Government

Illinois Emergency Management Agency: Develop Post-Disaster Communications Plan With ‘Text First, Talk Second’ Approach

Severe Weather Preparedness Month is almost over here in Illinois. But the Illinois Emergency Management Agency is still passing along valuable information to state residents on what to do when a disaster occurs. From a press release on the Illinois Government News Network website yesterday:

‘Text First, Talk Second’ Often Best Way to Contact Loved Ones When Disaster Strikes

IEMA Encourages People to Have Plan for Communicating with Family Members, Friends during Emergencies

SPRINGFIELD – When disaster strikes, your first instinct probably is to call loved ones to make sure they’re OK or let them know you’re safe. It’s likely everyone else affected by the emergency is thinking the same thing. In these instances, telephone lines can quickly become overloaded, preventing not only your call from going through but also blocking critical 911 calls.

During Severe Weather Preparedness Month in March, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is encouraging people to develop a Family Communications Plan that includes the “Text First, Talk Second” concept.

“Communicating with family and friends immediately after a disaster is important,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “We’re encouraging people to plan now so they’ll know how to reach their contacts in the chaotic aftermath of a disaster.”

Joseph said short, simple text messages, such as “R U OK?” and “I’m OK,” are more likely to get through to your loved ones than a phone call when phone service is disrupted. As phone congestion eases, you can follow up with a phone call to relay more information.

Data-based services like texts and emails are less likely to experience network congestion during an emergency. You can also use social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to post your status to let family and friends know you’re OK.

While Text-to-911 is on the horizon for emergency communications, it currently is available only in limited areas of the U.S. If you need to contact 911, do so by landline or cell phone unless your community has notified you that this service is activated in your area.

Additional emergency communications tips include:

• Keep all phone calls brief by conveying only vital information to emergency personnel and/or family.
• If you are unsuccessful in completing a call using your cell phone, wait ten seconds before redialing to help reduce network congestion.
• If you lose power, you can charge your cell phone in your car. Be sure your car is in a well-ventilated place, not in a garage.
• Another resource for letting friends and family know your status after a disaster is the American Red Cross’s Safe and Well Registry at https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php.
• Your communications plan should identify an out-of-area contact and household members should carry that information with them at all times. If a disaster occurs when you are separated, it often is easier to call outside your immediate area. Family members can call the contact to provide location and coordinate reunification plans.

For more information about developing a family communications plan, visit the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

Great advice regarding that “Text First, Talk Second” strategy.

Even I can text on my vintage “dumb phone” with its Shaun of the Dead ringtone.

To find out more about IEMA, you can visit their website here.

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

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Illinois In Worst Shape Of 43 States That Filed FY 2014 Audits

William G. Holland, the Auditor General for the State of Illinois, has just reported on Illinois’ finances.

It’s still fugly.

From the Summary Report Digest for “Statewide Financial Statement Audit For the Year Ended June 30, 2014”:

The Illinois Office of the State Comptroller prepares the State of Illinois Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). The CAFR is the State’s official annual report which provides the readers with the financial position of the State as of June 30, 2014, and results of operations during the fiscal year.

The financial section of the CAFR includes the Independent Auditors’ Report on the basic financial statements, the management discussion and analysis, the basic financial statements, required supplementary information, and individual fund statements and schedules…

The June 30, 2014 financial statements of the State of Illinois are fairly presented in all material respects.

The financial statements at June 30, 2014 reflect the following:

The net position of governmental activities continued to deteriorate and the deficit increased by $1.3 billion from FY13 to FY14. Overall, the net position of governmental activities is reported as a deficit of $49.2 billion. (Exhibit 1)
• The General Fund deficit decreased by $658 million from FY13 to FY14. The June 30, 2014 deficit was $6.7 billion. (Exhibit 2)

Over time, increases and decreases in net position measure whether the State’s financial position is improving or deteriorating. A comparison of Illinois’ financial position to other states is contained in Exhibit 3…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

And the results of that “comparison of Illinois’ financial position to other states”?

Karen Pierog of Reuters reported Wednesday:

This left Illinois in the worst shape of the 43 U.S. states that had filed fiscal 2014 audits. The only other state with negative assets was Massachusetts at $29 billion. Texas reported the biggest positive net assets at $119.4 billion

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Good ol’ Texas. Probably get even more sneers from local folks at my University of Texas t-shirt I picked up while at that Food Insurance-sponsored prepper conference in Dallas the other year.

Pierog added something else of note:

The state marked its thirteenth consecutive year with a general fund deficit

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

For most of those years, Democrats have dominated state government, occupying the governor’s office and the majority of both houses in the Illinois General Assembly.

Coincidence?

I’ll keep typing it on this blog until my fingers fall off:

“Financial reckoning day” is eventually coming to the “Land of Lincoln.”

As such, it might be wise for Illinoisans to start preparing if they haven’t done so already.

It won’t be the end of the world, but for many it could feel like it. Therefore, it’s probably a good idea to start addressing various vulnerabilities for such an occasion- financial and otherwise.

You can read that Summary Report Digest (.pdf format) on the Illinois Auditor General’s web page here.

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

(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)

Source:

Pierog, Karen. “Illinois finances continued downward slide in FY 2014: auditor.” Reuters. 18 Mar. 2015. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/18/us-usa-illinois-audit-idUSKBN0ME2M920150318). 20 Mar. 2015.

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Illinois Gun Owners Descend On State Capital To Lobby Lawmakers

Yesterday was Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day (IGOLD) down in Springfield. Nick Swedberg of the Associated Press reported last night:

Gun owners from across the state flooded the Illinois Capitol on Wednesday for an annual rally, and many spoke with lawmakers from their home districts about legislation to broaden gun rights…

I’ve blogged about this annual gun rights event before. From the Illinois State Rifle Association website:

Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day (IGOLD) was started back in the early ‘90’s to put a face on Illinois gun owners. Up until that time the media had portrayed gun owners and those who believed in the Second Amendment as some knuckle dragging Neanderthal throw backs, barely worthy of being called humans. IGOLD helped change that although the mainstream media still labels gun owners that way, when they can get away with it.

The first ISRA Lobby Day was attended by about 200 people. Among those attending were four undercover policemen. In 2006, the ISRA joined with several other groups and ISRA Lobby Day became Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day (IGOLD). The Illinois Gun Owners’ Lobby Day (IGOLD) has become the number one demonstration of citizens promoting gun owners’ rights in the United States – the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) is its primary sponsor. The crowds have grown each year. In 2013, 8200 gun owners showed up to lobby their legislators and to become the face of all the gun owners in Illinois. Because of IGOLD and other ISRA activities, gun owners have increased in stature in Illinois…

I understand that this year IGOLD pushed for expanding gun rights in the state- particularly concealed-carry. Swedberg added:

Proposed legislation in the General Assembly would allow concealed carry in places prohibited under current law, such as bus stations, churches and bars…

The state’s top gun rights advocacy group is expected to meet with [Illinois Governor Bruce] Rauner this month, a meeting that previous Democratic governors only promised to have. The organization’s executive director said that’s a positive sign that the new administration will be more favorable to their cause than the last.

“It’s hard to deal with people who just shut you out,” Richard Pearson, head of the Illinois State Rifle Association, said.

Illinois gun owners should be grateful for ISRA and IGOLD. Because when the next mass shooting along the lines of Newtown comes along, their keeping the spotlight on gun rights will remind politicians across the “Land of Lincoln” they’ll have a battle on their hands attempting to implement knee-jerk ineffective and unconstitutional gun “control” laws.

For more information about the Illinois State Rifle Association, visit their website here.

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

Source:

Swedberg, Nick. “Gun owners rally for right to carry guns in more places.” Associated Press. 18 Mar. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/daily-southtown/news/ct-sta-gun-rights-st-0319-20150318-story.html). 19 Mar. 2015.

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Proposed Niles, Illinois, Gun Shop And Range Back In Court On April 14

Sorry about the delayed posting this week. While I would have liked to have celebrated an extended St. Patrick’s Day weekend here in the Chicago area (and wrote), a number of personal matters required my attention instead.

Speaking of the Chicagoland area, remember when I blogged last summer about that gun shop and range possibly opening up around my old stomping grounds on the Northwest Side? Last I heard, the proposed facility at 6143 Howard Street in Niles was being sued by a gun “control” group calling themselves People for a Safer Society. I noted on November 13:

As for the new gun shop/range? Alex Hernandez reported on The Bugle website on October 24:

People for a Safer Society are suing to block Sportsman’s Club and Firearms Training Academy from opening in Niles.

“The area immediately surrounding [Sportsman’s] is replete with schools, religious facilities, children’s recreations facilities, and other non-gun-related businesses and entities, many or all of which are within walking distance of the Howard Property and the proposed gun range,” said the suit filed by People for a Safer Society last Friday.

Back in July trustees voted 4-1 to grant Sportsman’s a special use permit to open an 1,800-square-foot firing range and 2,500 square feet of retail space at 6143 W. Howard St…

The suit claims that if Sportsman’s opens the business would endanger Niles by allowing “easy access for buying a gun for anyone in or near Niles and the surrounding villages and communities,” that Sportsman’s gun sales “would result in the feeding of crime guns to the City of Chicago,” and finally a fear that the store could increase the risk of suicides and mass shootings in the area…

That’s the last I heard of the Niles gun shop and shooting range- until this afternoon. Tom Robb reported on the website of Journal & Topics Newspapers (northwest Chicago suburbs) last week:

A significant ruling, in the case of anti-gun activists challenging Niles village trustees’ approval of a gun shop and shooting range, could come next month. It could end the case, send it to trial or add another party to the lawsuit.

At issue in a ruling, expected Tuesday, Apr. 14, is whether the challenge to the special use permit would be “facial” or “as applied.”

Robb explained later in the article:

In their motion to dismiss the suit, Niles attorneys wrote, “An applied challenge represents a plaintiff’s protest against how a statute was applied in a particular context… while a facial challenge represents a plaintiff’s contention that a statute is incapable of constitutional application in any context.”

Because the case could not withstand a facial challenge, village attorneys say in their motion that the case should be dismissed.

People For A Safer Society attorney Anthony Hind said he believes the standard in the gun shop case should rest on the “as applied” standard, based on long-standing state law, and that it should move forward…

There’s more to this legal stuff, which you can read over on the Des Plaines-based paper’s website here.

Survival And Prosperity wishes 6143 Howard Partners Inc. the best of luck on April 14.

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

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Proposed Ban Of Common AR-15 Rifle Ammunition Suspended

In case you haven’t heard the latest about that proposed ban on common M855 ball ammunition (or SS109 as it’s sometimes referred to) for the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action reported on their website yesterday:

Fairfax, Va. – The National Rifle Association (NRA) was instrumental in stalling the Obama Administration’s initial attempt to ban commonly used ammunition for the most popular rifle in America, the AR-15. The announcement that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) will suspend its proposed framework to ban M855 ammunition validates the NRA’s assertion that this effort was nothing more than a political maneuver to bypass Congress and impose gun control on the American people.

“Today’s announcement proves what we have said all along — this was 100% political. President Obama failed to pass gun control through Congress, so he tried to impose his political agenda through executive fiat. But every gun owner in America needs to understand Barack Obama’s hatred of the Second Amendment has not changed,” said Wayne La Pierre, Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association.

Chris Cox, Executive Director of NRA-ILA criticized the dishonest campaign to ban this common ammunition: “The lies used to justify the ban were shameful. This proposal was never about law enforcement safety – it was about the Obama Administration’s desire to pander to billionaire Michael Bloomberg and his gun control groups. Since they haven’t been able to ban America’s most popular rifle, they are trying to ban the ammunition instead.”

Since the BATFE announced its plan to ban commonly used ammunition less than a month ago, the NRA rallied its five million members and tens of millions of supporters across the country in strong opposition. In addition, the NRA worked with congressional leaders in both the U.S. House and Senate to oppose this misguided proposal.

“The NRA would like to thank House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and House Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Culberson for leading the fight against this unconstitutional attack on our Second Amendment freedoms,” continued Cox. “This was a significant victory for our five million members and tens of millions of supporters across the country.

“Make no mistake, this fight is not over. We will remain vigilant and continue to fight against President Obama’s attempt to dismantle the Second Amendment,” concluded LaPierre.

To view the congressional letters to BATFE, along with the Member signatures, click here and here.

To view recent op-ed in the Daily Caller by Chris Cox on the proposed ammunition ban, click here.

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

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Chicago City Council Budget Chair On Property Tax Hike: ‘I Believe We Can Truly Say That It Will Happen’

Back when I was an aide to U.S. Senator Paul Simon of Illinois, there was one cardinal rule to be followed when communicating with constituents:

Good news comes from Paul, bad news comes from his assistants.

With that in mind, last night my girlfriend and I were watching the Chicago news on TV when the following story appeared. From the WGN Web Desk this morning:

A Chicago property tax hike could be on the way.

That wasn’t announced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

It was said by an alderman who is trying to help him get reelected.

Several of Emanuel’s allies held a press conference Monday to question how challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia would pay for the promises he’s making on the campaign trail.

That’s when 34th Ward Alderman Carrie Austin, the City Council budget chairman, said property tax increases may be needed to cover Emanuel’s spending plans.

“I believe we can truly say that it will happen, but it’s all in the ‘how much,’” said Austin. “Nothing is off the table, and I think we should be honest with the people to let them know that everything is being considered.”

(Editor: Bold added for emphasis)

Considering the event was organized to attack mayoral challenger Jesús “Chuy” Garcia and this City Council routinely carries water for Emanuel, I initially thought “The Rahmfather” was trying to kill two birds with one stone here- blast “Chuy” and have Alderman Austin start conditioning Chicagoans for the looming property tax hike I’ve been warning about for some time now on this blog.

Good news Rahm. Bad news City Council budget chairman.

But then I thought more about how Rahm obviously realizes talk of tax hikes is one of the “third-rails” of politics- particularly before a runoff election that’s only a few weeks away (April 7) and where “Chuy” is not too far behind in the various polls.

Plus there’s this from Hal Dardick about the incident on the Chicago Tribune website yesterday:

Austin, known for speaking off the cuff, quickly tried to qualify her property tax hike comment, saying she meant only that “everything is on the table.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Maybe this wasn’t orchestrated by Rahm?

Oh well. Smooth move or gaffe, I see it as yet more evidence of a property tax hike being just around the corner.

Plan accordingly.

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

Sources:

“Mayor Emanuel Ally: Property tax hike likely.” WGN News Desk. 10 Mar. 2015. (http://wgntv.com/2015/03/10/mayor-emanuel-ally-property-tax-hike-likely/). 10 Mar. 2015.

Dardick, Hal. “Emanuel ally: Property tax hike likely in second term.” Chicago Tribune. 9 Mar. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/chi-emanuel-ally-says-property-tax-likely-in-second-term-20150309-story.html). 10 Mar. 2015.

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Tuesday, March 10th, 2015 Debt Crisis, Fiscal Policy, Government, Taxes No Comments

Latest On Proposed Ban Of Common AR-15 Rifle Ammunition

Back on February 16, I blogged about the push by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) to ban common M855 ball ammunition (or SS109 as it’s sometimes referred to) for the AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle incredibly-popular with America’s shooting community. The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) charged on February 13:

In a move clearly intended by the Obama Administration to suppress the acquisition, ownership and use of AR-15s and other .223 caliber general purpose rifles, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives unexpectedly announced today that it intends to ban commonplace M855 ball ammunition as “armor piercing ammunition.” The decision continues Obama’s use of his executive authority to impose gun control restrictions and bypass Congress…

Earlier today, I tuned in to the Mrgunsngear Channel on YouTube.com, and noticed Mrgunsngear had uploaded a video this weekend in which he discussed the latest developments going on with the proposed ban of “the second-most common ammo sold for the AR-15”:


“Is M855/SS109 5.56 Banned Already?
**Edit—Update With Current Latest Info At End…”
YouTube Video

Personally, I suspect the proposed (current?) ban is simply more “backdoor” gun “control” coming out of the White House. Remember what I wrote back on May 31, 2011:

This report comes after a recent Washington Post piece that was published on April 11th by Jason Horowitz in which President Obama is alleged to have said his administration was working on gun control “under the radar.” Horowitz wrote:

On March 30, the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, Jim Brady, who sustained a debilitating head wound in the attack, and his wife, Sarah, came to Capitol Hill to push for a ban on the controversial “large magazines.” Brady, for whom the law requiring background checks on handgun purchasers is named, then met with White House press secretary Jay Carney. During the meeting, President Obama dropped in and, according to Sarah Brady, brought up the issue of gun control, “to fill us in that it was very much on his agenda,” she said.

“I just want you to know that we are working on it,” Brady recalled the president telling them. “We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.”

In the meeting, she said, Obama discussed how records get into the system and what can be done about firearms retailers. Her husband specifically brought up the proposed ban on large magazine clips, and she noted that even former vice president Dick Cheney had suggested that some restrictions on the clips might make sense.

“He just laughed,” Sarah Brady said approvingly of the president. Both she and her husband, she emphasized, had absolute confidence that the president was committed to regulation.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.”

That’s how this administration is going to roll, especially after those gun and ammunition magazine ban setbacks at the federal level post-Newtown.

That being said, gun “control” supporters will be ready to breach the “front door” with the next major mass shooting/casualty event. Readers may recall my February 18 post about the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act (bans ammunition magazines accepting more than 10 rounds) already introduced in the U.S. House and Senate (H.R. 752 and S. 407, respectively).

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

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The ‘Fearmongers’ Will Get The Last Laugh

I haven’t had much to blog about recently when it comes to the “crash prophets”- Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, and Peter Schiff.

I have noticed one thing though. These individuals appear to be coming under a growing barrage of attacks in the mainstream media and elsewhere lately. Following them as I have for a number of years (anyone remember when I used to be the editor of Investorazzi.com, “Tracking The World’s Greatest Investors,” from 2008 to 2010?), the harsh atmosphere feels a lot like it did in the middle of the last decade, when these four were calling for the bottom to fall out of the housing and stock markets, the economy, and larger financial system- and were subsequently ridiculed for it.

We all know what happened next. And the initial pain could have been a hell of a lot worse if Washington and the Fed hadn’t papered up that debacle and kicked it down the road a few years into the future.

As for their antagonists back then? Well, a particular line from “Grace” the school secretary in the 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off comes to mind when I think of their fate:

Well, makes you look like an ass is what he does, Ed.

These days, it’s an all-out assault again on Faber, Grantham, Rogers, and Schiff by the financial Pollyannas, emboldened by some positive economic/investment data in an overall lame recovery, historically-speaking. Case in point, a February 26 Yahoo! Finance article in which Jeff Macke wrote:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average made a fresh high, joining its cousin the S&P 500 and now we await the Nasdaq to push above 5,048. Instead of celebrating prosperity here’s what the media is likely to do which is the wrong attitude.

Trot out the usual cast of fearmongers to tell everyone why a biblical crisis is in our immediate future. This week it was Nobel Prize winning Yale Professor Robert Shiller…

I’m not picking on him. Quite the opposite. As fear mongers go Shiller is the best of them. The worst is probably Marc Faber who emerges from a cave in Switzerland periodically to call for “an 1987 level crash”. Faber started making that explicit prediction in spring of 2012 when he said the chances of a global recession that year or 2013 were 100%. He was wrong of course but that was a better call than his 2009 prediction that the U.S. would suffer hyperinflation levels only seen in Zimbabwe. For the record Zimbabwe experienced 231 million percent inflation that year. If Faber isn’t wrong on that call he is very, very, very early…

A couple of things came to mind reading Macke’s piece:

When did high stock prices become interchangeable for “prosperity”? I’d like to see the evidence demonstrating real economic prosperity and a booming stock market go hand-in-hand each and every time. Last I heard, the White House and the Fed were still on their knees praying this happens.
• Robert Shiller a “fearmonger”? If I’m not mistaken, didn’t Dr. Shiller spot both the dot-com bubble and the housing bubble? Fearmonger? Try a damned good economist. And a public servant for warning anyone who would listen about these financial debacles.
• “The worst is probably Marc Faber…” The same Dr. Faber that became well-known for advising clients to get out of the U.S. stock market one week before the October 1987 crash, for predicting the 2008 global financial crisis, for calling the March 2009 U.S. stock market bottom and subsequent rally, in addition to correctly-forecasting the rise of commodities, emerging markets, and China in the 2000s? Yeah, he’s the worst.

“But that was a better call than his 2009 prediction that the U.S. would suffer hyperinflation levels only seen in Zimbabwe. For the record Zimbabwe experienced 231 million percent inflation that year.” Did Dr. Faber predict Zimbabwe-like hyperinflation would strike the U.S. between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2009 (which seems to be insinuated by the inclusion of that second sentence), or did Faber make this forecast during 2009 that it would eventually occur here? I see the haters have latched on to the former. In which case, produce the evidence he said hyperinflation would strike the U.S. in that particular year.

You see, here are the problems with such attacks on Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, Peter Schiff, and others.

• First, the “crash prophets” have a pretty solid track record over time when it comes to making correct market/investment calls. Over the years I’ve read material by journalists confirming this. Plus, I’ve catalogued it on the “Crash Prophets” page. That being said, no one’s perfect, and bad calls happen once in a while.
• Second, unless specifically stated, since I started observing Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, and Peter Schiff a decade ago, I get the impression they take a long-term approach to many of their forecasts. Yet, the attacks often consist of trying to call the outcome of the ball game while it’s still in the early innings, so to speak. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve heard/read attempts to discredit these guys because something they predicted still hadn’t materialized. Perhaps it’s because the forecasted event is still unfolding?
• Third, investigating where and from whom the attacks are coming from often reveals the real motives behind the trash-talk. And many times, “where you stand depends on where you sit.” In other words, lots of obvious self-interest out there.

I expect attacks on Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, Peter Schiff, and other “crash prophets” to intensify as the nation’s “financial reckoning day” grows closer. It’s an evitable consequence of not donning rose-colored goggles and playing ball with the Pollyannas.

But like in the period of time after the housing crash, the “Panic of ’08,” and subsequent “Great Recession,” I’m pretty sure these esteemed investors/money managers will be having the last laugh.

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

(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)

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Illinois State Police: FOID Applications Accepted Online Beginning March 16, Other Changes For CCL, FOID App Process, FFL Dealers

Prospective firearm owners in Illinois will soon be able to apply for a Firearm Owner’s Identification card via the Internet. From an Illinois State Police press release Friday:

Officials Aim to Modernize and Expedite Licensing Process for Efficiency

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Police (ISP) today announced the Agency will begin accepting on-line FOID applications beginning March 16, 2015, to provide a more streamlined and modernized application process. The ISP will no longer accept the current FOID paper applications after Monday, March 9, 2015; however, like the CCL, the new FOID application will be available through the Department’s website or through the paper alternative call center method for those individuals who do not have computer access. Minors under the age of 21 without a state of Illinois Driver’s License or Identification card and Amish applicants will be required to complete an alternative call-in paper application.

The ISP has also made changes to the login for both the CCL and FOID applications. Applicants will no longer be required to obtain a state of Illinois digital I.D. through the Department of Central Management Services. This login change will allow users greater accessibility to the new application process. All new applicants and returning CCL applicants will need to register with the Illinois State Police by providing some key identifiers found on their Illinois Driver’s License or Identification card, creating a username and password, and answering four security questions. The CCL website will be unavailable beginning Friday, March 13, 2015, at 5:00 p.m., until Monday, March 16, 2015, at 7:00 a.m., in order to implement the new FOID system.

Federal Firearm Licensed (FFLs) dealers will also have access to the web-based portal in order to conduct the required background checks of those wishing to purchase a firearm. All FFL’s in the state of Illinois are required to register with the ISP via the website at www.ispffl.com or by calling 217-524-3847 to continue to perform background checks after the launch of the new system. The old FTIP system will be closed on March 15 at 4:00 p.m. to allow data to be transferred to the new system. Beginning March 16, at 8:30 a.m., firearm dealers will be able to submit firearm background transactions via the website and follow up on previously requested checks based upon a transaction number.

Firearm dealers using the web-portal during the first 30 days of implementation will be able to submit transactions at no cost. The traditional fee of $2.00 is being waived. Firearm dealers will also still have the option of using the 800# dial-up process; however, dealers will be charged the $2.00 processing fee for this option.

The new CCL and FOID application process is intended to provide a user-friendly portal designed to ease and streamline both application processes.

For more information about the FOID card, you can visit the Illinois State Police website here. And for info about the Illinois Concealed Carry License, you can go to its web page here.

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

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Illinois Emergency Management Agency: Prepare For Severe Weather This Spring

A reminder from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency for “local” readers of Survival And Prosperity:

IEMA Urges People to Prepare for Severe Weather

February 27, 2015

Tornadoes, floods and severe storms can happen any time of year

SPRINGFIELD – Believe it or not, warm weather soon will return to Illinois. As exciting as that sounds, warmer temperatures also mean an increased potential for severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding.

To help people prepare for severe weather, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will join with the National Weather Service (NWS) and local emergency management agencies throughout March to increase awareness of these severe weather hazards.

“We can’t prevent dangerous storms from occurring,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “However, there are ways to prepare to help you stay safe when severe weather strikes. We encourage everyone to learn more about severe weather hazards, identify a safe place to go during storms, and assemble and maintain an emergency supply kit. These actions could help save your life or the life of your loved ones.”

Joseph said Illinois experienced 48 tornadoes in 2014, which resulted in two injuries and nearly $5 million in damage to homes and crops. In 2013, the state saw 54 tornadoes, including 25 twisters on Nov. 17, a vivid reminder that tornadoes and severe storms can happen anytime of the year.

“Although the typical peak time for severe storms in Illinois is April through June, events of the past three years have proven otherwise.” said Chris Miller, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln, Ill. “Nearly half of all tornadoes in Illinois since January 2012 have occurred during the fall and winter months. This underscores just how important it is to be ‘Weather Ready’ all year in Illinois.”

IEMA and the NWS developed a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide, which provides information about tornadoes, severe storms, lightning and flooding along with recommended actions to take before, during and after each of these weather events. It is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov or by calling (217) 785-9925. Preparedness tips and information are also available through the Ready Illinois Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois) and Twitter Page (twitter.com/ReadyIllinois).

Visit IEMA’s website here for more information on emergency preparedness.

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

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U.S. Troops Being Deployed To Ukraine By End Of Week

On Monday, a U.S. Army brigade commander confirmed in a think-tank discussion that American troops were being deployed to the Ukraine later this week. While attending a Center for Strategic & International Studies event in Washington, D.C., yesterday, Colonel Michael L. Foster, Commander of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, told attendees:

As we have worked in Operation Atlantic Resolve, the U.S. Army has brought regionally-aligned forces forward to Europe to participate in that and to take part in it. So initially, 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division came over last fall. They relieved us and took up responsibility for Atlantic Resolve. They have since been replaced by the other brigade combat team that’s in Europe that has the mission right now. And now that we are in the month of March we are going to change the mission again. 1st Brigade of 3rd Infantry Division will be picking up some of the responsibility for Atlantic Resolve. We’ll be putting elements of the brigade back forward toward that mission. And then additionally as we continue to look forward, we- we meaning U.S. Army Europe and the European Command- we are expanding Operation Atlantic Resolve further to the south. And so Poland and the Baltic States- they’re what we’re now referring to as Operation Atlantic Resolve North. And here later this month we’ll be sending forces to Romania, Bulgaria, and what we’re going to be calling Operation Atlantic Resolve South. And that has the potential this summer to expand to include potentially Hungary, potentially Georgia, at some point in time the Czech Republic. And so by the end of the summer you could very well see an operation that stretches from the Baltics all the way down to the Black Sea. So geographically, you connect countries. You will see a line of deployed U.S. troops. And then very specifically for the brigade, here before this week is up, we will be deploying a battalion-minus from the brigade I’m a part of to the Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces for the fight that’s taking place in the eastern portion of their country. So, very unique- a separate event from Atlantic Resolve that kind of certainly tied into deterring Russian aggression.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Colonel Foster added later:

We are training national guard companies with our companies. So we have got them paired up. A U.S. company with a Ukrainian company is the primary avenue for conducting that training. Initially, the plan is to go for 6 months. So through the October timeframe. There have been discussions about how to expand both the duration of that event and the scope. You know, there are other things the U.S. can assist with from a military perspective… So right now what we have got laid out is 6 United States companies that will be training 6 Ukrainian companies throughout the summer, and we have got 3 battalion headquarters elements aligned with 3 Ukrainian battalion headquarters elements to work at that level. But really, nothing above battalion staff level at all.


“Relooking Europe: The Role of Land Forces”
(Eastern Europe/Ukraine deployment discussion really begins @ 13:27)
YouTube Video

Last week, Britain announced it was sending 75 military advisers to train Ukrainian army personnel.

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

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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 Europe, Foreign Policy, Government, Military, War No Comments

Illinois Democrat Introduces Statewide Gun Registration, Ammo ‘Control’ Bill

“A list, record, or registry of legally owned firearms or law-abiding firearm owners is not a law enforcement tool and can become an instrument for profiling, harassing, or abusing law-abiding citizens based on their choice to own a firearm and exercise their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed under the United States Constitution. Further, such a list, record, or registry has the potential to fall into the wrong hands and become a shopping list for thieves.”

-State of Florida Statutes, 790.335 Prohibition of registration of firearms; electronic records

The push for more gun “control” is on the march in the “Land of Lincoln.”

Last year around this time, State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) spearheaded statewide gun registration and ammunition “control” in Illinois with HB4715. Creating the “Firearms Registration Act,” the legislation eventually went nowhere.

This time around, State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago) is the torch-bearer of more gun and ammo “control” in the Midwestern state, filing the resurrected Firearms Registration Act legislation in the Senate (SB1413) on February 20. From a synopsis of the bill over on the Illinois General Assembly website:

Creates the Firearms Registration Act. Provides that every person in the State must register each firearm he or she owns or possesses in accordance with the Act. Provides that a person shall not purchase or possess ammunition within this State without having first obtained a registration certificate identifying a firearm that is suitable for use with that ammunition, or a receipt demonstrating that the person has applied to register a suitable firearm under the Act and that the application is pending. Provides that the Department of State Police must complete a background check of any person who applies for: (1) a registration certificate for a firearm that was lawfully owned or possessed on the effective date of the Act, was brought into the State by a new resident, or was acquired by operation of law upon the death of the former owner; or (2) a renewal of a registration certificate unless, within 12 months of the date the renewal application is submitted, the applicant passed a background check conducted by the Department in connection with the applicant’s acquisition of another firearm. Provides exceptions. Amends the Criminal Code of 2012. Provides that it is a Class 2 felony to sell or transfer ownership of a firearm to another person without complying with the registration requirement of the Firearms Registration Act.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Before Illinois gun owners dismiss the chances of such legislation becoming law in the state, it should be noted that:

• 2014 was as an election year for state senators and representatives
• Illinois Democrats maintain a veto-proof supermajority in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly in 2015- 71 Democrats to 46 Republicans in the House and 39 Democrats to 20 Republicans in the Senate
• A future mass shooting along the lines of Newtown or some other mass casualty event on American soil “featuring” firearms could be all it takes for the public to get behind the Firearms Registration Act

For more information about Illinois Senate Bill 1413 and to track its status, you can visit the Illinois General Assembly website here.

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

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Moody’s Downgrades Chicago’s Credit Rating Yet Again, Issues Negative Outlook

Chicago’s financial health is still pretty bleak in 2015.

Almost one year ago to this day, I blogged about bond credit rating giant Moody’s Investor Service downgrading the City of Chicago’s general obligation (GO) and sales tax ratings to Baa1 from A3, affecting $8.3 billion of GO and sales tax debt. I added last March:

According to Moody’s, “Obligations rated Baa are judged to be medium-grade and subject to moderate credit risk and as such may possess certain speculative characteristics.”

Just before the weekend, Moody’s downgraded Chicago’s credit rating yet again. The Global Credit Research division announced on the Moody’s website under “Ratings News” Friday:

Rating Action: Moody’s downgrades Chicago, IL to Baa2; maintains negative outlook

Baa2 applies to $8.3B of GO debt, $542M of sales tax debt, and $268M of motor fuel tax debt

New York, February 27, 2015 — Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1 the rating on the City of Chicago, IL’s $8.3 billion of outstanding general obligation (GO) debt, $542 million of outstanding sales tax revenue debt, and $268 million of outstanding or authorized motor fuel tax revenue debt. We have also downgraded to Speculative Grade (SG) from VMIG 3 the short-term rating on the city’s outstanding Sales Tax Revenue Refunding Bonds, Variable Rate Series 2002. The outlook on the long-term ratings remains negative…

“The outlook on the long-term ratings remains negative”

Kind of hard to get excited about the “Windy City’s” prospects after reading that.

To be fair, some are suggesting the credit rating downgrades are being influenced by City Hall in order to avoid meeting certain financial obligations (i.e., Chicago’s well-publicized public pension crisis).

“We ain’t got it.”

You can read the entire Moody’s press release on their website here.

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

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Obama Taunts Republicans On Economy: ‘The Sky Hasn’t Fallen, Chicken Little Is Quiet’

Back when I was running this blog’s predecessor, Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street,” I remember coming across a number of infamous statements made prior to and during the Great Depression by leaders in government, finance, and industry of the day. For example, as Fox News cataloged back on October 26, 2009:

“We will not have any more crashes in our time.” – John Maynard Keynes (1927)

“There is no cause to worry. The high tide of prosperity will continue.” – Andrew W. Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury. (September 1929)

“There may be a recession in stock prices, but not anything in the nature of a crash.” – Irving Fisher, Leading U.S. Economist, New York Times (Sept. 5, 1929)

“This crash is not going to have much effect on business.” – Arthur Reynolds, Chairman of Continental Illinois Bank of Chicago (October 24, 1929)

October 24, 1929, eventually became known in the history books as “Black Thursday,” when “the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 11% at the open in very heavy volume, precipitating the Wall Street crash of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression of the 1930s,” according to Investopedia.com.

Right before the weekend, the White House published a press release on their website containing a transcript of U.S. President Barack Obama’s remarks Friday at the Democratic National Committee’s Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. From that document:

I just want everybody to remember that at every step as we made policies, as we made this progress, we were told by our good friends, the Republicans, that our actions would crush jobs, and explode deficits, and destroy the country. I mean, I want everybody to do a fact-check — (laughter) — and go back to 2009, 2010, ’11, ’12, ’13 — just go back and look at the statements that were made each year by these folks about all these policies. Because apparently they don’t remember. (Laughter.)

And now that their grand predictions of doom and gloom, and death panels and Armageddon haven’t come true — (laughter) — the sky hasn’t fallen, Chicken Little is quiet — (laughter)

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Something tells me this remark- akin to calling the outcome of a baseball game while it’s still in the early innings- will end up in the U.S. history books as well down the road, under that section entitled “Second Great Depression.”

“Let’s play two!” No thanks, Mr. Banks.

To be fair, President Obama isn’t entirely responsible for the coming financial crash. The actions of both sides of the political aisle through the decades have made the approaching “financial reckoning day” possible- and likely- in America.

You can read the complete transcript of President Obama’s speech on the White House website here.

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

Source:

“False Hope: Famous Quotes During the Great Depression.” FoxNews.com. 26 Oct. 2009. (http://www.foxnews.com/story/2009/10/26/false-hope-famous-quotes-during-great-depression/). 22 Feb. 2015.

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More On Illinois Department Of Natural Resources Wingshooting Clinics In 2015

Tonight, I’m going to be revisiting two subjects from earlier this week. The first is the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Wingshooting Clinics this year. The Illinois Government News Network page on the State of Illinois ran the following last Thursday about the IDNR-sponsored classes. From a February 13 press release:

IDNR Announces 2015 Wingshooting Clinic Schedule
Thirty-two clinics scheduled statewide for beginning and experienced shooters

SRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), collaborating with many partners and co-sponsors, will be holding 32 wingshooting clinics at sites throughout Illinois from March through early November this year. Most clinics are conducted on weekends.

Many of the 2015 wingshooting clinics will be conducted at IDNR sites, while a number will be held at cooperating gun clubs and shooting ranges, hunting preserves, and farms.

Youth/Women’s Wingshooting Clinics are about learning to safely shoot a shotgun at a moving target with reasonable reliability. Girls and boys typically in the 10-15 age group – and women of all ages – are eligible to participate. Each youth/women’s clinic starts with a morning shotgun safety presentation, followed by a brief small group hands-on shotgun orientation session with each group’s wingshooting instructor. After a lunch break, students spend the afternoon in the field shooting flying clay targets on presentations designed for beginning and novice shooters. Not only do the students learn to safely handle and fire a shotgun, but they learn that being skilled at shooting clay targets is a lot of fun. Most youth/women’s clinics are provided at no cost to participants. A few have a nominal – typically $10 – registration fee. Shotguns, shot shells, and clay targets are provided for shooting students, as is lunch at many clinic sites.

Hunter Wingshooting Clinics are hands-on, and include extensive live fire at a variety of clay target presentations on sporting clays courses specifically designed for teaching typical hunting situations. From ducks and doves to pheasants, quail and rabbits, hunters will find clay target presentations that resemble their favorite, as well as their most troublesome shots. Hunter wingshooting clinics consist of two wingshooting sessions each day.

A short briefing about shotgun safety and handling and on-range safety occurs during the first 15 minutes of each four-hour shooting session. The clinics are designed primarily to improve the wingshooting skills of hunters. However, these wingshooting clinics are not limited to hunters. Anyone from 16 years of age on up with beginning to advanced wingshooting skills who wants to improve their shotgun shooting skills can attend. The fee to participate is either $30 or $35 per participant, depending on the clinic.

Clinics are taught by instructors certified by the IDNR. Many clinic instructors also have a National Sporting Clays Association (NSCA) instructor certification. The participant-to-instructor ratio is usually four to one. Participants are typically grouped with other shooters with similar shooting ability.

There are also a few special wingshooting clinics/activities on the schedule. The IDNR’s Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program offers shotgun shooting classes as part of an extensive outdoor skills program. These classes, taught by IDNR Wingshooting Instructors, are among the most popular classes among BOW participants. During the National Hunting and Fishing Days activities at Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area in September, the opportunity to shoot flying clay targets is available under the supervision of IDNR Hunter Safety Instructors. The ‘Healing Outside Of A Hospital’ (HOOAH) program provides sporting clays shooting under the supervision of IDNR Wingshooting Instructors to active duty military personnel recovering from injuries, and disabled veterans.

To view the 2015 IDNR Wingshooting Clinic schedule, and register for a clinic, check the IDNR website at this link: http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/programs/wingshooting/WingshootingDates.htm

Thought I’d share the above as it’s quite a bit more information than what I provided yesterday.

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

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