Nevada

Viva Las Vegas… Preppers

Late last night I read an interesting article published earlier in the day on the Las Vegas Sun website that focused on preppers/survivalists out in Southern Nevada. In “Prepping for Doomsday: The survivalism movement’s fine line between protection and paranoia,” Rob Miech drew from interviews with Mike Monko and Anthony Champion of Zombie Apocalypse Store, an anonymous employee of Lock N Load Tactical, “Max” at Mad Man Army Surplus, and his neighbor Bailey (“a former military sharpshooter”) to pen the following:

The king of all earthquakes topples the high-rises of Las Vegas Boulevard. A 2-billion-volt electromagnetic pulse (EMP) strike has zapped computers and cell towers. Some other black swan event has pulverized the city’s power grid. In any such cataclysm, a woman implored to Mike Monko, fallout shelters below certain Strip hotels would protect their rank and file.

They would be taken care of, she continued, in a subterranean world of 40,000-square-foot domiciles with massive food supplies fit for 20,000 people. In his Zombie Apocalypse Store, Monko struggled to keep his eyes from rolling. “She was arguing with me,” he said. “She insisted that they exist. I said, ‘God bless you, ma’am. Would you like some more water?’ Here, you hear it all, like, the Sunrise Mountains are hollow and people are living under them.”

They are survivalists, preppers or doomsday preppers, or any of various mutations. Some staunchly pigeonhole themselves; others dismiss definitions. Those who drive only older vehicles- whose pre-solid-state-electronics engines are immune to an EMP strike- belong in a distinct category of preparedness.

Such tales come with Monko’s territory, where fact, fiction and fear straddle fine lines between protection and paranoia. Hollywood inspired the business, which opened in 2011; sales have cooled over the past year. It’s a starting block to gauge what it means to be a survivalist today in Southern Nevada, amid such uncertainty about tomorrow

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

There seemed to be that “preppers/survivalists are kooks” theme permeating the article. But to be fair, Miech is arguing there’s a “fine line between protection and paranoia,” so the use of “fringe” examples is to be expected. That being said, some notable passages from the piece included:

-A glimpse at how many preppers/survivalists there might be out in Las Vegas
-How the prepping/survival industry is doing these days in Southern Nevada
-“Liberal Preppers” on the Vegas scene
-And these bits:

As a group, according to Monko, they do not play well together. They lack communication skills, and when they do gather, their egos always clash. “It’s turmoil,” Monko said. They become even more solitary…

The owner of Lock N Load, which sells weapons and ammunition in the Henderson foothills, declined an interview request. One of her employees, who requested anonymity, recounted how an older woman, nearly teary-eyed and trembling, had recently approached him to buy her first handgun. Her post-Trump trauma was stark; the employee told me he talked her off the ledge. He convinced her not to buy something so dangerous in such a state…

Wow. You can read the article in its entirety over on the Las Vegas Sun website here.

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

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Tuesday, February 7th, 2017 Emergencies, Man-Made Disasters, Natural Disasters, Preparedness, Self-Defense, TEOTWAWKI Comments Off on Viva Las Vegas… Preppers

Gallup Poll: Half In Illinois Want To Move Elsewhere

Last week, the Gallup website had this to report about Illinois:

Illinois has the unfortunate distinction of being the state with the highest percentage of residents who say it is the worst possible place to live. One in four Illinois residents (25%) say the state is the worst place to live…

It doesn’t get any better for the “Land of Lincoln” this week. Lydia Saad wrote yesterday:

Every state has at least some residents who are looking for greener pastures, but nowhere is the desire to move more prevalent than in Illinois and Connecticut. In both of these states, about half of residents say that if given the chance to move to a different state, they would like to do so…

50 percent of Illinois respondents said they would leave the state if given the opportunity, according to Gallup.

Saad also added:

Nevada, Illinois, Maryland, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, and Connecticut all appear particularly vulnerable to losing population in the coming few years: high percentages of their residents say they would leave if they could, and larger-than-average percentages say they are at least somewhat likely to do so in the coming year…

19 percent of Illinois respondents indicated they were planning to move out of the state within 12 months, according to Gallup.

Mind you, this particular poll was conducted from June through December 2013- early on in that brutal winter Illinois just had.

How many more residents since then are ready to throw in the towel?

So not only have Illinoisans been moving out of the state in droves already, but even more are making plans to do so down the road.

Sad. Just sad. But understandable considering the direction the state’s been going in.

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

Source:

Saad, Lydia. “Half in Illinois and Connecticut Want to Move Elsewhere.” Gallup.com. 30 Apr. 2014. (http://www.gallup.com/poll/168770/half-illinois-connecticut-move-elsewhere.aspx). 1 May 2014.

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Thursday, May 1st, 2014 Demographics, Population Comments Off on Gallup Poll: Half In Illinois Want To Move Elsewhere

Central Banks Net Purchasers Of Gold For 11 Consecutive Quarters

Earlier today, Janet Yellen, the American economist and Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System who is President Obama’s nominee to succeed Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Fed, participated in her confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee. Victor Reklaitis wrote on The Tell blog on the MarketWatch website this afternoon:

At Yellen’s confirmation hearing on Thursday, [U.S. Senator from Nevada Dean] Heller asked the Fed chair nominee whether she follows gold prices and what causes them to rise or fall.

“Well, I don’t think anybody has a very good model of what makes gold prices go up or down,” Yellen responded.

“But certainly it is — it is an asset that people want to hold when they’re very fearful about potential financial market catastrophe or economic troubles and tail risks. And when there is financial market turbulence, often we see gold prices rise as people flee into them.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

I had to chuckle when I read that. Here’s a central banker linking the acquisition/possession of gold with fear, yet as I pointed out back in July 2011, central banks were by then holding onto and even accumulating the precious metal after years of selling.

As a matter of fact, the London-based World Gold Council, the gold industry’s market development organization, issued a press release today which demonstrated central banks around the world continue to amass the yellow metal. From the release:

Net central bank purchases totalled 93t, 17% down on Q3 2012. Central banks have now been net purchasers of gold for 11 consecutive quarters.

“Net purchasers of gold for 11 consecutive quarters.” Something to remember next time someone brings up that “barbarous relic” claim (if gold is so barbaric, why does it continue to play a role in the modern global banking system?).

There’s also this from Nat Rudarakanchana, writing on the International Business Times website on October 30. He reported:

-Collectively, central banks have bought about 218 tons of gold so far in 2013
-Central bank holdings are up about 1.7 million ounces this year
-France, Germany, Italy, and the United States maintain more than 80 percent of their foreign reserves in gold

Ms. Yellen mentioned in her confirmation hearing that gold is “an asset that people want to hold when they’re very fearful about potential financial market catastrophe or economic troubles and tail risks.”

Does that apply to central bankers as well?

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

Sources:

Reklaitis, Victor. “Yellen on gold: “People want to hold (it) when they’re very fearful.” The Tell. 14 Nov. 2013. (http://blogs.marketwatch.com/thetell/2013/11/14/yellen-on-gold-people-want-to-hold-it-when-theyre-very-fearful/). 14 Nov. 2013.

“Gold continues its journey from West to East as buoyant consumer markets balance investment outflows.” World Gold Council. 14 Nov. 2013. (http://www.gold.org/media/press_releases/). 14 Nov. 2013.

Rudarakanchana, Nat. “Perspectives On Central Bank Gold Buying: Gold Experts.” International Business Times. 30 Oct. 2013. (http://www.ibtimes.com/perspectives-central-bank-gold-buying-gold-experts-1448444). 13 Nov. 2013.

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Thursday, November 14th, 2013 Banking, Commodities, Europe, Federal Reserve, Precious Metals Comments Off on Central Banks Net Purchasers Of Gold For 11 Consecutive Quarters

Chicago-Area Unemployment Rate Rises To 9.7 Percent In July

There was good and bad news yesterday for the Chicago metro area concerning employment. First, the good. From a Thursday news release on the Illinois Department of Employment Security website concerning jobs and payrolls in July 2013:

Jobs increased in four metros and declined in eight. Largest increases: Champaign-Urbana (+2.4 percent, +2,400), Chicago-Joliet-Naperville (+1.9 percent, +69,800), and Kankakee-Bradley (+0.5 percent, +200). Industry sectors increasing in the most metros: Leisure and Hospitality (eight of 12) and Educational and Health Services (seven of 12).

69,000 more jobs in July for the Chicago area compared to a year ago. Good to hear.

And the bad? Also from that release:

July local unemployment rates fell in seven of 12 metro areas, according to preliminary data released today by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). Not seasonally adjusted data compares July 2013 to July 2012. Largest decreases: Metro East ( 1.0 point to 8.6 percent), Lake County (-0.4 to 8.4 percent) and Rockford ( 0.3 to 11.4 percent). Largest increases: Decatur (+1.9 points to 13.2 percent), Peoria (+1.4 to 9.4 percent), Danville (+1.2 to 11.8 percent) and Chicago-Joliet-Naperville (+0.3 to 9.7 percent).

The Chicagoland unemployment rate increased .3 percent last month to 9.7 percent when compared to July 2012. Not so good.

And even though local unemployment rates fell in a number of metro areas across the “Land of Lincoln” last month, when Illinois was matched up against the other 50 states, it had the second highest unemployment rate in the country- 9.2 percent– after Nevada (9.5 percent).

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics website, 8 states had an unemployment rate under 5 percent last month – Iowa (4.8 percent), Utah, Vermont, Wyoming (all 4.6 percent), Hawaii (4.5 percent), Nebraska (4.2 percent), South Dakota (3.9 percent), and North Dakota (3.0 percent)

Neighbors Wisconsin and Indiana came in at numbers 20 (6.8 percent) and 39 (8.4 percent), respectively.

You can read the entire IDES new release on their website here.

You can view the July 2012 unemployment rates for all 50 states on the BLS website here.

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

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Friday, August 23rd, 2013 Employment Comments Off on Chicago-Area Unemployment Rate Rises To 9.7 Percent In July

Study: 326 Chicago-Area Bridges Are ‘Structurally Deficient’

While I don’t drive over bridges too often here in the Chicagoland area, I thought Chicago-area readers should be made aware of an article published Wednesday by Art Golab and Rosalind Rossi on the Chicago Sun-Times website that noted 73 bridges in Chicago and 326 bridges in the metro area are “structurally deficient” according to 2012 federal bridge data. Golab and Rossi reported:

The nation is littered with such bridges— structures in need of “significant maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement,” according to a recent Transportation for America study that urges dedicated federal money for bridge repair…

Statewide, the Transportation for America study put the number of structurally deficient Illinois bridges at 2,311, or nearly 9 percent the state’s total bridges. That compares with 11 percent nationally.

From a Transportation for America press release yesterday:

Nearly 67,000 of the nation’s 605,000 bridges are rated “structurally deficient” and are in need of substantial repair or replacement, according to bridge inspections analyzed in The Fix We’re In For: The State of the Nation’s Bridges 2013. Nearly 8,000 are both structurally deficient and “fracture critical”, meaning they are designed with no redundancy in their key structural components, so that if one fails the bridge could collapse. The Federal Highway Administration estimates that the backlog of troubled bridges would cost $76 billion to eliminate.

The report ranks states and the District of Columbia in terms of the overall condition of the their bridges, with one having the largest share of deficient bridges, 51 the lowest. Twenty-one states have a higher percentage of deficient bridges than the national average of 11 percent. The five states with the worst bridge conditions have a share over 20 percent: Pennsylvania has the largest share of deteriorating bridges (24.5%), followed by Oklahoma (22.0%), Iowa (21.7%), Rhode Island (21.6%), and South Dakota (20.3%).

At the other end of the spectrum, five states have less than 5 percent of their bridges rated structurally deficient: Nevada and Florida lead the rankings with 2.2%, followed by Texas (2.6%), Arizona (3.2%), and Utah (4.3%).

You can access the bridge report on the Transportation for America website here.

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

Source:

Golab, Art and Rossi, Rosalind. “Report: Busiest ‘structurally deficient’ bridge in area is Kennedy Expy. over Ashland.” Chicago Sun-Times. 18 June 2013. (http://www.suntimes.com/20828373-761/report-busiest-structurally-deficient-bridge-in-area-is-kennedy-expy-over-ashland.html). 20 June 2013.

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Thursday, June 20th, 2013 Infrastructure, Transportation Comments Off on Study: 326 Chicago-Area Bridges Are ‘Structurally Deficient’

Redfin CEO Identifies Most- And Least-Vulnerable Metro Housing Markets To Experience Another Bubble

Last week in my Sunday paper, I spotted yet another great article by Chicago Tribune real estate reporter Mary Umberger. It was an interview with Glenn Kelman, chief executive officer of Redfin, a real estate brokerage doing business in 20 U.S. housing markets.

Apparently, Redfin recently ranked 15 major metropolitan areas it perceived as most- and least-vulnerable to experiencing another housing bubble. Kelman told Umberger:

We’ve looked at several factors: income to home-price ratios, ratios of sale price to listing price, the frequency of flips (resales within 18 months of purchase), incidences of bidding wars, and rates of going under contract within two weeks of listing.

From looking at those things, we think there are four markets that are in mini-bubble territory, at risk of price correction: Washington, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.

At the other end of the list, the least likely to see a correction is Atlanta, followed closely by Chicago, Las Vegas and Dallas.

A new housing bubble. Something I’m starting to hear more of these days.

Anyone remember “crash prophet” Peter Schiff’s warning from last September? I blogged on September 18, 2012:

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.

You can read Umberger’s entire exchange with Redfin’s Kelman on the Tribune website here. Interesting stuff.

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

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Friday, May 3rd, 2013 Bubbles, Crash Prophets, Employment, Federal Reserve, Housing Comments Off on Redfin CEO Identifies Most- And Least-Vulnerable Metro Housing Markets To Experience Another Bubble

RealtyTrac: Illinois Foreclosure Rate Rises To Third Highest Among U.S. States In January

There’s a pretty upbeat report on U.S. foreclosures that was released Tuesday by Irvine, California-based real estate information company RealtyTrac.

That is, unless you’re Florida, Nevada, and unfortunately, the “Land of Lincoln.”

From their website:

RealtyTrac (www.realtytrac.com), the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties and real estate data, today released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for January 2013, which shows foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 150,864 U.S. properties in January, a decrease of 7 percent from the previous month and down 28 percent from January 2012. The report also shows one in every 869 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month

According to the latest U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, Florida, Nevada, and Illinois posted the highest state foreclosure rates. Here’s what the site said about my home state:

A 32 percent month-over-month jump in scheduled foreclosure auctions helped the Illinois foreclosure rate rise to third highest among the states in January. One in every 375 Illinois housing units had a foreclosure filing during the month.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)


RealtyTrac

Francine Knowles wrote on the Chicago Sun-Times website late last night that scheduled foreclosure auctions in the state shot up 14 percent year-over-year in January to a 29-month high.

The RealtyTrac report also listed last month’s top 10 cities with foreclosure rates. Two Illinois cities made that list. Rockford at number 4 (1 in every 265 housing units with a foreclosure filing) and my hometown of Chicago at number 7 (1 in every 293 units).

I guess I have to look at the bright side of all this. The faster excess housing supply is cleared out (I believe supply is being held artificially-low), the sooner the housing market will really recover.

You can read more about the report on the RealtyTrac website here.

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

Source:

Knowles, Francine. “Chicago area home foreclosure filings soar 23 percent in January.” Chicago Sun-Times. 13 Feb. 2013. (http://www.suntimes.com/business/18208590-420/chicago-area-home-foreclosure-filings-soar-23-percent-in-january.html). 14 Feb. 2013.

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Thursday, February 14th, 2013 Housing, Main Street Comments Off on RealtyTrac: Illinois Foreclosure Rate Rises To Third Highest Among U.S. States In January

Signs Of The Time, Part 39

Speaking of the shooting range today, has anyone been to Las Vegas lately to partake in some “gun tourism?” I’ve been hearing more about this activity lately. Rob Lovitt wrote on MSNBC.com on February 27:

Blam-blam-blam! Pa-pow-pow! Ber-t-t-t-t-t-t, ber-t-t-t-t-t-t!

If that sounds like a good time, you may want to set your sights on Las Vegas’ newest attraction, Machine Guns Vegas (MGV), which opened its doors Monday. Part gun range, part ultra-lounge, MGV invites visitors to grab the automatic weapon of their choice — Uzis, AK-47s and more — and get in touch with their inner gangster or SEAL Team Six commando.


“Luxury shooting range mixes bullets with nightclub mood.”
FOX News Video

Less than 10 minutes from the Vegas Strip, MGV consists of 10,000 square feet of newly-built floor space and provides shoot hosts called “Gun Girls,” who also happen to be NRA-certified instructors, according to Lovitt.

The MSNBC website contributor noted that the arrival of Machine Guns Vegas competes with gun tourism pioneer The Gun Store, a Las Vegas “institution” for more than 20 years. A visit to the store was recently named one of the things to do in a recent CNNGo website piece from February 21. From the article “10 classic American experiences:”

10. Las Vegas

Every American needs at least one regrettable weekend in this neon mecca to the seven deadly sins, located in the Mojave Desert, one of America’s most unwelcoming environments, made slightly more inhabitable by power and water management from the Hoover Dam.

Sleep at the hotel pool all day, check out Cirque du Soleil, gamble away your rent money, visit the Liberace Museum, catch a boxing match, go to the Gun Store on Tropicana Avenue and shoot every gun you’ve ever seen in a mobster movie, wander the Strip and try to leave without a wedding certificate.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)


Vimeo Video

Next time I’m in Vegas and I need to take a break from a marathon session betting the ponies at the Race and Sports Book at the Imperial Palace Hotel, I might have to saunter over to Machine Guns Vegas and The Gun Store to let some steam off.

Sources:

Lovitt, Rob. “Find your inner commando at Machine Guns Vegas.” MSNBC. 27 Feb. 2012. (http://itineraries.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/27/10243853-find-your-inner-commando-at-machine-guns-vegas). 13 Mar. 2012.

Brown, Jennings. “10 classic American experiences.” CNNGo. 21 Feb. 2012. (http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/escape/usa/10-quintessential-american-experiences-406346?page=0,1). 13 Mar. 2012.

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Tuesday, March 13th, 2012 Firearms, Signs Of The Time, Travel Comments Off on Signs Of The Time, Part 39

Best And Worst Run U.S. States

That last post about Illinois being the second least favorite state in a recent nationwide poll wouldn’t bug me so much if I weren’t also aware of a study showing the “Land of Lincoln” being seriously mismanaged. Sure, the local media outlets seem to have an unending supply of negative stories associated with state government. However, the New York City-based financial news and opinion organization 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on the financial health, standard of living, and government services of the 50 states to determine how well each is managed. They then proceeded to rank the 50 states from the best to the worst run. The results were posted in a November 28, 2011, article entitled “Best and Worst Run States in America- An Analysis Of All 50.” The best run states were found to be:

1. Wyoming
2. Nebraska
3. North Dakota
4. Minnesota
5. Iowa

The worst run?

1. California
2. Illinois
3. Michigan
4. Arizona
5. Nevada

Here’s what 24/7 Wall St. had to say about Illinois:

> State debt per capita: $4,424 (13th highest)
> Pct. without health insurance: 13.8% (23rd lowest)
> Pct. below poverty line: 13.1% (25th lowest)
> Unemployment: 10% (10th highest)

Illinois has fallen from 43rd last year to the overall second-worst run state in the country. The state performs poorly in most categories, but is worst when it comes to its credit rating. Illinois has a credit rating of A+, the second worst given to any state, behind only California. The state has been on credit watch since 2008 because of budget shortfalls and legal challenges against then-governor Rod Blagojevich.

Since that piece came out, while the official unemployment rate has improved somewhat to 9.8 percent, the credit worthiness of the state has deteriorated, with Moody’s Investors Service announcing on January 6 they were lowering the State of Illinois’ general obligation bond rating to A2 from A1, the lowest credit rating of any state in the country.

Getting back to that most/least favorite state poll, being a keen observer of management over the years I realize decision-making done for the good of the organization isn’t always popular. However, as Illinois is concerned, I wonder if being named America’s second least favorite state isn’t somehow related to it being the second worst run state in the country.

Time to get our act together, Illinois.

Source:

“Best and Worst Run States in America — An Analysis Of All 50.” 24/7 Wall St. 28 Nov. 2011. (http://247wallst.com/2011/11/28/best-and-worst-run-states-in-america-an-analysis-of-all-50/). 24 Feb. 2012.

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Friday, February 24th, 2012 Credit, Employment, Fiscal Policy, Government, North America Comments Off on Best And Worst Run U.S. States
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