Mexico

Chicago-Area Firefighters Survive Hurricane Odile, Escape SHTF Aftermath

“What we went through this weekend, the way we had to get ourselves out, the looting, the vandalism- it was like something right out of a movie.”

-Jim Kotrba, Hoffman Estates Fire Department, in a September 18, 2014, Chicago Tribune article

October 2005. I was in my office at a fire department in the northwest suburbs of Chicago when a firefighter/paramedic by the name of “Mark” stopped by. He had just returned from his honeymoon in Cancún, Mexico- early. The well-known resort had just been pummeled by Hurricane Wilma. “Mark” and his new wife paid attention to the growing number of warnings about the incoming maelstrom, and decided to pack up and leave the popular tourist destination two (?) days before it struck. I remember him saying the airport was pretty much a ghost town despite the ominous weather forecasts. In case readers don’t remember Wilma, here’s what the couple missed. From The Independent (UK) website on October 23, 2005:

Hurricane Wilma pounded the beach resorts and fishing villages of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula yesterday, whipping up 120mph winds and creating a 10ft storm surge that sent sea water racing through the lower floors of some of Cancun’s most luxurious beachfront hotels…

Cancun’s beachfront hotel district, constructed on a narrow peninsula, was completely evacuated yesterday. But in the city itself, only a small number of residents and tourists – 50,000 or so out of a local population of 700,000 – left on buses before the storm arrived. The others, including an estimated 30,000 foreign visitors, huddled in shelters and downtown hotels, where food and drink was due to run out yesterday.

With electricity cut off in advance as a safety precaution, the shelters – mostly in schools, hotels and gymnasiums – were hot, sweaty and crowded. Scott Stout, an American spending part of his honeymoon on an indoor basketball court in Cancun beneath a leaky roof, told the Associated Press: “After one more day of this, I believe people will start getting cranky.”

Weather experts in Mexico and the US said that Wilma’s unexpectedly long sojourn over the Yucatan meant that in effect local people were undergoing several hurricanes, one after another…

Fast forward to 2014. And the last several days in particular. More members of the fire service from that neck of the woods went to Mexico for a wedding-related event, and also ended up the victims of bad timing. Unlike “Mark” however, these firefighters didn’t make it out of town before a different hurricane struck. Becky Schlikerman reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website on September 17:

A group of 16 northwest suburban firefighters are stuck in Mexico after a hurricane ravaged the resort area of Cabo San Lucas.

The group had traveled to a beautiful oceanfront resort for the destination wedding of longtime Hoffman Estates firefighter Tom Mangiameli. About 50 friends and relatives traveled abroad, according to Mangiameli’s sister-in-law, Sharen Mangiameli.

The wedding was to be Saturday, relatives said. On Sunday, Hurricane Odile made landfall as a monster Category 3 storm.

Since then, electrical and water services have been out.

Tom Mangiameli and his group are still at the Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas, said Sharen Mangiameli, 55, of Naperville.

“There’s no food, there’s no drinking water and there are looters coming into the hotel,” she said. “One of my nephews has been texting saying when they try to leave the hotel they’re being attacked by the locals who are looting.”

(Editor’s note: Bod added for emphasis)

Tourists and residents alike dealt with grave conditions in the aftermath of the hurricane. Pedro Juarez Mejia reported on the Agence France-Presse website on September 18:

Residents of Mexico’s Los Cabos resort armed themselves with guns and machetes in hurricane-battered neighborhoods to defend their homes from looters, as troops were deployed.

The government sent extra federal police and soldiers to the Baja California peninsula to counter widespread looting that erupted after Hurricane Odile tore down homes earlier this week…

Chaos took over this week as hundreds helped themselves to food, water, televisions and any goods they could grab in supermarkets and retail stores after Odile knocked out power and flattened homes.

But now residents fear their houses are next, amid reports of armed and masked gangs roaming neighborhoods.

Dressed in white and holding everything from bats to machetes, sticks and rocks, residents burned tires and wood…

Rodrigo Sanchez Villa, a lawyer for a hotel group, told local radio that masked gangs were pillaging shops, hotels and houses in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.

“The situation appears to be getting worse all the time. A lack of security is being added to the problem of shortages of food and water and the lack of local authorities,” he said…

(Editor’s note: Bod added for emphasis)

Sound like it’s been a nightmare down there over the past week or so. Thankfully, this group of Chicago-area firefighters eventually escaped the carnage in Cabo San Lucas. John Keilman wrote on September 18 on the Chicago Tribune website:

One person in the wedding party found a transportation company that was willing to send six buses to the resort to ferry the group to the airport, Kotrba said. The buses arrived before dawn Thursday and parked away from the resort, while the group sneaked out of the lobby to avoid attention.

“There were hundreds of people in the lobby,” Kotrba said. “If the buses had been seen, there would have been a riot.”

And upon their return to the U.S., the firefighters’ tale of survival was being shared. Becky Schlikerman and Tina Sfondeles reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website on September 18:

Sandwiches were handed out, then they ran out. Generators kicked in, then died because of lack of fuel and flooding.

“We were at the point where we made rope from a life preserver that was out by the pool and basketball nets and we started to build a little system to lift buckets of water from the waste buckets to flush toilets,” [Daniel] Pearson, 43, of Carpentersville, said from a Phoenix airport Thursday night.

“We had no cellphone service, food and water,” Pearson said. “We did whatever we could make do with. I have no dignity left. I took a bath in a fountain.”

Pearson is a former U.S. Marine. He spent nine months fighting in the Gulf War. And he has fought fires for 18 years. But he wasn’t ready for this.

I was in survival mode. I don’t think I was scared. It just got to the point where we had 48 people. What am I supposed to do? When we have to cut off our ironing boards to make weapons because nobody really cared about our safety?

(Editor’s notes: Bold added for emphasis. And I think that last line should have read “What am I supposed to do when we have to cut off our ironing boards to make weapons because nobody really cared about our safety?)

In addition to using iron boards to defend themselves, that Keilman piece noted the firefighters set up their own security system, with some men sleeping in the hallway outside their rooms and confronting anyone who walked through.

All this reminds me of something the English naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin once said about survival:

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

I’m grateful these firefighters and the rest of their party made it back to the United States safely. And I wish all the best to the newlyweds.

After learning about their harrowing experience, I’m thinking it’s probably not a bad idea for overseas travelers to bring/put together a small emergency kit if/when it makes sense, adding emergency supplies in the event of some looming threat.

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

Sources:

Gumbel, Andrew. “Hour after hour, Hurricane Wilma batters Cancun.” The Independent. 23 Oct. 2005. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/hour-after-hour-hurricane-wilma-batters-cancun-512143.html). 21 Sep. 2014.

Schlikerman, Becky, “16 suburban firefighters stranded in Mexico after hurricane.” Chicago Sun-Times. 17 Sep. 2014. (http://www.suntimes.com/29951882-761/16-suburban-firefighters-stranded-in-mexico-after-hurricane.html#.VB83fZV0zIV). 21 Sep. 2014.

Juarez Mejia, Pedro. “Residents grab guns to deter looters in Mexico resort.” Agence France-Presse. 18 Sep. 2014. (http://news.yahoo.com/residents-grab-guns-deter-looters-mexico-resort-230317288.html). 21 Sep. 2014.

Keilman, John. “16 firefighters returning from Mexico after being stranded by hurricane.” Chicago Tribune. 18 Sep. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/schaumburg-hoffman-estates/chi-16-hoffman-estates-firefighters-stranded-at-mexican-resort-20140918-story.html). 21 Sep. 2014.

Schlikerman, Becky and Sfondeles, Tina. “Firefighter recounts harrowing aftermath of hurricane in Mexico.” Chicago Sun-Times. 18 Sep. 2014. (http://www.suntimes.com/news/29970010-418/firefighter-recounts-harrowing-aftermath-of-hurricane-in-mexico.html#.VBxvp5V0zIU]). 21 Sep. 2014.

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Peter Schiff Bullish On Foreign Stocks, Gold, And Silver

Euro Pacific Capital CEO/Chief Global Strategist Peter Schiff appeared on the FOX Business show Countdown to the Closing Bell last Wednesday. Host Liz Claman asked Schiff, who correctly-predicted the housing market crash and 2008 economic crisis, about where he was investing these days. He replied:

Well, my strategy has been the same for quite some time because I understand the problems that underlie the U.S. economy, how the Federal Reserve is exacerbating them in the name of trying to solve them, and so I want to invest abroad. We still favor equities, but I look at international equities. I look at value. I look at good dividends. And I want to own companies that are not dependent on the consumer…

A map was subsequently displayed that showed “Peter’s Global Area Picks”- Australia, Chile, China, Denmark, Hong Kong, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Singapore, and Sweden.

Claman also brought up precious metals in the discussion. Particularly, silver. From their exchange:

CLAMAN: Let’s put up the miners, because you feel that the miners now have an opportunity to really rise. Silver below $20 an ounce these days. That seems to me like a good buy because it’s so cheap.
SCHIFF: Well, it did get as high as $50 a couple of years ago. But it started the rally from below $4. So, we’re in a big bull market. We’ve been pausing for the last couple of years. But I think it’s the pause that’s going to refresh. I think what drove the metals market lower in 2013 was the false belief in a U.S. recovery, and the idea the Fed was through with QE, and that we were on the verge of a tightening cycle. None of that is true. We are slipping back into recession. Janet Yellen is going to launch an even bigger round of QE than what Bernanke launched. And this is going to be very bullish for gold and silver. But it’s not going to be bullish for the U.S. economy.


“Safeguarding Your Portfolio By Investing Abroad”
YouTube Video

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.)

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‘Osama Bin Laden’ Demonstrates U.S.-Mexico Border Security A Joke

“‘We strengthened security at the borders so that we could finally stem the tide of illegal immigrants. We put more boots on the ground on the southern border than at any time in our history. And today, illegal crossings are down nearly 80 percent from their peak in 2000.’

President Obama, January 29, 2013

-White House website, August 11, 2014

“Let me tell you something. If the President, or Senator Reid, or anyone else tries to tell you, ‘our borders are secure,’ they are lying to you.”

-James O’Keefe, Project Veritas investigation, August 11, 2014

Some readers probably chuckle when I blog on a regular basis about the continued threat posed by terrorists from outside the United States.

“Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and so on and so forth- they’re merely a fabrication of the CIA and the powers-that-be to keep us Americans in line.”

Sorry, I don’t buy that. There’s plenty of people out there beyond our borders pissed at the United States for one reason or another (I witnessed it up-close for the first time in a graffiti-filled city square in Barcelona in 1999), it’s not much of a stretch to think there are numerous entities that would love nothing more than to see America brought to its knees.

And one day, when some group pulls off the most significant terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, it’s very possible they will have entered the country via the United States-Mexico border.

From James O’Keefe of the 2009 ACORN workers video-fame comes this Project Veritas investigation released earlier today:


“James O’Keefe as Osama bin Laden crosses border from Mexico to US”
YouTube Video

If a terrorist group is looking to sneak assets into the United States, I’m guessing they’ve either done it by now, or they’ll be doing it shortly to take advantage of this border “insecurity.”

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

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NY Times Bestselling Author Brad Thor ‘Very Fearful’ Of Terrorist Attack In U.S.

Any readers ever hear of best-selling author Brad Thor? I first heard his name mentioned on TheBlaze website back in the spring. At that time, Thor- who’s brand-new thriller Act of War was just released Tuesday- announced he was moving his family from Chicago, Illinois, to Nashville, Tennessee, because of violent crime and high taxes.

I spotted Thor’s name again on Glenn Beck’s site last night. Erica Ritz wrote:

After 9/11, New York Times bestselling author Brad Thor was one of a select group of individuals asked to assist the United States government in “war gaming” the next move of radical jihadists.

Why? Because he and other thriller writers had demonstrated an uncanny ability to predict events years before they occur. Thor warned of the NSA spying scandal in his book “Black List,” and predicted the release of five of the most dangerous Guantanamo Bay detainees seven years ago in “The First Commandment.”

So where does Thor believe we are headed next?

He told listeners of The Glenn Beck Program yesterday:

What chilled me was Dick Cheney recently saying that within the next six years, we’re going to see a terrorist attack on American soil worse than 9/11. You know, with two-thirds of our border agents changing diapers and trying to feed these children coming across the border, that doesn’t leave many to guard a border that- even at 100-percent strength- people were still getting through. I’m very concerned that the enemies of the United States are exploiting- because they exploit every opportunity to get bad actors into the country. And we already know Iran has lots of bad actors already in the country- Agents that are in place, waiting to be activated should the Iranians trigger them and tell them to activate.

I am very fearful that we could see some sort of terrorist attack in the United States…

As am I, Mr. Thor. As am I…


“Brad Thor Act Of War”
TheBlaze TV Video

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

Source:

Ritz, Erica. “Bestselling Author Brad Thor, Who Predicted NSA Spying Scandal and Controversial Prisoner Exchange, Shares What He Fears Is Next for America.” TheBlaze. 9 July 2014. (http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/07/09/bestselling-author-brad-thor-who-predicted-nsa-spying-scandal-and-controversial-prisoner-exchange-shares-what-he-fears-is-next-for-america/). 9 July 2014.

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Chicago Public Grade Schools Offering Mariachi Classes Next Fall

Back before the holidays, there was talk in Chicago about mariachi music instruction being offered as an elective class in the city’s public grade schools.

Apparently, it’s no longer talk. From the website of Chicago ABC affiliate ABC7 last Thursday:

Next year, students at five Chicago grade schools will have the option of taking mariachi classes…

On Thursday night, the Mariachi Heritage Foundation held an event to raise money for instruments and workbooks…

Chloe Riley elaborated on the DNAiInfo Chicago website back on April 17:

Five Chicago public grade schools will have mariachi classes by next fall, a move that will require principals to add a full-time music position at each school.

The elementary schools include Joseph E. Gary Elementary in Little Village; Edward N. Hurley Fine and Performing Arts Magnet Cluster and Richard Edwards Elementary in Lawndale; and Davis Elementary and Calmeca Academy of Fine Arts and Dual Language in Brighton Park.

Mariachi classes will be offered at the schools as an elective, with students choosing between a traditional music class required by CPS or the mariachi program…

Back on November 20, 2013, I discussed the prospect of mariachi music being offered in the Chicago Public Schools. I wrote:

I don’t know. I dig mariachi music and all, but as I blogged on August 30 in a post about the Chicago Public Schools mandating sexual and health education for kindergarten classes:

Back in September 2012 the U.S. Department of Education found 79 percent of Chicago Public Schools 8th graders are not grade-level proficient in reading and 80 percent are not grade-level proficient in math.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I wonder if CPS educators couldn’t structure electives to strengthen students’ reading and math skills, and offer mariachi lessons as a before/after school activity like what’s already being done in some cases…

Taking some more time to think about that statement, on the surface it may have sounded good. But putting myself back into the shoes of a grade school student again, even the limited variety of subjects I had in a private school still made a big difference in me actually being able to deal with school… as opposed to hating it. As the kids in these five CPS schools will be required to take a music class as an elective anyway- with mariachi being a new option now- then what the hell. Adding five more bodies to the payroll might ruffle some feathers, but good music, good fun, and some fine musicians down the road from the looks of it…


“Mariachi Chicago”
YouTube Video

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

Sources:

“Mariachi classes to be offered in 5 Chicago Public Schools next year.” ABC7. 24 Apr. 2014. (http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local/chicago_news&id=9515873). 28 Apr. 2014.

Riley, Chloe. “Full-Time Mariachi Programs for Five CPS Grade Schools to Debut by Fall.” DNAinfo Chicago. 17 Apr. 2014. (http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140417/little-village/full-time-mariachi-programs-for-five-cps-grade-schools-debut-by-fall). 29 Apr. 2014.

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Status Of West Coast Earthquake Early Warning System

The other week, I was pondering my options for “Resource Of The Week” on Survival And Prosperity.

Considering all the recent headlines about earthquakes, I decided I would look for some sort of earthquake early warning notification system for those living and working on the West Coast.

The best I could do was the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Notification Service (ENS), “a free service that sends you automated notification emails when earthquakes happen in your area.”

A noble effort, but basically, no earthquake early warning system in place then.

What a shame, considering the warnings of numerous experts about the inevitability of a major trembler striking the West Coast of the United States down the road.

The foundation for such a system is being laid, however. From Tiffany Wilson on the wesbite of San Francisco ABC affiliate Channel 7 yesterday:

UC Berkeley has been working for years to build an earthquake warning system on the West Coast. The same kind of system that helped prevent Mexico’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake on Friday from landing a bigger punch than it did.

California still doesn’t have one of these systems in place. Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that mandates California build one of these systems, however that bill did not include anything about funding

Right now, the UC Berkeley Seismological Lab has a test version of what the earthquake warning system would look like.

The system would send an alert to your cellphone, giving you precious seconds to find safety.

[UC Berkeley Seismological Lab spokesperson Jennifer] Strauss says it would cost about $82 million up front to build and $12 million annually to maintain…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Wilson also added in her piece that Japan, Mexico, Turkey, and Romania have “similar or advanced warning systems” in place already.

In fact, viewers of one Mexico City TV program got to see the system work during last week’s quake:


“Así sintieron el sismo en Foro TV”
YouTube Video

I really hope some sort of earthquake early warning notification system is funded and operational before the U.S. West Coast suffers significant loss of life, limb, and property from a major shake.

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

Source:

Wilson, Tiffany. “UC Berkeley working to build earthquake warning system.” ABC 7. 21 Apr. 2014. (http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/east_bay&id=9511499). 22 Apr. 2014.

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Chicago Public School Students To Receive Mariachi Music Lessons?

September 1987. I’m sitting in a Spanish class at the all-boys college preparatory high school I attend in a western suburb of Chicago. The teacher is going around asking different students why they chose Spanish for their foreign language requirement. One kid says, “I studied it in grade school, so I might as well continue on.” A student of Mexican descent tells the teacher, “I can speak the language fluently, but can’t spell if my life depended on it.” My turn. I predict, “I think Spanish will be pretty useful to know in Chicago down the road.”

Yep. I’ve used those 5 years of Spanish I took in high school and college an awful lot since that time, from speaking to people on the street to coordinating work with laborers to assisting residents/constituents in my former life as a public servant. And while I never envisioned it back in the late eighties, demographic forecasting leads me to believe the “Windy City” is well on its way to becoming “La Ciudad de Chicago.”

An example of this transformation might be what Chloe Riley wrote on the DNAinfo Chicago website this morning:

Daily mariachi lessons could become a reality for select Chicago public schools due to one man’s push to bring Mexican folk music into the classroom…

Last summer, [investment banker Cesar] Maldonado, 29, founded the Mariachi Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit with the sole purpose of expanding mariachi music education in Chicago Public Schools.

His goal is to target public schools with heavy Hispanic populations — he currently has his sights set on Pilsen’s Benito Juarez and Orozco Academies, Gage Park’s Irene C. Hernandez Middle School and Back of the Yards High School, among others…

“We look forward to partnering with the Mariachi Heritage Foundation, as this will allow us to offer students further diverse experiences in music education, exposure to multicultural content, and access to a well-rounded arts experience that is essential to a high-quality, 21st century education,” [CPS spokeswoman Lauren] Huffman said via email.

From what I took away from the piece, schools wouldn’t be responsible for fund raising for the program, and the mariachi instruction would take the form of a full-time class (elective).

I don’t know. I dig mariachi music and all, but as I blogged on August 30 in a post about the Chicago Public Schools mandating sexual and health education for kindergarten classes:

Back in September 2012 the U.S. Department of Education found 79 percent of Chicago Public Schools 8th graders are not grade-level proficient in reading and 80 percent are not grade-level proficient in math.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

I wonder if CPS educators couldn’t structure electives to strengthen students’ reading and math skills, and offer mariachi lessons as a before/after school activity like what’s already being done in some cases according to Riley?

Source:

Riley, Chloe. “Daily Mariachi Classes Coming to Some Chicago Public Schools.” DNAInfo Chicago. 20 Nov. 2013. (http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20131120/downtown/mariachi-classes-coming-soon-select-chicago-public-schools). 20 Nov. 2013.

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

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Wednesday, November 20th, 2013 Demographics, Education, Population No Comments

Obama On Gun ‘Control’ Push: ‘One Thing I Am Is Persistent’

On Thursday, May 2, 2013, Barack Obama joined his Mexican counterpart President Enrique Peña Nieto for a joint press conference in Mexico City, Mexico. Not surprisingly, the U.S. President talked about gun ‘control’ among other issues. From a transcript provided by the Chicago Sun-Times:

I do want to editorialize just for a second about gun control. As I think all your Mexican counterparts understand and as I talked about with President Peña Nieto, we recognize we’ve got obligations when it comes to guns that are oftentimes being shipped down South and contributing to violence here in Mexico.

But, frankly, what I’m most moved by are the victims of gun violence not just in Mexico but back home — like the parents in Newtown. And I said the day that the legislation that had been proposed by Senators Manchin and Toomey in the Senate — the day that that failed to get 60 votes — that that was not the end; this was the beginning.

The last time we had major gun legislation it took six, seven, eight tries to get passed. Things happen somewhat slowly in Washington, but this is just the first round. And when you’ve got 90 percent of the American people supporting the initiatives that we put forward around background checks and making sure that drug traffickers, for example, can’t just send in somebody with a clear record to purchase guns on their behalf with no way of tracking or stopping that, when you had common-sense legislation like that that the overwhelming majority of Americans, including gun owners, those of us who strongly support the Second Amendment, all of us supporting, I believe that eventually we’re going to get that done. And I’m going to keep on trying.

So I didn’t mean to horn in on President Peña Nieto’s response, but I just want to be clear that we’re going to keep at this. One thing I am is persistent.

You can read the entire transcript of the press conference on the Sun-Times website here.

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

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Massad Ayoob, Rob Pincus Defend Semi-Auto, Military-Pattern Rifles And “High-Capacity” Magazines

How many readers have heard this uttered during the latest push for more gun “control” in America?:

Americans don’t need “fast-firing” guns with “high-capacity” magazines to protect themselves. Stopping a bad guy doesn’t require all those bullets.

Such dribble often reveals two things:

1. The individual saying this watches way too much television and/or movies.

2. That person fails to comprehend that sometimes there’s more than one aggressor involved.

This last point has been made exceedingly-clear to me these past couple of years in my observations of crime “south of the border.”

Any readers remember my July 2011 post about a gang of criminals carrying out a violent home invasion against an American couple residing in Ixtapa, Mexico? Pretty graphic story, huh?

And then there’s Fernando Aguirre of Surviving In Argentina blog-fame, who has mentioned multiple incidents involving more than one aggressor in his home country of Argentina. One story in particular stands out in my mind. From his survival-themed book The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving The Economic Collapse:

I also remember a forensic doctor that used to live in my neighborhood, who got ambushed by five or six men when he exited a restaurant. They did kill him, but he managed to kill four of them and he severely wounded another.

This doctor used to practice with his Glock .40 S&W at my local shooting range. I don’t remember exactly how many rounds he fired during the attack, but I remember that it at least doubled the capacity of most revolvers.


“Home Invaders Shot in Self Defense”
(Security cameras catch armed Tucson resident thwarting home invasion)
YouTube Video

Recently, two well-known firearm and personal defense experts- Massad Ayoob and Rob Pincus- have come out in support of semi-automatic military-pattern rifles and so-called “high-capacity” ammunition magazines. Here are some comments from them in their defense of the guns and magazines which others are so desperately trying to ban/take away:

I can certainly imagine scenarios where I would need to have a lot of rounds. I can certainly imagine scenarios where I would need to have the capability of controlling those rounds through a semi-automatic rifle where I can fire those rounds quickly and accurately. Multiple person home invasions would be an easy example that could obviously happen to any home in any part of the country.

-Rob Pincus of I.C.E. Training, in an interview published on the WND.com website on February 27, 2013

In a world where the Good People With Guns often have to deliver several hits to neutralize even one Bad Person With Deadly Weapons, and in which there is often more than one attacker, anyone applying logical thinking can only end up shouting one three-word mantra:

DO THE MATH!!

-Massad Ayoob of Massad Ayoob Group, in a January 31, 2013, post on the Massad Ayoob on Guns blog on the website of Backwoods Home magazine

The cops are the experts on the current criminal trends. If they have determined that a “high capacity” semiautomatic pistol and a .223 semiautomatic rifle with 30-round magazines are the best firearms for them to use to protect people like me and my family, they are obviously the best things for us to use to protect ourselves and our families.

-Massad Ayoob again, in a December 29, 2012, post on the Massad Ayoob on Guns blog

When it comes to firearms and self-defense, these guys know what they’re talking about.

More so than others who would have you “just fire the shotgun through the door” in an ill-advised attempt at protecting the home.

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

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Which Central Banks Are Buying Gold?

If there’s one question gold “bears” have a hard time answering, it’s this:

If gold is such a “barbarous relic,” how come central banks are acquiring it these days?

There’s doesn’t seem to be much doubt this accumulation is taking place. In fact, Izabella Kaminska wrote on the FT Alphaville blog on the Financial Times (UK) website just today:

What’s more, the case for “gold” is increasingly being linked to future expectations that central banks and public authorities will continue to be large net buyers and borrowers of gold, rather than sellers.

The point is made nicely in this note from Moody’s Analytics on Tuesday:

One strong positive for gold demand is purchases for the reserves of governments and supranational organizations. After many years of shedding reserves, net buying by the official sector reached 456 t last year. The desire to diversify from major currencies may continue to drive such demand…

So, which central banks in particular are acquiring the precious metal?

I recently received this month’s edition of Peter Schiff’s Gold Report (ROTW back on July 6, 2011) and the President and Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital provided some insight. From the July issue of this free newsletter:

The return to gold is unmistakably the product of a strategic, not merely a tactical, shift in global central banking policy. Central banks in the developed world have now altogether stopped selling bullion. This was foreshadowed by their behavior over the past decade, when they sold even less gold than they were permitted to under the anti-dumping Central Bank Gold Agreements. Clearly the concern about dumping gold was out of step with the trend. But more importantly, central banks in the emerging markets have been buying gold by the truckload.

Since the financial crisis of ’08, nations as diverse as Mexico, the Philippines, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and India have led the way back to gold as a primary reserve asset. Russia alone has added an impressive 400 tonnes of bullion to its reserves, most of it coming from domestic purchases. Mexico has added over 120 tonnes, including 78 tonnes from one mega-purchase in March 2011. The Philippines have bought over 60 tonnes, with 32 tonnes coming in as recently as March 2012. Thailand has added approximately 60 tonnes, and Kazakhstan just shy of 30 tonnes. Turkey amended its regulatory policy late last year to allow commercial banks to count gold towards their reserve requirements, adding over 120 tonnes to its official reserves. And bullion imports into mainland China through Hong Kong have been reaching all-time highs.

Finally, loyal US allies Saudi Arabia and India, in what is sure to leave particularly bitter taste in Washington’s mouth, have been adding gold to their reserves by the hundreds of tonnes.

In short, the governments of emerging markets recognize that the global monetary order is on the verge of a reset. These emerging markets are the economic engines of the 21st century, and they’re determined not to be undermined by Western fiat paper.

South Korea might also be adding to their gold reserves soon. I blogged on June 21:

The Irish precious metals firm also highlighted the possibility of South Korea buying more gold in 2012:

The Bank of Korea has said that its current gold holdings are too small and that the BOK may buy more gold this year in order to diversify its foreign exchange portfolio which is exposed to the dollar.

Eugene Kim, chief investment officer at the central bank’s foreign-exchange reserve management group, said its gold holdings are “too small” given the size of its forex reserves, which stood at a record-high of $310.87 billion at the end of May, and that the BOK might buy more bullion this year.

Gold. A “barbarous relic” for sure.

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

Sources:

Kaminska, Izabella. “Propping up the gold price.” FT Alphaville. 10 July 2012. (http://ftalphaville.ft.com/blog/2012/07/10/1077461/propping-up-the-gold-price/). 10 July 2012.

Schiff, Peter. “The Return Of The Gold Standard.” Peter Schiff’s Gold Report. July 2012.

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U.S. Border Patrol Agents Shoot Mexican Citizen

Sounds like Mexico isn’t too happy with “Los Gringos” these days. From the Associated Press Monday:

A Mexican citizen has been fatally shot by U.S. Border Patrol agents on the border with Texas in an incident that the Mexican government is calling a disproportionate use of force.

The Border Patrol said Saturday that agents had opened fire along the Rio Grande on the Texas-Mexico border after being pelted by rocks and having a gunman point a weapon in their direction from the Mexican side of the river…

“The Mexican government has said once again that the disproportionate use of force for purposes of immigration enforcement is unacceptable under any circumstances,” the Foreign Ministry said.

“After being pelted by rocks and having a gunman point a weapon in their direction from the Mexican side of the river.”

Firearm instructors routinely tell their students never point their guns at anything they don’t intend to destroy/kill.

And last I heard, Border Patrol agents are permitted to use lethal force if they feel their lives are threatened. From the Borderland Beat blog back on September 4, 2010:

She [U.S. Border Patrol spokeswoman Rosalinda Huey] said agents are authorized to fire their weapons any time they feel lives are at risk, even into Mexico.

“As long as our agents feel their life is in danger, they are allowed lethal (force),” she said.

After this incident, I have to wonder if agents aren’t given new “marching orders” along the lines of the following. From Perry Chiaramonte on the FOX News website on June 29:

Border Patrol agents in Arizona are blasting their bosses for telling them, along with all other Department of Homeland Security employees, to run and hide if they encounter an “active shooter.”

It’s one thing to tell civilian employees to cower under a desk if a gunman starts spraying fire in a confined area, say members of Tucson Local 2544/National Border Patrol Council, but to give armed law enforcement professionals the same advice is downright insulting. The instructions from DHS come in the form of pamphlets and a mandatory computer tutorial.

“We are now taught in an ‘Active Shooter’ course that if we encounter a shooter in a public place we are to ‘run away’ and ‘hide’” union leader Brandon Judd wrote on the website of 3,300-member union local. “If we are cornered by such a shooter we are to (only as a last resort) become ‘aggressive’ and ‘throw things’ at him or her. We are then advised to ‘call law enforcement’ and wait for their arrival (presumably, while more innocent victims are slaughtered).”

This reminds me of a scene from the 1986 sci-fi film Aliens:

GORMAN: Apone! Look… we can’t have any firing in there. I, uh… I want you to collect magazines from everybody.
HUDSON: Is he fuckin’ crazy?
FROST: What the hell are we supposed to use man? Harsh language?

Hasta luego.

Sources:

“Mexico says citizen shot by US Border Patrol agent near Texas.” Associated Press. 9 July 2012. (http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/07/09/mexico-says-citizen-shot-by-us-border-patrol-agent-near-texas/?test=latestnews). 9 July 2012.

Gerardo. “Border Patrol agents exchange gunfire across U.S-Mexico border.” Borderland Beat. 14 Sep. 2010. (http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2010/09/border-patrol-agents-exchange-gunfire.html). 9 July 2012.

Chiaramonte, Perry. “Border Patrol union blasts Homeland Security instructions to ‘run away’ and ‘hide’ from gunmen.” FOX News. 29 June 2012. (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/06/29/border-patrol-union-claims-homeland-security-safety-course-promotes/). 9 July 2012.

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Life Imitates Cartoons: Net Migration From Mexico To U.S. Stops, May Have Reversed

I’ll admit it- all I kept thinking about while reading the following was that (Comedy Central) South Park episode “Last of the Meheecans.” D’Vera Cohn, Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, and Jeffrey Passel wrote on the website of the Pew Hispanic Center (a project of the Washington D.C.-based nonpartisan “fact tank” Pew Research Center) yesterday:

The largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States has come to a standstill. After four decades that brought 12 million current immigrants—more than half of whom came illegally—the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped—and may have reversed, according to a new analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center of multiple government data sets from both countries.

The standstill appears to be the result of many factors, including the weakened U.S. job and housing construction markets, heightened border enforcement, a rise in deportations, the growing dangers associated with illegal border crossings, the long-term decline in Mexico’s birth rates and changing economic conditions in Mexico…

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Border enforcement, deportations, and dangerous illegal border crossings have been part of the story for a while now. If anything, factor in the violence related to the drug cartels and one might think there’s additional motivation for a Mexican citizen to head north.

So I wonder if the prospective Mexican immigrants aren’t mainly concerned about the “changing economic conditions” going on in “El Norte” and are deciding they’re better off staying put south of the border?

In which case, what does that say about us/U.S.?

You can read the entire report on the Pew Hispanic Center website here.

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Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 Employment, Housing, North America No Comments

Quote For The Week

Mexico’s President Calderon is very fond of pointing north when attributing blame for Mexico’s ills, Norte, as in the United States. Going so far as to drag the US into his speech after the horrendous Monterrey Casino Royale attack

One point of contention is weapons.

For those a little slow in feeling his wrath, he recently unveiled a billboard created by using confiscated, crushed, weapons that read “NO MORE WEAPONS!”. To assure there was no mistaking who was intended to receive the message, with great fanfare it was planted at the south border pointing to the US city of El Paso Texas…

The action was silly and not behavior one most would deem presidential. Perhaps a billboard on the El Paso side should have been erected, reading “NO MORE DRUGS!” made of crushed meth pipes and marijuana bongs.

-From an April 8 blog post by Chivis Martinez on the Borderland Beat blog. The weblog is “a reflection of the issues affected by crime and drugs along the border between Mexico and the U.S.”

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Thousands Of Iranian-Backed Hezbollah Agents Could Be Inside The U.S.

Despite ObamaCare and Trayvon Martin hogging recent headlines, the Iranian nuclear crisis continues. From Roberta Rampton (Reuters) on the Chicago Tribune website late this morning:

The Senate may soon consider a new package of proposed sanctions targeting Iran’s oil revenues, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Tuesday.

The sanctions would focus on foreign banks that handle transactions for Iran’s national oil and tanker companies, and include a host of measures aimed to close loopholes in existing sanctions.

Back on March 15, 2012, I discussed the role Iranian intelligence (Ministry of Intelligence and National Security of the Islamic Republic of Iran, or MISIRI) might play in the event Iran’s nuclear facilities were attacked by the West. I wrote:

Others think MISIRI could carry out terror attacks here inside the United States. Retired CIA veteran Michael Scheuer, who tracked Osama bin Laden as Chief of the Bin Laden Issue Station (“Alec Station”) from 1996 to 1999 and later as a special advisor to the unit from 2001 to 2004, told Lou Dobbs on the FOX Business channel several days ago:

The Iranians don’t have a military capable of conducting themselves on an even basis with the United States, but within the United States, within Canada, within Mexico, within the Caribbean area, the Iranians have an intelligence and terror apparatus that’s perfectly capable of exacting revenge for them here at home. Much more than Saddam. Much more than Al-Qaeda. And although they won’t use it unless they’re attacked, I’m afraid they will use it if our Arab and Israeli friends go ahead and attack the Iranians.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Apparently, MISIRI loves company (just had to fit that one in somewhere), and word is getting out that the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah may have hundreds- if not thousands- of operatives inside the United States. Taking part in a Homeland Security hearing on Iran, U.S. Representative Peter King (R-NY) appeared on the CNN show Starting Point on March 21 and warned viewers of the threat Iran poses from within the country. He said:

Most Americans don’t realize that Hezbollah has had agents and operatives in this country for many years. The conventional wisdom among intelligence and law enforcement officials was they were here for fundraising, for facilitation, recruitment, and not necessarily to carry out terrorist attacks. However, we do know that a number of them have been trained as terrorists. The question is, how quickly they can be made operational, and would they carry out an attack?

King added:

The American intelligence community… believes we are very much at risk for an attack by Iranian operatives- which would be Hezbollah. That is a terrorist-trained force in this country. It really is the “A-Team” of international terrorism, and far more sophisticated than Al-Qaeda.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

How many Hezbollah operatives are possibly inside the United States? The Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee says:

We estimate it to be at least in the hundreds, maybe the thousands, of Hezbollah agents here in this country.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)


“King: Iran could be ‘serious threat’”
YouTube Video

Staff at the Daily Mail (UK) added on March 21:

Mitchell Silber, the NYPD’s director of intelligence analysis and one of the witnesses to the [Homeland Security hearing] panel, confirmed that said since 2005, New York law enforcement officers have interviewed at least 13 people with ties to Iran’s government who were seen taking pictures of New York City landmarks. Police considered the activity to be pre-operational surveillance.

He added that New York’s international significance as a terror target and its large Jewish population make the city a likely place for Iran and Hezbollah to strike.

In May 2005, Silber said, tips led the NYPD to six people on a sight-seeing cruise who were taking pictures and movies of city landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge. In September 2008, police interviewed three people taking pictures of railroad tracks. And in September 2010, federal air marshals saw four people taking pictures and videos at a New York heliport.

Interviews with law enforcement revealed that all were associated with the Iranian government, but they were ultimately released and never charged, Silber said.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Stay tuned…

Sources:

Rampton, Roberta. “Senate to soon move on new Iran sanctions: Reid.” Chicago Tribune. 27 Mar. 2012. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/sns-rt-us-usa-iran-sanctionsbre82q0wz-20120327,0,5523379.story). 27 Mar. 2012.

“‘We have a duty to prepare for the worst’: Peter King warns Iran has ‘hundreds’ of Hezbollah agents in the U.S.” Daily Mail. 21 Mar. 2012. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2118484/We-duty-prepare-worst-Peter-King-says-Iran-hundreds-Hezbollah-agents-U-S.html). 21 Mar. 2012.

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Could Attacking Iran Unleash The ‘American Hiroshima’?

Talking about what Iran might do if its nuclear sites are attacked brought to mind something I read several years ago. But before I go there, have you ever heard of the “American Hiroshima” threat? I blogged about it back on May 6, 2011. I wrote:

In 2005, Dr. Paul L. Williams, a journalist and author, published the book The Al Qaeda Connectionicon, 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.

Few military and intelligence officials question bin Laden’s ability to carry out this threat. US, Saudi, Pakistani, Russian, Israeli, and British intelligence sources have confirmed that al Qaeda possess a small arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons- weapons that are being prepared for the “American Hiroshima.”

Dr. Williams said later on in the book that several nuclear weapons are already in the United States and that the attack is planned to occur simultaneously on a number of major cities, including Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Washington, DC.

Spooky stuff. But back to what I was saying before about the current situation with Iran. On April 28, 2006, the following appeared on WND.com courtesy of Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin (FYI, Hamid Mir is a Pakistani journalist and terrorism expert who interviewed Osama bin Laden in 1997):

[Hamid] Mir said that he met with an Egyptian engineer last week who lost an eye after one of bin Laden’s nuclear tests in the Kunar province of Pakistan. The Pakistani journalist said the encounter with the engineer greatly disturbed and depressed him since it provided further assurance that a nuclear nightmare for America is about to dawn.

Mir believes that an “American Hiroshima” will occur as soon as the U.S. launches an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

According to Mir, the terrorist group and Iran have a “secret relationship.” The piece continued:

Mir’s position that al-Qaida’s nuclear weapons may have already been forward-deployed to the United States confirms the report of Sharif al-Masri, a key al-Qaida operative who was arrested in Pakistan in November 2000.

Al Masri, an Egyptian national with ties to [Ayman] al-Zawahiri, said that al-Qaida had made arrangements to smuggle nuclear weapons and supplies to Mexico. From Mexico, he said, the weapons were to be transported across the border and into the United States with the help of a Latino street gang.

Mir also maintains that numerous sleeper agents are in place in major cities throughout the United States to prepare for the nuclear holocaust. Many of these agents, he says, are Algerians and Chechens who obtained European passports and are posing as Christian and Jews.

He further says that many of these agents have been in the United States since bin Laden’s issuance of his “Declaration of War on Americans Occupying the Country of the Two Holy Places.” That fatwa was issued Aug. 23, 1996.

Talk of an “American Hiroshima” has increasingly disappeared in the years since 9/11. Doubters of the theorized attack argue that if Al-Qaeda had nukes in their possession, they would have used them already. However, if that capability truly exists (and I hope it doesn’t), I can understand why the terrorist group might want to wait for an attack on Iran before bringing nukes into play. Retaliating against the so-called “Great Satan” with such devastating weapons in response to an attack on the Islamic Republic of Iran could be a huge PR coup in the Muslim world at a time when Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia struggle to find their national identity and where exactly they stand with the West.

Source:

“‘American Hiroshima’ linked with Iran attack.” G2 Bulletin. 28 Apr. 2006. (http://www.wnd.com/2006/04/35923/). 15 Mar. 2012.

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Friday, March 16th, 2012 Africa, Foreign Policy, Middle East, Terrorism, War No Comments


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