kids, you are studying Architecture because you simply wish to do so. Only 3 or 4 percent of you will actually find a job related to architecture.”

We all sat there, letting it all sink in. After a few months, it all proved to be true. Even the amount of students that dropped out of college increased to at least 50%. They either so no point in studying something that would not make much of a difference in their future salaries, had no money to keep themselves in college, or simply had to drop college to work and support their families…

Any of this strike a chord with readers? I’m guessing it might.

Anyway, check out the rest of Fernando Aguirre’s Thoughts on Urban Survival on his Surviving In Argentina blog here.

Just be sure to set aside a large block of time- or several smaller ones- to read it and take it all in.

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

(Editor’s note: Link added to “Resources” page)

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Sino-Russian Natural Gas Deal Blow To U.S. Dollar Supremacy?

“The Obama administration is playing down an increasingly warm relationship between its main global rivals, China and Russia, that it may have inadvertently encouraged.

U.S. officials maintain there is nothing to fear from the growing alliance between Moscow and Beijing, even as each throws its weight around in neighboring regions like Ukraine and the South China Sea and at international forums like the United Nations, where on Thursday they double-vetoed the latest in a series of Security Council resolutions on Syria.

Yet when coupled with growing cooperation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in other areas- notably, a new $400 billion natural gas deal and apparent agreement on the crisis in Ukraine- many believe Russia and China may now or may soon represent a powerful new alliance challenging not only the United States, but also the Western democratic tradition that the U.S. has championed globally…”

-Associated Press, May 23, 2014

You may have heard about that $400 billion natural gas deal that was just struck between China and Russia. Or maybe you didn’t, as I’ve noticed the mainstream media hasn’t really been talking about it too much. Most of the outlets that did neglected to talk about the potential ramifications for the U.S. dollar.

There were exceptions. From the BBC News website on May 22:

Some papers are also analysing the impact of the deal on the world currency market.

A commentary in the Beijing Youth Daily says the deal will probably encourage more countries to not trade in US dollars if China and Russia decide to switch to clearing payments in Russian roubles and the yuan.

“The world economy and finance will then embark on a process to get rid of the US dollar, and the dominance of the dollar will gradually lose its support. The US will then face more challenges in its ability to control global economics and politics,” it says…

From Liam Halligan on The Telegraph (UK) website yesterday:

The real danger, in my view, is rather more abstract — but deadly important nevertheless. If Russia’s “pivot to Asia” results in Moscow and Beijing trading oil between them in a currency other than the dollar, that will represent a major change in how the global economy operates and a marked loss of power for the US and its allies.

With the dollar as the world’s petrocurrency, it also remains the reserve currency of choice for central banks globally. As such, the US is currently able to borrow with “exorbitant privilege”, as it has for decades, simply printing money to pay off foreign creditors.

With China now the world’s biggest oil importer and the US increasingly stressing domestic production, the days of dollar-priced energy, and therefore dollar-dominance, look numbered. Beijing has recently struck numerous agreements with major trading partners such as Brazil that bypass the dollar. Moscow and Beijing have also set up rouble-yuan swap facilities that push the greenback out of the picture.

If Russia and China now decide to drop dollar energy pricing totally, America’s reserve currency status could unravel fast, seriously undermining the US Treasury market and causing a world of pain for the West. This won’t happen tomorrow or next year. It’s unlikely even by 2020. But by announcing this deal, Russia and China turned the screw half a twist more…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Then there’s this from Max Keiser, an American filmmaker and host of the Keiser Report, a financial show on RT. From The Washington Times website earlier today:

He said the $400 billion, 30-year deal will further the strategic goals of Moscow and Beijing to diminish the status of the U.S. dollar by conducting world trade in critical commodities such as oil and gas using other currencies.

Russia is the world’s biggest producer of commodities such as crude oil, gold and titanium. China is the world’s biggest consumer of these commodities.

Both countries have chafed for years at having to conduct purchases and sales in dollars, as is customary worldwide. The gas deal announced in Beijing on Wednesday would be the first major commodities contract to be settled in Russian rubles and Chinese yuan rather than dollars.

“This means the U.S. dollar’s days as the world reserve currency are numbered,” said Mr. Keiser, noting that Russia and China have been investing heavily in gold.

Many analysts question whether Moscow and Beijing can succeed in displacing the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. If that happens, however, it likely would usher in a period of global financial instability and force Americans to pay much more for the massive amounts of imported energy, Mr. Keiser said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit- the research and analysis division of The Economist Group, the sister company to The Economist newspaper- on May 22, it has been reported payments for the gas will be made in Chinese yuan rather than U.S. dollars.

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

Sources:

“China media: Russia gas deal.” BBC News. 22 May 2014. (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-27514395). 25 May 2014.

Halligan, Liam. “Russia-China gas deal could ignite a shift in global trading.” The Telegraph. 24 May. 2014. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/liamhalligan/10854595/Russia-China-gas-deal-could-ignite-a-shift-in-global-trading.html). 25 May 2014.

Hill, Patrice. “Russia’s Putin gains strategic victory with Chinese natural gas deal.” The Washington Times. 25 May 2014. (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/25/russias-putin-gains-strategic-victory-with-chinese/). 25 My 2014.

“The Sino-Russian gas deal.” Economist Intelligence Unit. 22 May 2014. (http://www.eiu.com/industry/article/431836627/the-sino-russian-gas-deal/2014-05-22) 25 May 2014.

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Video: SHTF In Venezuela

Henry Reich, creator of the MinutePhysics series of videos on YouTube.com, shows the chaos going on in Venezuela these days in his latest work. Apparently, an illustrator for MinuteEarth- Ever Salazar- has a ringside seat to the dire situation the South American country is in (I blogged about the food shortages back on April 3).

Watching the video, I couldn’t help but wonder if the United States might not suffer something similar once our financial “day of reckoning” arrives. And then I heard Salazar say this:

At least half the population ratifies the disaster by voting in favor of the 15-year-long revolution…

Sound familiar?


“When Insanity Becomes Normal- Venezuela”
YouTube Video

Note the shortages of food and other items being mentioned.

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

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‘Criminals Are Victims Of The Evil Capitalist Society’

These days, there are lots of people out there speculating and writing about what a financial crash would be like- even though they’ve never lived through one.

On the other hand, some have and are actively sharing their experiences and lessons for surviving a similar event.

Once in a while on Survival And Prosperity I’ve mentioned Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre, who lived through Argentina’s economic collapse last decade and released The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse in 2009. A big “fan” of the book and the accompanying blog- Surviving In Argentina- I happened to be listening to the fourth installment in a series of video posts FerFAL has produced recently about “prepper myths,” when he talked about the recent violent mugging of an American tourist in a nice part of Buenos Aires. Apparently, the mugger- who was on the verge of being lynched by a crowd- was booked by police yet released later on that day. FerFAL- now based in Northern Ireland- lamented in the April 9 post:

And that’s the key of the thing. It’s not considered a bad thing. And it’s not just mugging, robbing- even hurting, raping, murdering- it’s not considered a bad thing from the perspective of the Argentine government. They have this crappy, commie, anti-capitalist, bullshit thing going on which basically says- and I got tired of hearing this time and again- but the official government point of view is criminals are victims of the evil capitalist society that are just trying to provide for their families. And when you say, “Alright, what about a rapist or a murderer? What is he trying to do there?” “Well, he’s also a poor victim because he didn’t have the populist, socialist education that we’re trying to promote and he didn’t know any better.” They’re always justifying. And this isn’t just something I perceive. This is something I’ve been told by an actual district attorney. He’ll tell me, “That’s what we get from the top. We’re being told not to put people behind bars. Find any possible way, even if a cop drags one- this guy actually murdered someone in front of my eyes. Even if that happens, the official point of view of this is- release them as fast, as quickly as possible. We don’t want people behind bars.” That makes for a very chaotic society, and that’s what’s been going on in Argentina for over a decade now. That’s why it’s so violent…

Any of what FerFAL said ring a bell to some readers? It sure did for me, as I type this from the Chicago area this wintry April evening.

Plenty of bad guys who should be locked up behind bars are roaming the streets of Chicago and other parts of Cook County these days.

“That’s why it’s so violent.”

By the way, check out Fernando Aguirre’s other “prepper myth” video posts here if you have the time. I found them very insightful and thought-provoking.

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

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Venezuela Food Shortages Give Rise To Registration

In the 2008 film The Hurt Locker, there’s a part where the main character, a U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) specialist, returns home. While shopping for groceries, he becomes overwhelmed by the enormity of choices and amount available for purchase…


“The Hurt Locker- grocery store scene”
YouTube Video

It was a humorous yet sobering reminder of the abundance of food in our society.

At least for now.

Compare that to present-day Venezuela, where food shortages are becoming a serious problem. From the Associated Press on Tuesday:

Battling food shortages, the Venezuelan government is rolling out a new ID system that is either a grocery loyalty card with extra muscle or the most dramatic step yet towards rationing in Venezuela, depending on who is describing it.

President Nicolás Maduro’s administration says the cards to track families’ purchases will foil people who stock up on groceries at subsidised prices and then illegally resell them for several times the amount. Critics say it’s another sign the oil-rich Venezuelan economy is headed toward Cuba-style dysfunction.

Registration begins at more than 100 government-run supermarkets across the country on Tuesday and working-class shoppers – who sometimes endure hours-long queues at the stores to buy cut-price groceries – are welcoming the plan…

Rigid currency controls and a shortage of US dollars make it increasingly difficult for Venezuelans to find imported basic products such as milk, flour, toilet paper and cooking oil.

In January, more than a quarter of basic staples were out of stock in Venezuelan stores, according to the central bank’s scarcity index. The shortages are among the problems cited by Maduro’s opponents who have been staging protests since mid-February…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I feel bad for the Venezuelans that these shortages are taking place.

At the same time, it’s a good reminder for Americans that prepping for hard times isn’t all about socking away just guns and gold.

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

Source:

“Venezuela tackles food shortage with ID card system.” Associated Press. 1 Apr. 2014. (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/01/venezuela-food-shortage-id-cards). 3 Apr. 2014.

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Jeremy Grantham’s Latest Investment Advice

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about Jeremy Grantham, the co-founder and chief investment strategist of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (GMO). To be fair, the British-born investment advisor has been taking a break from his popular quarterly investment letter that’s published on the GMO website. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mr. Grantham, he’s designated one of this blog’s “crash prophets” along with Marc Faber, Jim Rogers, and Peter Schiff due to his special talent for correctly-calling the direction of the financial markets. He so good that individual clients have included Secretary of State John Kerry and former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Grantham was the subject of a September 20 article in The Wall Street Journal in which Ian Salisbury asked him about investment-related topics, such as the depletion of natural resources on Earth. From the Q and A session:

Q: What are investors supposed to do?
A: The investment implications are, of course, own stock in the ground, own great resources, reserves of phosphorous, potash, oil, copper, tin, zinc—you name it. I’d be less enthusiastic about aluminum and iron ore just because there is so much. And I wouldn’t own coal, and I wouldn’t own tar sands. It’s hugely expensive to build coal utilities, and the plants they have to build for tar sands are massive, and before they get their money back I suspect that the price of solar and wind will have come down so much.

So I wouldn’t use that, but I think oil, the metals and particularly the fertilizers, I would own—and the most important of all is food. The pressures on food are worse than anything else, and therefore, what is the solution? Very good farming, which can be done. The emphasis from an investor’s point of view is on very good farmland. It’s had a big run. You can never afford to ignore price and value, but from time to time you can get good investments in farmland, and if you’re prepared to go abroad, you can do it today. I wouldn’t be too risky. I would stay with distinctly stable countries—Australia, New Zealand, Uruguay, Brazil, Canada, of course, and the U.S. But I would look around, in what I call the nooks and crannies. And forestry is the same. Forestry is not a bad bargain, a little overpriced maybe, but it’s in a world where everything is overpriced today, once again, courtesy of incredibly low interest rates that push people into investing. A wicked plot of the Federal Reserve.

Grantham also shared with Salisbury where he thought stocks were heading. Basically, not only does he think equities can go “a lot higher than this” with Fed backing, but they could even reach bubble territory.

It’s a really good, insightful interview, capped-off with a discussion about unbridled American optimism, which you can read in its entirety here on The Wall Street Journal website.

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

Source:

Salisbury, Ian. “Our Chat With Jeremy Grantham.” The Wall Street Journal. 20 Sep. 2013. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323665504579032934293143524.html). 24 Sep. 2013.

(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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Central Banks Continue To Stockpile Gold

Despite the price of gold getting pummeled recently, a number of the world’s central banks continue to acquire the precious metal. Sungwoo Park reported on the Bloomberg website yesterday:

The Bank of Korea added 20 metric tons in February, raising its gold reserves by 24 percent to 104.4 tons, it said in a statement today. Holdings rose about $1.03 billion by value to $4.79 billion at the end of last month, equivalent to 1.5 percent of total foreign exchange holdings, according to the statement. Prices advanced.

Russia and Kazakhstan expanded bullion reserves for a fourth straight month in January.

On February 11, I blogged that Russia is now the world’s biggest gold buyer, adding 570 metric tons of the precious metal to their holdings over the past decade.

Glenys Sim wrote on Bloomberg.com back on February 25:

Russian holdings climbed 12.2 metric tons to 970 tons last month after gaining 8.5 percent over 2012, according to International Monetary Fund data. Kazakhstan’s hoard grew 1.5 tons to 116.8 tons, following last year’s 41 percent expansion, data on the IMF website showed…

Central banks will again be strong buyers this year after they boosted purchases 17 percent to 534.6 tons last year, the most since 1964, according to the London-based World Gold Council.

The gold haters are out in full force these days. Yet, central banks keep stockpiling the yellow metal. Hmm.

Diversification? Or “something wicked this way comes?”

And there’s no shortage of stories in the American media of how poorly gold is doing. Even though it’s setting record highs in other countries. Brett Arends wrote on the MarketWatch website yesterday:

You won’t hear about it in the usual places. Everywhere you turn these days, all you hear is that gold is down, it’s finished, it’s heading for something called a “death cross,” which sounds terrifying. But away from the headlines, gold just rocketed to a new, all-time high.

In places like Argentina, Brazil, Iceland, India, and Japan.

Not bad for a “barbarous relic,” huh?

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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)

Sources:

Park, Sungwoo. “Korea Joins Russia, Kazakhstan in Boosting Gold Holdings.” Bloomberg. 6 Mar. 2013. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-05/bank-of-korea-boosts-gold-reserves-as-central-banks-buy.html). 6 Mar. 2013.

Sim, Glenys. “Russia, Kazakhstan Increase Bullion Reserves for Fourth Month.” Bloomberg. 25 Feb. 2013. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-25/russia-kazakhstan-expand-gold-reserves-for-fourth-month-1-.html). 6 Mar. 2013.

Arends, Brett. “The secret bull market in gold.” MarketWatch. 6 Mar. 2013. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-secret-bull-market-in-gold-2013-03-06). 6 Mar. 2013.

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Massad Ayoob, Rob Pincus Defend Semi-Auto, Military-Pattern Rifles And “High-Capacity” Magazines

How many readers have heard this uttered during the latest push for more gun “control” in America?:

Americans don’t need “fast-firing” guns with “high-capacity” magazines to protect themselves. Stopping a bad guy doesn’t require all those bullets.

Such dribble often reveals two things:

1. The individual saying this watches way too much television and/or movies.

2. That person fails to comprehend that sometimes there’s more than one aggressor involved.

This last point has been made exceedingly-clear to me these past couple of years in my observations of crime “south of the border.”

Any readers remember my July 2011 post about a gang of criminals carrying out a violent home invasion against an American couple residing in Ixtapa, Mexico? Pretty graphic story, huh?

And then there’s Fernando Aguirre of Surviving In Argentina blog-fame, who has mentioned multiple incidents involving more than one aggressor in his home country of Argentina. One story in particular stands out in my mind. From his survival-themed book The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving The Economic Collapse:

I also remember a forensic doctor that used to live in my neighborhood, who got ambushed by five or six men when he exited a restaurant. They did kill him, but he managed to kill four of them and he severely wounded another.

This doctor used to practice with his Glock .40 S&W at my local shooting range. I don’t remember exactly how many rounds he fired during the attack, but I remember that it at least doubled the capacity of most revolvers.


“Home Invaders Shot in Self Defense”
(Security cameras catch armed Tucson resident thwarting home invasion)
YouTube Video

Recently, two well-known firearm and personal defense experts- Massad Ayoob and Rob Pincus- have come out in support of semi-automatic military-pattern rifles and so-called “high-capacity” ammunition magazines. Here are some comments from them in their defense of the guns and magazines which others are so desperately trying to ban/take away:

I can certainly imagine scenarios where I would need to have a lot of rounds. I can certainly imagine scenarios where I would need to have the capability of controlling those rounds through a semi-automatic rifle where I can fire those rounds quickly and accurately. Multiple person home invasions would be an easy example that could obviously happen to any home in any part of the country.

-Rob Pincus of I.C.E. Training, in an interview published on the WND.com website on February 27, 2013

In a world where the Good People With Guns often have to deliver several hits to neutralize even one Bad Person With Deadly Weapons, and in which there is often more than one attacker, anyone applying logical thinking can only end up shouting one three-word mantra:

DO THE MATH!!

-Massad Ayoob of Massad Ayoob Group, in a January 31, 2013, post on the Massad Ayoob on Guns blog on the website of Backwoods Home magazine

The cops are the experts on the current criminal trends. If they have determined that a “high capacity” semiautomatic pistol and a .223 semiautomatic rifle with 30-round magazines are the best firearms for them to use to protect people like me and my family, they are obviously the best things for us to use to protect ourselves and our families.

-Massad Ayoob again, in a December 29, 2012, post on the Massad Ayoob on Guns blog

When it comes to firearms and self-defense, these guys know what they’re talking about.

More so than others who would have you “just fire the shotgun through the door” in an ill-advised attempt at protecting the home.

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

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Central Banks Keep Buying Gold

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the dip in the gold price.

Yet, so little chatter about the world’s central banks adding to their gold reserves.

Glenys Sim reported on Bloomberg.com tonight:

Brazil boosted gold reserves for a third month in November to double the country’s holdings since August as central banks from Russia to Belarus and South Korea add the metal to diversify their assets.

Brazilian holdings expanded 14.7 metric tons in November to 67.2 tons, the most since November 2000, according to data on the International Monetary Fund’s website. The country bought 17.2 tons in October after adding 1.7 tons in September, the first increase since 2008. Russia’s holdings increased 2.9 tons last month and Belarus’s reserves expanded 1.4 tons, the data show…

In Asia, the Bank of Korea increased gold reserves 20 percent last month to diversify investments, boosting holdings for the fourth time since June 2011, according to a statement Dec. 5. Gold is a physical, safe asset, the Bank of Korea said.

According to ArabianMoney.net editor/publisher Peter Cooper on the ResourceInvestor.com news site back on December 6:

Gold buying by the global central banks will hit a new high this year of more than 500 tons up from 465 tons in 2011, according to data compiled by the World Gold Council.

(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)

Sources:

Sim, Glenys. “Brazil Doubles Gold Reserves as Central Banks Buy Bullion.” Bloomberg. 20 Dec. 2012. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-21/brazil-doubles-gold-reserves-with-third-purchase-as-banks-buy.html). 20 Dec. 2012.

Coopers, Peter. “Central Bank Gold Purchases to Top 500 Tons This Year.” ResourceInvestor.com. 6 Dec. 2012. (http://www.resourceinvestor.com/2012/12/06/central-bank-gold-purchases-to-top-500-tons-this-y?ref=hp). 20 Dec. 2012.

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Quotes For The Week

A two-fer for you this week.

1992 U.S. presidential candidate Ross Perot is back in the news. The billionaire is so concerned about the state of the nation’s finances, that according to Brendan James over at the Yahoo! News blog The Ticket this morning, Perot said in a recent USA TODAY interview:

If we are that weak, just think of who wants to come here first and take us over…

The last thing I ever want to see is our country taken over because we’re so financially weak, we can’t do anything.

Visions of Red Dawn are flooding through my mind right about now.


“Red Dawn Trailer (1984)”
YouTube Video

And talk about an endorsement no American politician from either of the two big national parties would want to receive at this point in the election cycle. The Associated Press reported last night:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has weighed in on the U.S. presidential race, saying he prefers President Barack Obama.

“If I were American, I’d vote for Obama,” Chavez said in a televised interview that aired Sunday.

The Venezuelan leader called Obama “a good guy” and said if the U.S. president were a Venezuelan, “I think… he’d vote for Chavez.”

I’m sure President Obama is grateful for such a glowing endorsement so close to the election.

If Hugo was really that big a fan of the U.S. president, he should have said Mitt Romney would get his vote.

Sources:

James, Brendan. “America could be ‘taken over,’ warns Ross Perot.” The Ticket. 1 Oct. 2012. (http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/america-could-taken-over-warns-ross-perot-152428497.html). 1 Oct. 2012.

“Hugo Chavez says he’d vote for Obama.” Associated Press. 30 Sep. 2012. (http://news.yahoo.com/hugo-chavez-says-hed-vote-obama-172412142.html). 1 Oct. 2012.

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H1N1 Cases Reported In Asia, South America

President Barack Obama has declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency, giving his health chief the power to let hospitals move emergency rooms offsite to speed treatment and protect noninfected patients.

The declaration, signed Friday night and announced Saturday, comes with the disease more prevalent than ever in the country…

-Associated Press, October 25, 2009

The global death toll from 2009’s H1N1 “swine flu” pandemic could be higher than initially reported. Simeon Bennett reported on the Bloomberg website yesterday:

The 2009 swine flu pandemic may have killed 15 times more people globally than reported at the time, according to the first study to estimate the death toll.

The H1N1 influenza virus probably killed about 284,500 people worldwide, compared with 18,500 deaths reported to the World Health Organization, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases today. More than half the deaths may have been in southeast Asia and Africa, compared with 12 percent of officially reported fatalities, the authors wrote.

The H1N1 virus was reported in more than 214 countries through August 2010, when the WHO declared an end to the pandemic. It’s since become one of three seasonal flu strains circulating worldwide, causing infections mostly during the winter months.

This year, H1N1 cases have been reported in both hemispheres, and in winter and summer. Loshana K. Shagar and Embun Majid reported on the Jakarta Post (Indonesia) website on June 16:

The Influenza A(H1N1) outbreak at the National Service (NS) camp is under control, said Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai.

He said there have been no new cases since Thursday.

Ninety NS trainees at Dusun Minda National Service training camp in Kuala Nerang, Kedah, were quarantined two days ago after coming down with A(H1N1).

Sumitra Deb Roy wrote on the Times of India website earlier today:

MUMBAI: The civic authorities are insistent that H1N1 cases in the city are sporadic and nothing to worry about. But statistics suggest otherwise. While 46 positive cases of H1N1 have been reported between April and June so far, there were zero cases in Mumbai during the corresponding period last year.

Prasit Tangpraset wrote on the AsiaOne website, an online news portal belonging to Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co., last Thursday:

Yesterday 41 persons were confirmed as infected with the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) at Nakhon Ratchasima Rajanagarindra Psychiatric Hospital in the Northeast…

Kamron Chaisiri, inspector-general of the Public Health Ministry, said the hospital found the first case on June 12 in the ward for alcoholics, who have weaker immune systems and are easily infected.

Six women and 35 men have been admitted, including six hospital staff. The patients are on the antiviral drug Tamiflu and none are severely ill.

And Latin American News Agency Prensa Latina published on its website last Friday:

The Bolivian Minister of Health and Sports, Juan Carlos Calvimontes, confirmed the record of 637 patients with influenza A (H1N1) and 2. 276 suspected cases.

According to Calvimontes epidemiological reports register five deaths, and he said that the department with more registered patients is La Paz, with more than 300 positive cases.

With all these reports coming in about H1N1 cases, here’s hoping this isn’t the beginning of another pandemic (or a “real” one, as some claim the 2009 event was a scam).

Stay healthy, my friends.

Sources:

Bennett, Simeon. “Swine Flu Deaths May Have Been 15 Times Higher Than Reported.” Bloomberg. 25 June 2012. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-25/swine-flu-deaths-may-have-been-15-times-higher-than-reported.html). 26 June 2012.

Shagar, Loshana K. and Majid, Embun. “‘No new H1N1 cases’ reported at Malaysia’s Kedah NS camp.” Jakarta Post. 16 June 2012. (http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/06/16/no-new-h1n1-cases-reported-malaysia-s-kedah-ns-camp.html). 26 June 2012.

Deb Roy, Sumitra. “46 H1N1 cases ‘not worrisome': BMC.” Times of India. 26 June 2012. (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/46-H1N1-cases-not-worrisome-BMC/articleshow/14396348.cms). 26 June 2012.

Tangprasert, Prasit. “41 swine flu cases confirmed in Thailand.” AsiaOne. 21 June 2012. (http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20120621-354262.html). 26 June 2012.

“Bolivia Reported 637 Confirmed Cases of Influenza A (H1N1).” Prensa Latina. 22 June 2012. (http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=519345&Itemid=1). 26 June 2012.

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Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 Asia, Health, Public Safety, South America No Comments

Argentina Plans On Using Nationalized Pension Funds For New Stimulus Program

“Don’t cry for me Argentina.”

That song has stuck with me ever since I first heard it sung in TV commercials for the musical Evita back in the early 80s.

But these days, I can’t help but wonder if Argentinians aren’t crying for themselves.

Or if Americans will soon follow.

Those Argentines who successfully-weathered the economic collapse the South American country experienced at the end of the 90s had the following to look forward to as the next decade drew to a close. From the BBC News website on October 21, 2008:

Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez has signed a bill that will nationalise the country’s 10 private pension funds.

The move will put the government in control of almost $30bn (£18bn) of investments and is aimed at protecting them from the global market turmoil.

Shares slumped amid fears of the move’s impact and critics accused the government of trying to grab the funds.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

History has shown that when a government assumes control of something for their citizens’ “protection,” it might be time to get concerned.

Recently, it’s been suggested those formerly-private pensions have become a giant piggy bank for the Argentine government. On April 25, 2012, the newspaper Los Andes (Argentina) reported that Argentina’s Treasury had borrowed $342 million from the state pensions agency, Anses- and issued a one-year bond in its place.

And just this afternoon, the Associated Press reported about a new “stimulus” program in Argentina that’s using these pension funds once again. From the piece:

Argentina is rolling out a major economic stimulus plan, using pension and treasury funds to provide nearly cost-free housing loans of up to $77,000 each to 400,000 people who have been closed out of private-sector borrowing.

Buenos Aires Gov. Daniel Scioli on Wednesday ordered all “non-productive” government-owned land to be made available to the program President Cristina Fernandez announced hours earlier. The vast Buenos Aires province surrounding Argentina’s capital is plagued with slums and has by far the nation’s largest population in need of housing…

Argentina’s Supreme Court also took action: Six justices signed a resolution giving the pension agency, ANSES, 30 days to explain in detail where it is spending the retirement funds. Thousands of Argentine retirees have won court rulings for unpaid pensions, but have yet to see their money.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

So as it stands right now, it sounds like Argentina’s government plans to take money from nationalized, formerly-private pensions to fund this new stimulus program- while promising to pay the borrowed money back.

Anyone think those retirees will ever get all their pesos back?

Or that a good majority of those housing loans will be repaid, for that matter?

Claims of this stimulus actually being a progressive redistribution of wealth (rich to poor) are almost certain to be made.

We’ll just have to wait and see how this all ends up.

And seriously scrutinize any suggestion to nationalize our private pensions, especially if it’s under the claim of “protection.”

Sources:

“Argentina to take over pensions.” BBC News. 21 Oct. 2008. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7682877.stm). 13 June 2012.

“El Banco Nación prestará al Tesoro unos $ 12 mil millones.” Los Andes. 25 Apr. 2012. (http://www.losandes.com.ar/notas/2012/4/25/banco-nacion-prestara-tesoro-unos-millones-638373.asp). 13 June 2012.

Associated Press. “Argentina aims to ‘light fire’ to economy, using pension funds to provide generous home loans.” Washington Post. 13 June 2012. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/argentina-aims-to-light-fire-to-economy-using-pension-funds-to-provide-generous-home-loans/2012/06/13/gJQAxS4TaV_story.html). 13 June 2012.

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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