JM Bullion Sale: 10 Oz Sunshine Silver Bars Only 79¢ Over Spot Any Quantity

Looking to acquire more physical silver these days? Affiliate marketing partner JM Bullion (reviewed here) is having a 10 Ounce Sunshine Silver Bar Sale. From an e-mail I received from JM Bullion this morning:

10 oz Sunshine Silver Bars Just 79¢/oz Over Spot!

On sale this week is one of our best selling products at JMBullion.com, the 10 oz Sunshine Silver Bar, which is available for just $0.79/oz over spot for any quantity. Produced by the reputable Sunshine Mint, each bar contains ten troy ounces of fine .999 silver and features the popular Sunshine Silver Eagle design.


“10 oz Sunshine Minting Silver Bar ➜ JMBullion.com”
YouTube Video

There was also this in the e-mail:

RMC Silver Rounds Special Pricing Extended!

We have also extended the special pricing on the 1 oz RMC Silver Rounds which are available for just 85¢ over spot for any quantity. These Republic Metals Corporation silver rounds are minted using 1 troy ounce of .999 fine silver. Each round is stamped with the RMC logo along with its weight and silver purity, and ship in brand new condition.

JM Bullion offers free shipping on all orders, which includes full tracking and insurance.

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

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

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Marc Faber Warns ‘Have At Least Some Money In Precious Metals’ And Store It Overseas

Swiss-born investment advisor/money manager Marc Faber was just interviewed by Simon Black over at Sovereign Man, a provider of global financial intelligence and solutions. The publisher of the monthly investment newsletter The Gloom Boom & Doom Report talked about the need of investors to be in precious metals, and where to store it. In the exchange that was uploaded to the Sovereign Man website on May 8, Dr. Faber told listeners:

The only currencies that I regard as significantly undervalued at the present time are the precious metals- silver, gold, platinum, palladium. And I would advise any investor to have at least some money in precious metals. The problem is, as a very informed reader of mine said, if precious metals really one day work out- in other words, gold goes to $10,000 an ounce- you can be sure that the government will take it away from you. That is a threat.

As you know in the world- since you are running an organization Sovereign Man- there is a move to curtail freedom, and there is a move to abolish paper money… If I were your listeners and I held gold, if paper money is abandoned or banished, about the last thing you want to hold is gold because it will be taken away as well. So you better close down your accounts at Citi, in my view. Put your money somewhere, anywhere in the world, except in U.S. banks.

Back in February, Faber warned in a King World News interview:

The central banks and the governments will try to take the gold away from ordinary people, you understand? I think they know that this would be one solution for the global financial system to peg it again to some extent on gold. But before they do that, I think they’ll go after you and me and say, “Okay, parasites of society that do not spend but keep their money in gold that is unproductive- let us take it away.” That is the threat. I’m not worried about the price of gold. What do I care if the gold price is at $1,000 or $500 or $1,500 or $5,000? What I care is that I can keep ownership of gold.

You can listen to that Sovereign Man interview in its entirety on their website here (precious metals discussion starts at 13:59).

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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Tax Hikes Coming As Illinois Public Pension Crisis ‘Fix’ Shot Down By State Supreme Court?

This weekend Illinoisans heard about the Friday ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court on a law that was celebrated by many as a big step in resolving the state’s well-publicized public pension crisis. Rick Pearson and Kim Geiger reported on the Chicago Tribune website Friday:

The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday unanimously ruled unconstitutional a landmark state pension law that aimed to scale back government worker benefits to erase a massive $105 billion retirement system debt…

At issue was a December 2013 state law signed by then-Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn that stopped automatic, compounded yearly cost-of-living increases for retirees, extended retirement ages for current state workers and limited the amount of salary used to calculate pension benefits.

Employee unions sued, arguing that the state constitution holds that pension benefits amount to a contractual agreement and once they’re bestowed, they cannot be “diminished or impaired.” A circuit court judge in Springfield agreed with that assessment in November. State government appealed that decision to the Illinois Supreme Court, arguing that economic necessity forced curbing retirement benefits.

On Friday the justices rejected that argument, saying the law clearly violated what’s known as the pension protection clause in the 1970 Illinois Constitution…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Can’t say I was too surprised to hear that ruling handed down.

As for the ramifications on Main Street? Pearson and Geiger added:

The ruling means Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrat-controlled General Assembly will have to come up with a new solution after justices appeared to offer little in the way of wiggle room beyond paying what’s owed, which likely would require a tax increase. Coming up with a way to bridge a budget gap of more than $6 billion already was going to be difficult with little more than three weeks before a scheduled May 31 adjournment, and now the pension mess has been added to the mix.

Rauner, who argued during last year’s campaign that the law was unconstitutional and didn’t go far enough to reduce the pension debt, said the court ruling only reinforces his approach of getting voters to approve a constitutional amendment that “would allow the state to move forward on common-sense pension reforms.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“A constitutional amendment”

I’m not so sure how that would work out. Consider what Natasha Korecki reported over on the Chicago Sun-Times website Friday:

But it was unclear how such an amendment would help solve the crisis. It arguably could not bring savings because, according to the court ruling, a new law cannot retroactively affect those who are already in the system, said Charles N. Wheeler III, Director of the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois at Springfield…

“Likely would require a tax increase”

I suspect- as Survival And Prosperity has been warning for some time now- that Illinoisans will soon be hit with significantly-higher taxes as a consequence of those $6 billion state budget and $105 public pension gaps. Korecki added:

An Illinois Supreme Court ruling that struck down a pension reform law on Friday could have just opened the door even wider to the prospect of deep cuts to services and new taxes for Illinois residents.

With only three weeks left until lawmakers have to pass a balanced budget, legislators now have even more political cover to raise taxes and cut spending following the high court’s decision that it was unconstitutional for the state to pare back promised pension benefits for state employees…

“This ensures that however we resolve this, the citizens of Illinois will be paying more for less service from the state of Illinois,” Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of the University of Illinois at Springfield, said of Friday’s ruling. “I think that’s an inevitable outcome from this.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Less government services. Higher fees, fines, and taxes.”

Something I’ve kept warning about on this blog, with regular observers of Springfield now talking it about these days (if they weren’t already).

I wonder to what extent Illinoisans have prepared/are preparing for such a scenario? I’ll be talking more about this later.

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

Sources:

Pearson, Rick and Geiger, Kim. “Illinois Supreme Court rules landmark pension law unconstitutional.” Chicago Tribune. 8 May 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-illinois-pension-law-court-ruling-20150508-story.html#page=1). 11 May 2015.

Korecki, Natasha. “State Supreme Court pension ruling provides political cover to cut more, tax more.” Chicago Sun-Times. 8 May 2015. (http://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/7/71/590030/state-supreme-court-pension-ruling-provides-political-cover-cut-tax). 11 May 2015.

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Quote For The Week

“Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth.”

-Ludwig Börne (German political writer and satirist. 1786-1837)

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

Tags:

Chicago-Area Democrats Push To Expand ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban Throughout Illinois

After a federal court upheld an “assault weapons” ban by the City of Highland Park, gun “control” supporters in Chicago’s far north suburbs are trying to expand the ban on these military-pattern semi-automatic rifles throughout the state of Illinois- under the guise of “local control.” Deb McCarver reported on the Illinois Senate Democrats website Tuesday:

In response to a recent federal court ruling in support of Highland Park’s assault weapons ban, state Senator Julie Morrison introduced a measure to restore the right to ban assault weapons to every city and village in the state.

“This is about local control,” the Deerfield Democrat said. “Highland Park decided to protect its citizens by banning assault weapons. Every other city and village in Illinois should have that same right.”

The highly controversial 2013 law that allowed Illinois residents to carry concealed weapons also prohibited local governments from banning assault weapons…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

According to the “synopsis” of Illinois Senate Bill 2130:

the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act. Deletes provision that the regulation of the possession or ownership of assault weapons are exclusive powers and functions of this State. Deletes provision that any ordinance or regulation, or portion of that ordinance or regulation, that purports to regulate the possession or ownership of assault weapons in a manner that is inconsistent with the Act, shall be invalid unless the ordinance or regulation is enacted on, before, or within 10 days after the effective date of Public Act 98-63 (July 9, 2013). Deletes provision that any ordinance or regulation described in the stricken provision enacted more than 10 days after the effective date of Public Act 98-63 is invalid. Effective immediately…

This Tuesday I noted something Robert McCoppin reported on the Chicago Tribune website April 28. From his piece:

A federal court Monday upheld Highland Park’s ban on assault weapons — possibly setting the stage for a showdown over the issue before the U.S. Supreme Court…

Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson said he was confident the law could be overturned on appeal to the Supreme Court, but the National Rifle Association would have to decide whether to make a costly appeal.

“The Second Amendment is about the right to keep and bear arms,” Pearson said. “The government doesn’t get to pick the list.”

After Senator Morrison’s action- supported by Highland Park Mayor and Democratic candidate for Congress (10th Congressional District) Nancy Rotering (as evidenced later on in that McCarver piece)- don’t be surprised if an appeal is now launched by pro-gun rights forces- costs be damned.

As for Highland Park, which is making a strong bid for wrestling away the title of “Ground Zero for Gun ‘Control’” from Oak Park, Illinois, these days, I suspect they could be on the hook for some astronomical legal fees after all is said and done.

You can track the status of SB2130 on the Illinois General Assembly website here.

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

Source:

McCarver, Deb. “Morrison: Illinois should let cities ban assault weapons.” Illinois Senate Democrats. 5 May 2015. (http://www.illinoissenatedemocrats.com/index.php?option=com_tag&task=tag&tag=sb2130). 7 May 2015.

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Signs Of The Time, Part 84

That earlier post about the Islamic State possibly having “trained soldiers” in Illinois reminded me of a certain comment left on the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop last August.

Chiming in on a discussion about Chicago potentially being a top target of terrorists after a security bulletin was issued in light of the threat posed by the Islamic State:

Anonymous said…

They’re going to have to do more than that to get me to like them…

Cop humor. It’s something else…

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

Source:

SCC. “Chicago a Target?” Second City Cop. 23 Aug. 2014. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2014/08/chicago-target.html). 6 May 2015.

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Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 Humor, Public Safety, Religion, Terrorism, War No Comments

Islamic State Claims 71 ‘Trained Soldiers’ In ‘Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, California, And Michigan’ Plus 10 Other States?

“The next six months will be interesting.”

So claims a threat attributed to the Islamic State posted on anonymous message board JustPasteIt, per Sasha Goldstein and Jason Silverstein over on the Daily News (New York City) website late last night. From the message entitled “The New Era”:

The attack by the Islamic State in America is only the beginning of our efforts to establish a wiliya in the heart of our enemy…

We have 71 trained soldiers in 15 different states ready at our word to attack any target we desire. Out of the 71 trained soldiers 23 have signed up for missions like Sunday. We are increasing in number bithnillah. Of the 15 states, 5 we will name… Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, California, and Michigan…

“Illinois.” Yet another list we’d really prefer not to be on.

According to various sources on the Internet, “wiliya” (“wilayah”) means “province,” and “bithnillah” (“bi’ithnillah”) can be translated as meaning “with the permission of Allah.” The post was signed “Abu Ibrahim Al Ameriki,” a U.S.-born terrorist with the group.

Last August, I blogged about a Twitter post supposedly connected with the Islamic State which contained a photo of the Old Republic Building, 307 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, along with the following:

#AmessagefromISIStoUS

We are in your state
We are in your cities
We are in your streets
You are our goals anywhere.

In that same August 27, 2014, post, I noted retired General Michael Hayden, the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency, had just told CNN’s Jim Sciutto in an interview:

HAYDEN: Well, Jim, you’ve outlined it perfectly. This is a question of timing. Not of inevitability. Not of intent. And right now, I think it’s fair to say, that ISIS is very powerful local terrorist organization, and probably a reasonably powerful regional terrorist organization. But it’s one that has global ambitions. And it has the tools, as you suggested. American passport holders, European passport holders. It’s expressed the intent. And so, if it’s not Tuesday, it’s at a time and place of their choosing. And will come probably sooner rather than later. Look, they’re in a competition now with Al-Qaeda Prime, folks along the Afghan-Pakistani border, and there’s no way more powerful to express their street credentials among the jihadist community than a successful attack against the West.
SCIUTTO: So, to be clear, you’re saying it’s just a matter of time before ISIS attempts to attack or attacks the U.S. homeland?
HAYDEN: I think so…

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

Source:

Goldstein, Sasha and Silverstein, Jason. “ISIS threatens anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller in message boasting of ’71 trained soldiers in 15 different states’” Daily News. 5 May 2015. (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/isis-appears-threaten-pamela-geller-claims-militants-article-1.2211913). 6 May 2015.

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Illinois’ Largest Foreign Trading Partners Weigh In On State’s Attractiveness For Investment

Illinois blog readers might be interested in the following, which appeared on the State of Illinois home page earlier this week:

In order to obtain an independent assessment of Illinois’ competitiveness, the Governor’s office asked the state’s largest foreign trading partners to share their confidential views on Illinois’ attractiveness for investment from their countries

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The survey focused on ten nations, and the findings were posted on the state’s website along with this accompanying memo:

From: John DeBlasio, Director for International Trade and Investment
To: Interested Parties
Date: May 4, 2015
Subj: Key Reforms Needed to Strengthen Foreign Direct Investment in Illinois

In order to obtain an independent assessment of Illinois’ competitiveness, the Governor’s office asked the state’s largest foreign trading partners to share their confidential views on Illinois’ attractiveness for investment from their countries.

Collectively, these nations have invested tens of billions of dollars in factories, warehouses, office buildings, and transportation facilities across America, and employ hundreds of thousands of American workers. They are in a unique position to compare the relative strengths and weaknesses of individual states with which Illinois must compete. Every year they make important decisions on where to locate major new facilities and high-paying jobs. Their comments taken together create a policy roadmap of strategic recommendations that we can use to drive powerful new economic growth and job creation in our state.

Attached are the letters, memos, and priorities the Governor’s Office has received, with names, locations, and specific stories redacted to protect the confidentiality of individual countries. The letters deserve to be reviewed in detail, but some of their key comments are highlighted below:

“Top Concern: tax issues-too high, property & corporate, worries about further increases due to financial condition of the state”
• “There are large (and growing) perceptions that infrastructure improvements are not keeping up”
• “Foreign firms place a premium on opportunities to “cluster” – to work with concentrations of talent in their sector”
• “The plethora of universities, research institutions & accelerators headquartered in the region constitute a significant positive – firms and entrepreneurs are drawn here by the world-class innovation taking place”
• “Chicago is attractive to college students – which therefore enhances the quality of the workforce pool”
• “Vast difference in perception between Chicago and downstate Illinois. While the former has plenty of positives, the latter is not seen to be competitive with Indiana, Wisconsin, etc.”
• “Costs in particular linked to Unions are high. It’s a problem, especially with Wisconsin and Indiana as neighbors – if there is a legal dispute with workers….Cook County is known for being anti-boss or pro-employee”
• “Right to Work is being used by other states to position them favorably compared to Illinois. This is similar to other labor market regulations and workers compensation, unemployment insurance levels, etc. that put Illinois at a disadvantage compared with other states”
• “The manufacturing workforce is aging and vocational training for the next generation of skilled employees is lacking”
• “Chicago is one of the most expensive trade show locations in the world. Being an expensive/bureaucratic trade show location often carries over to the state being perceived as a high cost/bureaucratic location for investing”
• “Illinois overseas offices are primarily focused on exports not investment attraction, which is two very different tasks”
• “Many states have modernized their structure by founding Economic Development Corporations tasked specifically with pursuing investors”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Sifting through the trading partners’ letters and memos which contained remarks on foreign investment in Illinois, this one from so-called “Nation #3” stood out:

Even (redacted) companies have a high degree of ignorance about Chicago and the region and rarely see beyond Capone and Jordan

High crime rates- hugely amplified internationally. Chicago is seen as the crime capital of the USA

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Crime capital of the USA” I get. Jordan too. But Capone? Really?


“F**k that, I’m going to Vegas!”
Scene From Chicago Overcoat (2009)
(Warning: Language, violence, “Chicago Typewriter” in all its glory)
YouTube Video

You can read more on that survey from Governor Rauner’s office here (.pdf format) on the State of Illinois website.

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

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Highland Park, Illinois, ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban Latest

Back on December 23, 2013, I blogged about the City of Highland Park on Chicago’s far North Shore passing an ordinance banning “assault weapons” within its city-limits at a June city council meeting.

Subsequently, the Illinois municipality was sued for its “assault weapons” ban.

Last week, a federal court rendered a decision on the lawsuit. From the website of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action on May 1:

The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision on Monday allowing a Chicago-area gun and magazine ban to stand. Such bans are justifiable, according to the court, merely on the basis that they “may increase the public’s sense of safety.”

The case, Friedman v. Highland Park, was filed in 2013, and sought to invalidate a city ordinance that banned “assault weapons or large capacity magazines (those that can accept more than ten rounds).” Highland Park was one of several Chicago suburbs that hastily enacted municipal ordinances regulating or banning the possession of “assault weapons” before the state’s 2013 concealed carry law preempted home-rule authority to do so.

This week, in a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel upheld the ban. According to the majority opinion, “A ban on assault weapons won’t eliminate gun violence in Highland Park, but it may reduce overall dangerousness of crime that does occur ….” Remarkably, the majority went on to suggest that even if the ban’s incursion on Second Amendment rights had no beneficial effect on safety whatsoever, it could still be justified on the basis of the false sense of security it might impart to local residents. “[I]f it has no other effect,” the majority wrote, “Highland Park’s ordinance may increase the public’s sense of safety. Mass shootings are rare, but they are highly salient, and people tend to overestimate the likelihood of salient events.”

The majority acknowledged that “assault weapons” can be beneficial for self-defense because they are lighter and more accurate than alternative options and can be wielded more effectively by householders. Yet they quickly threw their own logic aside to reassert the city’s interest in reducing perceived risk over the tangible benefits that that modern firearms provide to their owners. “If a ban on semiautomatic guns and large-capacity magazines reduces the perceived risk from a mass shooting, and makes the public feel safer as a result, that’s a substantial benefit,” the opinion argued.

Judge Daniel Anthony Manion dissented from the majority opinion. Manion forcefully and persuasively argued that the ruling opinion is “at odds with the central holdings in Heller and McDonald: that the Second Amendment protects a personal right to keep arms for lawful purposes, most notably for self-defense within the home.”

He went on to press the point that only individuals “make the ultimate decision for what constitutes the most effective means of defending one’s home, family, and property.” In stark contrast to the majority, Judge Manion was willing to recognize the constitutional dimensions that individual choice makes in the Second Amendment realm, just as it does with other fundamental rights. “Ultimately, it is up to the lawful gun owner and not the government to decide these matters,” he wrote.

Judge Manion’s reminder that when it comes to our fundamental rights, “The government recognizes these rights; it does not confer them,” cannot be overemphasized. Unfortunately, his colleagues refused to uphold their duty to recognize either the right at stake or Highland Park’s violation of it. Rest assured, however, that your NRA will continue the fight to see that injustice corrected.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Robert McCoppin reported on the Chicago Tribune website on April 28:

A federal court Monday upheld Highland Park’s ban on assault weapons — possibly setting the stage for a showdown over the issue before the U.S. Supreme Court…

Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson said he was confident the law could be overturned on appeal to the Supreme Court, but the National Rifle Association would have to decide whether to make a costly appeal.

“The Second Amendment is about the right to keep and bear arms,” Pearson said. “The government doesn’t get to pick the list.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Stay tuned…

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

(Editor’s note: Permission to reproduce this piece granted by the NRA-ILA)

Source:

McCoppin, Robert. “Appeals court upholds Highland Park assault weapons ban.” Chicago Tribune. 28 Apr. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/highland-park/news/chi-assault-weapons-ban-highland-park-20150427-story.html). 5 May 2015.

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Chicago’s Financial, Job Woes Highlighted In Huffington Post Piece

Chicago-area readers are probably getting sick of my negative posts about Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois. I don’t like blogging about all the bad news either. However, I feel compelled to point out the massive challenges facing the city, county, and state I was born in and continue to love in an attempt to help turn them around (unlikely at this point), or at least assist residents survive these entities slamming into that proverbial brick wall (much more probable).

That being said, this past weekend I came across an interesting article about a number of Chicago’s woes by local journalist Hilary Gowins. While there’s plenty of dreadful material being written about the “Windy City” these days, what made Gowins’ piece particularly “interesting” is where it can be found- on The Huffington Post website. From the often left-leaning (in my opinion) online news aggregator and blog:

Behind a veneer of affluence, gilded by the prosperity and staying power of neighborhoods such as the Gold Coast, River North and Lincoln Park, the city’s foundation is crumbling beneath the weight of perilous debt. Chicago and its sister governments are officially on the hook for more than $32 billion in unfunded pension debt. With just over a million households in the city, that staggering figure means each Chicago household is on the hook for $32,000 to cover these liabilities. Chicago’s pension debt exceeds the state’s total proposed operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

At the same time the city’s obligations are skyrocketing, its population is growing at a snail’s pace, gaining just 6,000 residents in 2013 after a decade of population decline. With 2.7 million residents as of 2013, Chicago’s population is the same as it was in 1920

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Gowins added this as well:

But today, despite activity on the tech front, job opportunities are scarce. The Chicago area has 46,000 fewer people working compared to before the Great Recession, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

There’s plenty of people around these parts who would be quick to blow smoke up your behind and tell you the economy in Chicagoland area and beyond is in full-blown recovery, and quit worrying about the larger financial picture.

Sorry, but the numbers (such as the above) show otherwise.

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

Source:

Gowins, Hilary. “Chicago’s Problems Run Much Deeper Than a 76-foot Hole.” The Huffington Post. 1 May 2015. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/hilary-gowins/chicagos-problems-run-muc_b_7131348.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592). 5 May 2015.

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Jeremy Grantham: Fed Hell-Bent On Stimulating Asset Prices Until ‘Fully-Fledged Bubble’ Forms

Jeremy Grantham, the British-born investment strategist and founder/former chairman of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (oversees $118 billion in client assets as of March 31, 2015), has just released his latest investment letter on the GMO website. Writing about the first quarter of 2015, Grantham, whose individual clients have included current Secretary of State John Kerry and former Vice President Dick Cheney, focused on U.S. economic growth and the bubble-blowing Federal Reserve. Regarding growth, Grantham wrote:

I am still just about certain about three things: first, our secular growth rate in the U.S. is indeed about 1.5% (at least as stated in traditional GDP accounting, wherein expensive barrels of oil increase GDP; perhaps closer to 1% in real life); second, economists move their estimates slowly and carefully in order to stay near the pack and minimize career risk (despite the recent IMF heroics); and third, that we do not like to give or receive bad news and, when in doubt, we tend to be optimistic…

On the Federal Reserve and asset bubbles, Grantham noted:

In the Greenspan/ Bernanke/Yellen Era, the Fed historically did not stop its asset price pushing until fully-fledged bubbles had occurred, as they did in U.S. growth stocks in 2000 and in U.S. housing in 2006. Both of these were in fact stunning three-sigma events, by far the biggest equity bubble and housing bubble in U.S. history. Yellen, like both of her predecessors, has bragged about the Fed’s role in pushing up asset prices in order to get a wealth effect. Thus far, she seems to also share their view on feeling no responsibility to interfere with any asset bubble that may form. For me, recognizing the power of the Fed to move assets (although desperately limited power to boost the economy), it seems logical to assume that absent a major international economic accident, the current Fed is bound and determined to continue stimulating asset prices until we once again have a fully-fledged bubble. And we are not there yet

To remind you, we at GMO still believe that bubble territory for the S&P 500 is about 2250…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The S&P 500 finished up today at 2,114.

Back on August 4, 2014, I blogged about Grantham’s second quarter 2014 letter, in which he predicted:

I am still a believer that the Fed will engineer a fully-fledged bubble (S&P 500 over 2250) before a very serious decline…

Grantham’s other forecasts in his latest letter on the GMO website included:

• U.S. Economic Cycle- “Still seems only middle-aged, despite its measured long duration”

• U.S. Housing Market- “In terms of houses built is still way below the old average, and house prices are only around long-term fair value; there is room for improvement in both in the next two years.”

• U.S. Stock Market Correction- “We could easily, of course, have a normal, modest bear market, down 10-20%, given all of the global troubles we have. If we do, then the odds of this super-cycle bull market lasting until the election would go from pretty good to even better.”

As I’ve highlighted on the “Crash Prophets” page, Jeremy Grantham has an incredible knack for identifying changes in the direction of the stock market. He also nailed the economic crisis late last decade. However, I don’t know how what kind of track record he has with correctly-calling the economic and housing cycles. I guess I’ll just have to see how these two pan out.

An update to the “7-Year Asset Class Real Return Forecasts” chart was also provided in “Are We the Stranded Asset?”, which can be viewed in its entirety on the GMO website here (.pdf format; starts p. 7).

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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Chicago Weekend Shootings Claim 5 Killed, 29 Wounded

Weekend of April 17-19: 4 killed, 30 wounded from shootings in Chicago

Weekend of April 24-26: 4 killed, 22 wounded from shootings in Chicago

From the CBS 2 (Chicago) website this morning:

Five people were killed and at least 29 others have been wounded – including an off-duty Oak Park policeman – in separate shootings across Chicago since Friday afternoon…

I understand that police officer was shot in the arm and the leg in the attempted robbery or carjacking. Survival And Prosperity wishes him a speedy recovery.

According to the popular Chicago-focused website HeyJackass!, 112 individuals have been shot and killed year-to-date in the city, with another 597 shot and wounded.

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

Source:

“5 Killed, 29 Wounded In Weekend Shootings.” CBS 2. 4 May 2015. (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2015/05/04/5-killed-28-wounded-in-weekend-shootings/). 4 May 2015.

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Monday, May 4th, 2015 Crime, Firearms, Public Safety No Comments

Jim Rogers ‘Still Waiting’ For Gold Buying Opporunity, ‘My Positions Are In Asia’

Daniela Cambone of Kitco News recently spoke to well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers. The former investing partner of George Soros in the legendary Quantum Fund shared the following with Kitco News viewers on April 30:

I’m bullish on the Chinese market, that’s my largest country. My largest stock positions are in Asia- China, Japan, Russia is becoming bigger and bigger. So my positions are in Asia. China is going to have some problems eventually. Looks like a bubble may be developing in its stock market, and if that happens obviously it will pop someday. You’re going to see some more real estate bankruptcies in China. There’s a lot of debt build up-in China. But at the moment I’m still there. I even bought more last week

I’ve mentioned China. I mentioned Japan. Russia- I’ll probably buy more Russia today. If I weren’t talking to you I might be buying Russia right now. These are the sorts of things where I’m looking and am putting more money.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Gold Buying Opportunity Has Still Not Come – Jim Rogers | Kitco News”
YouTube Video

As Kitco deals in precious metals, it was only natural that the topic of gold came up in the discussion. Singapore-based Rogers had this to say about now being a buying opportunity for the yellow metal:

Well, the opportunity has not come as far as I’m concerned. I’m still waiting.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The Chairman of Rogers Holding started to say “Sometime in the next year” before offering this up to viewers:

I have no idea. I’m very bad at market timing.

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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Chicago Warned By Moody’s About Pension Liabilities

In early April, Standard & Poor’s warned the City of Chicago:

If the city doesn’t find structural solutions, a downgrade of more than one notch is possible.

In our view, if the city fails to articulate and implement a plan by the end of 2015 to sustainably fund its pension contributions, or if it substantially draws down its reserves to fund the contributions, we will likely lower the rating.

Now Moody’s has fired a shot across the city’s bow in 2015. From their Global Credit Research unit on Friday:

Chicago’s (Baa2 negative) pension plans face an uncertain future. Statutes that govern the city’s pension funding requirements have come under legal and political fire, particularly during the last year, as pensioners, politicians, taxpayers and investors have questioned the laws’ constitutionality and affordability, Moody’s Investors Service says in a new report.

Regardless of the ultimate answers, one outcome is certain: Chicago’s unfunded pension liabilities and ongoing pension costs will grow significantly, forcing city officials to make difficult decisions for years to come.

If current laws stand, Chicago’s annual pension contributions are projected to increase by 135% in 2016; by an average annual rate of 8% in 2017-21; and by an average annual rate of 3% in 2022-26.

The 2016 increase alone equals a significant 15% of the city’s 2013 operating revenue, Moody’s says in “Chicago’s Pension Forecast — Tough Choices Now or Tougher Choices Later.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Touch Choices Now or Tougher Choices Later.” That pretty much sums up the situation not only in the “Windy City,” but in the state of Illinois as well.

Blame Emanuel? Blame Rauner? Whatever. As is if these guys have been around long enough to help put Chicagoans and Illinoisans in their respective financial messes.

You can read the rest of the Moody’s news release on their website here.

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

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Quote For The Week

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

-Malcolm X (American Muslim minister and human rights activist. 1925-1965)

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

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