Government

Signs Of The Time, Part 118

From the California Department of Water Resources Facebook page, concerning the ongoing Oroville Dam crisis:

February 12 at 10:09 AM
Water continues to be released from both the gated spillway and the auxiliary spillway. At 6:00 am, inflow to the lake decreased to 52,700 cfs. Flows from the gated spillway remain unchanged at 55,000 cfs. Flows over the auxiliary spillway peaked at 1:00 a.m. this morning at 12,600 cfs and are decreasing. Lake elevation levels are trending down…

February 12 at 10:40 AM
Aerial footage of the main and auxiliary spillways working together to bring down elevation level of Lake Oroville…

February 12 at 11:22 AM
California Department of Fish and Wildlife successfully evacuated almost all salmon from the Feather River Fish Hatchery. Nice work!

February 12 at 4:40 PM
EMERGENCY EVACUATION ORDER ISSUED: Officials are anticipating a failure of the Auxiliary Spillway at Oroville Dam within the next 60 minutes.
Residents of Oroville should evacuate in a northward direction, toward Chico. Other cities should follow the orders of their local law enforcement.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

60 minutes.

Good thing the Auxiliary Spillway didn’t fail, because according to one report over on SurvivalBlog.com, the evacuation order didn’t appear to reach many of the potentially affected until well after that hour was up. From the contributor, reporting on his friend’s bugging-out to the author’s residence:

We can also learn a few things from what my friend saw on his trip here. He got a jump on nearly everyone, by acting immediately and by having a plan on what he was going to take in an emergency. He also says he should have had a checklist, because he still forgot a few things. He encountered several crazy drivers, including one in a 4WD crew cab truck that was driving at over 100 MPH cutting in and out of traffic, obviously panicked although no true breach of the dam had yet occurred. This was just an average idiot. By 6:30 pm, evacuation orders were spreading, and as they went through one community with mandatory evacuation orders, they noted that no one was reacting to anything. The communication was not very effective either. Up until about 5:00 pm, there was little being said on either television or radio locally. He could find nothing on the radio news, until one mention on KFBK 1530 at about 6:30 pm began reporting on it. KFBK 1530 is the emergency broadcast station for the greater Sacramento Valley area. By about 7:00 pm, it was all over local news, and since the evacuation was affecting by some reports up to 180,000 people and other reports of 130,000 people, it was being covered on the national cable news to some degree…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can read the rest of the account over on the SurvivalBlog.com site here.

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

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Warren Buffett’s $12 Billion Stock Purchase Analyzed

Back on January 31, I blogged about famous stock investor Warren Buffett informing talk show host Charlie Rose he bought $12 billion (net) of common stocks since Election Day.

The third richest man in the world and his equity purchases were the focus of an article on the FOX Business Network website today. Matthew Frankel reported:

According to Berkshire Hathaway’s latest SEC filing, Warren Buffett and company had an active fourth quarter in 2016. After sitting on a company record $85 billion cash hoard at the end of the third quarter, and having said that Berkshire spent $12 billion on common stocks in the wake of Donald Trump’s election victory, investors have been wondering what Berkshire has been up to. Here’s the answer.

While we don’t necessarily know the reasoning behind Berkshire’s latest investments, or whether they were initiated by Warren Buffett himself or one of his trusted stock pickers, we do know what changed in Berkshire’s portfolio during the fourth quarter. Here are the most notable buys

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’m not going to steal Frankel’s thunder here. Head on over to the FBN website here to read what the “Oracle of Omaha” has been acquiring.

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

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is 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 contained herein.)

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Thursday, February 16th, 2017 Government, Investing, Stocks No Comments

Illinois Governor Talks Taxes In Budget Address

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (R-Winnetka) gave his third budget speech on Wednesday, saying the following regarding taxes:

As for revenue, we’ve always said that we’d consider revenue if it comes with changes that create jobs and grow the economy.

The current Senate proposal calls for a permanent increase in the income tax rate but offers only a temporary property tax freeze in exchange. That’s just not fair to hard-working taxpayers across the state.

We need a permanent property tax freeze in Illinois, just like the one the House passed last month. Over time, as our economy grows and revenues expand, any increase in the income tax could be stepped down – dedicating future surpluses to taxpayers, not more government spending.

The current Senate proposal would expand the state’s sales tax to cover everyday services, and raise taxes on food and drugs. We’re open to a broader sales tax base to mirror neighboring states like Wisconsin, but let’s make sure it’s best for the people of Illinois, not for the lobbyists in Springfield. We cannot raise taxes on people’s groceries and medicine – just as we cannot tax people’s retirement incomes. We can find a way to balance the budget without hurting lower-income families and fixed-income seniors…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

In short, Governor Rauner appears to be open to raising the state income tax rate as long as a permanent property tax freeze is implemented. Furthermore, Rauner looks to be open to expanding the state sales tax to various services, but is against raising taxes on food, medicine, and retirement income.

You can read the entire budget address on the Illinois Government News Network website here.

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

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Second City Cop Blog Breaks Down Chicago Violence

“11 people have been killed and 11 wounded in shootings over a 48-hour period in Chicago from Tuesday afternoon to Thursday morning, Chicago police said…”

-ABC7 Chicago website Thursday afternoon

In the wake of a bunch of kids getting shot and killed in Chicago the last couple of days, the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop explained very simply why the city is a shooting gallery. “SCC” wrote early Wednesday morning:

Gun laws go unenforced… Offenders are routinely released or sentenced to minimal time, so there’s nothing to fear from the judicial side of things- no consequences. No one in the “community” is willing to step up. Shame doesn’t work, appealing to a higher morality doesn’t work, humiliation doesn’t work…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Consider the following findings of a recently-released University of Chicago Crime Lab report entitled Gun Violence In Chicago, 2016 (blogged about here):

Individuals arrested for a homicide or shooting in Chicago in 2016 and 2015 had similar prior criminal records: around 90 percent had at least one prior arrest, approximately 50 percent had a prior arrest for a violent crime specifically, and almost 40 percent had a prior gun arrest. The average person arrested for a homicide or shooting in both years had nearly 12 prior arrests, with almost 45 percent having had more than 10 prior arrests, and almost 20 percent having had more than 20 prior arrests

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

SCC went on to add:

We guess it’s time to blame the police again…

And the Second Amendment. The NRA. Republicans. Trump. Bush. And on and on and on.

Yep. If there’s one thing “The Machine” has been good at, it’s directing Chicagoans’ attention away from the “unpleasant”…

“Hey you! Don’t watch that. Watch this!

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

Sources:

“11 Killed, 11 Wounded In 48 Hours In Chicago Shootings.” ABC7. 16 Feb. 2017. (http://abc7chicago.com/news/11-killed-11-wounded-in-48-hours-in-chicago-shootings/1757827/). 16 Feb. 2017.

SCC. “Two? Seriously, TWO?” Second City Cop. 15 Feb. 2017. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2017/02/two-seriously-two.html). 17 Feb. 2017.

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Illinois Governor Proposing To Fund, Assign More State Troopers To Patrol Chicago’s Expressways

Chicago-area expressway shootings routinely make the local news these days.

In 2016, 51 shooting incidents took place on Chicagoland expressways. After 37 in 2015. And 19 the year before.

And according to reports, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (R-Winnetka) will be proposing a plan tomorrow to combat this violence.

Michael Sneed reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website last Friday:

Sneed has learned Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to wade into the nightmare of Chicago’s street violence in his state budget address in Springfield on Wednesday by proposing a plan to send more state troopers to Chicago.

Translation: Sneed is told the governor, who is involved in a contentious budget battle, will propose funding for two Illinois State Police classes for 200 cadets over the next two years– which would help deal with the violence spilling from the streets onto the expressways…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The Associated Press has confirmed Sneed’s story. From an AP piece on the FOX News website today:

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner will propose that the state pay to add hundreds of state troopers to combat the growing number of shooting incidents on Chicago area expressways.

Rauner’s office confirmed a Chicago Sun-Times report that during his Wednesday budget speech he will push for funding for 200 more state police cadets over the next two years…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Regrettably, even if Governor Rauner is successful in securing funds for additional troopers, it could be several months before this Chicagoland expressway “surge” takes place.

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

Sources:

Sneed, Michael. “Rauner’s Chicago violence plan- more state police.” Chicago Sun-Times. 10 Feb. 2017. (http://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/sneed-exclusive-rauners-chicago-violence-plan-more-state-police/). 14 Feb. 2017.

Associated Press. “Illinois governor to propose more state troopers to patrol Chicago area expressways in wake of shootings.” FOX News. 14 Feb. 2017. (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/02/14/illinois-governor-to-propose-more-state-troopers-to-patrol-chicago-area-expressways-in-wake-shootings.html). 14 Feb. 2017.

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Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 Crime, Government, Public Safety No Comments

Jim Rogers: ‘I Want To Own More Silver But I Want To Own It At A Lower Price Which I Expect’

Tonight I just got finished reading the transcript of a February 9, 2017, interview of well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers by Macro Voices’ Erik Townsend. As usual, the former investing partner of George Soros discussed a number of topics, including:

U.S. Stocks- “Happy days are here” if President Trump carries out those “wonderful things” he said he would (cut taxes, rebuild infrastructure, bring $3 trillion home which U.S. companies have overseas) and avoids trade wars

U.S. Dollar- Despite the correction, “it’s going to go too high, may turn into a bubble, at which point I hope I’m smart enough to sell it because at some point the market forces are going to cause the dollar to come back down because people are going to realize, oh my gosh, this is causing a lot of turmoil, economic problems in the world and it’s damaging the American economy.”

Junk Bonds- “I am shorting junk bonds still”

Precious Metals- “I’m still sitting and watching. I want to own more gold. I want to own more silver but I want to own it at a lower price which I expect.”

“War on Cash”- “Probably we are not going to have as many freedoms as we have now even though we are already losing our freedoms at a significant pace.”

The Singapore-based investor mentioned in a separate interview earlier this month regarding India’s demonetization efforts:

If governments do away with cash, it gives them more power and control.

Townsend’s interview was of Rogers was thorough and interesting, particularly that bit about silver. Head on over to the Macro Voices website here to listen to/read their exchange.

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

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; a qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is 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 contained herein.)

Source:

Wadhwa, Puneet. “Modi is doing everything he can to get votes: Jim Rogers.” Business Standard. 2 Feb. 2017. (http://www.business-standard.com/budget/article/modi-is-doing-everything-he-can-to-get-votes-jim-rogers-117020200389_1.html). 13 Feb. 2017.

Rogers’ latest book…

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IMF Chief: ‘Optimistic’ About U.S. Economy While Stronger Dollar, Higher Interest Rates ‘Worrying’

Yesterday I caught the following on the website of Agence France-Presse. AFP reported:

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde on Sunday voiced optimism for US economic growth under President Donald Trump but warned it could herald trouble for the rest of the world.

“From the little we know, and I will insist on the little we know, because this is really work in progress… but from the little we hear, we have reasons to be optimistic about economic growth in the United States,” Lagarde said at the annual World Government Summit in Dubai.

Lagarde predicted tax reform and more investment in infrastructure were both likely under Trump…

“Now that’s the good news,” said Lagarde. “The more worrying news, if you will, is that it will have consequences on the rest of the world, and we are seeing it.”

She highlighted the strength of the dollar against other currencies, predicting a hike in interest rates regulated by the Federal Reserve.

“That’s a tightening that will be difficult on the global economy and for which economies will have to prepare,” said Lagarde.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Hmm. Could the Federal Reserve use Lagarde’s concern regarding higher U.S. interest rates making things “difficult” for the global economy as one reason not to raise rates next month?

The other weekend, Euro Pacific Capital CEO Peter Schiff claimed in his YouTube vlog:

The reason the Fed didn’t give a clue that it might be raising rates in March, is because it has no intention of doing so.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is 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 contained herein.)

Source:

“IMF’s Lagarde ‘optimistic’ about U.S. economy.” Agence France-Presse. 12 Feb. 2017. (https://www.yahoo.com/news/imfs-lagarde-optimistic-us-economy-104123263.html) 13 Feb. 2017.

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Bills Filed To Scrap Illinois FOID Card

In the state of Illinois, unless specifically exempted by statute, any Illinois resident who acquires or possesses firearm or firearm ammunition within the State must have in their possession a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card issued in his or her name. The FOID card was created in 1968 by the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act (430 ILCS 65), and the Illinois State Police is tasked with identifying those persons eligible to acquire/possess these items.

James Stratton reported on the website of KWQC-TV 6 (Quad Cities) Thursday night:

Two bills have been filed in the Illinois Legislature to repeal the Illinois Firearm Owner Identification Act.

Senate Bill 1324 was filed by State Senator Neil Anderson Thursday, and House Bill 0492 was filed last week to do the same.

“In my opinion,and the opinion of a lot of people, the FOID card is nothing more than a cash grab for the state of Illinois,” said Senator Anderson (R) of Moline…

Senator Anderson says the law is redundant, and an infringement of Second Amendment rights.

“When I, in Illinois, go buy a firearm, I have to go through the same federal background check, in addition to having the FOID card,” Anderson added…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“IL State Senator Neil Anderson files bill to repeal FOID Act”
KWQC-TV 6 Video

To see the latest legislative activity with Illinois HB0492, visit the Illinois General Assembly website here. With Illinois SB1324, head here.

I’m not too sure what the likelihood is the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act will be repealed.

If anything, I suspected Springfield was going to hike the price of the FOID card considering the dire financial straits the state is in.

Stay tuned…

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

Source:

Stratton, James. “IL State Senator Neil Anderson files bill to repeal FOID Act.”
KWQC-TV 6. 9 Feb. 2017. (http://kwqc.com/2017/02/09/il-state-senator-neil-anderson-files-bill-to-repeal-foid-act/). 12 Feb. 2017.

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ABC7 News Investigation: ‘Chicago Is A Crossroads Of Home-Grown Terrorists’

Friday night, Chuck Goudie of Chicago’s ABC7 News reported the following concerning an I-Team investigation into home-grown jihadists. From the TV station’s website:

Two new investigations of American terrorists portray a chilling image of terrorists living in our midst, and concentrated in the Midwest.

Targeting the jihadist next door in the Midwest would have to become a priority according to new data compiled by House Homeland Security investigators. They lay out an “unprecedented spike in the homegrown terror threat, primarily driven by the rise of ISIS.” That, along with a new University of Chicago report on the American face of ISIS, paint a frightening picture of the threat growing among us.

First for Al Qaeda and now for ISIS, Chicago is a crossroads of home-grown terrorists.

According to new findings by the House Homeland Security Committee, the tentacles of terror cases in Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin since early 2016 touch Chicago

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Researchers Say American Terror Threat Is Home-Grown”
ABC7 News Video

Besides home-grown jihadists, in May 2015 a threat attributed to the Islamic State posted on anonymous message board JustPasteIt claimed the following:

We have 71 trained soldiers in 15 different states ready at our word to attack any target we desire. Out of the 71 trained soldiers 23 have signed up for missions like Sunday. We are increasing in number bithnillah. Of the 15 states, 5 we will name… Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, California, and Michigan

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Bithnillah” (“bi’ithnillah”) can be translated as meaning “with the permission of Allah.” The post was signed “Abu Ibrahim Al Ameriki,” a U.S.-born terrorist with the group.

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

Source:

Goudie, Chuck. “Researchers Say American Terror Threat Is Home-Grown.” ABC7 News. 10 Feb. 2017. (http://abc7chicago.com/news/researchers-say-american-terror-threat-is-home-grown/1748712/). 12 Feb. 2017.

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Monday, February 13th, 2017 Government, Public Safety, Religion, War No Comments

Illinois House Adopts ‘Zombie Preparedness Month’ Resolution, Schedules ‘2nd Amendment Preservation Act’ Hearing

While bills related to the ongoing budget impasse are drawing the bulk of attention these days, there has been activity in the Illinois House of Representatives on two other pieces of legislation that may interest Survival And Prosperity readers.

First, there’s House Bill 413, which seeks to create the “2nd Amendment Preservation Act.” From the Illinois General Assembly website:

Short Description: 2ND AMENDMENT PRESERVATION

House Sponsors
Rep. David B. Reis

Hearings
Judiciary- Criminal Committee Hearing Feb 15 2017 3:00PM Capitol Building Room 114 Springfield, IL

Synopsis As Introduced
Creates the 2nd Amendment Preservation Act. Provides that other than in compliance with an order of a court, notwithstanding any law, regulation, rule, or order to the contrary, no agency of this State, political subdivision of this State, or employee of an agency or political subdivision of the State acting in his or her official capacity shall: (1) knowingly and willingly participate in any way in the enforcement of any federal Act, law, order, rule, or regulation issued, enacted, or promulgated on or after the effective date of the Act regarding a personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition; or (2) utilize any assets, State funds, or funds allocated by the State to local entities on or after the effective date of the Act, in whole or in part, to engage in any activity that aids a federal agency, federal agent, or corporation providing services to the federal government in the enforcement or any investigation under the enforcement of any federal Act, law, order, rule, or regulation issued, enacted, or promulgated on or after the effective date of the Act regarding a personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Some might ask if this pro-2A legislation is even necessary considering the Republican-controlled Congress and an NRA-backed President who seems to support gun rights.

From what I understand, its purpose is to have something in place to combat some future Oval Office that’s made gun control and civilian disarmament a priority.

As indicated above, a “Judiciary-Criminal Committee Hearing” on Illinois HB0413 has been scheduled for next Wednesday, February 15.

Moving on to Illinois House Resolution 30, seeking to designate October 2017 as “Zombie Preparedness Month” in the state. From the Illinois General Assembly site:

Short Description: ZOMBIE PREPAREDNESS MONTH

House Sponsors
Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch- Grant Wehrli and Tim Butler

Synopsis As Introduced
Designates October 2017 as “Zombie Preparedness Month” in the State of Illinois, and urges all Illinoisans to educate themselves about natural disasters and take steps to create a stockpile of food, water, and other emergency supplies that can last up to 72 hours…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I just learned this morning that Illinois HR0030 was adopted by the House Thursday.

Now, prior to the adoption of this legislation and even as recent as Friday morning, some are criticizing this resolution as being a distraction from more pressing matters facing the state, like the budget/debt crisis.

I don’t know. While this part of the country is generally thought to be less disaster-prone than other regions, major emergencies and man-made/natural disasters can strike anyplace at anytime. Besides the significant earthquake danger posed to southern Illinois (just blogged about Tuesday), other threats to the state include severe weather, terrorism, nuclear power plant accidents, and economic collapse, among others. And I’m guessing the majority of Illinoisans probably aren’t prepared to deal with any of these.

Since the zombie fad is still “hot” these days, why shouldn’t Springfield capitalize on it NOW and use the Zombie Apocalypse as the vehicle to get Illinois residents prepared for future emergencies/disasters?

Plus, did any critics take a moment to consider it’s possible (likely?) Representatives Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-Hillside, Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville), and Tim Butler (R-Springfield) were shrewd enough to figure out that introducing this resolution and getting it adopted when they did- in the middle of a raging budget battle- would generate significant publicity about Zombie Preparedness Month?

Query the event in a search engine and you’ll see what kind of attention their action is getting.

All for a good cause, if you ask me.

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

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