Category Archive: Employment

Weekly National Situation Update 3-15-2020

President Declares National Emergency
Over Coronavirus


March 14, 2020



Between March 8 – March 13, the following related Flash SMS
messages were sent to
AlertsUSA subscriber mobile devices:

3/8 – Dir, Nat’l Inst of Allergy and Infectious Diseases urges elderly and those w/underlying heath conditions to avoid travel and crowds due to COVID-19. See email.

3/8 – US Army halts all 8th Army soldiers and families moving to/from S. Korea, incl soldiers slated to attend prof mil education in the US, due to COVID-19 concerns.

3/8 – State Dept warns US citizens, especially those w underlying conditions, should not travel by cruise ship due to increased COVID-19 risk. More info via email.

3/9 – CDC: U.S. universities should consider postponing or canceling student int’l travel programs amid COVID-19 outbreaks in numerous countries.

3/9 – CDC: COVID-19 capable of spreading easily and sustainably from person to person. With current trajectory, many in US will be exposed this year or next.

3/9 – Florida Dept of Health advising anyone who has traveled internationally to self-isolate for 14 days following their date of return to the US. More via email.

3/9 – Italian PM Conte to sign decree mandating lockdown and movement restrictions of entire nation. All should stay at home except for emergencies or work.

3/10 – NY Gov Cuomo deploying Nat’l Guard to New Rochelle to est 1 mile containment area around COVID-19 case cluster. Schools closing. Community events canceled.

3/11 – WHO declares COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic based on alarming levels of spread and severity. More via email.

3/11 – WA Gov Inslee bans ALL gatherings of more than 250 ppl in Snohomish, King and Pierce Cos through March due to COVID-19. Could be expanded in time & scope as req.

3/11 – President Trump suspends all travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days due to COVID-19, effective Friday at midnight. UK excluded from this action.

3/11 – DHS statement on Presidential Proclamation To Protect the Homeland from Travel-Related Coronavirus Spread sent via email.

3/11 – DoD issues new travel restrictions for uniformed pers, civilian pers and family members traveling to, from, or thru CDC Level 3 COVID-19 locations. See email.

3/11 – CDC issues Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel) Notice for 29 European nations due to widespread sustained transmission of the COVID-19 coronavirus. See email.

3/12 – State Dept. issues Global Health Advisory advising U.S. citizens to reconsider all travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19. More via email.

3/12 – Ohio Gov Mike DeWine announces that beginning March 16, all K-12 schools statewide, incl public, private and charter, will close until April 3 due to COVID-19.

3/12 – CA Gov orders ban on non-essential gatherings of more than 250 ppl. OH Gov bans mass gatherings of 100+ ppl. Similar actions forthcoming in multiple states.

3/13 – President Trump to hold press briefing at 3:00PM EASTERN. Multiple media outlets reporting POTUS will declare national emergency. More via email.

3/13 – National Guard activated in FL, IA, LA, NY, RI and WA to support operations in response to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. More states to follow.

3/13 – POTUS declares nat’l emergency due to spread of COVID-19. States to set up emergency ops centers. All hospitals to activate emergency ops plans. Monitoring..

3/13 – DoD halts all domestic travel for mil & civilian employees & families unless perm is granted to preserve force readiness and limit spread of COVID-19 virus.

What You Need To Know

On 22 occasions this week AlertsUSA subscribers were notified via SMS messages to their mobile devices regarding safety and security matters. All of these alerts dealt with the increasingly dangerous situation with the COVID-19 coronavirus.


Most important for this report:

ELDERLY SHOULD AVOID TRAVEL

Starting last Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the Nat’l Inst of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, began issuing warnings for older Americans and those with “underlying conditions” that they should avoid travel and large crowds due to the threat posed by the COVID-19 coronavirus.

“If you’re a person with an underlying condition — and you are particularly an elderly person with an underlying condition — you need to think twice about getting on a plane or on a long trip.”

“And not only think twice, just don’t get on a cruise ship.”


AVOID CRUISE SHIPS

This warning was backed up later in the day by a formal travel alert issued by the U.S. State Department warning American citizens, and in particular, those with underlying health conditions, to not undertake travel by cruise ship, both from a health perspective, but also because many countries have implemented strict screening procedures that have denied port entry rights to ships, as well as prevented passengers from disembarking.


ARMY SUSPENDS TRAVEL TO / FROM S. KOREA

Also on Sunday, the U.S. Army suspended travel for all soldiers and their families to and from South Korea, including those scheduled to attend professional military education in the United States, due to concerns about the fast-spreading coronavirus.


NATIONAL GUARD TO NEW ROCHELLE

On Tuesday, AlertsUSA subscribers were notified of NY Governor Cuomo’s order to deploy National Guard units to New Rochelle, a suburb located just NE of the Bronx, in order to set up a one mile containment zone around a cluster of more than 120 cases of the coronavirus. Many of these cases have a direct connection to the Temple Young Israel synagogue, where a 50-year-old lawyer, who was later hospitalized because of the virus, had attended events. The National Guard troops were expected to help clean public spaces and deliver food to those who are in quarantine. Schools are closed, and sporting events and worship services are not allowed in the containment zone.


GLOBAL PANDEMIC DECLARATION

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic based on alarming levels of spread, as well as the severity of the impact.

WHO defines a “pandemic” as an epidemic of infectious disease occurring on a scale crossing international boundaries and affecting a large number of people. According to WHO’s Director General Terdos Ghebreyesus, “We expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher.”


TRAVEL BAN FROM EUROPE

Also on Wednesday, President Trump suspended all travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days due to the growing coronavirus outbreak. Within the actual proclamation language, it is pointed out that as of March 9th, the Schengen Area had exported 201 coronavirus cases to 53 countries. Moreover, the free flow of people between the Schengen Area countries makes the task of managing the spread of the virus difficult.

Specifically, this presidential action suspends the entry into the United States, as immigrants or non-immigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. For clarity, the travel ban does not apply to any lawful permanent resident of the United States, any alien who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or those falling into several additional related categories.


CDC LEVEL 3 TRAVEL NOTICE FOR EU

Also on Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control issued Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel) Notices for 29 European nations due to the widespread sustained transmission of the coronavirus.

Concurrent to the release of this CDC travel notice, the Dept. of Defense issued a new set of travel restrictions (PDF) banning all DoD uniformed personnel, civilian personnel and family members traveling to, from, or through any locations having a CDC Level-3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel) designation for the next 60 days. This includes all forms of official travel, including Permanent Change of Station, Temporary Duty, and government-funded leave.


GLOBAL HEALTH ADVISORY

On Thursday, the U.S. State Department issued a Global Health Advisory advising U.S. citizens to reconsider all travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19. Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions. Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice.


PRESIDENT DECLARES NATIONAL EMERGENCY

On Friday, President Trump formally notified Congress that the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the United States constitutes a national emergency. This Presidential Proclamation triggers the release of tens of billions of dollars in additional funding to combat the outbreak, as well as provides emergency authority to the President and Secretary of Health and Human services to temporarily waive or modify certain requirements of different federal programs during the duration of the public health emergency.

In addition to all of these different government actions, entire school districts, as well as college and university networks, have suspended classes or transitioned to online course delivery in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Major corporations across the US and EU are encouraging their work forces to telecommute or are staggering work hours. Many states have banned large gatherings of more than 200 people, and many houses of worship have canceled regular services. Major sporting events in the US and EU have also been canceled, including suspension of NHL and NBA regular season play, as well as the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. In general, the overall effort is a non-pharmaceutical intervention known as social distancing. If people are not gathering in groups, the spread of the virus is slowed significantly.


OFFICIAL CASE NUMBERS

World Health Organization
Centers for Disease Control (U.S.)
Johns Hopkins CSSE (Interactive map updated multiple times daily)

Johns Hopkins CSSE COVID-19 Case Count (Interactive map updated multiple times daily) - ALLOW IMAGES

WHO RISK OF SPREAD & IMPACT ASSESSMENT

China Very High
Regional Level Very High
Global Level Very High


PANDEMIC PREPAREDNESS RESOURCES


Official Coronavirus Information Pages:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Food and Drug Administration
Public Health Agency of Canada
Infection Prevention and Control Canada
World Health Organization

Official Pandemic Preparedness Guidance:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Department of Homeland Security / Ready.Gov
World Health Organization

Assorted Resources

(While some of the resources below were prepared for pandemic influenza, the broader guidance contain therein is directly applicable to the current coronavirus crisis).


Home Care for Patients w/ Suspected Coronavirus Infection
Community Mitigation Guidelines to Prevent Pandemic Influenza
Fundamentals of Emergency Planning for Schools
Healthcare Systems Preparedness for COVID-19
Pub Health Guidance for Community-Level Preparedness & Response (SARS)
Business Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist
Faith-based & Community Org. Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Checklist
WHO Checklist for Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Planning
Get Your Workplace Ready for Pandemic Flu
Dept of Defense Coronavirus Response Page
DHS Supplemental Instructions For Inbound Flights


View Last Week’s Issue


Additional Coronavirus News Items

Venezuela confirms two coronavirus cases, suspends school
How the coronavirus is deadliest for the over-80s
Worst-case coronavirus models show massive US toll
Woman who survived coronavirus shares her early symptoms
Coronavirus patients who recover can be left with damaged lungs
China And S. Korea Models Seem Like Only Way To Contain COVID-19s
Leaked gov records reveal ‘the first coronavirus case emerged in NOVEMBER
Italy & ROK’s coronavirus outbreaks show disparity between deaths and tactics
Lessons for the world: How South Korea is tackling coronavirus
Coronavirus in S. Korea: How ‘trace, test and treat’ may be saving lives
Coronavirus: with a pandemic confirmed, the race is now for a vaccine
Sepsis — a common cause of death from coronavirus
Coronavirus: Europe now epicenter of the pandemic, says WHO
WHO warns Europe is coronavirus ‘epicenter’ as cases, deaths rise
Coronavirus: Italy hits single-day record with 250 deaths
Italy’s coronavirus death toll surges as Lombardy seeks tougher curbs
Italian doctor says overwhelmed hospitals are at ‘complete saturation’
Italy on pace to run out of beds for critically ill coronavirus patients
Dramatic satellite footage shows ‘notable drop’ in air pollution over Italy
Spain declares state of emergency, military brought in to contain coronavirus
Spain to declare state of emergency as Covid-19 cases soar to 4,209
Switzerland, Luxembourg and Germany become the latest to close their schools
Coronavirus begins shutting down public life across Germany
Coronavirus is France’s ‘greatest health crisis in a century’, says Macron
Czechs close borders from March 16 over coronavirus spread
Russia rushes to copy China and build a new hospital to deal with coronavirus
Coronavirus: Europe ramps up support for ailing firms
Escape from Europe: Americans scramble to board the last flights out
How many will die of coronavirus in the UK? A closer look at the numbers
Coronavirus: Queen postpones trips to Cheshire and Camden

AlertsUSA continues to monitor the domestic and international threat environment around the clock and will immediately notify service subscribers, via SMS messages to their mobile devices, of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens as events warrant.


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China threatens to impose pharmaceutical export controls which would plunge America into "the mighty sea of coronavirus."


March 14, 2020


China Threatens to Throw America
‘Into the Mighty Sea of the Coronavirus

China is threatening to wreak havoc on America’s drug supply amid the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. Thanks to our globalist elite and especially missteps during the Obama-Biden administration, Beijing has the power to do just that.

~ READ MORE HERE ~


Coronavirus: European Leaders Finally
Acknowledge Scale of Crisis

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has now reached more than 45 countries in Europe, where (as of March 12) more than 30,000 people have tested positive for the disease, according to a Gatestone Institute tally based on calculations from European health ministries.

~ READ MORE HERE ~


Why This Oil Crash Is Different

When Saudi Arabia, Russia, and other oil-producing countries met in Vienna last week, they debated who should slash oil output to offset the collapse in demand due to the coronavirus outbreak. When the meeting was over, the answer was clear: America.

~ READ MORE HERE ~


Fleet and Marine Tracker Map as of March 9, 2020  - ALLOW IMAGE8

USNI Fleet and Marine Tracker


March 14, 2020


These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of March 9, 2020 based on Navy and public data provided by the U.S. Naval Institute. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the chart reflects the location of the capital ship.


Army Spc. Eric Hayden fires an M777A2 howitzer while Staff Sgt. Robert Hartner braces to handle the shock of firing at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., March 5th, 2020. - ALLOW IMAGES


World News Roundup


March 14, 2020


Other Developments We Are Following

AMERICAS

House pulls bill that would rescind prior Trump travel ban
US ‘will not tolerate’ direct attacks on US or coalition forces
U.S. Supreme Court allows Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ asylum policy
US lawmakers seek Xinjiang import ban over forced labor
More than 100,000 have fled violence in Nicaragua, U.N. report says
Venezuela protest: Opposition clashes with police
Woman in Russian ‘sex spy’ scandal fights deportation from Canada.

EUROPE

Govt Of Norway Orders Complete ‘Shut Down’ Of The Country
Lack of Resources Made Russia’s Military Even More Cunning
Lithuania’s independence still rattles Vladimir Putin
Top Sierra Leone ex-rebel arrested in Finland
Exclusive: Russia to OPEC – deeper oil cuts won’t work
Facing recession, Europe grasps for ways to limit damage
Greece condemned over ill-treatment of refugees held on ship
Greek civilian militias patrol border amid migrant and refugee crisis
Putin rates Russia-US relations as more bad than good
Russia’s Duma passes reforms allowing Putin to seek re-election

MIDDLE EAST / AFRICA

U.S. aircraft carriers in the Middle East as a warning to Iran
Iran agrees to send black boxes of downed airliner to Ukraine
Efforts to combat violent extremist groups in Sahel region are ‘not effective
U.S. wages retaliatory strikes against Iran-backed militia in Iraq
Pentagon: US strikes Iran-backed group that hit Iraq base
Iraq condemns U.S. air strikes, warns of consequence
Turkey will not shy from military action in Syria’s Idlib if words not kept.
Vowing to keep border open, Turkey’s Erdogan compares Greeks to Nazi
Netanyahu rival set for official protection after threats
The losers, and even bigger losers, of an oil price war w/ Saudis and Russia
Oil price war: Saudi Arabia, US, Nigeria among big losers
Saudi Arabia steps up oil price war with big production increase
Guinea-Bissau’s Political Crisis Raises Fears of Another Coup
Will Ethiopia and Egypt’s Nile dam dispute lead to war?
Disbelief Over Zelensky’s Moves in Ukraine

ASIA

N. Korea could be readying to test more advanced ICBM
Chinese official accuses US Army of starting coronavirus outbreak,
American commandos to hold down Afghanistan as US troops withdraw
Germany plans to send a warship to the Indian Ocean
Japan unveils its hypersonic weapons plans
Afghanistan peace talks stall over planned prisoner exchange
North Korea ramps up missile testing
China slams US for warship sail-by in disputed waters


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Travel Security

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The U.S. Dept. of State Travel Website is the authoritative federal source for information on the security situation at travel destinations worldwide. With tensions rapidly increasing in most regions, readers planning international travel, even to such common destinations as Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, are strongly encouraged to do a little research on the security situation at your destination well prior to departure.

Active USGOV Travel Notices

Worldwide Caution


Active USGOV Travel Advisories

Alphabetical Country List

Dynamic Map


Other USGOV Travel Resources

Traveler’s Checklist

Smart Traveler Enrollment Prog (STEP)

Travelers with Special Considerations

Travel to High-Risk Areas

Faith-Based Travel Information

Information for Women Travelers

Cruise Ship Passengers

Students Abroad

Your Health Abroad

Driving and Road Safety Abroad


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The Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) provides a variety of resources to enhance the safety and security of the U.S. private sector businesses and organizations operating abroad.

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website is the authoritative federal source for information on current health issues related to specific destinations worldwide. These issues may arise from disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, natural disasters, or other conditions that may affect travelers’ health.

Foreign Sources of Travel Guidance

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Global Affairs Canada


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Australia Dept. of Foreign Affairs


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UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office


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Via: threatjournal


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Do you have a backup generator or Social Security? Think about both.

The news headlines read, “Deadly 6.4 Magnitude Earthquake Plunges Puerto Rico into Darkness”; and “Powerful Puerto Rico Earthquake Knocks Out Entire Island’s Power.”

It was enough to prompt a friends mother to call, four times, to make sure he was OK.

There’s been a string of fairly strong earthquakes lately in Puerto Rico… which is incredibly unusual for this part of the world. It’s been more than a century since the island was rocked by anything of this magnitude.

But as he explained to his parents that the press had blown things out of proportion as usual. They were running video footage that made it seem as if the island had been blasted back into the Stone Age.

It’s true that there were some displaced families and property damage near the epicenter.

But most of the island was not substantially affected. None of the major news organizations bothered to show footage of busy shopping malls, crowded restaurants, and packed movie theaters teeming with consumers.

It’s also true that the electrical grid went down: the island was without power for some time. In his community, the power came back on after 2 days. Some people had it on after a day, some after 3 or 4 days.

But here’s what people don’t realize– the electricity problems in Puerto Rico have a lot less to do with the seismic activity, and a lot more to do with the island’s decade-long economic depression.

Puerto Rico’s economy has been in the dumps since at least 2006. The government is bankrupt and defaulted on many of its debts as far back as 2015. And Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority (PREPA) is bankrupt as well, having defaulted on billions of dollars worth of bond obligations.

All of this financial insolvency means that neither the government nor PREPA has the resources to invest in the electrical grid.

And most of PREPA’s electrical production assets are in desperate need of replacement.

The largest power plant in Puerto Rico is the 820 MW Costa Sur facility, and according to PREPA, it was built in the 1950s!

This makes Costa Sur more than twice as old as the average power plant in the US.

They simply don’t have the money to modernize or upgrade their facilities. And people who live here understand this reality: the electrical grid in Puerto Rico is incredibly weak.

I’m serious. Power outages are commonplace here. The power at my house goes out at least 2-3 times a month, usually for a couple of hours.

That’s because every time a mouse farts on this island, something goes haywire at the electrical plants and the power goes out.

But again, Puerto Ricans know this. They have little confidence in their government, and even less confidence in the electrical grid.

So everyone who has the means in Puerto Rico owns a generator. It’s their Plan B. The power goes out, the generator comes on, and everything is OK.

My friends house is equipped with a huge generator… plus a backup cistern in case the water company goes down too.

This isn’t some wild conspiracy theory. In Puerto Rico, there’s nearly a 100% certainty that the system is going to fail… so having a backup generator is a perfectly sensible precaution to take.

And people who take this precaution are well-protected in the event that disaster strikes.

This way of thinking can obviously be applied to a lot of things… like retirement planning.

It’s no secret that government pension funds around the world are woefully underfunded.

University studies, non-profit research groups, mainstream financial press, and even government agencies themselves have reached the same conclusion: national, state, and local pension funds are trillions of dollars in the hole.

They simply do not have enough cash, nor will they have enough cash in the future, to pay the retirement benefits they owe.

Social Security in the United States is a great example.

Social Security’s Board of Trustees, which includes the United States Secretary of the Treasury, states quite plainly in their annual reports that Social Security’s primary trust funds will run out of money in 15 years.

Specifically, on page 5 of the 2019 Social Security Trustees Report, they state:

“Trust Fund asset reserves become depleted and unable to pay scheduled benefits in full on a timely basis in 2035.”

This isn’t some crazy conspiracy theory either. This is the US Treasury Secretary stating that in just 15 years, Social Security’s trust funds will be out of money and unable to pay the benefits that they’ve been promising people for decades.

This is just like Puerto Rico’s electrical issue: you know there’s nearly a 100% certainty that the program is going to run out of money.

I mean, seriously, the people in charge of program are telling you that it’s going to run out of money. It couldn’t be any more clear than that.

So it seems fairly sensible to have a backup generator for your retirement.

Everyone has a different situation– but there are plenty of options.

In the US, for example, tax deferred structures like a SEP IRA or Solo 401(k) can help you put away $50,000+ each year for your retirement in a really tax efficient way.

It’s even possible to use these structures combined with a side business like selling products on Amazon, renting out Airbnb units, etc. This means that you can channel income from your side business into your retirement account, helping you accumulate the savings you need to be comfortable in the future.

And, hey, even if Social Security is magically bailed out by benevolent space aliens, or some other crazy scenario, it’s not like you’ll be worse off having more retirement savings.

This is definitely worth considering and speaking to your tax adviser about.

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.


via:  SovereignMan.com


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How Robert De Niro ended up with three passports—should think about another also?

Most people might be surprised to learn that Robert De Niro has more passports than he has Academy Awards.

Come to think of it… most people probably have more passports (one), than they have Academy Awards (zero).

But De Niro has two Oscars: the first for playing Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II, and the second for his starring role in Raging Bull.

Yet he has three passports (that we know about).

De Niro was born in New York City, making him automatically a US citizen at birth because of the nationality laws in the United States.

Almost anyone born on US soil becomes a US citizen at birth; the only exception is children born to foreign diplomats who are in the United States on official business.

This law isn’t unique to the United States; nearly every country in the Americas, from Canada to Argentina, plus a few ‘random’ countries like Tanzania, grants citizenship to anyone born there.

So right from day one, De Niro was a US citizen.

But it turns out that De Niro has Italian ancestry as well. And Italy is one of a multitude of countries that grants citizenship to people who can prove their ancestry. (Others include Ireland, Poland, Germany, and a number of other countries in Europe.)

So De Niro was able to obtain an Italian passport back in 2006.

This is really valuable; a European second citizenship gives you the right to live, work, and do business in all 28 European Union countries– like France, Spain, Germany and Sweden. It’s a great Plan B.

Even if you don’t have European ancestors, Spain takes it a step further and allows citizens of former Spanish colonies (most of Latin America) to obtain Spanish citizenship after living in Spain for just two years as a legal resident.

De Niro’s third passport is from the Caribbean island nation of Antigua. Even more specifically, De Niro holds a Diplomatic Passport from Antigua with the title of ‘Special Envoy’.

And because of his diplomatic credentials, De Niro is entitled to a great deal of special privileges and amenities that even movie stars don’t normally receive.

Based on the 1969 United Nations Convention of Special Missions, special envoys like Robert De Niro are eligible to receive tons of travel benefits.

Diplomats always skip the line at airports. And under Article 26 of the convention agreement, it’s illegal for foreign customs officials to search a special envoy’s bags.

Then there’s diplomatic immunity; a special envoy “immunity from the criminal jurisdiction” of the foreign country where he is carrying out his duties. And his residence/office are protected as if they were the soil of a sovereign nation.

And if all that weren’t enough, the 1969 United Nations Convention on Special Missions even includes a host of tax benefits; special envoys are eligible for exemption of income tax, social security tax, and customs duties.

It’s a pretty great deal if you can get it. And apparently if you’re Robert De Niro, you can.

But Antigua is one of a handful of countries with an “economic citizenship” program, which awards citizenship to foreigners who invest a certain sum of money in the country.

For anywhere between $100,000 up to $1 million or more in some countries, you can obtain citizenship. But in most cases you’ll never see that money again, so it’s more of a ‘donation’ than a true ‘investment’.

For people who aren’t eligible for citizenship by ancestry, though, these economic citizenship programs are a fast and easy way to obtain another passport.

There are nearly 200 different countries in the world, so that’s a lot of options for a second passports and citizenship.

And obviously some are much more valuable than others.

My team created a global passport ranking, to systematically assess which passports are best.

We took into account criteria like how many countries a passport gives you visa free access to, and how much of the global GDP, population, and surface area it gives you access to.

15 of the top 20 ranked passports, for example, are from European nations. These all give you visa free entrance into at least 157 countries, which account for 77% of global GDP.

It makes sense why so many people want to obtain a second passport from a European country. Any second citizenship will give you another option for where to live and work– a major component of any solid Plan B.

And the nice thing about European countries is that it’s fairly straightforward to obtain citizenship through another means: legal residency.

Portugal, for example, has one of the lowest barriers to become a legal resident in the country. You have to demonstrate just €14,600 in savings or liquid investments. And after five years of residency you are eligible to apply for naturalization and obtain a passport from Portugal.

Belgium will grant residency if you start or move your business there. And like in Portugal you’ll become eligible to apply for a passport after five years.

Everyone’s situation is different. But there are many excellent options to obtain a European citizenship and a passport if you are lucky enough to have ancestors from Europe or are willing to invest time or money.

You can start with this free in-depth article my team just put together– The Three Ways To Obtain a European Citizenship & Excellent Second Passport.

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

via:  SovereignMan.com


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Free Homesteading, Cooking, Prepper, Survival eBooks & PDF’s for 08-15-18

Free Kindle Survival Homesteading Books

Free Homesteading, cooking, Survival, , and Prepping Kindle ebooks and PDF’s? Yes FREE Kindle ebooks and PDF’s!! Every now and then Amazon runs special offers on some of their Kindle ebooks and PDF’s, making them free for a limited time (usually just 24 hours).

I will check Amazon on regularly basis for their free Kindle ebooks in related subjects such as survival, homesteading and prepping etc. I will do all the leg-work for you so you don’t have to. You can just come back here regularly, so make sure to bookmark this blog.

These ebooks and PDF’s are only free for a limited time so if you are interested in one make sure you get it right away so you don’t lose out!

Remember you DON’T need a kindle to take advantage of these! There are FREE kindle apps for most major platforms!! iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac and Android. You can find those apps here!

Always check price before engaging, to make sure it hasn’t returned to full price.

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Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.


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Free Homesteading, Cooking, Prepper, Survival eBooks & PDF for 06-13-18

Free Kindle Survival Homesteading Books

Free Homesteading, cooking, Survival, , and Prepping Kindle ebooks and PDF’s? Yes FREE Kindle ebooks and PDF’s!! Every now and then Amazon runs special offers on some of their Kindle ebooks and PDF’s, making them free for a limited time (usually just 24 hours).

I will check Amazon on regularly basis for their free Kindle ebooks in related subjects such as survival, homesteading and prepping etc. I will do all the leg-work for you so you don’t have to. You can just come back here regularly, so make sure to bookmark this blog.

These ebooks and PDF’s are only free for a limited time so if you are interested in one make sure you get it right away so you don’t lose out!

Remember you DON’T need a kindle to take advantage of these! There are FREE kindle apps for most major platforms!! iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac and Android. You can find those apps here!

Always check price before engaging, to make sure it hasn’t returned to full price.

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Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.


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GE just signaled the next crisis and nobod’s paying attention

Earlier this month, General Electric took a $6.2 billion charge to its insurance unit for the fourth quarter. And the company said it will set aside another $15 billion over seven years to bolster reserves at GE Capital.

The charge had to do with long-term care policies (to pay for nursing homes and other late-life care) GE holds on its books.

So, one of the oldest and most highly-regarded companies in America just made a small, $21 billion miscalculation. Oops.

Keep in mind, GE’s entire market cap is only $140 billion.

The insurance charge, along with costs tied to the US tax plan, led GE to a $9.64 billion loss in the fourth quarter.

Then last week, GE announced the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was investigating the company’s accounting practices (specifically how the company books revenue from long-term service contracts on things like power-plant repairs and jet-engine maintenance).

But this isn’t GE’s first run in with the SEC…

The company’s accounting practices have long been considered a “black box.” The New York Times even published a story in 2009 comparing the company to Enron – the energy giant brought down by fraudulent accounting.

And is all started with GE’s legendary former CEO Jack Welch.

Welch would regularly beat Wall Street’s earnings estimates by a penny or two. And he was named manager of the century by Fortune Magazine for his ability to pump GE’s stock.

And while Welch is lauded for his “six sigma” management, it seems his real talent was using GE’s many divisions to move assets around and goose earnings to hit short-term numbers.

The creative accounting caught up with GE in 2009, when the company paid $50 million to settle SEC allegations it had used improper accounting methods to boost numbers in 2002 and 2003.

Among the strategies GE used to make its 2003 numbers was selling railroad cars to banks, with side deals and verbal promises to assure the banks they couldn’t lose money on the deal.

Enron used the same trick in 1999 when it “sold” Nigerian barges to Merrill Lynch, allowing the company to fake a $12 million profit.

Today GE is a $140 billion company (shares are down by nearly half over the past 12 month). The company has nearly $160 billion in debt. And in fiscal year 2016, the company lost $41 billion in cash.

GE’s financial performance makes my favorite whipping boy, Netflix, look like a piker.

GE got here, in part, because the government guaranteed all of the company’s debts until 2012 to help it survive the Great Financial Crisis.

Then the Fed lowered interest rates and printed trillions of dollars to goose the economy.

Instead of using this beneficial environment to repair its horrible balance sheet, GE spent some $50 billion buying back stock and paying dividends… and allowed Welch’s successor, Jeff Immelt, to walk away with $211 million (despite the company erasing $150 billion of market cap value during his tenure).

GE has gotten away with this behavior because we’re in the middle of one of the largest asset booms in history. The markets are at all-time highs. And nobody asks the tough questions when they’re making money.

It doesn’t take a giant pin to prick the bubble. It just takes something unexpected… Nobody ever knows what will set off the next crisis.

But in GE’s case, you can bet there isn’t just one cockroach.

Plus, interest rates are rising today (the 10-year Treasury is above 2.7%) and the Fed is taking away the quantitative easing punch bowl. What will happen to overly indebted companies like GE (who are likely covering up more huge losses) when the credit dries up and debt service gets way more expensive?

Mind you, GE already can’t afford its debt.

GE is just one example of a potential crisis in the making.

Maybe a bank sets off the next crisis…

I just read a Wall Street Journal piece about “drive by appraisals.” When the big institutional investors, like private equity giant Blackstone, started buying tens of thousands of individual homes, they needed a quick way to appraise the properties to get loans.

Blackstone and its lender, Deutsche Bank, settled on these drive by appraisals, where brokers give their price opinion of the property. These assessments, called broker price opinions (BPOs) were outlawed by congress after the crisis.

But the prohibition doesn’t apply to investors buying tens of thousands of homes (of course you don’t want to have an accurate asset value for collateral behind really big loans).

Sometimes brokers will even outsource the process to India, where companies will use Google Earth and real estate website to come up with home values.

BPOs have been used to value homes backing more than $20 billion of bonds sold by companies like Blackstone.

As Warren Buffett says, “you never know who’s swimming naked until the tide goes out.”

Just know, there are major losses – and likely fraud – hiding out there today. But it’s gone largely ignored because of the one-way market we’ve experienced since 2010.

GE and these drive by loans are just two examples. And the worst is yet to come.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

via:  sovereignman


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Free Homesteading, Cooking, Prepper, Survival Kindle eBooks for 01-29-18

Free Kindle Survival Homesteading Books

Free Homesteading, cooking, Survival, , and Prepping Kindle ebooks? Yes FREE Kindle ebooks!! Every now and then Amazon runs special offers on some of their Kindle ebooks, making them free for a limited time (usually just 24 hours).

I will check Amazon on regularly basis for their free Kindle ebooks in related subjects such as survival, homesteading and prepping etc. I will do all the leg-work for you so you don’t have to. You can just come back here regularly, so make sure to bookmark this blog.

These ebooks are only free for a limited time so if you are interested in one make sure you get it right away so you don’t lose out!

Remember you DON’T need a kindle to take advantage of these! There are FREE kindle apps for most major platforms!! iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac and Android. You can find those apps here!

Always check price before engaging, to make sure it hasn’t returned to full price.

 

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Thousands Drop off Food Stamp Rolls in Georgia After State Implements Work Requirements

Thousands of people have dropped off the food stamp rolls in Georgia as a result of the state implementing work requirements for food stamp recipients.

More than half of the 11,779 people enrolled for food stamps in 21 counties, an estimated 7,251 people, have dropped out of the food stamp program—a drop of 62 percent, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Georgia first rolled out its work requirements for the food stamp program in three counties in January 2016. Since then, the state has expanded work requirements in an additional 21 counties, giving people in those 21 counties until April 1, 2017 to find a job or lose food stamp benefits.

Those who receive benefits must work at least 20 hours a week, be enrolled in state-approved job training, or volunteer for a state-approved non-profit or charity.

State officials say the plan is to extend the work requirements to all 159 counties in Georgia by 2019 and implement work requirements in 60 more counties, starting in 2018.

“The greater good is people being employed, being productive and contributing to the state,” said Bobby Cagle, director of Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services.

Views on the work mandate are mixed in the state, with some seeing the requirement as a way to get more people into the workforce and less dependent on government handouts, while others say it is an unfair measure that targets the disabled who cannot hold down a job due to their impairments.

Brandon Hanick, who represents the progressive advocacy group Better Georgia, says people with mental health problems, limited education, and the physically disabled would have trouble trying to provide proof of their inability to meet the work requirements.

“It’s cruel,” Hanick said. “We’re talking about one of the most basic needs — the need for food.”

State Rep. Greg Morris (R-Vidalia), on the other hand, says that the decrease in food stamp recipients means that the work requirements are helping people become less dependent on government handouts.

“This is about protecting taxpayer dollars from abuse, and taking people off the cycle of dependency,” Morris said. The big drop in numbers, he added, “shows how tax dollars are abused when it comes to entitlements.”

Over the past year, the number of able-bodied food stamp recipients without children in Georgia decreased from 111,000 to 89,500, a 19 percent decrease, the AJC reported.

According to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics for FY 2017, 42,906,253 Americans are enrolled in the food stamp program—a 2.9 percent decrease from FY 2016, when 44,219,363 Americans received food stamps.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

via: breitbart

 


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The Top 5 Reasons I “Prepare”

 

I was about to write something like this when friends at homesteaddreamer hit it right on the head.

This is the orginal post below, but stop over at homesteaddreamer for much more information on “Working toward a more self sufficient life”.

 

 


Picture by David Kent, © 2006

Hollywood has turned the word “prepper” into a laughable term that conjures up images of some whack job in a bunker with gas masks. The reality of it could not be further from the truth. As with anything, there are the extremists out there who take things over the top. The current fad is to capitalize on those types to entertain the masses (“Doomsday Preppers” anyone?). Anyone who knows me or has followed me for more than a month, already knows I am not anything like what is portrayed on television. The Mister and I consider it “self-regulated insurance.” Some are taken back when they hear me say I consider myself a morphed version of a homesteader and a prepper (most do not understand that they are one in the same for the most part). I generally just tell people that I am turning into my grandma (which is true) and they accept it as something more palatable, more ‘normal.’ For those rare people who are not put off by the word prepper or think I am crazy to think in these terms of being ready for some unforeseen event, I tell them my top 5 reasons the husband and I have gone over to this more self reliant lifestyle. They are given in order of importance;

1. Loss of job. Any one can lose their job at any time. Most people reading this (myself included) simply do not have the means to be able to put back 3 months of bills into a savings account. They live by the seat of their pants – paycheck to paycheck. Having supplies such as an extra 20# bag of rice (bought on sale!) or pack of toilet paper will make getting through a job loss easier in many ways. There is a comfort knowing that even if you do not have money coming in, you have some food set back that will not go bad anytime soon. You will still be able to feed your family and keep clean while you figure out the rest. I can personally attest to this – when I was finishing college I was not working and our budget was so tight that a vice grip would be jealous. I had the pantry filled with extras like rice, beans, flour, sugar, etc. and other staples. The freezer was pretty full because of a meat sale I was able to take advantage of and we made it through. All actual money we had went to rent and bills and we ate the stores I had set back. I learned some great new recipes, too!


2. Break in the Supply Chain. Living on an island means everything is shipped in by barge, ferry, or plane. We rely completely upon these ‘just in time’ systems for absolutely everything. Should some catastrophe happen in the ‘lower 48,’ our supplies here would surely be affected. A large earthquake or storm system could slow or even stop supplies moving across the country. The likelihood of supplies actually making it here when the places they are being shipped through also need the same supplies is small – maybe even non existent – until regular lines are restored. Any government aid would also be very slow in making it here, if at all. Should the supply chain become interrupted, people in Southeast Alaska would be on their own in more than one way.

3. Natural Disasters. Thankfully, the area I live in does not have many natural disasters, or even disaster threats. Wildfires and floods or mudslides simply do not happen often here. We have some good storms in Autumn and Spring with sustained winds over 5o MPH and gusts in the 80 MPH range. We are used to these and do not have to worry much about damage to homes or infrastructure. The natural disasters I worry most about would be earthquakes and the tsunamis that follow. We are surrounded by little islands on all sides that would break up some of the tsunami waves however, the initial ‘draining’ of the sea and then it rushing back in would cause significant damage by itself. We are a coastal fishing town – such an event could wipe out salmon stocks if the tsunami hit during spawning season. Fishing boats would be damaged and sink from banging around in the docks or from a rock on the sea floor as the waves rushed out, then back in. We may not see an actual tsunami hit the island I live on, but there would be a ripple effect felt across the region.

4. Economic Collapse. No two ways about it, our country is in trouble financially speaking. Anyone who knows anything of how economics works can see the truth of it. I have great concerns about how it will all shake out in the end and we are consciously working on getting ourselves completely out of debt. That being said, I put this lower on my list because there really is not much I can do about it other than what I already am. If there was indeed an economic collapse, many people think that they simply will not have to pay bills and that is just unrealistic. The rent man and bank will still want their money for the roof over your head and if you don’t have it, you may find yourself out in the cold. Having stuff set back to eat, drink, keep warm with, and keep hygiene up with help immensely as you will not have to buy these things and what funds you do have can be put toward keeping the roof over your head.


5. All the ‘Other Stuff’. Yup, I worry about EMPs or solar flares wiping out the grid. I worry about asteroids smacking the Earth. I worry about terrorists, dirty bombs, chemical warfare, etc. The fact is, ALL of these are possible but that does not mean I am sitting there hiding in my little cocoon waiting for it all to go down. I do what I can to prepare; having the supplies and SKILLS  to not only make it, but to also thrive afterward. The skills can actually be very fun to try out. For example; camping is a wonderful activity to help teach yourself and your family how to deal without running water, electricity, and wood heat. Do you know how to start a fire with damp wood? How about putting up a tarp that you can take down without leaving any rope in the trees? Can you identify edible plants in your area? All of these simple activities add up to a lot of powerful knowledge that can literally save you if needed but you learned them by ‘playing’ in the woods. It is all about perspective!

Here is a wonderful little interactive PDF you can use to help get started by breaking things down into manageable chunks. Not sure what scenario to use? I recommend people plan for a job loss first to get used to the form and then go from there. I hope this helps some of the nay-sayers see that being ‘prepared’ is a really smart idea (your grandparents called it ‘normal’) and not just for the whack jobs who are convinced that the whole world is only one event away from total annihilation.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via: homesteaddreamer


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Going Under: Over One Million Lose Unemployment Benefits – Will Hit Five Million By End of 2014

Earlier this year government benefits for nutritional assistance were reduced after the expiration of emergency legislation that was enacted following the 2008 financial collapse. Nearly all of the 48 million people receiving food stamp distributions were affected. The move led to warnings from food pantries and recipients around the country who said that the $40 billion in cuts would leave many American families without the ability to put food on dinner tables across America. According to Feed America, the roughly $29 per family that would no longer appear on their EBT cards will amount to about 1.5 billion meals in 2014.

But that was just the beginning.

Because the government now claims that we are in a period of economic growth we will see more cuts to emergency assistance over the course of the next year.

And it starts today.

As of midnight Saturday some 1.3 million Americans who lost their jobs in the last two years and were left with no choice but to collect unemployment benefits due to the worst jobs market since the Great Depression have now seen their benefits expire.

Long-term unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans expired Saturday after Congress failed to pass an extension. Reinstating those benefits is expected to be one of the first priorities for congressional Democrats in the new year.

“Extending unemployment insurance is the right thing to do for millions of Americans who are trying to support their families,” Democratic National Committee chairwoman and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement Saturday. “What makes matters worse, the loss of benefits comes just a few days after the holidays.”

CNN


This morning, the President placed separate telephone calls to Senator Jack Reed and Senator Dean Heller to offer his support for their proposal to extend emergency unemployment benefits for three months,” White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.

“The President said his administration would, as it has for several weeks now, push Congress to act promptly and in bipartisan fashion to address this urgent economic priority.”

Obama says the abrupt cut-off in cash assistance during the holidays will hurt economic growth and jobs.

Fox News

Here’s the kicker. By the end of 2014 the number of Americans who will lose access to long-term unemployment benefits will be five times higher:

 

By July, another 1.9 million people will get the boot from extended benefits. By the end of 2014, 1.6 million more will be kicked off, totaling about 5 million Americans.

Bloomberg

Five millions Americans will be losing access to what essentially amounts to their paycheck. And we’re not talking about a $29 cut to food stamps. We’re talking about a mortgage payment, a healthcare payment, and funds to pay for essential utilities.

All of it will be vaporized by the end of the year. This will affect not just those five million people, but their dependents as well, which amounts to at least an additional 5 – 10 million people.

Congress and the President propose to extend these benefits for another three months, and most would suggest that this will avert the emergency.

That notion is laughable.

What happens after we kick the can down the road for another three months? Will President Obama somehow magically create 1.3 million shovel-ready jobs?

The problem is that there are no meaningful jobs available. So you can extend these benefits for six months, or even two more years, and we’ll be right back where we started once they expire – perhaps even worse off as prices for everything from food to utilities to health care rise unabated.

When a DHS Insider warned recently of a crisis of unprecedented magnitude within the United States he noted that we are in the midst of a long-term economic collapse.

Given what is transpiring around us, can anyone honestly say that our economy is actually recovering?

President Obama claims that failing to extend the unemployment benefits for these 1.3 million people will hurt economic growth and jobs. He has just broadcast the severity of the situation we face.

It should be clear that without government intervention and backroom machinations the entire system will come unglued. Stocks would crash, millions would be starving in the streets, and the violence that the Department of Homeland Security and US military have been preparing for would take hold across the streets of America.

That may sound sensational, but consider that just one week ahead of the cut to food stamp benefits of $29 per family the Department of Homeland Security spent $80 million to beef up security in New York City with the expectation that those who lost their benefits would start rioting. They know that we are rapidly approaching a breaking point, otherwise why would they be preparing for it?

The government has no choice but to keep pumping out money and emergency assistance, whether that be to people who have lost their jobs or the banks that provide the lending. The second (literally) that they pull back on the monetary, financial and economic intervention we will see a catastrophe that few can imagine.

It’s coming.

If you’re paying attention you can’t go a day without seeing the signs.

The only question is: Are you prepared for when it happens?

 

 Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

Via: shtfplan


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