REI/WMI Offering Wilderness First Aid Class In Chicago’s Chinatown On Jan. 17-18

Any Chicagoland blog readers looking to learn about wilderness first aid in the new year? I came across the following on the REI website this morning:

Wilderness First Aid with WMI and REI

Begins: 1/17/2015 9:00 AM CST
Event Location: Ping Tom Memorial Park- Fieldhouse
Member: $225.00
Non Member: $255.00
Ends: 1/18/2015 6:00 PM CST
Instructor: REI Outdoor School Instructor
Group Size: 30

Description: Whether spending time in the backcountry is your passion or your profession, you should never have to ask, “What do I do now?” REI is partnering with the Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS to offer a comprehensive 16 hour, two day course that will teach you the wilderness medicine skills you need to recreate with confidence in the backcountry. In just two days, you will learn the knowledge, skills and ability to make sound decisions in emergency situations. From the Patient Assessment System through traumatic, medical, and environmental emergencies, you’ll experience a wide variety of topics designed to prepare you to act if an accident occurs. This course is ideal for trip leaders, camp staff, outdoor enthusiasts and individuals in remote locations. The course begins at 9am each day and runs through 6pm, with a 1-hour break midday. Minimum age is 16 years old. No prerequisites. Successful completion results in a Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS Wilderness First Aid certification. This course may be used to recertify Wilderness First Responder, Wilderness Advanced First Aid and Wilderness EMT (wilderness portion only) certifications if you hold a current or grace year WMI certification. Participants using the WFA to recertify their WFR need to pass both a written and a practical test.

Skills you’ll learn:

Learn how to administer first aid in a wilderness context. Topics include:

• the Patient Assessment System
• creating evacuation plans and wilderness emergency procedures
• spinal cord injuries
• shock
• head injuries
• wilderness wound management
• athletic injuries
• fracture management
• dislocations
• cold injuries
• heat injuries
• altitude sickness
• lightning
• the Medical Patient
• and anaphylaxis.

Ping Tom Memorial Park and their new fieldhouse are located at 1700 S. Wentworth Ave., Chicago (Chinatown- I love Chinatown!). Please note there are only 18 spots left (out of 30 allotted) as I type this, so if you’re interested in wilderness first aid training in the Chicago area and at a cool location, head on over to the class web page on the REI website here.

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

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Thursday, December 11th, 2014 Emergencies, Health, Medicine, Preparedness, Training No Comments

JM Bullion Sale: 10 Oz A-Mark Silver Bars Only 85¢/Oz Over Spot Any Quantity

Anyone been watching the price of silver lately? The spot price is currently $16.99 an ounce as I type this. In case any Survival And Prosperity readers are looking to acquire more physical silver at the beaten-down prices these days, you may want to drop by the website of affiliate marketing partner JM Bullion (reviewed here) to check out their 10 Ounce A-Mark Silver Bar Sale going on. From the site’s “On Sale Now Page”:

10 oz A-Mark Silver Bar (New)

Available for Only 85¢/oz Over Spot Any Quantity!

Produced by A-Mark Precious Metals and are composed of 10 troy ounces of .999 pure silver.

Available While Supplies Last, Limited Time Only

All orders at JM Bullion are shipped completely free of charge and include full tracking and insurance.

The 10 Ounce A-Mark Silver Bar Sale has been going on for a couple of days already, so if you’re interested in the deal, stop on by the JM Bullion website as soon as possible.

Click on the banner ad below, where you’ll be taken to the JM Bullion site. Please note that by clicking on the ad and purchasing a product, I receive a commission from the sale.

JM Bullion

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

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Robert Shiller On Stocks: ‘I’ve Been Wondering If I Should Pull Out’

I haven’t mentioned Robert Shiller, the Yale professor credited with correctly-calling the “dot-com” and housing busts, on Survival And Prosperity since August. The “crash prophet” had just penned “The Mystery of Lofty Stock Market Elevations” on The New York Times website on August 16 and warned:

The United States stock market looks very expensive right now. The CAPE ratio, a stock-price measure I helped develop- is hovering at a worrisome level…

That being said, Dr. Shiller appeared on CNBC Tuesday morning and told viewers the following when asked what he’s doing with his own money:

I worry about valuation in the stock market. And I’ve been wondering if I should pull out. But I have not. And in fact I’m still thinking that even at the CAPE ratio of 27, the expected return is still higher than you expect to get on either housing, on real estate, or fixed income. So it still seems like- I feel a little trepidation because I know my own indicator is looking kind of scary. I wouldn’t over go into the market, but I wouldn’t be completely out either.


“Scary market indicator: Shiller”
CNBC Video

Shiller mentioned that the CAPE ratio is now 27. It should be noted that in that August 16 Times piece he added:

I wrote with some concern about the high ratio in this space a little over a year ago, when it stood at around 23, far above its 20th-century average of 15.21. (CAPE stands for cyclically adjusted price-earnings.) Now it is above 25, a level that has been surpassed since 1881 in only three previous periods: the years clustered around 1929, 1999 and 2007. Major market drops followed those peaks.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’d feel a little trepidation too knowing what’s happened to the stock market when that CAPE ratio surpassed 25.

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

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

Source:

Shiller, Robert. “The Mystery of Lofty Stock Market Elevations.” The New York Times. 16 Aug. 2014. (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/17/upshot/the-mystery-of-lofty-elevations.html?_r=1&abt=0002&abg=0). 10 Dec. 2014.

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Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 Bonds, Crash Prophets, Housing, Investing, Stocks No Comments

Project Prepper, Part 30: Status

Last week in the “Project Prepper” series of posts I did a recap of what the series is all about for those who didn’t already know.

Today, I’m going to talk about where the project stands after a little over two years in the works.

To start, my girlfriend and I moved out of the city of Chicago last year to a house in the northwest suburbs- with an eye towards eventually settling down in Wisconsin.

I decided my preparedness education and activities will focus on a prioritized list of six “innate survival needs” (hat tip Jack Spirko @ The Survival Podcast). This includes:

1. Security
2. Water
3. Food
4. Shelter
5. Sanitation and Health
6. Energy

Concerning security, that’s something that’s been in the works for several years now. Like I wrote on this blog’s “About” page:

Survival And Prosperity is unlike other financial blogs in that SP focuses simultaneously on finance and personal safety, two areas Christopher Hill has spent a lot of time researching these past couple of years and which are intertwined in any serious discussion about surviving and prospering in tumultuous times. Case in point, an individual might pursue a strategy of wealth preservation and growth that would pay off handsomely in a financial crash. Yet, if personal safety was ignored in the process, that same individual might end up a victim of the social turmoil that is sure to accompany the economic collapse. So much for that new-found wealth, right?

(Editor’s note: Blog added for emphasis)

Decent strides have been made in the area of security, although plenty of work remains with all those “innate survival needs.” Physical security on the exterior/interior of the new house has been improved, particularly with landscaping, lighting, and locks. Personal safety gear, supplies, and tools have been acquired, with training having commenced a few years back.

New Tools: United Cutlery Honshu Tantos

New Tools: United Cutlery Honshu Tantos

Purchased @ BUDK.com For $36.99 (Stainless), $39.99 (Black)

Concerning water, the foundation for an emergency water supply is now in place. While utilizing some water storage containers I had prior to this project, I’ve acquired additional containers. To maintain the quality of the water for an extended period of time, I purchased aerobic stabilized oxygen. I’ve also kept a couple of cases of bottled drinking water on hand, along with an emergency water containment system that holds up to 100 gallons of fresh water in a bathtub standing by in the wings. At present, my girlfriend and I have close to a week-and-a-half supply of emergency water each (based on federal government guidelines of one gallon per person per day). Even though this is significantly more than Uncle Sam’s 72-hour recommendation, I’m not comfortable with this amount.

Concerning food, the foundation for an emergency food supply is also in place. Taking advantage of price drops and gift cards, my girlfriend and I scored a relatively-inexpensive 1-week supply of high-quality freeze-dried meals each. Like with the water though, I’d like to increase that amount commensurate with the potential emergencies I’ve identified.

Concerning shelter, purchasing that house last spring was a pretty big “prep.” And it was certainly an improvement over the multi-family housing arrangement where my girlfriend and I used to live. As much as I love the city of Chicago and would have liked to stay in our northwest side neighborhood, my girlfriend and I are much better off here in a close-by suburb, all things considered.

Concerning sanitation/health, not much work has been done in this area yet. As health is concerned, I’ve acquired a good deal of basic first aid supplies and instructional material in the last couple of years. But it’s been too long since I’ve had any training in this area. It’s one of my goals in 2015 to complete an American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED class and build a comprehensive first aid kit- as well as having the knowledge/skills to use it. In addition, while working around the house has been good for the body, I really need to improve my physical fitness. Not only will it help me cope with the difficult times I see coming down the pipeline, but hopefully it will keep me from having to rely on our floundering health care system as much as possible.

On sanitation, an unforeseen (and somewhat costly) improvement was carried out late last year on our sewer line going from the house. I’ll spare readers the details, but a new cleanout was added on the front of the home, and with it, a check valve. Should the city’s sewer system fail for any reason (extended power grid failure?), the valve should prevent sewage from backing up into our house and through the toilets. At least, that’s how I understand it should work. When it comes to people having to “go to the bathroom” in an extended grid-down scenario and dealing with the waste, I’m already researching a number of possible solutions.

Finally, as energy is concerned, for short-term blackouts I’ve been looking at portable generators to use at first until my girlfriend and I can afford a standby generator that can be hooked up to the natural gas line coming into the house. I’m also exploring if we can’t utilize renewable sources of energy somehow. I really hope so, because it’s probably what we’ll be forced to turn to in a long-term grid-down situation. That being said, we are limited by what we can use due to our location in a major metropolitan area.

So that’s where I stand with “Project Prepper” as 2014 draws to a close. Decent progress has been made in tackling those “innate survival needs,” but there’s still a lot more work that needs to be done. Hopefully, time and money will be on my side in the new year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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

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

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

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

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Illinois Named Worst-Run State In America In 2014

“‘We don’t have the time to mess around. We are in deep, deep trouble financially,’ [Illinois Governor-elect Bruce] Rauner told a meeting of the Illinois Farm Bureau at a downtown Chicago hotel. ‘The next 24 months are going to be rough. And I apologize. I ain’t going to be Mr. Popularity for a little while. That’s OK. Four years from now I think, though, everybody will appreciate what we did.’”

-Chicago Tribune website, December 8, 2014

Talk about lists you don’t want to be on. In 2012 and 2013, Illinois was the 3rd worst-run state in the annual best- and worst-run states in America survey conducted by New York City-based financial news and opinion organization 24/7 Wall St.

So how did the “Land of Lincoln” fare in 2014? From the 24/7 Wall St. website on December 3:

How well run is your state? Assessing a state’s management quality is hardly easy. The current economic climate and standard of living in any given state are not only the results of policy choices and developments that occurred in the last few years, but can also be affected by decisions made decades ago, and by forces outside a state’s control.

Each year, 24/7 Wall St. attempts to answer this question by surveying various aspects of each state. To determine how well states are managed, we examine key financial ratios, as well as social and economic outcomes. This year, North Dakota is the best-run state in the country for the third consecutive year, while Illinois replaced California as the worst-run state

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Ouch. Worst part is, the people who brought us this mess are the same ones still in charge, more or less. It will be interesting to see how much of a difference Governor-elect Rauner- who ran on the Republican ticket- can make in the Democrat-controlled state.

24/7 Wall St. went into more detail about my home state’s latest “honor.” From the piece:

Illinois is the worst-run state in the nation. Like many other low-ranked states, more people left Illinois than moved there. Illinois lost more than 137,000 residents due to migration between the middle of 2010 and July 2013. A poor housing market may partly explain the exodus. Median home values fell 16.2% between 2009 and 2013, the second largest drop nationwide. Illinois has extremely poor finances by many measures. Just 39.3% of Illinois’ pension liabilities were funded as of 2013, worse than any other state. Further, the state’s reserves are estimated at just 0.5% of its general fund expenditure, the second lowest reserves rate nationwide. Both Moody’s and S&P gave Illinois the worst credit ratings of any state, at A3 and A- respectively. According to Moody’s, the state’s rating reflects its low fund balances and high pension obligations, as well as its “chronic use of payment deferrals to manage operating fund cash.”

As for our neighbors, Indiana is ranked 28th and Wisconsin comes in at 26th in 2014- down from 19th and 21st- respectively.

That’s quite a hit (9 places) the Hoosiers took from last year. Wonder what’s behind the drop?

Curious as to where 24/7 Wall St. ranked your state in 2014? Head on over to their website here.

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

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Jim Rogers: Forget Finance, MBA Degrees, Become Farmers

Well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers still thinks agriculture is where the real money will be made in the future. From the Dong-A Ilbo (South Korea) website Saturday:

Legendary investor Jim Rogers on Thursday advised Master of Business Administration (MBA) students at Seoul National University to quit the MBA program and study agriculture. He argued that by the time the students would retire, agriculture would become the most promising industry. Rogers advised the students to have a switch of ideas and become farmers at a time when everyone else is neglecting agriculture and rush to cities. When the investment guru said he hoped to live as a farmer in China rather than a financier in America in his next life, it sounded like a prediction that there are promising chances to make money from agriculture from an investor`s viewpoint, rather than an expression of his personal dream of life on the farm…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Switch… and become farmers.” A number of SNU students and their parents probably weren’t too thrilled to hear that.

Regular followers of Rogers, who predicted the commodities rally that began in 1999 and was worth $300 million by 2007, know that he’s been bullish on agriculture and farming for years now. The former investor partner of George Soros in the legendary Quantum Fund told CNBC’s Larry Kudlow back on February 13 of last year:

Throughout history we’ve had long periods when the financial types were in charge. Then we had periods when the people who produce real goods- farmers, miners, lumberjacks, etcetera were in charge. Followed by finance again. Well, finance has had its day. Larry, there are hundreds of thousands of MBAs, massive competition, huge leverage in the financial system, and governments don’t like us anymore. They’re coming down with regulations, controls, special taxes- because they’re trying to blame everything on the bankers and the financial types. All those kids that got MBAs? They made a terrible mistake. They should have got agricultural degrees…

Farming is going to be a fantastic business. Farming has been a disaster for 30 years, Larry. It is now going to be a fantastic place to be- the people who produce real things. Forget finance.


“Jim Rogers: ‘Forget Finance!'”
CNBC Video

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

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

Source:

“Investment guru advises MBA students to study agriculture” Dong-A Ilbo. 6 Dec. 2014. (http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?biid=2014120636498). 8 Dec. 2014.

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Chicago Selected To Join 100 Resilient Cities Network

Nice to see Chicago is finally not on some list you really don’t want to be on.

In all seriousness, the following sounds promising. From the Mayor’s Press Office last Wednesday:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the City of Chicago was selected by the Rockefeller Foundation as one of 35 global cities to join the 100 Resilient Cities Network. The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Network (100RC) includes a leading community of pioneers, innovators, and highly esteemed cities ready to build urban resilience across the globe by improving their own capacities to prepare for, withstand, and bounce back rapidly from shocks and stresses. Chicago was selected for its emergency preparedness, continuing 21st century infrastructure improvements, economic diversity, and urgency to identify, prepare for and combat threats that are most likely to challenge its resiliency. As a part of the award, the City will be granted funding for no less than two years to hire its first Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), as well as expanded resources to strategize and execute long-term goals with a holistic focus on resilience at the neighborhood level…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

If the City of Chicago gets a CRO who’s actually qualified for the position (not picked because of clout/ties to “The Machine”), and doesn’t blow the wad pursuing foolish gun “control” initiatives, they might do okay with this project.

One more thing. What’s got the Rockefeller Foundation so spooked they’re bankrolling this 100 Resilient Cities Network? I’m guessing they’ve come to realize- like I did some years ago- life’s not going to be all about rainbows and unicorns anytime soon.

You can read that entire press release on the City of Chicago website here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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Quote For The Week

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

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

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

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

Pope Francis Inviting Assassination Attempt?

This week I intended to dive back into some series of posts I haven’t done in a while- “In Print,”, “Signs Of The Time,” and “Resource Of The Week.”

Regrettably, that will have to wait until next week as I still had a few more things I needed to get off my chest. Including the following which seriously concerns me.

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity might remember me mentioning that I’m of the Roman Catholic faith. I attended a Catholic kindergarten, grade school (three different ones), high school (all boys- what did I do to deserve that punishment?), and even graduate school, to give you an idea of how big a role the Church has played in my life. Last year, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected by a papal conclave to head the Roman Catholic Church. As Pope Francis, he has been making headlines on a regular basis. Now comes this out of Rome. Nick Squires reported on The Telegraph (UK) website Wednesday:

He has dismissed and demoted cardinals, bishops and the Vatican secretary of state, and now Pope Francis’s reformist zeal has claimed a new scalp – the head of his own private army, the Swiss Guard.

In a dispassionate one-sentence notice, the Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, announced on Wednesday that Daniel Anrig will no longer serve as the commandant of the 500-year-old corps after the end of next month.

No official explanation was given for the decision, but it was widely rumoured that the Argentinean Pope, who has established a warmer, more inclusive style of governance since being appointed pontiff in March last year, found the commander’s manner overly strict and “Teutonic”…

The Jesuit pontiff, nicknamed “the people’s Pope”, is said to want the Swiss Guard to be less rigid in its rules, even “less military”, according to Il Messagero, a Rome-based daily.

That is in line with the Pope’s dislike of security in general.

On trips abroad, including his visit to Turkey at the weekend, he asks to be driven around in a modest hatchback, rather than a shiny, armour-plated limousine.

He has chafed at the restrictions to his freedom of movement imposed by the Swiss Guard and the Vatican gendarmerie, the tiny city state’s police force…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Now, going back a few months, readers may have heard the following. Natasha Kulzac wrote on The Independent (UK) website on September 16:

The Islamic State (Isis) is intent on killing the Pope, the Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See has warned the Vatican.

Habeeb Al-Sadr, who has been the ambassador since 2010, has advised that one of Isis’ goals is to assassinate the Pontiff and warned that the jihadists “don’t just threaten”, according to Italian newspaper La Nazione.

Mr Al-Sadr confirmed he did not have any specific intelligence on an impending attack but said that their “genocide” of Yazidi Christians and destruction of holy Islamic sites was an indication of their intent.

“What has been declared by the self-proclaimed Islamic State is clear – they want to kill the Pope,” he told La Nazione on Tuesday, adding: “The threats against the Pope are credible.”

The threat against Pope Francis, 77, was widely discussed earlier this year after he had endorsed the ‘stopping’ of Isis and its persecution of 40,000 Christians in northern Iraq.

It was reported in August that security in Rome had been heightened after Israeli officials warned that the Pope’s censure of Isis had led the militants to target him.

The Vatican played down this risk with spokesman Reverend Federico Lombardi SJ telling the Catholic News Agency: “There is nothing serious to this. There is no particular concern in the Vatican. This news has no foundation.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Readers may recall what I blogged back on September 22:

Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani looks to have released a new speech in which he threatens Americans and its European allies. From “Indeed Your Lord Is Ever Watchful,” which was distributed on social media yesterday… the Vatican is threatened:

And so we promise you by Allah’s permission that this campaign will be your final campaign. It will be broken and defeated, just as all your previous campaigns were broken and defeated, except that this time we will raid you thereafter, and you will never raid us. We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted. This is His promise to us; He is glorified and He does not fail in His promise. If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“There is no particular concern in the Vatican.” There should be, as the newly-minted caliphate and its fighters tend to be overachievers, so to speak. And Pope Francis just got done blasting the Islamic State (again). From Reuters on December 2:

Francis several times condemned Islamic State’s insurgents during his three-day trip. On the plane, he said some Christians had been forced to abandon everything: “They are driving us out of the Middle East.”

In an address at a Mass on Sunday, he said Islamic State were committing a “profoundly grave sin against God” and called for inter-religious dialogue and action against poverty to help end the conflicts in the region.

He added that ending poverty was crucial, partly because it gave rise to “the recruitment of terrorists”…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

If what Squires said about papal security is true and it’s being tinkered with to make it less intrusive and more representative of a “people’s Pope,” I would share the following with Pope Francis if the opportunity ever presented itself:

I get that you think your security detail is a real drag. But look at what happened to John Paul II. There’s a reason why they bust out the Popemobile whenever you require a set of wheels- and his name is Mehmet Ali Agca and others who wish to emulate him. You of all people know that evil- real evil- exists in the world. And taking out the head of the Roman Catholic Church would be quite a victory for the bad guys. The world is on the verge of some real dark times. And there are already a number of issues within the Church that need serious attention. So Catholics need their Pope now more than ever. To lead. Not be in a position to join the ranks of the Church’s martyrs- God bless their souls. Work with the Swiss Guard. Don’t weaken time-tested security measures that were implemented out of necessity. You shouldn’t feel like you have to inject your physical presence among us, the Catholic masses. Our faith is already strong enough to survive yet one more intangible aspect of our religion. That boast by the Islamic State about “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women”? Who’s not to say this proclaimed caliphate- sensing an opportunity here- won’t try sending gunmen to Italy to take your life? I fear the threat is real. Don’t play into their hands. “Deliver us from evil”- not into it- right?

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

Sources:

Squires, Nick. “Pope sacks the head of his Swiss Guard for being ‘too strict’” The Telegraph. 3 Dec. 2014. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/the-pope/11271618/Pope-sacks-the-head-of-his-Swiss-Guard-for-being-too-strict.html). 5 Dec. 2014.

Culzac, Natasha. “Islamic State: Pope is ‘being targeted by Isis’, Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See warns.” The Independent. 16 Sep. 2014. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/islamic-state-pope-being-targeted-by-isis-iraqi-ambassador-to-the-holy-see-warns-9736110.html). 5 Dec. 2014.

“Pope blasts Christian, Muslim fundamentalists while leaving Turkey.” Reuters. 2 Dec. 2014. (http://www.jpost.com/Christian-News/Pope-blasts-Christian-Muslim-fundamentalists-while-leaving-Turkey-383405). 5 Dec. 2014.

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Friday, December 5th, 2014 Crime, Europe, Middle East, Religion, Security, Terrorism No Comments

BUDK Free Shipping, CHIEF Supply Up To 20 Percent Off Sale

I know I usually don’t blog on Fridays, but I wanted to fire off two more posts before I called it a week on Survival And Prosperity. I received e-mails this morning from affiliate marketing partners BUDK and CHIEF Supply about sales going on this weekend over on their websites. From Moultrie, Georgia-based BUDK:

FREE Shipping!
Online Only!
Limited Time Offer
$39 Minimum Order Required
Discount Awarded At Checkout!
Enter Promo Code BKSHIP775 at checkout to receive this offer

The sale ends December 7 at 11:55 PM EST.

And from Charlotte, North Carolina-based CHIEF Supply:

Friday-Saturday-Sunday
15% OFF Orders Under $79
Use promotional code TAKEOFF15 in cart
20% OFF And FREE Shipping On Orders Over $79
Use promotional code TAKEOFF20 in cart

The sale ends December 7 at 11:59 PM EST.


Chief Supply Corp.

That’s a really good discount from CHIEF. Police, firefighters- pass this CHIEF Supply sale info along to your clothing/equipment person. Maximum order size of $1,000 covered by this offer.

By clicking on the above banner ads and purchasing a product, I receive a commission from any sale(s). Remember to enter those promo codes if you buy anything!

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

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

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

-Warren Buffett, famous American investor

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

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

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

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

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-The Wall Street Journal website, November 30, 2014

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

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

To each their own, I always say.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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Potential Blowback From Chicago’s Minimum Wage Hike

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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

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

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source:

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

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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