Resource Of The Week: Gun Talk Media’s First Person Defender

Long-time readers know I’ve been listening to podcasts of a radio show called Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk for a number of years now (named it a “Resource Of The Week” back on July 15, 2011).

I’m swamped these days so I don’t get to listen to podcasts as much as I’d like. However, in an episode of Gun Talk a few weeks back I learned about a recent project of Gun Talk Media out on YouTube. Enter First Person Defender. From the Gun Talk Media page on YouTube:

First Person Defender takes regular “good guys” and puts them in an intense, real life, self-defense situation. We use Simunition guns and ammo, and force on force training to see what works, and what doesn’t.


“Coming Soon- First Person Defender”
YouTube Video

On the website for American Rifleman magazine, NRA staff wrote back on February 4:

First Person Defender takes regular people, with varying degrees of familiarity with firearms, and puts them into intense force-on-force self-defense scenarios using Simunition conversion kits and FX Marking Cartridges. Each episode starts out with the Defender roleplayers being subjected to an unknown scenario, after which their performances are evaluated. After consulting with the instructors regarding what worked, what didn’t work and a few things they should do differently next time to increase their odds of survival, the Defenders are run through a similar but different circumstance in order to put their instruction to use…

Episodes are around 15 minutes or so, and Seasons 1 and 2- each comprising of 15 installments- are available to view for free on YouTube.com.

I just got finished watching Season 1, Episode 1, entitled “Man Surprises Car Thief.” I was impressed. Living in the Chicagoland area most of my life, I’ve observed hold-ups/similar scenarios could mean “your money and your life.” So if someone is pointing a gun at you demanding money…

Head on over to the Gun Talk Media area on YouTube here to start watching First Person Defender now.

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

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

Source:

NRA Staff. “On Screen: First Person Defender- Season 2.” American Rifleman. 4 Feb. 2015. (http://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/2015/2/4/on-screen-first-person-defender-season-2/). 16 Apr. 2015.

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Food Insurance: Sitewide Savings Up To 84% Off

This morning, I received an e-mail about a special sales event that’s ending soon over at the website of affiliate marketing partner Food Insurance (reviewed here). From the Kaysville, Utah- based vendor of emergency food and other items:

Sitewide Savings Up To 84% OFF
FINAL WEEK!
plus FREE SHIPPING on orders over $150
New Items Added!

Right now, save up to 84% on Food Insurance®’s most popular items with sitewide savings! Stock up now with these unheard of prices. Special pricing is limited to in-stock inventory only. Several new items have been added this week, including:

• close out and clearance items- up to 84% OFF
• 130+ cases including meals, fruits, veggies, & drinks- up to 65% OFF
• preparedness tools and gear- up to 70% OFF

While on the Food Insurance website putting together this post, I noticed under “clearance items” is the same backpack (“food insurance certified backpack”) I currently have in my possession. I really like it. Regular price $69.99. Now $19.99- or 71 percent off.

Needless to say, I just got done ordering another one, with plans for turning both of them into “bug-out bags.”

Backpack (Only) Now $19.99

Backpack Now $19.99

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Recently, I’d been running a Food Insurance banner ad along this blog’s sidebar that contained a coupon code for free shipping. When ordering that backpack online, I entered “SHIP2FREE” in the area for coupon codes, and the $4.99 shipping charge was history.

Total cost for backpack- $19.99 with free shipping. Love it.

Lots of sitewide savings going on in this last week of the promotion. Click on the banner ad below and you’ll be taken over to the Food Insurance website. Please note that I receive a commission for products purchased via the link.


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

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Marc Faber Doubts Fed Rate Hike In 2015, Buys Crude Oil Stocks

Swiss-born investment advisor/money manager Marc Faber was recently interviewed by Latha Venkatesh and Sonia Shenoy at CNBC-TV18 (India). The publisher of the monthly investment newsletter The Gloom Boom & Doom Report talked about a number of financial/investing topics- including a potential rate hike soon by the Federal Reserve. From a transcript of the discussion published on the Moneycontrol.com website on April 13:

Sonia: So, you are not expecting a rate hike from the US Fed this year?

A: What I said is in my view the Fed will not increase rates this year unless there is really a very sharp pick up in the economy or there is a colossal pot-hole developing in stocks. But otherwise I doubt it because the dollar has been strong. Okay, it may weaken somewhat, but I do not think it will collapse against the euro and against the yen and the British pound and so forth. So, the dollar is relatively strong. The economy in the US, the latest say, ten indicators that came out were all on the weak side. And under these conditions I doubt the Fed will increase rates. But that is an academic debate. What is important is I think the Feds and other Western Central Bankers will keep interest rates at a very low level for a very long time and will try to keep interest rates in real terms negative. In other words below the rates of cost of living increases.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Dr. Faber shares the belief of fellow “crash prophet” Peter Schiff concerning an increase in the federal funds rate in the near future. However, Schiff has added that if the U.S. central bank does raise interest rates anytime soon, it will be miniscule.

Faber, who correctly forecast the rise of commodities, emerging markets, and China last decade, shares something else with a different “prophet.” From the transcript:

Latha: Yes, I note your exasperation. Therefore let me come to another asset class: commodities. Do you think they have bottomed or is it that there would be a long trough for this asset class?

A: We have to distinguish because the price of oil has very little to do with the price of orange juice or coffee. So each commodity has its own price dynamics driven by global production and global demand. Now industrial commodities have performed miserably along with emerging markets over the last couple of years because the demand was slowing down especially from China. So, you have prices of iron ore and steel and copper and oil that have collapsed. I happen to think that at this level a lot of commodities are reasonably priced, does not mean they will go up right away. But they come now into a buying rate and I have been buying some oil stocks recently.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Last Sunday, I noted Yale economics professor Robert Shiller, who spotted the U.S. housing bubble last decade and the dot-com bubble a few years earlier, had purchased a crude oil ETF.

You can read the transcript of the entire exchange between Dr. Faber and CNBC-TV18 on Moneycontrol.com here.

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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Standard & Poor’s Warns Chicago ‘Downgrade Of More Than One Notch Is Possible’

Not too much talk about the following last week in the Chicago-area news. From Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Helen Samuelson over on S&P’s Global Credit Portal website on April 9:

CHICAGO (Standard & Poor’s) April 9, 2015–After months of campaigning and uncertainty, Chicago (A+/Negative general obligation debt rating) can get back to the business of running itself. As such, we expect Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s attention to be focused on the city’s budget challenges, namely its ballooning pension obligation.

During the course of the election — and particularly during the runoff — Mayor Emanuel avoided addressing the possibility of property tax increases to help pay for these pension obligations.

“Following Tuesday’s vote, in order to maintain its current rating, we expect the administration to address the pension and budget challenges head on by providing solutions that will support the city’s credit strengths in the near and far term,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Helen Samuelson.

Our ‘A+’ rating is predicated on Chicago’s ability to make the changes necessary to address its budget gap and pension problem. However, even with this ability, to ensure long-term stability Chicago still needs to demonstrate its willingness to make difficult choices that address its budget issues.

Otherwise, the ‘A+’ rating could be severely pressured. Our negative rating outlook reflects the city’s fiscal pressures. If the city doesn’t find structural solutions, a downgrade of more than one notch is possible.

In our view, if the city fails to articulate and implement a plan by the end of 2015 to sustainably fund its pension contributions, or if it substantially draws down its reserves to fund the contributions, we will likely lower the rating. This is regardless of whatever relief the state legislature may or may not provide. We will likely affirm the rating and revise the outlook to stable if Chicago is able to successfully absorb its higher pension costs while maintaining balanced budgetary performance and reserves at or near their current level…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

To date, a different credit rating agency- Moody’s- has been making the most noise about the City of Chicago’s financial woes. Yvette Shields reported on The Bond Buyer website on April 6:

The city has suffered a steep credit rating slide and further credit deterioration is threatened.

Chicago’s GO ratings range from a low of Baa2 — two notches above speculative grade — from Moody’s to a high of A-plus from Standard & Poor’s…

“A-plus.” That may not be the case at year end.

You can read that entire Standard & Poor’s piece on the Global Credit Portal here.

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

Source:

Shields, Yvette. “Big Stakes as Market Awaits Chicago’s Mayoral Pick.” The Bond Buyer. 6 Apr. 2015. (http://www.bondbuyer.com/news/regionalnews/big-stakes-as-market-awaits-chicagos-mayoral-pick-1071986-1.html). 16 Apr. 2015.

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Thursday, April 16th, 2015 Credit, Debt Crisis, Entitlements, Government, Taxes No Comments

Camp Independence 2015 To Take Place On May 16 In Winamac, Indiana

Last night, I informed Chicago-area readers that I knew about two preparedness/survival-related shows planned for May next door in Indiana. The first of these is the Indiana Prepper & Survival Expo (May 2-3, Valparaiso), which I blogged about late Tuesday. Today, I’m going to talk about the second gathering. From the Live Free USA, South Town Chapter, Meetup.com page for the event:

CAMP INDEPENDENCE 2015

Americas Oldest And Best Preparedness Gathering!

Tippecanoe River State Park, Winamac Indiana
Tepicon Hall

Survival, preparedness and self-reliance classes, workshops and outdoor programs for the whole family conducted by some of America’s best instructors in this beautiful state park.

Set up camp and stay for the weekend with us!

You will find many people arrive Friday evening, and stay through Sunday morning. The group campfire is a great way to socialize and network with the many other members of Live Free USA chapters.

Tent sites are available through the DNR website. Look for sites near Tepicon Hall, if possible, for easiest access. Cabins are available on a first come basis. Lunch is available at reasonable prices. Reserve your spot NOW, before the sites fill up! The last 2 years of this event we have completely filled the park!

Advanced Registration Before May 5th: Individual $20.00*, Family $25.00.
Registration after May 5th or at the site: Individual $25.00*, Family $35.00*

LIVE FREE MEMBERS RATE: $10.00 Individual, $15.00 Family (for Live Free Member Rate, you must be a PAYING MEMBER of Live Free USA. Memberships are at a nominal cost (see below), with many benefits available for the small annual fee.

See us, or visit Live Free USA

Mail checks directly to: Live Free USA, P.O. Box 3295, Munster Indiana, 46321…

Reading that Meetup page, this year’s Camp Independence- which started in 1968- is scheduled to take place from 9 AM to 6 PM on Saturday, May 16. Tippecanoe River State Park is located 58 miles south/southwest of South Bend.

For more information about the event, head on over to that Meetup.com page here.

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

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Peter Schiff Advises Americans, Greeks: ‘Don’t Hold On To Dollars, Just Like You’re Not Going To Hold On To Drachma’

Tuesday, the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, Peter Schiff, compared Greece’s financial situation with what’s going on in the United States. From his April 14 SchiffGold “Gold Videocast” entry on YouTube.com:

The only difference between Greece and the United States is the perception of our creditors. Because we are just as broke. We have borrowed more money than we can repay. Not only have we borrowed it like Greece, and we owe over $18 trillion when it comes to the national debt- the bonds that have been issued where we actually owe principal and interest payments. But just like Greece politicians, American politicians have made all sorts of promises to everybody to get votes. And there’s nothing that’s going to stop the U.S. government from repaying its commitments in worthless money. Just like there’s nothing that’s going to stop the Greeks once they get the Euro out of the way, and go back to the drachma…

And when the dollar collapses, and prices skyrocket, it’s not going to do any good if the government kept its promise in money that doesn’t buy anything. So I would give the same advice today to Americans as I would for Greeks:

Don’t hold on to dollars, just like you’re not going to hold on to drachma. Turn your dollars into something else, something of real, tangible value, that the government can’t create out of thin air. And I think the best choice would be gold. Gold or silver can retain their purchasing power in the face of government default through inflation.


“Greece and the Euro Breakup; Why the US Dollar Is Facing an Even Bigger Crisis”
YouTube Video

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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Indiana Prepper & Survival Expo To Be Held May 2-3 In Valparaiso

Chicago-area blog readers- I know of two preparedness/survival-related shows planned for May next door in Indiana. The first of these is the Indiana Prepper & Survival Expo, billed as the “largest preparedness and sustainable living event in Indiana.” From the Prepper Shows USA website:

INDIANA PREPPER & SURVIVAL EXPO
Porter County Expo Center
Valparaiso, Indiana
May 02 – May 03

Live Free USA is proud to announce the first major preparedness expo in NW Indiana since the 1980s. This event affords the opportunity for regional vendors to display and sell their products and services. Preparedness and self-reliance practitioners will be able to purchase a wide variety of equipment while building their skills and networking with like-mined families. A full schedule of speakers on disaster preparedness, emergency response, and sustainable living will be available.

A “Meet up Tent” will afford great ways to network or join regional groups. A farmers market will also be on-site.

Live Free USA has worked hard to bring this event to NW Indiana. We will have major exhibits and speakers there and opportunities to join and attended additional events and training.

For full information go to: WWW.Wisconsinpreppersexpo.com
or call 920-573-5903

There’s a typo in that website address. The expo website is actually located here.

The event also has a Facebook page, where I learned admission is free.

I’ll talk about that second Indiana prepper show tomorrow…

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

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Paladin Press Spring Sale: Save Up To 40% Until Noon Monday

Boulder, Colorado-based Paladin Press (reviewed here) is holding a Spring Sale on its books and videos until noon (ET) Monday. From their website (left sidebar further down):

Dig Yourself Out Of Winter With Paladin’s Spring Sale.

Save 30% on orders of $40.00-$74.99
Save 35% on orders of $75.00-$99.99
Save 40% on orders over $100.00

Sale ends April 13, 2015, at 12 PM ET.

Use code SPRING15 at checkout.

Cannot be combined with any other offer

Not available to wholesalers


“FIGHTSTOPPERS- Lee Morrison’s One Strike Stop”
Warning- Language
YouTube Video

Paladin’s postage and handling rates are very reasonable. At the time I type this, domestic U.S. standard shipping for 1 item is $5.00. Add $1.00 more for each additional item shipped this way on the same order.

Click on the text link below to head on over to the Paladin Press website. Sale ends tomorrow at noon ET- and be sure to use that code to get the discount! Please note that by clicking on the link below and purchasing a product, I receive a commission from the sale.

Paladin Press

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

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Robert Shiller Buys Crude Oil ETF

It’s kind of quiet on the “crash prophet” front this weekend. That being said, back on March 29 I blogged about original “prophet” Robert Shiller being bullish on crude oil. I wrote:

Yale economics professor Robert Shiller spotted the U.S. housing bubble last decade and the dot-com bubble a few years earlier. And these days, the “crash prophet’s” observations have led him to think crude oil may be a good investment. According to an Agence France-Presse article from March 23:

Asked how he would invest his money, Shiller replied: “It’s difficult. But I think now could be a good time to invest in oil or in a rise in oil prices,” he said.

“Prices are very low and there are a lot of reasons to assume that they won’t stay low. That’s what I’ve bet on,” Shiller said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

On April 2, MarketWatch’s Anora Mahmudova provided insight into what may have been Dr. Shiller’s “bet.” She reported:

As for his own investments, Shiller said he reduced his stock holdings in light of various indicators, but that does not mean he has abandoned equities.

But he is hedging his bets. He told MarketWatch that he’s purchased an oil ETF. Shiller said few understand the value of commodities like oil as an asset class. “It is uncorrelated to stocks, and prices are low. But if you look at oil-futures contracts, they indicate that prices will be higher,” the economist noted, referring to forward-month contracts…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Wonder what else, if anything, Shiller likes these days besides oil?

Stay tuned…

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:

Mahmudova, Anora. “Why Robert Shiller is calling this U.S. stock market ‘a great enigma.’ MarketWatch. 2 Apr. 2015. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-robert-shiller-is-calling-this-us-stock-market-a-great-enigma-2015-04-02). 12 Apr. 2015.

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Obama: ‘I Haven’t Given Up’ On Tighter Gun Control

During this renewed push by Democrats for more gun “control,” I’ve noted efforts at the state level here in Illinois and in Congress as well. Now, U.S. President Barack Obama had thrown down the gauntlet in 2015. Obama recently spoke with Dr. Richard Besser of ABC News during a sit-down interview at Howard University. From their exchange which was uploaded on the ABC News website on April 8:

BESSER: Following Sandy Hook, you promised America tighter gun control. Have you given up?
OBAMA: No, I haven’t given up. What we’ve done is to try to do as much as we could administratively- to tighten up how background checks are run, to go after illegal drug runners. But I will tell you that trying to get something through Congress has proven to be really difficult. And it’s heartbreaking…


YouTube Video

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

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Chicago To Be Run By Emergency Financial Control Board Within 2 Years?

Last Wednesday, I reminded Survival And Prosperity readers (local ones in particular) that Chicago- upon reelecting Rahm Emanuel as Mayor- remains in serious financial trouble. From that post:

As Rahm Emanuel enters his second term as Mayor of Chicago, I feel that proverbial brick wall is still fast-approaching.

Perhaps the best Chicagoans can hope for at this point is a controlled crash landing.

I know one thing. If I were still living in the city, I’d be preparing for the coming carnage…

Some readers might feel I was being a little too “sensational” with that statement. Therefore, I’d like to offer up the following for your consideration. Reuters’ Megan Davies and Karen Pierog reported on April 8:

Chicago has not seen the population losses Detroit did and its business and commercial real estate markets remain healthy, but its current circumstances are more dire than any other major American city today, with aggregate debt of $21.4 billion, up 60 percent since 2004.

Although Chicago’s situation isn’t bad enough yet to warrant a bankruptcy filing, that threat is out there if it fails to tackle its problems.

“People say Chicago’s not Detroit,” said Tom Metzold, a senior portfolio advisor at investment manager Eaton Vance. “Not right now. Chicago is Detroit ten years from now. I don’t care how economically strong your economy is. They don’t have a printing press. You can only tax so much.”

Metzold estimated the odds of a Chapter 9 bankruptcy in the next five years are “virtually zero” but said in the next 10 years that could rise to 25 percent if it fails to act

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

In case readers are wondering, Metzold’s s “Street cred” includes serving as VP and Co-Director of Municipal Investments at Eaton Vance (one of the oldest investment management firms in the U.S.- established 1924), and as its Portfolio Manager since 1991.

Not as “optimistic” about Chicago’s financial future is Joe Mysak, Editor of Bloomberg Brief. He warned in an April 8 commentary:

I’m not a betting man. If I were, I’d bet that Chicago is going to be run by an Emergency Financial Control Board, or something like it, within two years, the same as New York City back in 1975 (and until 1986)…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Mysak, who’s been covering the municipal bond market since 1981, pointed out the city’s abysmal Moody’s credit rating (“one step from the basement of investment grade”) and wrote:

So a cut to junk may well be in the cards, and with it diminished and eventually lack of access to capital. Chicago has already creatively used, and some would say abused, the municipal market to subsidize city operations…

When the banks no longer want to lend to Chicago is presumably when the state of Illinois would come in, offering cash, loan guarantees, intercession with the federal government and whatever else the city needs in exchange for external management via an Emergency Financial Control Board…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The author of the Encyclopedia of Municipal Bonds signed-off with:

Two years. That’s how long I give the city of Chicago. Good luck, Rahm.

Good luck Chicago…

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

Sources:

Davies, Megan and Pierog, Karen. “Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel confronts fiscal nightmare as he begins second term.” Reuters. 8 Apr. 2015. (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/04/chicago-mayor-rahm-emanuel-confronts-fiscal-nightmare-as-he-begins-second-term/). 12 Apr. 2015.

Mysak, Joe. “Next Stop for Chicago: Emergency Financial Control Board.” Bloomberg Brief. 8 Apr. 2015. (http://newsletters.briefs.bloomberg.com/document/3fz176niqylzjr6oax/commentary). 12 Apr. 2015.

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Quote For The Week

“We can survive. Yes you should have some gold coins as a HEDGE against a reset in the monetary system that is coming. But that is for diversification – not to exclusion of everything else. We are headed into a control-alt-delete reset. There is no avoiding this outcome for the system is being run by lawyers who are as corrupt as they come. We need a hedge fund manager at this point to reset the economy – not more lawyers.

We can do this. It is like watching the weather reports and seeing a hurricane is coming. You board up the windows and ride it out. Just get ready – that’s all. No need to be doom and gloom. This is just one of those times that tries the soul and forges courage and wisdom through experience. When the economy turns down in the USA, then people will listen to you. So don’t waste your breath now… The USA is just not quite ready for prime time. Don’t worry – it’s coming.”

-Martin Armstrong, economist at Armstrong Economics and creator of the Economic Confidence Model, in an April 10 blog post on his website

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

(Editor’s note: I know a few attorneys who aren’t all that bad. A few…)

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Chicago Area Threatened By Severe Weather Thursday

There was plenty of talk tonight on the local news about the prospect of severe weather Thursday in the Chicago area and elsewhere in Midwest. Jon Erdman reported tonight on the Weather Channel website:

A multi-day severe weather outbreak, including tornadoes, is underway and will continue through Thursday in parts of the South and Midwest. Some severe weather may continue into Friday along the East Coast and South. This has the potential to be the most widespread severe weather event so far this spring.

Thursday: More widespread severe thunderstorms possible from the southern Plains to the Mississippi Valley and southern Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. Some supercells with tornadoes possible. There is some uncertainty in how unstable the atmosphere will become in the afternoon after morning thunderstorms rumble through the region. This will dictate exactly how much and where we see the most significant severe storms in the afternoon.

Thursday Threat Cities: St. Louis | Chicago | Little Rock, Arkansas…

“This has the potential to be the most widespread severe weather event so far this spring.”

Prepare accordingly. A couple of days ago I rounded up a number of items from around the house I might be using during/after a spring severe weather event:

Severe Weather Gear

I made sure this gear was in good working order, and added/replaced batteries as needed. I plan on storing most of these items within a bin in one location in the home going forward.

You can read the rest of Erdman’s piece on Weather.com here. And if you’re just beginning to prepare for severe weather events, Ready.gov is a good place to start.

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

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Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 Emergencies, Preparedness, Weather No Comments

Afterthoughts: Chicago’s 2015 Mayoral Election

In case you hadn’t heard, Rahm Emanuel remains Mayor of Chicago after defeating Jesús “Chuy” García yesterday in a run-off election 55.7 percent to 44.3 percent with 98.7% of precincts reporting.

Here are some of my thoughts regarding the 2015 mayoral election in Chicago:

1. The fact that “Chuy,” a Cook County commissioner who was born in Durango, Mexico, forced Mayor Emanuel into a first-ever run-off election for the position signaled two things. One, a number of Chicago voters aren’t too happy with the way the “Rahmfather” is running the city. And two, Chicago’s Hispanics continue to flex their growing political muscle. Natasha Korecki reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website back on March 15:

According to census data from 2010, Hispanics make up just shy of 29 percent of the city’s population- but they account for only 13 to 15 percent of the electorate. (Garcia’s campaign says that number was at about 16 percent on Feb. 24.)

Should trends hold, I envision Latinos making significant gains with that percentage. Korecki added:

“The Hispanic population is the fastest-growing segment of the early-childhood population,” says Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza, an Emanuel supporter. “Latinos make up 47 percent of students in CPS,. It’s a very significant population…

Last December, the U.S. Census Bureau forecasted that Hispanics will comprise 25 percent of the U.S. population within the next 30 years- up from approximately 17 percent right now.

At risk of sounding like “Captain Obvious” here, I’m thinking Chicago’s future will be a much more Latino one. Particularly as city government is concerned.

(Editor’s note: Back in the fall of 1988 I told my high school Spanish teacher I wanted to learn the language because I thought it would “come in handy” someday. Has it ever.)

2. After being forced into a run-off, the Rahm camp realized he’s rubbed a number of Chicagoans the wrong way. Which led to commercials like this:


“New Rahm Emanuel Ad: ‘I Can Rub People The Wrong Way’”
YouTube Video

So now that he’s won the run-off, what’s Mayor Emanuel “tune” now? Rick Pearson and Bill Ruthhart reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

After finishing a salad and bowl of matzo ball soup, Emanuel was asked what he learned from the runoff and whether he would, in fact, be a more inclusive mayor in his second term.

Emanuel responded by confidently saying the feedback he’d gotten from voters during the campaign would serve as his “North Star.” Asked by the Tribune if that meant he would take a different approach to running the city, Emanuel instead deflected the question by telling the reporter: “You’ll evaluate that, and my guess is you’ll tell me on a 24-hour basis.”

Pressed again on whether he had heard the voters and would change his often brusque style, Emanuel responded with just one word:

“Yeah.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Yeah. I don’t know about you, but the impression I get from that response is- something tells me old habits might be particularly hard to break with this one.

I can’t help but wonder if dead fish aren’t already on their way…

3. Chicago’s “financial reckoning day” is still fast approaching. And I don’t think it matters who’s in charge, as I believe we’re too far along in the deterioration and the required political will to do something about it just isn’t there. Still. I read a “funny” comment on the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop earlier today. From a Tuesday night post:

Anonymous said…

Blah blah blah. The city will not go.bankrupt. We are third in the country for tourists, we have numerous international and national companies world headquarters plus we have a 100s of millions in tif funds. Commie chuy was a police hater that had no plan for this city. Rahm ain’t no picnic either but next to chuy he was a genius.

Now consider what the National Journal’s John B. Judis reported on March 30:

Chicago is facing a truly grave set of problems– problems that are essentially more extreme versions of the challenges confronting city governments across the country.

The quandaries begin with Chicago’s dramatic social divide. To an even greater extent than is the case in, say, New York or Philadelphia, Chicago has become two entirely separate cities. One is a bustling metropolis that includes the Loop, Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile, and the Gold Coast, as well as the city’s well-to-do, working-class, and upwardly mobile immigrant neighborhoods. The other Chicago consists of impoverished neighborhoods on the far South and West Sides, primarily populated by African-Americans. These places have remained beyond the reach of the city’s recovery from the Great Recession.

Meanwhile, even as it grapples with this extreme gap, Chicago is suffering from a severe fiscal crisis. Like plenty of other municipalities, Chicago lacks the revenue to pay its bills, particularly its pension obligations to city workers. According to a 2013 Pew report, 61 other U.S. cities face similar difficulties, but Chicago’s situation is one of the worst. “Voters must realize we are facing the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression,” says Roosevelt University’s Paul Green, the doyen of Chicago political experts. “If something doesn’t happen, the city is beyond the abyss.”

Those problems aren’t really Emanuel’s fault, but his efforts to fix them over the past four years haven’t yielded especially good results. For his part, Garcia—who has been at the forefront of Latino politics in Chicago for four decades and who has a history of bucking Chicago’s political establishment—has run a campaign long on general populist criticism of the incumbent, but short on credible ideas about what he would do differently.

All of which means that this election won’t yield much of a mandate for dramatic solutions to Chicago’s twin crises

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Translated: Probably doesn’t matter who won the election, because Chicago looks to “lose” with either at the helm.

Once again, the economic situation appears too far gone at this point, and the political will to truly get the city’s finances back on track just isn’t there.

I hope Judis is wrong. And I hope I’m wrong here.

But the numbers are looking pretty atrocious right now.

As much as I’d like to side with “Anonymous,” as Rahm Emanuel enters his second term as Mayor of Chicago, I feel that proverbial brick wall is still fast-approaching.

Perhaps the best Chicagoans can hope for at this point is a controlled crash landing.

I know one thing. If I were still living in the city, I’d be preparing for the coming carnage.

More on that topic soon.

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

Sources:

Korecki, Natasha. “Getting Hispanics to the polls in Chicago mayor’s race no slam dunk for Chuy.” Chicago Sun-Times. 15 Mar. 2015. (http://chicago.suntimes.com/chicago-politics/7/71/438985/getting-hispanics-polls-chicago-mayors-race-slam-dunk-chuy). 8 Apr. 2015.

Pearson, Rick and Ruthhart, Bill. “’Second chance.’ Emanuel says he’s ‘humbled’ by victory.” Chicago Tribune. 8 Apr. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-chicago-mayoral-election-20150407-story.html#page=1). 8 Apr. 2015.

SCC. “Mixed Bag.” Second City Cop. 7 Apr. 2015. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2015/04/mixed-bag.html). 8 Apr. 2015.

Judis, John B. “Broken city: Rahm Emanuel and the unraveling of Chicago.” National Journal. 30 Mar. 2015. (https://www.yahoo.com/politics/broken-city-rahm-emanuel-and-the-unraveling-of-115037357316.html). 8 Apr. 2015.

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Jim Rogers Still Bullish On Russian Stocks

Despite the near-constant stream of bad news coming from the mainstream financial media about Russia these days, well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers appears to still be bullish on Russian stocks. Yelena Orekhova and Olga Popova reported on the Reuters website Monday:

Now may be the time to invest in Russian shares because oil prices have hit bottom and the Russian stock market is rising, veteran U.S. financier Jim Rogers said on Monday.

“I’m very optimistic about the future of Russia,” he told a conference in Moscow arranged by investment firm BCS. “Certainly one of the most attractive stock markets in the world these days for me is Russia.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Orekhova and Popova added:

Russia could now be “the right place at the right time” for investors, he said. His own portfolio consists largely of Russian shares, he said, among them fertiliser company Phosagro , airline Aeroflot and the Moscow Exchange.

The country’s economic downturn may make it an unlikely investment prospect, he said, but he was optimistic the stock market was going to rise more

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity might recall the former investing partner of George Soros having been bullish on the aforementioned Russian equities for some time. I noted back on November 25, 2014:

Izabella Kaminska reported on the Financial Times (UK) daily news and commentary blog today:

Russian investments now include stakes in fertiliser maker Phosagro, airliner Aeroflot, a Russia ETF and the Russian stock exchange, but he said was looking to expand into different sectors as well…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

According to that Reuters piece:

He also recommended buying short-term Russian treasury bills for investors with a one-year horizon.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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

(Editor’s note: 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)

Source:

Orekhova, Yelena and Popova, Olga. “US financier Rogers says now may be time to invest in Russia.” Reuters.com. 6 Apr. 2015. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/06/russia-crisis-stocks-idUSL6N0X311W20150406). 6 Apr. 2015.

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