Project Prepper, Part 45: Top 3 Threat Priorities

“As a result of my research and this blog, I’m now aware of the myriad of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to my life and lifestyle (and those of my loved ones), and think it’s probably wise to acquaint myself more with ‘prepping’ via a sustained ‘hands-on’ program of learning and doing, which I’ll call ‘Project Prepper.’

Through a series of posts on this blog which I suspect should last for quite some time (years?), I’ll be able to share my preparedness experiences with you…”

Survival And Prosperity, “Project Prepper, Part 1: It Begins,” October 24, 2012

This week’s “Project Prepper” post is going to be a little different. While I’m currently working on a number of projects related to fulfilling seven “innate survival needs” (hat tip Jack Spirko @ The Survival Podcast):

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

Today I’m going to talk about threat priorities. As a forty-something homeowner residing with my girlfriend in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, in 2016, “I’m now aware of the myriad of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to my life and lifestyle (and those of my loved ones).” Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know I blog about them frequently. But from my vantage point, here are the “top 3” I’m mostly concerned about:

1. Severe Weather
2. Financial Crisis
3. Terrorism

Concerning severe weather, here in the Chicagoland area residents have to contend with spring and summer storms that can consist of high winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes. Winter can bring along with it ice storms (not too often), significant snowfall/blizzards, and brutally-cold temperatures. Consequently, structural damage, utility outages, hazardous travel conditions, and other threats to life and property accompany such events.

Case in point, prior to my girlfriend and I moving into our house in 2013, a large part of the Chicago metro area suffered significant damage from a “derecho” (widespread, long-lived wind storm) event that left many area homeowners without electricity for several days. A real nuisance for most of those affected, but potentially deadly to those with serious health issues- like my elderly father. And in case readers think I’m talking about those far-off “suburbs” of Chicago here (I remember one real estate agent referring to Rochelle- approximately 80 miles west of Chicago- as a “western suburb” during the housing boom last decade), these extended outages were taking place in near “North Shore” enclaves. I remember watching one furious Northbrook homeowner being interviewed on the local televised news, saying how he had been without power for a number of days and couldn’t understand why it hadn’t been restored yet considering the high taxes he paid to live in such a nice area. Anyway, severe weather tops the list for me. Not as “sexy”- as some would say- as preparing for the “Zombie apocalypse,” but oh well.

Financial crisis. Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity and its predecessor know I’ve been on the lookout for coming “tough times” for some years now. From this blog’s “About” page:

Back in 2004 when SP’s creator/editor Christopher Hill was surveying the economic and investment landscape in support of his own investing activities, he concluded from his own research that the United States was heading towards a financial crash. Deciding that this was something other Americans might want to know about, Mr. Hill launched the independent financial blog Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog on Wall Street,” on Memorial Day Weekend 2007 with the purpose of warning and educating others about the approaching U.S. economic crash. He has been credited with calling last decade’s housing bubble and subsequent bust, the 2008 global economic crisis, and the “Great Recession” as a result of his work on this project. Chris wrote over 1,500 posts on Boom2Bust.com during its nearly three-year run, with many of these picked up and republished on the web sites of The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, Fox News, Reuters, USA Today, the Chicago Sun-Times group, the Austin-American Statesman, the Palm Beach Post, and the West Orlando News, among other media outlets. Chris was also interviewed for a May 2009 MSNBC.com article as a result of his work with the blog.

Since Memorial Day Weekend 2007, I’ve stood by and watched as the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and subprime mortgage crisis was quickly followed by carnage on Wall Street in the autumn of 2008 and a “Great Recession.” I also observed how the Washington politicians and the Fed responded by “papering up” the mess with massive government and central bank intervention. But as everyone knows, you can only “kick the can down the road” so far. And my concern is that the road is rapidly coming to an end. Visit this blog often enough and you might get that sense as well.

Consequently, I’ve come to believe that the U.S. financial crash I still see headed our way won’t be like an airplane that suffers a sudden, catastrophic failure and plummets back to Earth like a rock. Rather, taking into account the abilities of the federal government and central bank to keep the aircraft aloft for quite some time, the crash may be more akin to a slow- yet-unavoidable descent into the ground. At which point, Americans might be left pondering what had happened to them, just like Argentines did after their economy crapped out in the early 2000s after prosperous times.

Making matters worse is the fact that I still reside in Cook County and Illinois, whose financial troubles are well-publicized. While I’ve left Chicago, I still haven’t made Wisconsin my permanent home address.

When the “balloon goes up” locally and nationally, I suspect everyday living is going to get particularly gritty around these parts.

As terrorism is concerned, post-9/11 I found myself working in the public safety field. As part of my duties at a local fire department, I catalogued potential terrorist targets in the area in the hunt for money to upgrade the agency’s response capabilities. It was my belief that the threat was real then, and it remains so today. Even more so in 2016, as U.S. border security is quite suspect at a time when those who would wish to harm the “homeland” continually make their operational capabilities and future desires for wreaking death and destruction known.


“Border Patrol Admits US Citizenship Doesn’t Matter”
YouTube Video

Like I’ve repeatedly said before on this blog, I believe it’s only a matter of time before the United States suffers terror attacks possibly resembling what occurred in Beslan (Russia) in 2004, Mumbai (India) in 2008, and more recently in Paris and Brussels. And a terrorist strike rivaling or even surpassing the carnage of September 11, 2011, is not out of the question as far as I’m concerned. New jihadists continue to replace their fallen predecessors in this “War on Terror,” and the religious duty of killing “infidels” remains the same. On May 6, 2011, I wrote:

In 2005, Dr. Paul L. Williams, a journalist and author, published the book The Al-Qaeda Connection, in which he discussed plans for a future nuclear terrorist strike, dubbed “American Hiroshima.” He wrote:

Bin Laden asserts that he must kill four million Americans- two million of whom must be children- in order to achieve parity for a litany of “wrongs” committed against the Muslim people by the United States of America. The “wrongs” include the establishment and occupation of military bases between the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, the support of Israel and the suppression of the Palestinian people, the Persian Gulf War and the subsequent economic sanctions, and the invasions of Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

These days, the Islamic State has stolen the headlines from Al-Qaeda and other Muslim extremists. But such religious fanaticism as a whole remains a top concern for me.

Severe weather, financial crisis, and terrorism are natural and man-made threats that register the most on my radar. But this doesn’t mean I discount other potential dangers to life and property either (pandemic, severe space weather, and war would probably be the next three on the list). As such, an “all-hazards” approach is emphasized in my “Project Prepper” activities.

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

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IMF Issues Downward Revision To Global Growth Forecast

From the International Monetary Fund website Tuesday:

Global growth continues, but at a sluggish pace that leaves the world economy more exposed to risks, says the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook (WEO).

The WEO forecasts global growth at 3.2 percent in 2016 and 3.5 percent in 2017, a downward revision of 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively, compared with the January 2016 Update (see table).

In a recent speech, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned that the recovery remains too slow, too fragile, with the risk that persistent low growth can have damaging effects on the social and political fabric of many countries…

“The recovery remains too slow, too fragile”

Funny. That’s not what I’m hearing out of Washington and the mainstream media these days.

The IMF added:

In the United States, expected growth this year is flat at 2.4 percent, with a modest uptick in 2017. Domestic demand will be supported by improving government finances and a stronger housing market that help offset the drag on net exports coming from a strong dollar and weaker manufacturing…

You can read more about the IMF’s latest global growth forecast here on their website.

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

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DHS, FBI Launches Nationwide Program Warning Electric Companies About Cyber Attacks

While most of Main Street might not have a clue about the threat to the nation’s power grid from cyber attacks, it sounds like the Feds may be starting to take it seriously. Bill Gertz reported over on The Washington Free Beacon website last Friday:

Three months after a Department of Homeland Security intelligence report downplayed the threat of a cyber attack against the U.S. electrical grid, DHS and the FBI began a nationwide program warning of the dangers faced by U.S. utilities from damaging cyber attacks like the recent hacking against Ukraine’s power grid.

The nationwide campaign by DHS and the FBI began March 31 and includes 12 briefings and online webinars for electrical power infrastructure companies and others involved in security, with sessions in eight U.S. cities, including a session next week in Washington.

The unclassified briefings are titled “Ukraine Cyber Attack: Implications for U.S. Stakeholders,” and are based on work with the Ukrainian government in the aftermath of the Dec. 23 cyber attack against the Ukrainian power infrastructure…

The briefings will outline the details of the attacks, the techniques used by the hackers, and strategies to be used to limit risks and improve cyber security for grid organizations…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Those who have been sounding the alarm over the cyber attack threat for some time now have found a high-profile ally in American broadcast journalist Ted Koppel. Graham Vyse reported on the website of InsideSources, a non-partisan news organization, back on March 19:

On Monday, ABC News legend Ted Koppel sat down at a conference table at the National Press Foundation in Washington, accepted the mug of coffee he was offered and proceeded to describe a national security threat greater than 9/11.

The longtime “Nightline” anchor told reporters about the danger of a cyber attack on the United States power grid — an unprecedented event that could mean months of blackouts affecting tens of millions.

Koppel sees this scenario as a likelihood, not just a possibility, for which the country is woefully unprepared. He worries it would reduce America to a kind of Hobbesian state of nature, with conflicts over food, water and other dwindling necessities. It’s all the subject of his latest book, “Lights Out.”

“What happened on 9/11 is nothing compared to what a cyber attack on the power grid would do,” Koppel said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Vyse added:

Koppel doesn’t think America can actually prevent a cyber attack, so he argues the focus should be on minimizing damage. The trouble is, he’s doubtful Congress would respond well to a request for $100 billion to buy enough freeze-dried meals to avoid food riots

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“The trouble is, he’s doubtful Congress would respond well to a request for $100 billion to buy enough freeze-dried meals to avoid food riots”

Yikes.

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

Sources:

Gertz, Bill. “FBI Warns of Cyber Threat to Electric Grid.” The Washington Free Beacon. 8 Apr. 2016. (http://freebeacon.com/issues/fbi-warns-cyber-threat-electric-grid/). 12 Apr. 2016.

Vyse, Graham. “Ted Koppel: Homeland Security Chief ‘Ignorant’ on Threat to Grid.” InsideSources. 19 Mar. 2016. (http://www.insidesources.com/koppel-homeland/). 12 Apr. 2016.

Ted Koppel’s power grid cyber attack book…

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GoldSilver.com’s Mike Maloney On Stocks: ‘This Is Probably Going To Be The Top Of The Market Just Before The Greatest Crash In History’

Speaking of stocks, one “crash prophet” who I haven’t checked in on for a while is Mike Maloney, a precious metals expert, advisor, and author who runs California-based GoldSilver.com (specializing in the instruction of precious metals investing and providing world-class gold/silver dealer services). Late Monday night I watched a video he published on March 29 about where he thought the U.S. stock market was at and where he predicted it was heading. Maloney told viewers:

I just wanted to ask the really big question- have the stock markets topped and has a crash already begun? And if it is a crash, how bad will it be? And here’s some of the evidence that I was looking at…


“Stock Market Crash: Is The Top In? Mike Maloney”
YouTube Video

Maloney eventually concluded:

We’ve created something called a classic dome top. And when you look back in history, this is probably going to be the top of the market just before the greatest crash in history. That’s where I believe that we are

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Not surprisingly, Maloney thinks precious metals will perform well in such a scenario.

Disturbing stuff. But Maloney (as usual) makes a strong case for his forecast.

However, I can’t help but wonder if QE 4 or its equivalent isn’t already warming up in the bullpen to keep asset prices aloft or even send them higher at least until the November election is done and another Democrat is in the White House.

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

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on information found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is 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 on the site.)

Maloney’s revised (9/15) precious metals investing book…

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Signs Of The Time, Part 99

Sandwiched between “Kobe goes out healthy” and “Over-the-top Best Kiss win” in the headlines of my Internet service provider’s home page Sunday was this:

Don’t panic over awful earnings season

Energy and materials sectors will be hit hard, but investors shouldn’t drop everything and run for the hills yet…

And Monday night I spotted the following headline over on the MarketWatch website:

Risk of a recession may be higher than you think

Q1 profits expected to decline by 9%, according to FactSet…

Some might construe all this as the mainstream media trying to prevent Main Street from dumping stocks while at the same time conditioning the American public for the real possibility of an economic recession in the coming months.

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

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on information found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is 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 on the site.)

The People Who Predicted The Global Financial Crisis

“Vice President Dick Cheney says that his boss, President George W. Bush, has no need to apologize to the American people for not doing more to head off the financial calamity, saying no one saw the crisis coming.

During an interview Thursday with The Associated Press in his West Wing office, Cheney defended the administration’s performance on an economy that is growing weaker daily and which recently collapsed in spectacular fashion. Cheney said that ‘nobody anywhere was smart enough to figure it out.’

-Associated Press, January 8, 2009

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

It’s Monday, and since I’m not adding anything new from the “crash prophets”- Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, and Peter Schiff- I thought I’d take Survival And Prosperity readers for a stroll down memory lane.

I recently stumbled across a page on the Investor Home website entitled “Who Predicted The Global Financial Crisis?” Gary Karz wrote:

In the years since the Global Financial Crisis exploded on the scene, there have been a number of articles and initiatives documenting the individuals that publicly predicted the crisis and arguably deserve credit for having sounded the alarm. This page summarizes those efforts and links to those sources (and I expect to update it over time as more information and research becomes available). While plenty of foreign leaders and professional doomsayers have long predicted the collapse of the US economy, to the extent possible it should be useful to differentiate them from those that legitimately warned about a financial crisis or critical elements of it based on some logical analysis that appears to have merit after the fact. I believe a large percentage of investors and home buyers were exposed to at least some credible warnings about a housing bubble, but clearly many people chose to ignore those warnings or dismiss the predictions of a coming housing crash and/or crisis as unlikely to come true. Separately, I was interested in hearing what these individuals prescribe…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Personally, I’m interested “in hearing what these individuals prescribe” in 2016, as these people managed to correctly-call last decade’s housing bust, the global economic crisis that reared its ugly head in the fall of 2008, and the “Great Recession.”

Not so much their peers who completely missed the signs of the financial storm yet whose forecasts are still touted and relied upon, with some among this group even trusted with getting America out of this ongoing mess.

A solid effort by Karz, which you can view on his website here.

Now I’m just waiting for him to publish the list entitled “Who Incorrectly Called The Global Financial Crisis,” so I know exactly who not to listen to concerning such matters.

“I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record…”

Actually, this “nattering nabob of negativity” already has a pretty good idea of who those people are. And anything they say I take with a grain of salt…

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

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James Rickards: Gold Other Money That Renders Central Bank Power ‘Meaningless’

The “Quote For The Week” runner-up. From American investment banker, risk manager, attorney, and financial commentator James Rickards, in a recent interview with Schiff Gold’s Albert K. Lu:

I actually think of gold as money. Money is different from an investment or a commodity, so, is gold a commodity? Is it an investment? Is it money? Well, it depends a little bit. Like a chameleon, it changes color. I think of it as money. But I think that’s why there is such bitter opposition, and so many really canards and made-up stories, anti-gold. These come from the PhDs. Whoever controls money controls the world. You control wealth, you control politics; you control who wins and who loses. It’s a very powerful thing to control.

Who controls money today? The answer is the central banks, and those are all PhDs, they come from MIT, Harvard, Chicago, Stanford, just a really small number of universities. They all know each other. It’s a club. Well, if you were in this PhD club that controls the central banks, you wouldn’t want people to even think about gold. You wouldn’t want them to talk about gold, because gold is the competition. Gold is the other money that can render their power meaningless. And so they perpetuate these myths about gold. Unfortunately, a lot of students, a lot of journalists, a lot of everyday citizens follow the leader, follow these PhDs without ever examining the assumptions…

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

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on information found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is 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 on the site.)

Rickard’s new book…

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Quote For The Week

“This is an economy on a solid course. Not a bubble economy. We try carefully to look at evidence of a potential financial instability that might be brewing, and some of the hallmarks of that are clearly-overvalued asset prices, high leverage, rising leverage, and rapid credit growth. We certainly don’t see those imbalances. And so, although interest rates are low and that is something that can encourage reach for yield behavior, I certainly wouldn’t describe this as a bubble economy…”

-Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, speaking at New York City’s International House on April 7, 2015

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

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Signs Of The Time, Part 98

“Well, if they’re in Illinois today, they’re probably so much in love with Illinois that they’re not going to leave”

-Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, on whether a proposed tax hike on millionaires might drive them from the state, Chicago Tribune website, March 21, 2014

According to a report last month from the Johannesburg, South Africa-based research firm New World Wealth, about 3,000 individuals with net assets of $1 million or more, not including their primary residence, moved out of Chicago in 2015. From the March 2016 report entitled “Millionaire migration in 2015”:

The following cities had the biggest net outflows of millionaires in 2015

Country/Outflow of millionaires in 2015/Millionaires, 2015/% lost

1. Paris, 7 000, 126 000, 6%
2. Rome, 5 000, 73 100, 7%
3. Chicago, 3 000, 134 000, 2%

Destinations:

• Paris: most moved to the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and Israel.
• Rome: most moved to the UK and USA.
Chicago: most moved to other parts of USA (internal migration)

Why did they leave?

We interviewed migration experts and HNWIs to find out on their reasons for leaving. Notable reasons that they mentioned included:

• Paris: Rising religious tensions, lack of opportunities.
• Rome: Economic slump, lack of opportunities.
Chicago: Rising racial tensions, rising crime levels

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Shocking, right?

The entire report can be view on the New World Wealth website here.

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

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Peter Schiff: ‘Phony’ Recovery ‘Another Federal Reserve Bubble Just Like The One That Popped In 2008

The CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, Peter Schiff, appeared on CNBC TV earlier Wednesday. Schiff, who correctly-called last decade’s housing crash and recent global economic crisis, talked to Rick Santelli in Chicago about the Federal Reserve, interest rates, and the U.S. economy. From their exchange:

SANTELLI: On April 1, you wrote a letter- you normally write lots of pieces- called “April Fool’s In March.” And there was a quote in there I have to read and the best way to get into it is just to read it. “It may be impossible to underestimate the gullibility of professional Fed watchers.” Why did you write that? What does it mean?
SCHIFF: Well, because remember in March you had people talking about the possibility of April being a live meeting, and everybody talking about whether or not the Fed was going to raise rates. All this is part of their bluff. It’s a charade. They really can’t raise rates because they don’t want to put too many holes in this bubble. Because this recovery was never real. It’s phony. It’s another Federal Reserve bubble just like the one that popped in 2008. Only this one is even bigger. And I think what we really should be talking about is not when the Fed is going to hike rates, but when they’re going to admit the economy is much weaker than they’ve been pretending, when are they going to cut rates, and when are they going to launch QE 4.


“Santelli Exchange: Fed ‘stimulus trap’”
CNBC Video

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

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is 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 contained herein.)

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Survival And Prosperity
Est. 2010, Chicagoland, USA
Christopher E. Hill, Editor

Successor to Boom2Bust.com
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