crude oil

Jim Rogers: ‘This Is The Time To Buy Russia’

Investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers has been bullish on Russia for some time now. In fact, by the time I first blogged about his optimism for the country back in February 2013, he had already invested there.

Despite the recent crisis in the Crimea and subsequent sell-off of Russian assets by international investors, the former investing partner of George Soros hasn’t changed his mind about the former Communist nation. Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Daniel Bases reported on the Reuters website Sunday:

“Russia’s stock market right now is one of the cheapest in the world, and probably one of the most hated,” said investor and commodities guru Jim Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, in Singapore. “This is the time to buy Russia.”

(Editor: Bold added for emphasis)

Chavez-Dreyfuss and Bases added later in the piece:

Rogers, who has been investing in Russia for the last 1-1/2 years, said he bought Russian stocks last week. He said if more sanctions are imposed and the equities market declines further, there would be more buying opportunities in Russia.

Rogers said he is looking for non-energy companies – a tall order considering the RTS Index of 51 leading Russian companies is heavily skewed toward energy (58 percent of the index) and basic materials (13 percent)…

(Editor: Bold added for emphasis)

In January 2013, the Singapore-based investor identified Russia as one market holding the best prospects for investors. Next month, Rogers made it known he had bought Russian bonds and currency. By September, he revealed he had also bought Russian ETFs, but explained:

I don’t want to buy their oil and gas plays because I own enough oil and gas. I’m looking for other kinds of companies in Russia.

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

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

Source:

Chavez-Dreyfuss, Gertrude and Bases, Daniel. “Analysis: Russia sell-off spurs hunt for bargains.” Reuters.com. 30 Mar. 2014. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/30/us-emergingmarkets-russia-investing-anal-idUSBREA2T03720140330). 31 Mar. 2014.

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Retired BP Geologist Warns Global Oil Production Declining Over 4 Percent Annually

It’s been a long time since I last talked about peak oil production. Peak what? Yeah, the mainstream media would rather run stories about alternative energy and “unconventional” oil production, as if it will somehow make up for declining “conventional” oil production before we’re hit with another energy crunch.

I’ve been following this topic for close to a decade now. And some pretty informed individuals have deduced not only is the era of “cheap” crude oil gone, but global oil production is in the midst of a steady decline. Dr. Nafeez Ahmed wrote on The Guardian (UK) website on December 23:

A former British Petroleum (BP) geologist has warned that the age of cheap oil is long gone, bringing with it the danger of “continuous recession” and increased risk of conflict and hunger.

At a lecture on ‘Geohazards’ earlier this month as part of the postgraduate Natural Hazards for Insurers course at University College London (UCL), Dr. Richard G. Miller, who worked for BP from 1985 before retiring in 2008, said that official data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), US Energy Information Administration (EIA), International Monetary Fund (IMF), among other sources, showed that conventional oil had most likely peaked around 2008.

Dr. Miller critiqued the official industry line that global reserves will last 53 years at current rates of consumption, pointing out that “peaking is the result of declining production rates, not declining reserves.” Despite new discoveries and increasing reliance on unconventional oil and gas, 37 countries are already post-peak, and global oil production is declining at about 4.1% per year, or 3.5 million barrels a day (b/d) per year

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Dr. Miller, who used to prepare the annual BP in-house projections of future oil supply, not only agrees with the conservative conclusions of an earlier study by the government-funded UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) which predicted “a sustained decline in global conventional production appears probable before 2030 and there is significant risk of this beginning before 2020,” but is dismissive of shale oil and gas preventing a decline in global oil production.

Dr. Ahmed wrote an incredibly insightful piece, which you should read in its entirety over at The Guardian website here, since this really isn’t on the radar of the American press despite EIA data showing it should be a concern.

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

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Jim Rogers Bullish On Base Metals, Cocoa, Coffee, And Crude Oil

Another “crash prophet” was recently interviewed by The Economic Times (India). Well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers appeared on their business/financial news channel ET Now and talked about a number of financial and investing topics. Rogers, who correctly announced the start of the latest commodities boom in 1999, told viewers:

I own sugar. I bought sugar not long ago… I am optimistic about coffee, cocoa… Coffee is certainly down a lot, and it’s one that one should consider buying.

The former investing partner of George Soros also talked about base metals. Rogers said:

I’d rather buy base metals now than gold, for instance… The base metals are down substantially. There is all this money printing. And some of it is working its way into the economy. Some of that money will go into base metals as a way to protect ourselves against inflation and currency debasement. So, yes- I’d much rather buy base metals that precious metals.

Finally, the Chairman of Rogers Holdings touched on crude oil. Rogers pointed out:

Well, there is a certain excess supply in the crude market at the moment because of the shale boom in the U.S. I’m not sure how much longer that’s going to last because those wells are very short-lived wells and the production declines pretty quickly. But, at the moment we certainly do have a glut, and we could very well see lower prices. But don’t sell your crude, because if prices go lower, first of all it cuts back on the shale, because shale has to have high prices in order to bring it to market. And second, oil is going to go much higher over the decade. Other reserves around the world- known reserves- are in decline. Every other country in the world has declining reserves. So, this is a temporary thing.

You can view the entire interview with Jim Rogers on The Economic Times website here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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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Marc Faber: Crude Oil Probably ‘The Most Attractive Commodity’ Among Industrial Commodities

“Doctor Doom” Marc Faber was recently interviewed by The Economic Times (India). In a November 8, 2013, video segment on the Times website, the Swiss-born investment advisor and fund manager shared his thoughts on gold and crude oil:

The price of gold at this level is not terribly high compared to the wealth creation in the world compared to the expansion of the central banks’ balance sheets compared to the tech explosion and so forth and so on. So ja, I continue to recommend people that they allocate some of their money to gold. I prefer physical gold, but I have to say that numerous gold mining shares are now very inexpensive. Crude oil is probably, among the industrial commodities, the most attractive commodity because the supply of oil could be interrupted at some point.

Source:

“Prefer buying physical gold: Marc Faber.” The Economic Times. 8 Nov. 2013. (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/et-now/commodities/prefer-buying-physical-gold-marc-faber/videoshow/25453685.cms) 10 Nov. 2013.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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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Jeremy Grantham’s Latest Investment Advice

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about Jeremy Grantham, the co-founder and chief investment strategist of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (GMO). To be fair, the British-born investment advisor has been taking a break from his popular quarterly investment letter that’s published on the GMO website. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mr. Grantham, he’s designated one of this blog’s “crash prophets” along with Marc Faber, Jim Rogers, and Peter Schiff due to his special talent for correctly-calling the direction of the financial markets. He so good that individual clients have included Secretary of State John Kerry and former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Grantham was the subject of a September 20 article in The Wall Street Journal in which Ian Salisbury asked him about investment-related topics, such as the depletion of natural resources on Earth. From the Q and A session:

Q: What are investors supposed to do?
A: The investment implications are, of course, own stock in the ground, own great resources, reserves of phosphorous, potash, oil, copper, tin, zinc—you name it. I’d be less enthusiastic about aluminum and iron ore just because there is so much. And I wouldn’t own coal, and I wouldn’t own tar sands. It’s hugely expensive to build coal utilities, and the plants they have to build for tar sands are massive, and before they get their money back I suspect that the price of solar and wind will have come down so much.

So I wouldn’t use that, but I think oil, the metals and particularly the fertilizers, I would own—and the most important of all is food. The pressures on food are worse than anything else, and therefore, what is the solution? Very good farming, which can be done. The emphasis from an investor’s point of view is on very good farmland. It’s had a big run. You can never afford to ignore price and value, but from time to time you can get good investments in farmland, and if you’re prepared to go abroad, you can do it today. I wouldn’t be too risky. I would stay with distinctly stable countries—Australia, New Zealand, Uruguay, Brazil, Canada, of course, and the U.S. But I would look around, in what I call the nooks and crannies. And forestry is the same. Forestry is not a bad bargain, a little overpriced maybe, but it’s in a world where everything is overpriced today, once again, courtesy of incredibly low interest rates that push people into investing. A wicked plot of the Federal Reserve.

Grantham also shared with Salisbury where he thought stocks were heading. Basically, not only does he think equities can go “a lot higher than this” with Fed backing, but they could even reach bubble territory.

It’s a really good, insightful interview, capped-off with a discussion about unbridled American optimism, which you can read in its entirety here on The Wall Street Journal website.

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

Source:

Salisbury, Ian. “Our Chat With Jeremy Grantham.” The Wall Street Journal. 20 Sep. 2013. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323665504579032934293143524.html). 24 Sep. 2013.

(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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AAA Predicts Falling Gas Prices, Except In Great Lakes Region

Usually around this time of year, I commute more often between my pad in Chicago and my family’s place in southeastern Wisconsin. While that won’t be happening as much in 2013 due to everything that’s going on around here, I still like to keep on top of gas prices to get an idea of how much I’ll be shelling out to enjoy the open road.

(Editor’s note: Open road my butt. This is the Chicago metropolitan area, where if bumper-to-bumper gridlock isn’t taking place, you’re dealing with drivers who are distracted, in a hurry to go nowhere, or who really just don’t care about the rules of the road. And a “good drive” is one where you don’t lose a hubcap/wheel cover from a pothole that goes all the way to China.)

Venting process complete.

Anyway, here’s some highlights from the “AAA Monthly Gas Price Report: April 2013 Trends and Summer Outlook” that’s just been released on the “NewsRoom” section of the AAA website:

• Gas prices nationally averaged $3.55 per gallon in April, which was the least expensive average for the month since 2010. Gas prices dropped about 13 cents per gallon in April (3.5 percent), which was the largest percentage decline for the month in ten years. In comparison, gas prices in 2012 averaged $3.89 for the month, while the average price in April 2011 was $3.79 per gallon.
• Gas prices should drop to $3.20 to $3.40 per gallon by mid-summer if current trends continue in regards to oil prices, motorist demand and refinery production. Gas prices in recent years have declined in early summer after reaching a springtime peak as refineries ramp up gasoline production in anticipation of the summer driving season.
• The cheapest gas prices are predominately in the Southeast where extensive refinery production and lower-than-average taxes have helped keep prices low in comparison to the rest of the country. Gas prices in the Great Lakes region have increased in recent weeks because of planned refinery maintenance and unscheduled outages following recent heavy storms.
• The five states with the highest averages today include: Hawaii ($4.34), Alaska ($3.97), Ill. ($3.91), Calif. ($3.90) and Mich. ($3.79). The five states with the cheapest gas price averages today include: S.C. ($3.23), Tenn. ($3.26), Ala. ($3.27), Ark. ($3.27) and Miss. ($3.28).

As for me in Chicago? Prices at the pump have not only been brutal this spring, but are expected to go higher. Samantha Bomkamp reported on the Chicago Tribune website last night:

AAA said Tuesday that motorists nationwide are paying the lowest springtime gas prices in three years, but don’t tell that to drivers in Illinois.

Despite a recent dip, drivers here are paying the highest average price in the lower 48 states. With a statewide average on Tuesday of $3.91 a gallon, Illinois drivers are paying more than every state except Alaska at $3.97 and Hawaii and $4.34.

Costs are even higher in Chicago where the average price was $4.32 per gallon Tuesday, according to AAA. Prices averaged $4.14 in the suburbs…

While AAA predicts that drivers nationally should see gas prices fall even lower, motorists in Illinois and other Great Lakes states should see even higher prices as maintenance continues on refineries that provide most of the region’s gas supplies.

It’s a good thing I fill up in Wisconsin, where the price of gas is routinely cheaper.

East bound and down, loaded up and truckin’…

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

Sources:

“AAA Monthly Gas Price Report: April 2013 Trends and Summer Outlook.” AAA. 29 Apr. 2013. (http://newsroom.aaa.com/2013/04/aaa-monthly-gas-price-report-april-2013-trends-and-summer-outlook/). 1 May 2013.

Bomkamp, Samantha. “Gas prices ease nationwide while Ill. marches higher.” Chicago Tribune. 30 Apr. 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-gas-prices-ease-nationwide-while-ill-marches-higher-20130430,0,3861102.story). 1 May 2013.

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Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 Energy, Transportation, Travel, Vehicles No Comments

Peter Schiff: Stock Market Rally ‘An Illusion’

Marc Faber. Jim Rogers. Peter Schiff.

Three “crash prophets” who correctly predicted the 2008 financial crisis in the United States.

I’ve already blogged today about what Faber and Rogers think of rising U.S. stock prices- and what they suspect is behind it.

How about Schiff, the CEO/Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital and CEO of Euro Pacific Precious Metals, LLC?

From his February 1 entry on the The Schiff Report YouTube video blog:

Well the Dow Jones closed above 14,000 today. That’s something it hasn’t done since November 2007. Of course, the media is going to make a big deal about Dow 14,000, the economy is coming back, the markets are coming back.

But, of course, all of this is an illusion created by inflation.

When you debase your currency- when you have inflated dollars that you use to measure stock prices- of course stock prices are going to go up. The price of everything is going up. The government denies there’s inflation. But prices prove it. As if we even need that. The money supply going up is the sheer definition of inflation. And we’re creating a lot of money. And prices are responding by rising, and stock prices are no exception.

But remember, the last time the Dow Jones was at 14,000 back in ’07, gold was about $700 an ounce. Today, gold’s about $1,600 an ounce. So the Dow would have to double from here, and it still wouldn’t be where it was in terms of real money five-and-a-half years ago.

So this rally is an illusion.

But the people on Wall Street don’t even want to acknowledge that.

And going forward? Schiff pointed out:

We’re already at 0 percent interest rates, we’re already at 8 percent unemployment- 14 percent if you use the U-6 number. And that’s as good as it gets during a recovery. And now we’re already trending down.

And I think if the Federal Reserve wants to slow down the rise in interest rates- which we know it does- it’s going to have to accelerate the QE. I don’t think $85 billion of money printing is enough to keep interest rates from rising. And so they’re going to have to print even more. That means the dollar is going lower. Commodity prices going higher. Looks what’s happened to oil prices- they’re almost at $98 a barrel. Look at Brent- Brent Crude is really up. It’s almost at a $20 premium now over North Sea. Gold prices have been stable, but I think gold’s about to take off. I think on Wall Street they’re rationalizing. They’re selling gold and selling gold stocks because they claim that the crisis is over, there’s nothing to worry about anymore, Europe isn’t falling apart, the U.S. economy is getting better, so there’s no reason to own gold. And so you sell gold and you sell your gold stocks. But they don’t understand. People weren’t buying gold because of the European crisis or because of even the U.S. financial crisis. They were buying gold long before those crises began. Look at how gold was doing from 2000 to 2007, 2008. It did better before the crisis than it did during the crisis because the real crisis that worries the gold buyer is a currency crisis. People aren’t buying gold because they’re worried about political uncertainty. They’re buying gold because the politicians are printing too much money. Well, the cheap money policies that were in place prior to the 2008 financial crisis are still here, only, it’s worse. It’s more excessive. The monetary policy is easier. Rates are lower. Central banks are printing money even faster. So, instead of there being no more reasons to buy gold, the reasons have never been better. There have never been more reasons to buy gold, it’s just that Wall Street doesn’t understand this yet. But they will.


“Dow 14,000, GDP, Jobs, Fed, inflation, treasuries, & gold.”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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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Jim Rogers Talks About Potential Investment Opportunities In Commodities, His Portfolio

I don’t like to buy things that are moving up. I like to buy things that are moving down… I don’t want to buy anything for a 5 to 10 percent move- that’s not the way I invest. Now, there are many short-term traders who make brilliant amounts of money as short-term traders and a 5 or 10 percent move up is great for them. It’s not my way of investing. I like to find things that are going to go up for many years and go up many many percentages.

-Investor Jim Rogers, on CNBC Awaaz (India) in early September

Legendary investor Jim Rogers recently appeared on the Indian financial news channel CNBC Awaaz. On their Market Leaders show, Rogers talked primarily about commodities, potential investment opportunities in hard assets, and what his portfolio looks like these days.

When asked if the commodities bully market is over, the Singapore-based investor who correctly predicted its beginning back in 1999 told viewers:

Oh no no no, not at all. It will be over eventually. It will be over someday. All bull markets have come to an end. But Gorica (spelling?), it will not come to an end until a lot of supply comes on-stream.

On the topic of supply, Rogers said:

I don’t expect world economic conditions to get better anytime soon. I would suspect that 2013 and 2014 will see worse economic conditions after the American election is over, and after the German election is over. I think you’ll see worse conditions. Which means, of course, that there’s not much supply. Now Gorica, if the world economy gets better, then obviously they are going to be shortages of commodities because we don’t have much supply. But, let’s assume I’m right, and the world economy doesn’t get better, then you’re going to have most governments printing a lot of money- that’s not good for the world. But unfortunately, that’s what politicians do. And when people debase currencies, when they print money, the way to protect yourself is to own real assets.

The creator of the Rogers International Commodities Index (RICI) back in 1998 said there were potential investment opportunities in agriculture, precious metals, and crude oil. On agriculture, Rogers said:

If I were an investor looking to invest in commodities, I would start by looking at the things that are most depressed…

Sugar, for instance, is 65 or 70 percent below it’s all-time high… You know, sugar is down 65 to 70 percent from where it was 38 years ago Gorica. That’s astonishing…

Cotton had a big run-up two or three years ago. Made all-time highs. It has come down sharply since then because people planted more cotton. But I would be optimistic about cotton because the prices are down dramatically from where they were. They still are not high enough to bring in lots of new production yet. The world economy has not collapsed yet. China is a net importer of cotton. So, I would be looking favorably at cotton. If someone were looking for a potential place for new investments in agriculture, I would suggest cotton as a place to start looking, because the prices are down from historic highs.

Regarding precious metals, the Chairman of Rogers Holdings repeated a lot of what he’s been saying lately about gold. Rogers said:

I own gold. I am not selling gold. Whenever gold goes down, I buy more. If it goes down a lot, I hope I’m smart enough to buy a lot more, because the price is going to go up much higher over the next decade. Gorica, politicians around the world are printing a lot of money. That’s the wrong thing to do but that’s what they’re doing. And whenever they print money, the way to protect yourself is to own gold, silver, platinum, palladium. Any precious item will protect you in periods like that.

The former investing partner of George Soros likes the prospects of silver more than gold. Rogers explained:

Well, of the two, if I had to buy one today, Gorica, I would buy silver… Silver is about 40 percent below its all-time high. Gold is about 10 or 15 percent below its all-time high. I usually prefer the things that are cheaper. I’m not buying either today, but if I were buying one today, Gorica, I would buy silver on a valuation basis. I own them both. I’m keen on both. Both will go much higher over the next decade. Silver, at the moment, happens to be the cheaper of the two.

The commodities guru sees crude oil going over $150 a barrel in the coming decade. Rogers told viewers:

If America goes to war with Iran, crude’s going to go to $200. If Spain goes bankrupt next month, or somebody, some big surprise occurs in the market, then crude could go to $80 or $70. Who knows where it would go with some sort of sudden bankruptcy. It depends on world conditions. When crude goes down, I buy more. If it goes up, I sit and watch, because I do know that crude is going to go over $150, over $200 a barrel- U.S. dollars a barrel- over the course of the decade…

But I own it, and I don’t plan to sell it for a long time to come.

Talking about his investment portfolio, Jim Rogers revealed:

I mainly am long commodities and long currencies. And I’m short stocks in my portfolio…

I happen to be very bullish on commodities. I think I know what I’m doing. I think that the big shortages are developing, as I said. Whether the economy gets better or doesn’t get better, I want to have my money in commodities.

Great interview.


“Market Leaders: Jim Rogers”
YouTube Video

(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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Peter Schiff Claims QE3 Attempt To Inflate Another Housing Bubble, Shares Investment Advice

Anyone who’s visited Survival And Prosperity over the last two weeks probably noticed all the housekeeping items and other topics besides finance I’ve been blogging about. Whew! Time to move on. And who better to get back on track with as it concerns economics, finance, and investing than one of the original “crash prophets,” Peter Schiff. In his September 14 entry on the The Schiff Report YouTube video blog, Schiff, who correctly-predicted the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and 2008 global economic crisis, explained to viewers what QE3 was really about:

This is the plan that Ben Bernanke has. Ben Bernanke’s plan to revive the U.S. economy, and create jobs, is to inflate another housing bubble. That’s it. That’s what the Fed’s got. That’s what it came up with. As if the last housing bubble worked out so well for the economy, that the Fed wants an encore…

How is another housing bubble going to solve anything. Now one thing that Ben Bernanke hasn’t figured out yet- it ain’t gonna work. No matter how much he tries, no matter how much air he blows in to that housing market, he’s not going to reflate that bubble. There are simply too many holes in it, and there is no precedent for relating a busted bubble. More likely, all that cheap money is going to go someplace else…

So where is all this money going to go? Commodities. It’s going to go to gold. It’s going to go to silver. It’s going to go into oil. It’s going to go into agriculture. It is not going to make the economy better. It’s going to make the economy worse. It’s not going to create jobs. But what it is going to create is a higher cost of living for everybody, whether you have a job or whether you’re unemployed. And believe me, if people are spending more money on food, and more money on energy, they’re not going to have any extra money left over for discretionary spending. None of this is going to work.

The President/Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital and CEO of Euro Pacific Precious Metals shared the following investment advice:

You’ve got to look through all this smoke. You got to buy gold, buy silver. Get out of dollars. Get out while you can. Get into real things. Own stocks outside the United States, in currencies with dividends and income that are not U.S. dollars.

This is the most important thing that you can probably do. You’ve got to save yourself first if we’re going to save our country… We’re going to go over a real fiscal cliff. We have a real crisis coming because of the Fed, but we’ve got to protect ourselves.


“Operation Screw: The Fed goes all-in on QE”
YouTube Video

(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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Post Number 1,000

Well here we are.

Post number 1,000 on Survival And Prosperity, “Protecting and Growing Self and Wealth in These Uncertain Times.”

It feels like it was only yesterday when I launched this successor to Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street.” In fact, it’s been almost 22 months since its debut. My how time flies. Especially when bad economic news keeps piling on. The Pollyanna gang might argue that Keynesian strategies pursued by Washington and the Fed successfully ended the “Great Recession” and have put the United States on a sustainable path to recovery. I’m of the approach that when a lot of money is poured into the financial system you’re bound to see some sort of pick-up in activity. At least initially. And, as we’ve witnessed, only temporarily, as more “stimulus” is required to keep the whole thing afloat.

But where has that left the country? As of last week, over $16 trillion in debt. And on the verge of yet another “quantitative easing.” And anyone who really believes debt doesn’t matter is in for a rude awakening when the nation’s “financial reckoning day” finally does arrives.

Since the launch of Boom2Bust.com back in May 2007, I’ve been warning about a coming U.S. financial crash. As much as some might credit me for calling it, the maelstrom that blew through the U.S. and global economies back in the fall of 2008 was only a part of the collapse that I still see heading our way. Somewhat surprisingly, Washington and the Fed have managed to “kick the can down the road” for the time being. But the road only goes so far. Will the crash happen all it once, or will it be drawn out over several years? I don’t know. I just know that my interpretation of the available data leads me to believe its coming.

To complicate matters, these days Americans must take into account other threats besides an economic crash. Depending on what one believes, these could include:

• Global warming
• Nuclear terrorism
• Overpopulation
• Pandemic
• Peak oil production
• Resource shortages
• Solar flares

There are others. Nevertheless, a lot of threats exist these days which endanger our survival and prosperity.

So in 2012, are we looking at the end of the world? Probably not. But most likely the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI), particularly as it relates to the U.S. economy and larger financial system. Accordingly, life in America is about to get a whole lot tougher for most (if it already hasn’t). A number of really smart individuals who predicted the 2008 global economic crisis and “Great Recession” suggest we could see:

• Civil strife, including rioting and looting
• Currency controls
• Hyperinflation
• Martial law
• Much higher taxes and fees
• Rampant crime
• “Second Great Depression”

There’s more, but I think you get the picture.

Despite all this, I must remind you that I’m not talking about the end of the world here. Remember, even at its worst unemployment during the Great Depression ran somewhere around 25 percent. While that really sucked for those without a job, not everyone found themselves in a soup kitchen line. The economy and society, though hobbled, still functioned.

I’m a big believer that, despite the coming crash, things will turn out okay for America in the long-run.

I also believe that focusing on one’s personal and financial safety and growth right now will go a long way in helping you and your loved ones come out on the other side of the approaching storm in reasonably good shape.

Wishing you all the best now, and down the rocky road I see in store for us,

Christopher E. Hill
Editor

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Citigroup: Saudi Arabia To Stop Exporting Oil By 2030

The International Energy Agency has released its World Energy Outlook for 2010, forecasting for the first time that the global crude oil production peak that so many have long feared, has in fact already been reached-more than four years ago.

-Reuters.com, November 18, 2010

Here’s something you probably won’t hear through many of the mainstream media outlets in the United States. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote on The Telegraph (UK) website yesterday:

If Citigroup is right, Saudi Arabia will cease to be an oil exporter by 2030, far sooner than previously thought.

A 150-page report by Heidy Rehman on the Saudi petrochemical industry should be sober reading for those who think that shale oil and gas have solved our global energy crunch…

From Heidy Rehman at Citi:

• Saudi Arabia Could be an Oil Importer by ~2030 — Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil producer (11.1mbpd) & exporter (7.7mbpd). It also consumes 25% of its production. Energy consumption per capita exceeds that of most industrial nations. Oil & its derivatives account for ~50% of Saudi’s electricity production, used mostly (>50%) for residential use. Peak power demand is growing by ~8%/yr. Our analysis shows that if nothing changes Saudi may have no available oil for export by 2030

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Last year, confidential cables between the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Washington, D.C., that were released by WikiLeaks suggested Saudi Arabian oil reserves may be overstated. John Vidal wrote on The Guardian (UK) website back on February 8, 2011:

The US fears that Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude oil exporter, may not have enough reserves to prevent oil prices escalating, confidential cables from its embassy in Riyadh show.

The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom’s crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – nearly 40%

According to the cables, which date between 2007-09, [geologist and former head of exploration at the Saudi oil monopoly Aramco Sadad] Husseini said Saudi Arabia might reach an output of 12m barrels a day in 10 years but before then – possibly as early as 2012 – global oil production would have hit its highest point.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Plenty of crude oil for everyone. Nothing to see here. Move along…

Sources:

Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose. “Saudi oil well dries up.” The Telegraph. 5 Sep. 2012. (http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ambroseevans-pritchard/100019812/saudi-oil-well-dries-up/). 6 Sep. 2012.

Vidal, John. “WikiLeaks cables: Saudi Arabia cannot pump enough oil to keep a lid on prices.” The Guardian. 8 Feb. 2011. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/feb/08/saudi-oil-reserves-overstated-wikileaks). 6 Sep. 2012.

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Thursday, September 6th, 2012 Commodities, Energy, Middle East, Natural Resources No Comments

IMF’s Lagarde: U.S. Fiscal Cliff Is ‘Risk Number One’ To Global Economy

Washington policymakers have seen Europe’s ongoing sovereign debt crisis as a welcome distraction away from America’s financial woes. But Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, recently pointed out the danger our economic ills pose to the global economy. From MNI (a leading provider of global foreign exchange and fixed income markets news/intelligence) last Thursday:

The looming US fiscal cliff is the number one risk globally at present, followed by the Eurozone and then the threat of another oil price surge, IMF head Christine Lagarde says.

Lagarde, speaking at the Global Investment Conference here, said the Eurozone is clearly at the epicentre of the crisis right now but is far from the only risk at present.

Risk number one … is clearly the fiscal cliff in the United States of America, where the deficit and debt to GDP ratios are actually worse than in the Eurozone,” she said.

Although the US does not face the Eurozone’s challenge of trying to secure accords with a host of states, its legislators are also struggling to take action.

“There is great uncertainty as to how Congress is going to actually deal with this fiscal cliff,” she said.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

According to Reuters on Sunday, Congress will try to work something out concerning this “fiscal cliff”- after the November elections. From their website on July 29:

The U.S. Congress is unlikely to resolve looming tax and spending issues before the Nov. 6 elections, a top Senate Democrat said on Sunday, but lawmakers are working on a proposal to tackle the issue after the elections.

Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said a bipartisan group of eight lawmakers is in talks to develop a solution to the steep tax increases and spending cuts, known as a “fiscal cliff,” that take effect at the end of the year if no action is taken.

Stay tuned…

Sources:

“IMF Lagarde: US Fiscal Cliff Key Global Risk; Oil A Worry.” MNI. 26 July 2012. (https://mninews.deutsche-boerse.com/index.php/imf-lagarde-us-fiscal-cliff-key-global-risk-oil-worry?q=content/imf-lagarde-us-fiscal-cliff-key-global-risk-oil-worry). 1 Aug. 2012.

“Durbin: US ‘fiscal cliff’ solution unlikely before election.” Reuters. 29 July 2012. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/29/usa-congress-fiscalcliff-idUSL2E8IT1AZ20120729). 1 Aug. 2012.

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Jim Rogers Sees Civil Strife Coming To America

Yesterday, MarketWatch ran a WSJ Live News Hub video in which well-known investor Jim Rogers appeared and talked about a number of topics. The Chairman of Rogers Holdings suspects social unrest of the type seen in Europe will eventually come to our shores:

NEWS HUB: So when we saw pictures in Greece of fire bombings and of stones being thrown and the police in running battles- do you expect to see that here in the U.S.? Maybe down here in New York City.

ROGERS: We saw it in London. We’ve seen it in several countries in Europe in the last year or two. Yes, I expect to see it here too. If you don’t then you should look out the window.

The former investing partner of George Soros predicts inflation in the United States will get worse:

NEWS HUB: So, what do you worry about particularly with inflation? Do you think inflation here in the U.S. is going to get out of control? Do you think the Fed will be unable to control it and keep it under wraps?

ROGERS: Absolutely. They’ve been printing staggering amounts of money. They taken staggering amounts of debt onto their balance sheet- much of it is garbage. The federal government is spending huge amounts of money they don’t have. We have inflation in the U.S.- it’s going to get worse, Simon.

The Singapore-based investor who correctly predicted the commodity bull market that began in 1999 still likes hard assets:

NEWS HUB: Where are you putting your money?

ROGERS: I mainly own raw materials- natural resources- because in times of inflation… Well, let’s put it this way. If the economy gets better, there’s going to be shortages of those raw materials and I’m going to make money. If the economy doesn’t get better Simon, then they’re going to print a lot more money. Mr. Bernanke doesn’t know anything else to do except print money. And throughout history, when governments have debased the currency, you protect yourself by owning real assets. Whether it’s silver, or rice, or whatever it happens to be.

On gold and crude oil, Rogers said he owns both of them. Despite the precious metal’s recent consolidation in price, he said:

I’m not selling my gold by any stretch of the imagination.

And the creator of the Rogers International Commodities Index (RICI) back in 1998 thinks highly of crude oil. From the exchange:

The surprise with oil is going to be how high it stays, and how high it goes. Simon, the International Energy Agency has done a study. The world’s known reserves of oil are in steady decline. We have to find a lot of oil or the price of oil is going to go to unheard of heights.

It’s a great interview. And there’s much more I didn’t touch on, including what Rogers thinks about the upcoming presidential election in November.


“Jim Rogers on Markets, Economy and China”
MarketWatch Video

(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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Gas Price Surge Over? Maybe Not

Not many people like surging gas prices. And earlier this year a number of analysts predicted rising prices at the pump through spring. But now, the mainstream media is reporting gasoline prices may have peaked. From the Chicago Sun-Times website yesterday:

This year’s surge in gasoline prices appears over, falling short of the record highs nationally some had feared heading into peak summer driving season.

Prices have held at a national average of $3.92 a gallon the past week, below 2011’s $3.99 high and July 2008’s record $4.11.

“By the behavior of the market, things are just running out of steam,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior analyst for price tracker gasbuddy.com. “Barring any major event — refinery problems, Iran — I think prices have peaked.”

DeHaan said the national average could dip to $3.70 a gallon by early May.

Typically, prices peak shortly before Memorial Day.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Sounds great to me. And then there’s this from MSNBC.com Wednesday afternoon:

Indeed, while there are still plenty of pessimists wondering how much beyond the previous record oil prices might yet go there are signs that the run-up at the gas price has or will soon reach its peak. Those who think the numbers could soon start falling point to factors such as the weak European economy, the slow American recovery and signals from the Iranian government it may be willing to compromise on its controversial nuclear program.

That’s good news for weary motorists who have been bombarded with pessimistic headlines counting the days until gas would pass the previous $4.11 record set in July 2008. Some observers have been forecasting the market wouldn’t settle down until gas came closer to the $5 mark, in fact…

“I think it’s at a plateau, for now,” said Denton Cinquegrana, senior editor for West Coast fuel markets at the Oil Price Information Service, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I just don’t see how that record is going to happen this year.”

Analysts with the gas tracking service gasbuddy.com also are predicting the fuel price surge has now run its course…

“Even if demand were to surge, we have flush supplies, a lot of refining capacity and repeated assurances that Saudi Arabia would step in and hike production if there are problems with Iran,” Trilby Lundberg, of the Lundberg Survey, told USA Today.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Now, I’m all for cheap gas prices. However, I’m not sure I buy the claims that prices at the pump may have peaked for the year, if only because such forecasting seems to be like predicting the weather. Case in point, take a look again at what Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy.com said in that Sun-Times piece. Then note what I posted yesterday in a comment on that article:

“This year’s surge in gasoline prices appears over…” The lull in the Iranian nuclear crisis and resultant jawboning, especially as it concerns drawing down on “emergency” crude oil reserves, seems to have worked this time around. However, too many X-factors out there these days- and going forth- to convincingly argue a top is in. Be prepared for someone to call you out on this down the road. By the way, from the FOX Business website on February 6- “Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com, is forecasting prices will peak in May- by Memorial Day weekend at the latest.” Goes to show predicting gas prices is kind of like forecasting the weather- plenty of wrong calls.

In addition, consider the following which could very well send prices at the pump higher:

• While I was somewhat startled MSNBC.com begrudgingly admitted to “the slow American recovery,” it’s an election year. Washington, with the help of the Federal Reserve, will do whatever they can to make sure (or at least give the appearance of) the U.S. economy is firing on all cylinders through November.

• In my opinion, Iran will do whatever it takes to acquire a nuclear weapon. The Iranians fully-understand that once they have “The Bomb,” not only will they be taken more seriously on the World Stage (look at North Korea), but potential adversaries will think twice about messing with them. Which is important, as a number of long-time Iran observers are convinced the Islamic republic is attempting to expand its influence in the region- made much easier by the ongoing withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. It might appear Iran “may be willing to compromise on its controversial nuclear program,” but it wouldn’t be a surprise if they’re still hard at work on weaponizing their nuclear program. Like clockwork, it’s only a matter of time before the Iranian nuclear crisis flares up again, especially at this stage of the game.

• Not only is it possible that Saudi Arabia will not be able to hike crude oil production fast enough to offset a ban on Iranian oil due to come into effect in July, but once production reaches this level, it may not be sweet crude and the surge in output could be for a limited time only. Cyrus Sanati wrote on the CNN Money website on March 21:

Officially, Saudi Arabia’s full production capacity is around 12.5 million barrels a day, which is 2.5 million barrels a day above its current production level. It also just happens to be Iran’s production limit, which could lead one to believe that the Saudis could possibly make up for any lost Iranian production. But given the frenzied production rates of late and all the new drilling rigs in operation, many analysts believe that it would take several months to push production up to its ceiling. And even if it could somehow hit that level it may not be sustainable as it would mean raising production to levels that could actually damage the fields.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Matt Egan wrote on the FOX Business website on March 29:

Likewise, even if the Saudis were able to ramp up production to make up for the estimated 800,000 barrels per day that Iran would lose due to tough sanctions, it likely wouldn’t be the light, sweet crude that the market craves.

[Saudi oil minister Ali] Naimi insists that Saudi oil is “suitable, and acceptable, for most global refineries,” but skepticism remains.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Diplomatic cables leaked last year revealed Sadad al Husseini, the retired executive vice president of exploration and development of Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, Saudi Aramco, warned the United States that crude oil reserves in Saudi Arabia might be 40 percent lower than what is officially claimed.

Similar claims about the Saudis overstating their oil reserves have been circulating for a few years now.

Factor in unforeseen snags at America’s aging refineries and the unpredictable U.S. Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico hurricane season, and it becomes even more clear as to why I’m skeptical of claims that the surge in gas prices may have peaked.

Sources:

“Looks like gas price surge is over for 2012.” Chicago Sun Times. 11 Apr. 2012. (http://www.suntimes.com/11838062-417/looks-like-gas-price-surge-is-over-for-2012.html). 12 Apr. 2012.

“Have pump prices peaked? Some experts think so.” MSNBC. 11 Apr. 2012. (http://bottomline.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/11/11147247-have-pump-prices-peaked-some-experts-think-so?lite). 12 Apr. 2012.

Sanati, Cyrus. “Saudi Arabia can’t save us from high oil prices.” CNN Money. 21 Mar. 2012. (http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2012/03/21/saudi-arabia-oil/). 12 Apr. 2012

Egan, Matt. “Saudi Op-Ed Leaves Some Demanding: Show Us the Oil.” FOX Business. 29 Mar. 2012. (http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2012/03/29/saudi-op-ed-leaves-some-demanding-show-us-oil/). 12 Apr. 2012.

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On TV: Doomsday Preppers, Episode 8

I finally got the chance to watch episode number 8 of the National Geographic Channel TV series Doomsday Preppers.

The show focused on three groups of preppers Tuesday night, March 27. In order of appearance:

Bruce Beach, rural Ontario, Canada
Bruce and his family have built a massive underground shelter in anticipation of an inevitable nuclear war. “We are not about survival. We are about reconstruction.”

Jeremy and Kelly, outside Salt Lake City, Utah
“I’m preparing for the collapse of society due to peak oil”

Bradford Frank, San Diego, California
“I’m preparing for a worldwide pandemic that will end life as we know it”

Here are my thoughts about episode 8 of Doomsday Preppers, broken down by prepper group:

Bruce Beach

Bruce Beach is a retired scientist who thinks the world as we know it will end by nuclear destruction. According to Bruce:

This is going to be a universal catastrophe. It’s that sudden. I don’t think there’s going to be a two-minute warning. There’s a distinct possibility that mankind can destroy itself. I think nuclear war is inevitable. In a catastrophe this size, 80 percent of the population will die during the first 2 years. The things that will kill them are social disruption, plagues, lack of food, lack of heat, exposure. It’s a random sort of thing as to who’s going to be saved and who isn’t.

Thinking this will be our fate, Bruce has been preparing for decades now to rescue humanity. From the show:

To save mankind from apocalyptic destruction, Bruce has taken it upon himself to build a haven for humanity. A unique place to sit out the end of the world.

Bruce and his wife Jean have constructed a 10,000 square-foot shelter that’s been designed to survive a nuclear war. Built in 1985, it’s intended to be an “underground orphanage.” Bruce explained:

Save the children. That’s a basic human characteristic. They’re our hope for the continuation of life for building a new and better world.

According to the show:

Bruce’s protected safe house is constructed from building blocks that many kids would consider familiar surroundings: 42 recycled school buses, linked together and buried under 18 inches of concrete and 14 feet of earth…

School buses can support over one-and-a-half times their weight, and can cost as little as $300 second-hand, making them a prepper favorite for bug-out vehicles, and even safe mobile homes…

It’s been estimated that if a global nuclear war occurred, up to a billion lives would be at risk in the months and years following.

Bruce revealed:

We can have 500 people in here, but have to have a number of people to watch over the children.

The underground shelter complex is named Ark 2- in honor of Noah’s Ark.

The extended Beach family contributes to the upgrade and maintenance of the facility.

Although Ark 2 is located in southern Ontario, Canada, Bruce pointed out that an attack on missile bases in the central U.S. could bring significant fallout to their area. Should this or a nearby nuclear blast be reported, the Beach family plans to head to the underground bunker, and start taking in young refugees.

And what about the children’s parents/guardians or any others who come to the shelter but are turned away? Ark 2 staffers plan on giving them “Go Away Kits,” packs that will help people live outside of the bunker. These kits includes radiation detectors.

According to the episode:

Bruce expects refugees would have to stay inside the Ark for weeks, maybe months, to avoid the worst of the radiation outside.

As such, his family has spent 30 years stockpiling “tons of food” to feed the inhabitants.

Now the show pointed out:

One of the hazards of living underground for an extended period, is making sure you have enough air to breathe. At full capacity, and without proper air circulation, Bruce’s 10,000 foot shelter would run out of oxygen in approximately half a day. So Bruce has devised a rather unusual, and cost effective, air circulation system. This strong line of garbage bags can distribute 300 cubic feet of air from the outside vents to different locations in the shelter.

They didn’t say if Ark 2 has nuclear/biological/chemical (NBC) filters for these vents. I would hope so, in order to prevent radioactive fallout from entering and contaminating the facility’s air supply.

It’s not just the Beach family who are involved with the complex. It was revealed that a network of Ark 2 preppers exists all around the United States.

These days, Bruce is busy working on an off-grid communication system, which he hopes to distribute to key members in the local community so that Ark 2 can have a link to the outside world, especially as it concerns information about supplies, radiation levels, and security when TSHTF. From the episode:

The secondary effect of a nuclear detonation is an EMP, a wave of electromagnetic energy powerful enough to bring down the grid. So they are building a ham radio system, widely used by preppers, because it relies only on naturally-existing radio waves to transmit messages, and can work independently from the electrical grid.

According to the show, a 1.4 megaton bomb detonated 250 miles above Kansas would destroy most of the electronics in the United States.

As the segment drew to a close, Bruce Beach left viewers with this:

The Ark is about our service to humanity. And whether or not I pass the Ark on to the grandchildren is irrelevant. What is important is that I pass on to my grandchildren is a dedication of service to humanity. So that’s what my life is about. What my legacy will be, I have no idea.

Jeremy and Kelly

Jeremy (no last name given) is the owner of a digital media company. He and his wife Kelly have a 1-year-old son, Zander. The young family are preparing for peak oil- and what it could mean for our society. From the show:

The term peak oil refers to the eventual decline in the supply of oil reserves. If oil becomes harder to get, the price will increase past the point where people can afford to buy it. The U.S. alone consumes 20 million barrels of oil every day, and global demand is projected to grow by a quarter by 2030.

Jeremy talked about his concerns with peak oil:

I think drastic changes could happen literally in a matter of a couple of years from now. All it takes is for the demand for oil to outstrip the supply, and we’ve been on the razor’s edge of that for a really long time. My worst case scenario is that oil exporting countries stop exporting, and gas pumps start running dry around America. Then that just has a cascading effect across our entire society. People won’t be able to go to work. And if you can’t go to work, then infrastructure starts to fail…

Once infrastructure starts to fail, we could eventually even see the grid go down. And if the grid goes down, society as we know it will be very, very changed.

Kelly recalled something that might sound familiar to a number of preppers:

My first reaction to my husband’s desire to start prepping was a little scared. I actually walked away, and was like, trying to ignore him, because I didn’t want to admit it. It took me about a year to finally come to terms with the idea of prepping.

Jeremy said this about his prepping:

I like to think of myself as a fairly-balanced person. And I don’t think this is an obsession. It’s just a precaution.

To deal with potential water shortages, Jeremy and Kelly look to their 450 gallon hot tub. From the show:

Jeremy and Kelly are able to ration their hot tub water by using the drainage tube. This allows them to preserve a precious resource. Having clean water is essential to survival. So in a grid-down situation, it is imperative to have a water purification system. The 450 gallons in the hot tub could hydrate Jeremy, Kelly, and Zander for about 8 months.

Jeremy is also concerned about infections and disease. He noted:

One of the concerns in the post-collapse world is the lack of access to medical facilities, antibiotics, things like that.

According to the episode:

80 percent of the active ingredients used in American drugs are made overseas. And without the fuel to ship them, emergency treatment would be in short supply. So Jeremy is leaving nothing to chance.

The Utah prepper revealed:

It turns out that the antibiotics used for fish tanks is actually the same antibiotics as are prescribed for humans, so you can actually get human antibiotics at a pet store.

The show added:

Common antibiotics like amoxicillin are marketed under different names for aquatic use. Fish antibiotics are a favorite among preppers to stockpile, because they are widely available without a prescription or pharmacist.

I’ve come across material on the web for and against the substitution of fish antibiotics for human antibiotics. Since you’re only talking about your health here, it would probably be wise to research this very carefully before heading down to the local pet store to pick up some fish antibiotics.

The show returned to the topic of peak oil. From the episode:

Experts disagree as to when we will reach the peak of oil production. Some estimate it will peak as soon as 2035. Jeremy believes it already has.

Remember, “peak oil” doesn’t necessarily mean the Earth is running out of crude oil. Rather, it refers to the maximum rate of the production of crude oil.

Speaking of oil, Jeremy and Kelly have in their possession a bug-out vehicle known as “The Beast.” It’s a military surplus M35 2 1/2 ton cargo truck that Jeremy bought for $3,500. Due to the size of the vehicle, it serves as the family’s transportation and shelter in a SHTF situation. Best of all, it’s has multi-fuel capability, meaning it can be run on regular gas, diesel, kerosene, jet fuel, and used motor oil.

Jeremy is shown collecting used motor oil for “The Beast.” His goal is to stockpile 1,000-1,500 gallons of it.

Near the end of the segment, the family practiced a bug-out drill. During the exercise, Jeremy taught Kelly how to drive the “deuce-and-a-half.” Telling her to “man-handle” it on rough terrain, she “woman-handles” the truck instead, and lets out a priceless roar.

Bradford Frank

Bradford Frank is a psychiatrist who lives in sunny San Diego, California, with his wife Narin and daughter Alexandria. He’s concerned a pandemic will bring about TEOTWAWKI . Bradford said:

Sometimes people refer to me as Doctor Doom. I think that most people would look at me and say, “He’s a nut case. He a psychiatrist, he’s obviously crazy.” And that’s the reason I don’t talk to a lot of people about prepping. I went to Yale and studied infectious diseases. And, that’s where I started to get interested in influenza, and in particular, bird flu.

Bradford added:

Super influenza- a super bug- is not a completely new event.

From the episode:

He believes a new, extremely-contagious form of bird flu will transmit to humans, then spread through the population like wildfire.

The World Health Organization considers 100 million infections a conservative estimates for a global pandemic.

Bradford predicted:

People would become hysterical, there would be chaos throughout the world. It’s not a question if it’s going to occur again. It’s only a question of when.

As a physician, the California prepper has easier access to medicine than most others. He explained:

I am able to obtain antibiotics and other medications because I am a physician. I actually buy these in large quantities. So we have all these medicines. It’s a little bit hard to know what to do with the antibiotics if you’re not a doctor.

The show added:

After a pandemic, Bradford believes hospitals will become hot zones for infection. So he’s stockpiling antibiotics to ensure his family never needs to leave the house for medical care.

Bradford’s wife, Narin, is concerned her spouse is wasting money on preparedness gear and supplies. She revealed:

I told him you like to think all negative things. And scary things. And nothing’s going to happen.

Despite her objections, Bradford stockpiles food, including 1,000 lbs. of rice. From the episode:

Bradford considers rice the perfect prepper food, because it’s inexpensive, contains protein, and has a long shelf-life.

The Franks’ daughter, Alexandria, seems a bit more understanding of her father’s efforts. She said:

I don’t really know how I feel about my dad being so concerned about bird flu. He lets it go to his head too much sometimes, and I feel he can be a little neurotic. But, it’s good that we have a little back up plan.

The show revealed the family has enough food stashed away to last a year.

Viewers were provided some insight into Narin’s stance on preparedness. Narin is from Cambodia, and all her primary relatives were killed by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. At 19, she escaped from one of their prison camps, and did whatever was required to survive.

Could talk of prepping be bringing back bad memories? She said:

I don’t need a lot of food. And I don’t need a lot of medicine. I know how to survive in a different way.

Maybe so. But not needing a lot of food or medicine doesn’t mean squat should an easily-communicable and lethal strain of influenza arrive at your door. And should its appearance result in societal collapse, Narin must remember she’s no longer 19 as well.

Bradford is concerned that the infected will target doctors’ homes in search of medicine. Subsequently, he replaced his home’s sliding doors with quarter-inch thick sheets of ballistic glass, which repels projectiles and bullets. And according to the show:

Some glass manufacturers are making “one-way” bullet proof glass, allowing for return fire at the exterior threat

Interesting. Will have to look into that one.

Because the potential exists for infection via his neighbors, Bradford secured an isolated bug-out location- a gem mine 2.5 hours from San Diego. He pointed out:

The number one protection in a global pandemic is being away from other people who may be infectious.

The prepper also revealed just how driven he is to survive this and other life-threatening scenarios. Bradford said:

I have just a very powerful survival instinct that would propel me to continue to scratch and claw my way forward.

Getting back to the cave, the underground shelter brought back bad memories for Narin. During her flight from the Khmer Rouge, she was forced to hide in one for 2 months.

As such, it might not work for the Frank family.

Plus, in the “Expert Assessment” portion of segment, Practical Preppers LLC offered up the following:

However, if you ultimately choose to bug-out to an isolated location, we do not suggest a cave. A cave is susceptible to moisture, which would destroy your food stores.

In the “Doomsday Preppers Update,” viewers were informed that Bradford was carjacked at gunpoint while on vacation. He said:

Things turned out well, and the perpetrators are behind bars. But I actually hope that this experience is a positive one for my family in helping them understand that bad things can happen even when you least expect them.

Overall, another good episode of Doomsday Preppers. More interesting ideas to explore. Plus, I liked the additional focus on spouses and family members in this installment. I have a feeling there’s a lot more Narins out there than Jeans or Kellys when it comes to embracing prepping and the advantages it gives the individual/family should a SHTF event take place. But that’s not meant to take away anything from Mrs. Frank, who, as a survivor of the Cambodian “killing fields,” is obviously one tough, resilient woman. However, based on her experience “living” in “Democratic” Kampuchea, one might think she’d be more open to being prepared for those unexpected life-threatening situations that come along every once in a while, like a murderous regime seizing power or global pandemic, for example.

Anyway, I wish these preppers success in their endeavors.

New episodes of Doomsday Preppers air on the National Geographic Channel Tuesday nights at 9 PM Eastern/Pacific Time. For more information, go to the Nat Geo Channel website here.

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