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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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Survival And Prosperity Terrorism Warnings

Regular Survival And Prosperity readers may recall some of these more recent terrorism warnings- and the despicable events that took place around the time the statements were made:

“Something tells me our friends in Western Europe might suffer a major terrorist attack before a strike against the United States…”

Survival And Prosperity, November 4, 2014

Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, January 7, 2015

“I still predict major terrorist attacks having the potential of inflicting large numbers of casualties will be directed against America and its allies in the future. The possible culprits being several, but including Muslim extremists like Al-Qaeda and its affiliates…”

Survival And Prosperity, January 7, 2015

November 13, 2015, Paris, France, terrorist attacks

“After the carnage in France, America and her allies remain in the crosshairs of the terrorists…”

Survival And Prosperity, November 13, 2015

“I too believe it’s only a matter of time before a major terror attack is launched by jihadists against the U.S…”

Survival And Prosperity, December 1, 2015

San Bernardino, California, terrorist attack, December 2, 2015

“So the San Bernardino, California, terrorist attack (pretty pathetic how some tried real hard to paint this as merely workplace-related violence) wasn’t exactly ‘major,’ and anyone with at least half-a-brain should have seen this coming. But the Muslim extremists are here, and they will strike again at the ‘homeland’ on the level of what just happened out on the ‘Left Coast’ (all that gun ‘control’ didn’t work out too well for California in this instance) all the way up to another 9/11-type attack with thousands of Americans dead…”

Survival And Prosperity, December 8, 2015

Brussels, Belgium, terrorist attacks, March 22, 2016

These days, my gut feeling tells me the jihadists will strike Europe (which includes Russia) again before the United States. Although I’ve read some material about a possible attack against the American “homeland” on or before Election Day.

More later…

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

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Wednesday, March 30th, 2016 Europe, Gun Rights, Preparedness, Public Safety, Religion, Security, Self-Defense, Terrorism, War Comments Off on Survival And Prosperity Terrorism Warnings

Signs Of The Time, Part 34

These days I try to publish “Signs Of The Time” material sometime around the middle of the week. The following just couldn’t wait. From RT.com on February 10:

When the Belgian government decided to pour cold water on the country’s firefighters and increase their retirement age, the men struck back with the same method… literally.

Several hundred firemen broke through police cordons and hosed down the prime minister’s office. The men, dressed in full gear, were smiling as they directed the water at the building… and the small bunch of police officers huddled in front of it.


“Firefighters vs Cops: Striking fire officers soak PM office in Brussels ”
YouTube Video

When I first saw the video I thought I was watching some kind of drill.

Once again, law enforcement gets hosed because of some unpopular decision made by politicians.

But like my girlfriend remarked this weekend when she saw the footage, the police officers are probably next in line to have their retirement screwed around with. Should that be the case, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them escorting the firefighters all the way back to the prime minister’s office.

Along with all the carnage going on in Athens this weekend, I have to wonder if we aren’t seeing a preview of things to come in the United States.

Source:

“Striking Brussels firemen soak cops, PM office (VIDEO).” RT.com. 10 Feb. 2012. (http://rt.com/news/firemen-belgium-hose-police-013/). 13 Feb. 2012.

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Monday, February 13th, 2012 Civil Strife, Europe, Government, Public Safety, Retirement, Signs Of The Time Comments Off on Signs Of The Time, Part 34

The Banking And Debt Crises Are Alive And Well

The International Monetary Fund has told some of the world’s largest economies to implement deficit cutting plans or risk a repeat of the sovereign debt crisis that has engulfed Greece and Ireland.

The warning by the Washington-based body today came as ratings agency Standard & Poor’s cut Japan’s long-term sovereign debt rating for the first time since 2002, saying Tokyo lacked a plan to deal with its debt.

The IMF said Japan, America, Brazil and many other indebted countries should agree targets for bringing borrowing under control. In an updated analysis on global debt and deficits, it said the pace of deficit reduction across the advanced economies was likely to slow this year, mainly because the US and Japan are preparing to increase their borrowing.

The Guardian (UK), January 27

Despite all the efforts of governments and central banks around the world, the debt crisis is alive and well. As is the banking crisis. While going through my e-mails this morning I happened to come across the following from Martin Weiss, chairman of The Weiss Group (which includes Weiss Research and Weiss Ratings) and author of The Ultimate Depression Survival Guide: Protect Your Savings, Boost Your Income, and Grow Wealthy Even in the Worst of Times. In yesterday’s issue of his Money and Markets letter Dr. Weiss wrote:

Indeed, just when Wall Street and Washington seemed to have most investors convinced that “the debt crisis is history,” a whole new series of shocks have rocked the world:

Egypt and Tunisia — supposedly models of economic stability and growth — are now prime candidates for financial defaults.

In response, Moody’s, Fitch, and S&P have hastily issued sovereign debt downgrades on both countries.

But no one — either in the U.S. or in the region — has a clue regarding the end game in the Arab world. Nearly all analysts have continually underestimated how far the upheaval can spread … how quickly governments can fall … how directly oil supplies can be crimped … and how broadly the crisis can impact the global economy.

Greece and Ireland — thought to be “saved” by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) — are likely to ultimately default on their debts anyhow, according to a majority of economists surveyed by Bloomberg last week. Meanwhile, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Italy, and other weak links in Europe are still reeling toward disasters of their own.

Several U.S. states are on the brink of financial ruin, facing $175 billion in deficits … $2.5 trillion in obligations to underfunded pension funds … and overall conditions so severe that Congress is quietly preparing new legislation to let them go bankrupt — possibly the only way out of their mess, according to the New York Times.

Hundreds of cities and towns are in worse shape, with one already- bankrupt city proposing that creditors get paid a meager five cents on the dollar.

And perhaps most ominous of all …

The IMF has just warned that the governments of the United States and Japan — the two single largest debtors on Earth — are risking a repeat of the sovereign debt crisis which engulfed Greece and Ireland.

Its reasoning: Despite endless budget debates, deficit commissions, and empty promises of “firm action,” neither country has lifted a finger to stop their debt explosions. This year …

• The U.S. is running its largest deficit of all time — nearly $1.5 trillion, according to the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, while …
• Japan has let its government debt burden soar past 200 percent of GDP, permanently crippling its economy.

Clearly, the debt crisis is not over. And obviously, we are not facing just one or two isolated brushfires. There are simply too many explosions in too many different regions and sectors to ignore.

What About the Banking Crisis?

Banking troubles may not be the lead headlines right now, but that doesn’t mean U.S. banks are out of the woods.

Quite the contrary, Weiss Ratings bank analyst Gene Kirsch tells us that:

• A total of 2,667 U.S. banks and thrifts now merit a Weiss rating of D+ (weak) or lower. And according to an evaluation of our rating scale by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), any Weiss rating in that category implies the institutions could be “vulnerable” to future financial difficulties or failures — not the best place for your money, despite FDIC insurance.
• In contrast, only 899 banks and thrifts merit a Weiss rating of B+ or better, which we consider strong.

Worse, on a state-by-state basis, the vulnerabilities in the banking industry are even more apparent! Gene scrutinized the banking environment in each of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, and he found that:

1. Seven states are suffering a shockingly high rate of bank failures — 4 percent in California; 5 to 6 percent in Washington, Oregon, Georgia and Florida; over 8 percent in Arizona; and a whopping 11 percent in Nevada!

2. In 12 states, more than HALF of the banks domiciled there have a Weiss rating of D+ or lower, as follows:

3. As you can see in the table above, the banking environment in Florida and Arizona is the worst of all: If you walk into a bank or thrift domiciled in either state, the chances are better than 7 out of 10 that you’ll be dealing with an institution that’s vulnerable.

How do we know?

Our Weiss ratings are based on the data the banks themselves submit to the authorities every quarter. We weigh each bank’s capital, earnings, asset quality, and liquidity. We check their vulnerability to mortgage defaults, rising interest rates, and any major crisis we believe could impact your safety.

Since 1990, we have issued grades on a total of 1,533 banks that subsequently failed and …

• For 90 percent of those banks, we issued a clear warning to the public ONE FULL YEAR ahead of time (defined by the GAO in its study of our ratings as a Weiss rating of D+ or lower).
• On nearly all of the rest, we issued a warning or a caution flag at least a few months before the failure.

Now, in more recent times, the problems in the banking industry have gotten a lot worse. Not only have we seen more bank failures, but we also have had more BIG bank failures.

In fact, just in the last two years, 49 relatively big banks and thrifts (with $1 billion or more in assets) have failed — and Weiss Ratings has issued an advance warning on every single one.

So when we say that at least seven out of 10 banks domiciled in Florida and Arizona are vulnerable, we’re not exaggerating.

It doesn’t mean all of them will fail; many should be able to avoid failure. What it does mean is that nearly all of these banks are probably at risk.

You Ask: “If My Bank Fails, Won’t the FDIC Cover My Account up to $250,000?”

Yes. But never forget:

• The FDIC does not cover investments you may have in bank-holding companies — such as common or preferred shares, bonds, or debentures.
• The FDIC does not guarantee continuation of your interest rate, lines of credit, or other business you may have with your bank.
• And ultimately, given the state of the nation’s finances overall, don’t be surprised if future FDIC’s coverage of failed banks involves serious delays and inconveniences.

Most important, never forget that you DO have choices. As Gene points out, there ARE 899 U.S. banks and thrifts that are financially strong — with or without the FDIC.

Plus, there are also states in which vulnerable banks are rare and bank failures even rarer — such as Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, West Virginia, and even Texas…

Good luck and God bless!

Martin

This investment news is brought to you by Money and Markets. Money and Markets is a free daily investment newsletter from Martin D. Weiss and Weiss Research analysts offering the latest investing news and financial insights for the stock market, including tips and advice on investing in gold, energy and oil. Dr. Weiss is a leader in the fields of investing, interest rates, financial safety and economic forecasting. To view archives or subscribe, visit http://www.moneyandmarkets.com.

Couldn’t have said it any better myself.

Source:

Weiss, Martin. “Shocking New Failures Possible in the U.S. and Overseas.” Money and Markets. 31 Jan. 2011. (http://www.moneyandmarkets.com/shocking-new-failures-possible-in-the-u-s-and-overseas-2-42535). 1 Feb. 2011.

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

Successor to Boom2Bust.com
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