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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April Is Pet Preparedness Month In Illinois

My girlfriend is lucky enough to have an office dog. Meet “Kodi”:

Kodi

Even though we’re not her owners, we’re still planning to sock away some food and other items for her in case of an emergency or “ruff” times.

Illinois readers- did you know April is Pet Preparedness Month in Illinois?

From the Illinois Government News Network website on April 1:

Don’t Forget Pets When Planning for Disasters

IEMA, local emergency management agencies to focus on pet preparedness throughout April

SPRINGFIELD – Pets are treasured family members in more than half of Illinois households. If your family includes a dog, cat, hamster or other furry, feathered or scaly friends, don’t forget to include their unique needs in your home emergency plans.

That’s the message the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies will promote throughout April as part of Pet Preparedness Month in Illinois.

“Every home should have an emergency supply kit and plans for how to stay safe when disaster strikes,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “Make sure your kit and emergency plans address the needs of every family member, including your pets. Your preparedness efforts today can help keep everyone in your family, including your pets, safe when disaster strikes.”

Joseph said home emergency supply kits for people should include a three-day supply of such items as food, water, first aid kit, weather alert radio, flashlights, spare batteries and other items. Pet owners should also have a pet preparedness kit stocked with items such as:

• At least a three-day supply of food and water
• Extra supplies of pet medicines
• Copies of pet registration, vaccinations and other important documents
• Photo of your pet in case you are separated during an emergency
• Collar with ID tag, harness or leash
• Crate or other pet carrier in case of evacuation
• Pet litter and box, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach for sanitation
• Toys, treats or other familiar items to reduce your pet’s stress during the emergency

If it’s necessary for you to evacuate your home during a disaster, take your pets with you. An evacuation could last several days, even weeks, and your pets likely cannot survive without care. Plan now for places you and your pets can stay following an evacuation, as many public shelters do not allow animals inside.

It’s also important to have a back-up emergency plan in case you can’t care for your animals yourself. Talk to neighbors, friends and family to make sure someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.

Additional pet preparedness and general emergency preparedness information is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov, the Ready Illinois Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois and on Twitter at Twitter.com/ReadyIllinois.

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

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Home Grown Food Summit 2015 Starts Today

Last Wednesday, I blogged about the Home Grown Food Summit 2015 being held from April 6 to 12. For those who are just learning about the free online event, from the Summit website:

30+ Leading Experts In Backyard Food Production Will Help You Become Free Of Supermarkets and Drugstores…

Here’s What You Can Expect to Learn During this Empowering FREE Global Event:

• The 6 laws of plant growth
• The easiest food source to grow
• How to know if a chicken is a good egg layer just by glancing at it
• 3 gardening techniques for those with back problems or limited mobility
• Which fish are so hardy they come back to life even after being dried out
• How to recognize the signs that a plant wants to communicate with you
• Why beginning hunters should never use a tree stand
• How to be able to identify wild plants while driving 60 mph down the road
• The 3 easiest vegetables to save seeds from
• Why the jungles of southeast Asia affect what you feed your chickens
• The health benefits of eating fermented foods
• How the size of the chicken’s comb determines if it will survive your winter
• Which plants you should never plant in an aquaponic system
• The 7 ways we change the world when we grow our own food
• How safe is pressure canning for preserving food
• The 13 weeds that can ensure you never go hungry
• Why growing heritage breeds of livestock is vital for your grand children
• How many gallons of water you need per pound of fish in a tank
• The 3 most irresistible plants that kids love growing
• The difference between pressure canning and water bath canning
• How many eggs one hen can lay in a year
• The best age to start giving children significant garden responsibility
• The biggest mistake most people make in designing permaculture guilds
• 8 reasons you’re insane if you’re not growing some of your own food
• How free compost can destroy your garden; what to watch out for and how to avoid costly mistakes
• The importance of resilience in today’s world
• How to overcome problems with walnut trees in food forests
• Why you should always start at the top of a hill when designing your water systems
• The secret to a green thumb
• What percentage of food in grocery stores is actually toxic to the human body
• 17 techniques for irrigating without piping or tanks
• An ancient indicator of true health that is still valid today
• The 7 most useful hand tools in a backyard homestead
• How to remove heavy metals from your garden soil
• What the healthiest people in history ate for dinner
• How a bowl of soup increases by $25 when you top it with this gourmet insect
• How to grow a secret garden of survival
• How many pounds of potatoes a beginner can grow in 200 ft.²
• Why the most effective form of pest-control may actually be hiding in your compost pile
• The 3 ways a rooster helps your flock of hens
• And much, more more!

Whew! Lots of good information to be obtained in the coming days at this year’s Summit.

As I’m on the verge of starting a food garden for the first time (blogged about in my last “Project Prepper” post), I was excited to learn about the Home Grown Food Summit and anxious for April 6 to finally arrive.

Early this morning, I saw an e-mail from event host Marjory Wildcraft in my inbox. From that message:

Hi Christopher,

All the presenters and myself are thrilled that you’ve chosen to take more control of your nutrition and health.

You’re here on Day 1 of The Home Grown Food Summit to learn to grow your own organic food.

The Summit, over the next seven days, will deliver practical knowledge for growing and preserving nutrient rich meat and vegetables. Food that will help you and your family grow strong, healthy and less dependent on supermarkets.

Todays Topics:

Mike Adams shows why growing your own food is vital knowledge and a skill to have. Our grandparents lived this wisdom daily.

Toby Hemenway explains a simple technique for increasing the yield of your garden by growing certain plants together.

Paul Wheaton demonstrates how to build your garden beds to save time not needing to water during the growing season.

Joel Karsten shows how to guarantee a fast start to setting seedlings out with a convenient, easy to setup straw bale container garden.

Learn more about of the highlights of what you will learn when you attend today’s events, here. The presentations will be available until 9AM EST Tuesday April 7th.

The presentations are packed with information so be sure to have a notepad handy…

A link was provided in the e-mail so I could access Day 1’s presentations.

Later this morning, I viewed two of five presentations available (Ms. Wildcraft put together one as well). The one by Mike Adams of Natural News-fame entitled “8 Reasons You Are Insane If You Aren’t Growing Some Of Your Own Food,” and Marjory Wildcraft’s “How To Produce Half Of Your Food In Your Backyard In Less Than An Hour Per Day.” I thought they were both pretty good. I already had some ideas of why I wanted to start my food garden (better nutrition, more outdoor exercise, and improved food security). Adams pointed out additional reasons why growing one’s own food might be wise in this day and age.

Wildcraft’s presentation provided me ideas for achieving food self-reliance at the Wisconsin homestead I’ve envisioned down the road. However, only that bit about a food garden is applicable in my current situation in the Chicago suburbs. That being said, Wildcraft showing how she was able to produce half her family’s food in her “backyard” in less than one hour a day was incredibly motivating.

It’s not too late to sign up for the free online event. Day 1 presentations can still be viewed until 9 AM EST Tuesday morning.

I’m finding the Home Grown Food Summit 2015 to be full of relevant and useful information. You might too. To find out more about the event and/or to register, click on the banner ad below. Please note that I receive a commission for products purchased via the event.

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

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Most Americans’ Incomes Fell Last Year, Except For Highest Earners

Here’s some economic data many Americans might not be too pleased to learn about. From an April 2 new release on the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics website, entitled “Consumer Expenditures Survey Midyear Update News Release”:

Average incomes fell for a second year, showing a decrease of 0.9 percent…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The BLS pointed out that average income before taxes suffered a -.9 percent change between July 2012-June 2013 ($65,029) and July 2013-June 2014 ($64,432)

The news release also illustrated the percent change in income before taxes between July 2012-June 2013 and July 2013-June 2014 for five different U.S. income quintiles. It wasn’t pretty:

• Lowest 20th percentile, $10,174 to $9,818, -3.5 percent
• Second 20th percentile, $27,094 to $26,369, -2.7 percent
• Third 20th percentile, $47,017 to $45,724, -2.8 percent
• Fourth 20th percentile, $75,990 to $74,410, -2.1 percent
• Highest 20th percentile, $164,647 to $166,048, 0.9 percent

A number of entities are using the data in an attempt to demonstrate growing income inequality in the U.S.

However, I see these numbers and think, further evidence of America’s poor economic health.

You can view the entire news release on the BLS website here.

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

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Monday, April 6th, 2015 Government, Income, Main Street, Wealth No Comments

Thinking Of Illinois’ Financial Woes While In Wisconsin

Saturday morning while working on projects around my family’s place in Wisconsin, something I read earlier in the week came to mind. Steven Malanga wrote on The Fiscal Times website on March 30:

Illinois officials… are awaiting a ruling from the state’s Supreme Court on a suit by workers seeking to overturn the legislature’s 2013 pension reforms. If the court, which has previously refused to allow any changes to retirement plans for retirees or current workers, throws out the reforms, Illinois will face $145 billion in higher taxes over the next three decades just to pay off the debt, according to a report by the Civic Committee of Chicago.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Illinois will face $145 billion in higher taxes…”

I don’t recall hearing/seeing that figure being used before, so I decided to track it back to the source. From an October 9, 2014, press release from the Civic Committee:

The “What If?” initiative identifies some of the consequences that could result from an overturn of the pension law, including:

$145 billion in higher taxes and service cuts over 30 years
• Highest property taxes in the nation
• 41¢ of Big Three state tax dollars devoted to pensions, up from 8¢ in 2007
• A possible $2,500 tuition spike at the University of Illinois
• Severe cuts to K-12 education, leading to as many as 13,000 teacher layoffs
• Critical meltdown of social services, including the end of child care for 41,000 kids and 21,000 seniors losing in-home care

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

That’s a pretty scary picture being painted. The accompanying “What If?” brochure does a good job at accomplishing that. Consider some of these additional forecasts being made:

• 64,000 jobs lost
• $375 average property tax increase
• $3,000-plus in state taxes per household

The brochure didn’t indicate how all this was computed.

However, if conditions in the “Land of Lincoln” deteriorate to such a point, Wisconsin is where I’ll likely stay for good. Regular readers might recall that I’ve mentioned my permanent address being a Wisconsin one in the future.

You can read that entire press release/learn more about their “What If?” initiative on the Civic Committee website here.

While I support public pension reform in Illinois, I’m just not convinced what’s been put into play (passed into law) is the best way of going about it.

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

Source:

Malanga, Steven. “Outrageous public pensions could bankrupt these states.” The Fiscal Times. 30 Mar. 2015. (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/outrageous-public-pensions-could-bankrupt-172700274.html). 5 Apr. 2015.

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Peter Schiff: Coming QE 4 ‘The Lethal Round,’ ‘The Decline Of The Dollar Is Only Just Getting Started’

“Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 126,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today…”

-U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Economic News Release,” April 3, 2015

Euro Pacific Capital CEO/Chief Global Strategist Peter Schiff is out with his latest entry on The Schiff Report YouTube video blog. On April 3, Schiff savaged the latest U.S. jobs report and told viewers:

I think that this is not a one-off fluke, and that all of a sudden we’re going to have another strong jobs report for April and May, and that all the other bad economic data is going to magically improve with the improvement in the weather…

If you’re expecting a big rebound in the second and third quarter, it’s going to have to come from the consumer spending more money he doesn’t have. So I don’t see where all this fantasy is coming from other than just sheer wishful thinking. But the Fed is going to at some point have to acknowledge that the U.S. economy is not as strong as it thought. And I can already hear the calls and the justification for more stimulus, for QE 4, whether they call it that or not, because everybody is going to agree “The problem is, that we just didn’t do enough stimulus”…

We’re going to do another round, and this is going to be the lethal round. This is going to be the overdose on QE. Because the crisis that’s coming is going to be a dollar crisis…

The decline of the dollar is only just getting started. Whether it’s going to continue next week, or it’s going to have to wait a little longer for people to figure this out. But you have this huge speculative bid that’s been in the dollar for months based on this false notion of this legitimate U.S. recovery and a Fed that’s going to be raising interest rates. We have neither. We have an illegitimate recovery. We have a bubble masquerading as a recovery. The air is already seeping out. And the Fed hasn’t even pricked it by raising rates, which is why they don’t want to raise rates, because they don’t want to accelerate the process. In fact, they’re going to do whatever they can to delay it by blowing air back into the bubble with QE 4.


“Job Growth Fades as Excuses Wear Thin”
YouTube Video

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)

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Bill Introduced To Permit Illinois Municipalities To File For Bankruptcy

Since I started blogging about a U.S. financial crash back on Memorial Day Weekend 2007, I’ve believed one casualty will be municipal government. Particularly in Illinois. So imagine my non-surprise when I spotted an article on the Chicago Tribune website a couple of days ago about proposed legislation at the state level granting Illinois towns the authority to file for bankruptcy. Nick Swedberg of the Associated Press wrote on March 26:

Stressed by pension debt, other financial issues and the possibility losing a chunk of their state aid, some Illinois cities want the option to file for bankruptcy. They’ve found an ally in a Republican lawmaker, who’s proposed legislation to allow municipalities to follow in the footsteps of Detroit and other cities in restructuring debt and paying back creditors…

Rep. Ron Sandack is sponsoring legislation that would grant authority for communities to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 9 of the federal code. The Downers Grove Republican says it’s a “measure of last resort,” especially with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposal in next year’s budget to cut in half the local governments’ share of state income taxes by 50 percent.

“It’s just giving time and space to do things right,” he said…

Swedberg added later in the piece:

Municipal bankruptcies are rare, NCSL data shows. Of 37 local government filings since 2010, only 8 were cities, with the majority filed by utilities and special districts.

Detroit filed for the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy in July 2013, looking to restructure $12 billion of debt…

It’s true. Municipal bankruptcies haven’t happened too often. But keep in mind what Eric Weiner wrote on the NPR website back on February 28, 2008:

For most of U.S. history, cities and towns were not eligible for bankruptcy protection. But during the Great Depression, more than 2,000 municipalities defaulted on their debt, and they pleaded with President Roosevelt for a federal bailout. “All they got was sympathy,” reported Time magazine in 1933. Instead, Roosevelt pushed through changes to the bankruptcy laws that allows towns and cities to file for bankruptcy. They even got their own section of the bankruptcy code: Chapter Nine…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

There’s also this from Robert Slavin on The Bond Buyer website back on January 14:

For the municipal bond industry, 2015 marks the midpoint in what may turn out to be the decade of the bankruptcy.

Four of the five largest municipal bankruptcy filings in United States history have been made in roughly the last three years, a trend analysts attribute to the aftereffects of the 2008 credit crisis and Great Recession, as well as changing attitudes about debt.

“The crash of 2008 and five years of stagnation preceded by years of escalating wages, pensions and Other Post-Employment Benefits set the stage for our recent Chapter 9 filings,” said Arent Fox partner David Dubrow.

Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy was adopted in 1937 but had been rarely used, particularly by large governments. However, since November 2011 San Bernardino, Calif., Stockton, Calif., Jefferson County, Ala., and Detroit have filed four of the five largest bankruptcies as measured by total obligations.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Could the specter of Meredith Whitney, the “Diva Of Doom,” be returning to take revenge on the municipal bond industry?

I’m not surprised Illinois municipalities would be interested in House Bill 298. From Patrick Rehkamp and Andrew Schroedter on the website of the Chicago-based Better Government Association back on December 6, 2014:

Reasons for filing vary but often include troubled public development projects, unanticipated hefty legal judgments against a taxpayer-backed entity, or massive pension and bond debt payments that leave a municipality cash-strapped and unable to cover operating costs of employee salaries, vendor payments and other expenses.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The public pension crisis in Chicago and Illinois has been well-publicized for some time now. And while such entitlements are supposedly protected by a provision in the 1970 Illinois Constitution, the BGA noted in their piece:

In Illinois, public employee pensions are guaranteed by the state constitution. But in the Detroit and Stockton, California bankruptcy cases, federal judges have ruled that pension benefits can be adjusted, the same as other debts, despite a constitutional guarantee.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can track the progress of HB 298 on the Illinois General Assembly website here.

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

Sources:

Swedberg, Nick. “Bill pushes for possible municipal bankruptcies in Illinois.” Associated Press. 29 Mar. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-bc-il–closer-look-bankruptcy-20150329-story.html). 3 Apr. 2015.

Weiner, Eric. “What Happens When City Hall Goes Bankrupt?” NPR. 28 Feb. 2008. (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=60740288). 3 Apr. 2015.

Slavin, Robert. “Why So Many Big Bankruptcies?” The Bond Buyer. 14 Jan. 2015. (http://www.bondbuyer.com/news/markets-buy-side/why-so-many-big-bankruptcies-1069539-1.html). 3 Apr. 2015.

Rehkamp, Patrick and Schroedter, Andrew. “Next Up: Illinois Municipal Bankruptcy?” Better Government Association. 16 Dec. 2014. (http://www.bettergov.org/next_up_illinois_municipal_bankruptcy/). 4 Apr. 2015.

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