Government

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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Congressional Democrats Push ‘High-Capacity’ Magazine Ban

Like I blogged Monday, the gun “control” crowd is off-and-running several weeks into the new year. In addition to a ban on certain AR-15 rifle ammunition, they’re also pushing to ban “high-capacity” firearm ammunition magazines. From the website of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislation Action (NRA-ILA) last Friday:

Anti-gun U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), have introduced their Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act (S. 407 and H.R. 752, respectively), in yet another attempt to ban magazines that accept more than 10 rounds. Similar legislation has been introduced in previous Congresses, and has repeatedly failed since the expiration of the Clinton “large” magazine ban in 2004.

Firearms designed to use magazines that hold more than ten rounds have been around for more than a hundred years. Today they constitute a majority of all new firearms manufactured, imported and sold in the United States, for what the Supreme Court, in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), called the central purpose of the Second Amendment: self-defense. While gun control supporters claim that the magazines are unnecessary for self-defense, millions of Americans disagree, and the Supreme Court has ruled in Heller that laws are unconstitutional if they prohibit firearms that are in common use for defensive purposes.

Moreover, studies have shown that magazine bans don’t reduce crime. The congressionally-mandated study of the 1994-2004 federal “large” magazine “ban” concluded that its 10-round limit on new magazines wasn’t a factor in multiple-victim or multiple-wound crimes. A follow-up study concluded that “relatively few attacks involve more than 10 shots fired,” and “the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.” And a majority of law enforcement in the United States acknowledges that banning standard-capacity magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds will not increase public safety.

A person attacked in a parking lot, or at home in the middle of the night, will probably have only the magazine within the firearm. No one should be arbitrarily limited in the number of rounds he or she can have for self-defense.

The NRA opposes this legislation and will continue to fight attempts in Congress to limit magazine capacity.

As I type this, each and every co-sponsor of this legislation is a Democrat (16 in the Senate and 107 in the House).

You can track the status of Senate Bill 407 here and House Bill 752 here via Congress.gov.

Permission has been granted by the NRA-ILA to reproduce the above.

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

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Illinois Department Of Natural Resources Announces 2015 Wingshooting Clinics

When the “balloon goes up,” no doubt there will be people who turn to upland game (bird) hunting to put food on the table- if they aren’t doing so already. And here in the state of Illinois, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources sponsors training for residents to develop this potentially-lifesaving skill (in addition to firearm/hunter safety). From the IDNR website:

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) working with a variety of partners, sponsors wingshooting clinics at sites geographically distributed throughout Illinois. Two types of clinics are offered. Youth/Women’s clinics are designed to teach participants basic firearm and hunter safety, wingshooting fundamentals, as well as practical wingshooting. Hunters clinics are designed to enhance the wingshooting skills of hunters and impart sound wingshooting practice techniques. The clinics are conducted on weekends during the spring through early fall of each year…


IDNR Wingshooting Clinic @ St. Charles Sportsmen’s Club
YouTube Video

Yesterday I learned that the IDNR has released information about this year’s clinics. There will be 32 clinics in the state starting March 7 (2 events are already full).

The state agency is maintaining a wingshooting clinic schedule on its website, which you can view here.

For more information about the IDNR Wingshooting Clinics program, head on over to this web page.

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

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NRA: BATFE To Ban Common AR-15 Ammo

It was only a matter of time. Several weeks into the new year, and the gun “control” crowd is off-and-running again. There’s been a number of developments lately, but here’s one that seems to be really worrying American gun owners- particularly those possessing the popular AR-15 rifle. From the website of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislation Action (NRA-ILA) this past Friday:

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.

It isn’t even the third week of February, and the BATFE has already taken three major executive actions on gun control. First, it was a major change to what activities constitute regulated “manufacturing” of firearms. Next, BATFE reversed a less than year old position on firing a shouldered “pistol.” Now, BATFE has released a “Framework for Determining Whether Certain Projectiles are ‘Primarily Intended for Sporting Purposes’ Within the Meaning of 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(c)”, which would eliminate M855’s exemption to the armor piercing ammunition prohibition and make future exemptions nearly impossible.

By way of background, federal law imposed in 1986 prohibits the manufacture, importation, and sale by licensed manufacturers or importers, but not possession, of “a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely . . . from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium.” Because there are handguns capable of firing M855, it “may be used in a handgun.” It does not, however, have a core made of the metals listed in the law; rather, it has a traditional lead core with a steel tip, and therefore should never have been considered “armor piercing.” Nonetheless, BATFE previously declared M855 to be “armor piercing ammunition,” but granted it an exemption as a projectile “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes.”

Now, however, BATFE says that it will henceforth grant the “sporting purposes” exception to only two categories of projectiles:

Category I: .22 Caliber Projectiles

A .22 caliber projectile that otherwise would be classified as armor piercing ammunition under 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(B) will be considered to be “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes” under section 921(a)(17)(C) if the projectile weighs 40 grains or less AND is loaded into a rimfire cartridge.

Category II: All Other Caliber Projectiles

Except as provided in Category I (.22 caliber rimfire), projectiles that otherwise would be classified as armor piercing ammunition will be presumed to be “primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes” under section 921(a)(17)(C) if the projectile is loaded into a cartridge for which the only handgun that is readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade is a single shot handgun. ATF nevertheless retains the discretion to deny any application for a “sporting purposes” exemption if substantial evidence exists that the ammunition is not primarily intended for such purposes.

BATFE is accepting comments until March 16, 2015 on this indefensible attempt to disrupt ammunition for the most popular rifle in America. Check back early next week for a more in-depth analysis of this “framework” and details on how you can submit comments.

How to comment – from the BATFE

ATF will carefully consider all comments, as appropriate, received on or before March 16, 2015, and will give comments received after that date the same consideration if it is practical to do so, but assurance of consideration cannot be given except as to comments received on or before March 16, 2015. ATF will not acknowledge receipt of comments. Submit comments in any of three ways (but do not submit the same comments multiple times or by more than one method):

ATF email: APAComments@atf.gov

Fax: (202) 648-9741.

Mail: Denise Brown, Mailstop 6N-602, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Enforcement Programs and Services, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, 99 New York Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20226: ATTN: AP Ammo Comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Denise Brown, Enforcement Programs and Services, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, U.S. Department of Justice, 99 New York Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20226; telephone: (202) 648-7070.

Permission has been granted by the NRA-ILA to reproduce the above.


“BATF to ban M855/SS109 ammo”
YouTube Video

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

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The Civic Federation Proposes Less Government Spending, More Taxes To Tackle Illinois’ $6.4 Billion In Unpaid Bills

Regular Survival And Prosperity readers shouldn’t be surprised to hear the following from The Civic Federation, an independent, non-partisan government research organization that provides analysis and recommendations on government finance issues for the Chicago region and State of Illinois. From a press release last Thursday:

In a report released today, the Civic Federation’s Institute for Illinois’ Fiscal Sustainability proposes a comprehensive five-year plan that responds to the dire reality of Illinois’ financial condition with painful, but necessary recommendations. The plan immediately stabilizes the State’s operating budget and establishes a sustainable long-term financial plan that would pay off Illinois’ unpaid bill backlog of approximately $6.4 billion. The full 56-page report is available here.

Nearly five years after the official end of the national economic downturn, Illinois is still burdened with billions of dollars in unpaid bills. The State’s five pension systems, underfunded for decades and further weakened by recession-driven investment losses, are consuming a growing share of annual operating revenues. Temporary income tax rate increases enacted in 2011 helped the State cope with these massive problems, but the higher rates began to phase out on January 1, 2015 and the State’s income tax revenues are expected to plummet by $5.2 billion between FY2014 and FY2016.

“The incomplete FY2015 budget resulted in a greater deterioration of Illinois’ finances and made the necessary actions to fix this crisis even more painful,” said Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation. “Illinois cannot afford such a steep rollback of its tax rates without eliminating entire areas of State services or completely restructuring the government.”

After examining the effectiveness of multiple budget scenarios based on the fundamental long-term financial goals detailed below, the Federation proposes the following recommendations as part of a comprehensive five-year plan…

In a nutshell, The Civic Federation proposes less government spending and more taxes for the State of Illinois. From that press release:

1. Fix Fiscal Cliff in FY2015: Rather than sharply dropping income tax rates by 25% in one year, the State should retroactively increase the income tax rate to 4.25% for individuals and 6.0% for corporations as of January 1, 2015. The State could then provide additional tax relief by rolling back the rates on January 1, 2018 to 4.0% for individuals and 5.6% for corporations.
2. Control State Spending: The State should restrict discretionary spending growth from the 2.7% level shown in its three-year projections to 2.0%, closer to the rate of inflation. This could reduce total State spending by $1.3 billion over five years.
3. Broaden the Income Tax Base to Include Some Retirement Income: Out of the 41 states that impose an income tax, Illinois is one of only three that exempt all pension income. To create greater equity among taxpayers, the State’s income tax base should include non-Social Security retirement income from individuals with a total income of more than $50,000.
4. Expand Sales Tax Base to Include Services: Illinois should expand its sales tax base to include a list of 32 service taxes proposed by Governor Rauner. Due to the complexity of sourcing rules and collections for new businesses that are not currently required to collect sales taxes, it is estimated this expansion could take up to two fiscal years to fully implement.
5. Temporarily Eliminate Sales Tax Exemption for Food and Non-Prescription Drugs: To provide much-needed immediate revenue, the State should temporarily eliminate the tax exemption for food and non-prescription drugs. The State should apply the full 6.25% sales tax rate to food and over-the-counter drug purchases through FY2019 and then reinstate the exemption in FY2020 after the service tax expansion is fully implemented and the State’s backlog of unpaid bills is eliminated.
6. Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to Provide Assistance to Low Income Residents: To help soften the impact of the State’s fiscal crisis on low income residents, the Civic Federation proposes an increase in the State’s Earned Income Tax Credit from 10% of the federal credit to 15% of the federal credit by FY2018…

At this point, I wholeheartedly believe it’s just a matter of time now before a number of the above are implemented either willingly (legislatively) or forcefully (“financial reckoning day”) in the “Land of Lincoln” down the road.

As such, it might be wise for Illinoisans to start preparing (if they haven’t done so already) for an impending hit to household finances and elsewhere.

You can read the entire press release and obtain that report on The Civic Federation’s website here.

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

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Quote For The Week

“To state the obvious, the past six years have been really, really hard for this country.”

-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, at a House Democratic Retreat in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 29, 2015

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

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Democrats Push ‘New Message’ Of Rebounding U.S. Economy

Big eye roll on my part when I spotted the following on my Internet service provider’s home page this afternoon. Charles Babington of the Associated Press reported Friday:

Democrats’ new message on America’s economic recovery is: We told you so, and we’re going to keep telling you so.

The economy is rebounding on nearly every front, even if the middle class still needs help, and it’s time to tell that story loudly, top Democrats say. That’s the key to reversing their midterm election setbacks, according to a host of House Democrats, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, all of whom came to Philadelphia this week for pep talks and strategy sessions.

“Democrats have to stand up, you’ve got to explain what we did,” Biden said to loud applause Friday. “Be proud of it… We can’t let the Republican Party rewrite history.”

Obama said much the same the night before. “The record shows we were right” the president said, referring to the 2009 stimulus, the bank and auto industry bailouts, and other strategies to pull out the great recession of 2008…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A couple of thoughts here:

1. The true state of the U.S. economy and larger financial system is worrisome, as the “great recession of 2008” was merely “papered over” (I talk about that enough on this blog on a regular basis that I don’t feel the need to go into it today).

The news radio station I listen to most often in Chicago has been going on and on this week about the U.S. economy being on such strong footing these days. It’s almost as if they (like others in the mainstream media?) are carrying out the marching orders of the Democratic spindoctors to promote this “new message.” It’s been so ridiculous that if you didn’t know any better, you might think you were listening to old newsreels laying it on thick with the propaganda of the day:


“Vintage 1930s Inflation Propaganda”
YouTube Video

2. “We can’t let the Republican Party rewrite history.” “The record shows we were right.” Democrats vs. Republicans. Us vs. Them. Liberals vs. Conservatives. Left vs. Right. Coke vs. Pepsi…

Personally, I prefer RC.

And like that situation with the sodas, two choices often aren’t ideal for me. Particularly when it comes to the major U.S. political parties, who I’ve come to see as merely two “heads” belonging to the same monster (special interests of the rich and powerful).

3. Finally, I’ve said this before but it bears repeating:

Use this economic “rebound”- as much of an illusion as it may be- to your advantage.

Is your employment status less than ideal? You may want to consider improving that situation while “the getting’s good.” Need some extra income? You may want to look at taking on a part-time job while they’re available. Looking to purchase some emergency preps? “The shadow of crisis has passed.” President Obama said so in his recent State of the Union speech. Shop around for discounted gear, supplies, and other items while demand isn’t as strong as it has been lately and will be when hard times arrive down the road.

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

Source:

Babington, Charles. “House Democrats’ new message on the economy: We told you so.” Associated Press. 30 Jan. 2015. (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/house-democrats-message-economy-told-183956034.html). 30 Jan. 2015.

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Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner To Push Drastic Spending Cuts, Sales Tax Hike In Near Future?

Some local news outlets have been giving new Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner a hard time lately, claiming he’s still in “campaign mode” and not providing much in the way of tackling the state’s economic ills.

But yesterday, Illinoisans got a glimpse of one potential measure the Winnetka businessman may turn to for improving the state’s finances. Jessie Hellmann and Ray Long reported on the Chicago Tribune website Thursday:

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner pressed a bit harder Thursday for an expansion of the Illinois sales tax as part of an agenda to right the state’s financial ship.

Using charts and graphs, Rauner explained how surrounding states use broader-based sales taxes than Illinois to take advantage of growing service economies. “We’re not competitive,” Rauner said.

The idea of expanding the state’s sales tax base to include services, such as on auto repairs, dog grooming or haircuts, has been debated in Illinois since the late 1980s. Expansion efforts repeatedly have stalled in the face of heavy resistance, but Rauner outlined how he thinks Illinois is “out of balance” with other states.

“We are not thoughtful about this,” Rauner said, adding that the Illinois sales tax is too high and too narrowly applied.

Expanding the sales tax is one of the few items Rauner repeatedly has mentioned as a part of an unspecific overhaul of the entire tax code, saying Illinois can’t “just nibble around the edges.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

It’s going to take a whole lot more than a sales tax hike to turn around the state’s economic fortunes. And Governor Rauner knows that.

So what other measures could be on his agenda for the near-term?

Rich Miller discussed the governor’s visit to the University of Chicago on January 22 and wrote on the Crain’s Chicago Business website the following day:

What is crystal clear is that he won’t ask for any more revenues without first making deep and even drastic cuts.

The new governor pointed to flat population growth and flat job growth as the roots of the problem.

Without “booming” growth, he said, Illinois can never dig itself out of the hole it’s in. And Rauner always HAS said that high taxes are a hindrance to growth.

Rauner singled out two items for his chopping block. First up, Medicaid spending.

“When you realize our job growth is flat, how do you pay for it?,” Rauner said of Medicaid. “I want to do that, but that is not sustainable.” Medicaid, which pays for everything from childbirth to nursing home care, consumes a quarter of the state’s operating budget, and despite some real reforms almost two years ago, costs are continuing to rise. And that’s a problem when next fiscal year’s budget deficit is being pegged at a whopping $9 billion.

Rauner also claimed state employees make too much money, saying they earn more than private sector workers (which AFSCME rejects, pointing to a recent University of Illinois study) and are the third-highest paid in the country. The number of state workers is declining, Rauner noted, but payroll costs are still increasing. Their health insurance is based on “low contributions” from workers, but has a high cost. So, while workers aren’t chipping in much, “you’re chipping in a lot,” he told his audience…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Deep and even drastic cuts.” “Expansion of the Illinois sales tax.”

It will be interesting to watch how Illinois Democrats- who hold veto-proof supermajorities in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly- react to such proposals if Governor Rauner goes this route.

This could get ugly real quick…

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

Sources:

Hellmann, Jessie and Long, Ray. “Rauner presses for sales tax expansion in U. of I. speech.” Chicago Tribune. 29 Jan. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-bruce-rauner-champaign-appearance-met-0130-20150129-story.html). 30 Jan. 2015.

Miller, Rich. “Watch out: Rauner sharpens his cleaver.” Crain’s Chicago Business. 23 Jan. 2015. (http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20150123/NEWS02/150129882/watch-out-rauner-sharpens-his-cleaver). 30 Jan. 2015.

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Girlfriend’s Doctor Visit: ‘Are Firearms Stored In Your Home?’

The other day, my girlfriend went to see her physician in the Chicago suburbs for a routine check-up. Upon arriving, she was handed some paperwork to fill out- including a sheet of questions that didn’t look like it originated from the doctor’s office. At the top of the page was my girlfriend’s name already printed out along with a QR code (that bar code –like thing that smart phones can read), immediately followed by a series of health questions.

Mixed in with those health-related questions was one about seatbelt use. And smoke detectors in the home. Finally, there was this:

Are firearms stored in your home?

Like I said, according to my girlfriend, that page of questions didn’t look like it came from her doctor. Which makes me wonder- who is behind this effort then, and what are they planning to do with the responses to the questions (particularly the one about guns stored in the home)?

For a while now, I’ve known more gun “control” was going to be attempted via the public health (backdoor) route due to recent, well-publicized setbacks on the national level. I suspect this questionnaire (and others like it) are a part of that effort.

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

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Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 Firearms, Government, Gun Rights, Health No Comments

Chicago Reader: Did Rahm Emanuel Deliver On Public Safety Campaign Promises?

The Chicago Reader has done a terrific job lately of keeping a tab on public safety in Chicago. And yesterday, the Reader website ran an article entitled “Did Rahm live up to his campaign promises on public safety?” Mick Dumke wrote:

During his first campaign for mayor four years ago, Rahm Emanuel kept talking about police.

He noted as often as he could that his uncle had been a cop on Chicago’s north side. He boasted of his role in crafting the Clinton administration’s 1994 crime bill that funded the hiring of 100,000 police officers nationwide.
And, as the centerpiece of his public safety plan, he vowed to find the money to add 1,000 more officers to Chicago’s force. He said this would prevent crime and improve relationships with the community.

“Police officers will become a presence in the neighborhood rather than only available in response to emergency,” he said.

But within weeks of taking office, Emanuel stopped talking about hiring cops. Instead, over the course of his first term, the number of officers on the force dropped from about 10,900 to 10,600. And the mayor responded to violent crime not by investing in community policing but by calling for stricter gun laws and blaming legislators who balked.

The result after four years: crime totals have fallen, as they have across the country. But Chicago still has more violent crime per capita than New York or Los Angeles, with an average of seven people shot every day…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A real insightful piece, which can be read in its entirety on the Chicago Reader website here.

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

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Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 Credit, Government, Gun Rights, Public Safety No Comments

Signs Of The Time, Part 82

I had a tough choice to make earlier tonight- either watch President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Speech, or finish up doing laundry.

After all my clothes were put away, I saw on my Internet service provider’s home page some jibberish about how some “shadow of crisis” had passed. I pulled up a transcript of the President’s speech tonight and sure enough there was this:

America, for all that we’ve endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this:

The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong.

At this moment — with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production — we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth. It’s now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next fifteen years, and for decades to come…

Mark my words. The “shadow of crisis” hasn’t passed. It was merely papered over. Keynesian “enlightenment,” government intervention, bailouts, stimulus packages, quantitative easing, QE 1, QE 2, QE 3, willing-and-able presstitutes, and what do we have? The Not-So-Great Recovery. Answer me this- if the economy is so strong, why have interest rates been effectively at zero for how many years now? “But Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve are going to start raising interest rates soon.” We’ll see, but if they do, I suspect rates will be raised incrementally, and I can’t help but wonder if the next few years won’t resemble the early part of last decade when a housing bubble inflated (and eventually popped) under the guise of a strong economy, but with the Fed slow on the trigger to raise rates and take way the punch bowl. This time around, we could even have multiple asset bubbles (in bonds? housing? stocks?) formed before the next installment of the longer financial crash arrives. Who knows exactly how the next crisis will play out, but I’m pretty sure the end result will be much uglier than the last episode. Not many bullets left for Uncle Sam and the central bank to use.

One more thing. “We have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth.” God forbid anyone scratch the surface to reveal how many more trillions of dollars of debt has been piled on our financial house of cards in order to kick the can down the road a little bit more. There’s no escaping the fact that the United States is the world’s largest debtor nation. And another inconvenient fact happens to be that taking on significant debt is akin to slavery.

“Freer to write our own future.” If only it were true. Financial reckoning day is more like it.

I’ll leave Survival And Prosperity readers with this. Back in the early 1990s while attending the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign I remember listening to a recording of “The Rat Pack” in action. Frank Sinatra was chiding Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. Now, the “Chairman Of The Board” made an observation that better describes the situation we’re in than what the President Of The United States said this evening:

You’ve had your fling and you flung it.

Enjoy the “good times” while they last, then prepare to batten down the hatches.


Scene from The Final Countdown (1980)
YouTube Video

Note that it’s not the end of the word I’m talking about here. But things will definitely suck for a while before the economy and society gets better again. By that time, we’ll probably be well on our way to having passed the baton to China.

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

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Illinois Debt Crisis Latest: $9 Billion Annual Deficit, $159 Billion In IOUs

Illinois residents are waking up to disturbing news this morning. From the “Press Room” over on the website of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois:

Illinois faces $9 billion annual deficit and $159 billion in IOUs

New analysis (PDF) by the Fiscal Futures Project finds no easy fix to Illinois’ chronic fiscal imbalance. Illinois now faces a $9 billion annual deficit that will grow to $14 billion by FY 2026.

“Years of pay-later budgeting has resulted in a massive imbalance between sustainable revenue and spending,” said Richard Dye, co-director of the Fiscal Futures Project. “Like a person in deep credit card debt, the state has been spending more than it can afford, and is covering the gap by issuing IOUs.” The report finds that the state’s IOUs now total $159 billion—more than twice the inflow of revenue in a single year. It’s a monumental problem that will require a long-term fiscal plan that includes tax increases, spending cuts, and economic growth.

The report, Apocalypse Now? The Consequences of Pay-Later Budgeting in Illinois, examines what it would take to balance the budget. The options are limited.

• Bringing back the 2011 tax increase would close only about one-half of the gap projected for the next several years.
The problem cannot be solved with spending cuts alone. Because Illinois can’t cut debt service or pension payments, it would take at least a 20 percent cut of all remaining spending to eliminate the deficit. This includes education, corrections, Medicaid, public safety, transportation, and more.
• Economic growth is also not a cure-all: an increase in the growth rate of personal income by an extra one-half percent every year for 10 years (an optimistic scenario) would only have a modest effect on the deficit.

The report concludes: “Changes in awareness, expectations, and policy are needed to restore fiscal balance in Illinois. Being saddled with paying past years’ bills means that today, Illinoisans must reduce their expectations for the services that they can expect from government and be prepared to pay more for government, now and in the future.”

(Editor’s notes: Bold added for emphasis)

Like I blogged a week ago:

A lot less government services. Much higher fees, fines and taxes.

An outcome I see for Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois residents down the road.

And plenty of Illinoisans wonder why their neighbors are high-tailing it out of the “Land of Lincoln.”

You can read a summary fact sheet or the entire report over on the IGPA website here.

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

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Is Pepper Spray Legal In Chicago, Illinois? (2015 Update)

Last Wednesday, I blogged that I’d begin reviewing Chicago-area laws concerning self-defense tools starting this week.

Even though Survival And Prosperity addressed the subject of pepper spray or OC spray (from “oleoresin capsicum”) some time back, here’s a question I still keep hearing asked:

“Is pepper spray legal in Chicago, Illinois?”

To find out, let’s start at the top- meaning the State of Illinois. Looking at the Illinois Compiled Statutes, Criminal Offenses, (720 ILCS 5/) Criminal Code of 2012, “ARTICLE 24. DEADLY WEAPONS”:

(720 ILCS 5/24-1) (from Ch. 38, par. 24-1)
Sec. 24-1. Unlawful Use of Weapons.
(a) A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he knowingly:
(3) Carries on or about his person or in any vehicle, a tear gas gun projector or bomb or any object containing noxious liquid gas or substance, other than an object containing a non-lethal noxious liquid gas or substance designed solely for personal defense carried by a person 18 years of age or older

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Pepper (OC) spray appears legal to own and carry in the state of Illinois- so long as the individual carrying it is “18 years of age or older.”

Now let’s turn to Cook County. Here’s something I was just made aware of recently. From the Cook County Code of Ordinances, Part I- GENERAL ORDINANCES, Chapter 58- OFFENSES AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS, ARTICLE VI. OFFENSES AGAINST THE PUBLIC PEACE, Sec. 58-172. – Disorderly Conduct:

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to commit disorderly conduct. A person commits disorderly conduct when he knowingly:
(6) Carries in a threatening or menacing manner, without authority of law, any razor, knife, stiletto, blackjack, bludgeon, metal knuckles, slingshot, any knife, the blade of which is released by a spring mechanism, including knives known as “switch-blades”, undetectable knives as defined in Section 58-176 of this Code, an object containing noxious or deleterious liquid, gas or substance or other weapon, or conceals said weapon on or about the person or vehicle

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Pepper (OC) spray appears legal to own and carry in Cook County, Illinois- so long as the individual carrying it is “18 years of age or older” (per the State of Illinois), does not carry it “in a threatening or menacing manner,” or “conceals said weapon on or about the person or vehicle.”

That last bit about concealing about the person or vehicle is bound to raise some eyebrows, I’m guessing.

Mace Pepper Foam

Finally, here’s what the City of Chicago has on the books regarding pepper (OC) spray. From the Municipal Code of Chicago, TITLE 8 OFFENSES AFFECTING PUBLIC PEACE, MORALS AND WELFARE, CHAPTER 8-24 FIREARMS AND OTHER WEAPONS, 8-24-020 Sale or possession of deadly weapons:

(e) No person shall carry on or about his person or in any vehicle, a tear gas gun projector or bomb or any object containing noxious liquid gas or substance, other than an object containing a non-lethal noxious liquid gas or substance designed solely for personal defense carried by a person 18 years of age or older; provided that this subsection shall not apply to any person listed in section 5/24-2(a)(1)-(14) of the Criminal Code, 720 ILCS 5/24-2(a).

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

There’s also this under 8-24-045 Noxious gas or liquid:

(a) No person shall use any device to discharge a noxious gas or liquid in an enclosed room in any Class C-1 or Class C-2 Assembly Unit, as defined in Chapter 13-56 of this Code, or in an enclosed room in any restaurant, bar or tavern that is a Class F Assembly Unit as defined in that chapter, if more than 20 persons are present in that room, unless the person is a peace officer, as defined in Section 8-20-010 of this Code, engaged in law enforcement activity. As used in this section, “noxious gas or liquid” means mace, pepper spray or any other substance that is intended or designed to cause irritation to the eyes, nose or mouth, or to cause nausea.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So Is pepper spray legal in Chicago, Illinois?

Pepper (OC) spray appears legal to own and carry- so long as the individual carrying it:

• Is “18 years of age or older” (per the State of Illinois)
• Does not carry it “in a threatening or menacing manner” or “conceals said weapon on or about the person or vehicle” (per Cook County)
• Shall not use “any device to discharge a noxious gas or liquid in an enclosed room in any Class C-1 or Class C-2 Assembly Unit, as defined in Chapter 13-56 of this Code, or in an enclosed room in any restaurant, bar or tavern that is a Class F Assembly Unit as defined in that chapter, if more than 20 persons are present in that room” (per the City of Chicago)

Next time, I’ll be looking at expandable/collapsible/retractable batons and their legality in Chicago.

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

(Legal disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain such advice.)

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Marc Faber: ‘The President, For Whatever Reason, Might Not Finish His Term’

This year’s Barron’s Roundtable convened on January 12, 2015, at the Harvard Club of New York. And one member of the Roundtable, Swiss-born investment advisor and fund manager Marc Faber, brought up some interesting scenarios for the coming year. Dr. Faber told Roundtable participants:

Many surprises could occur in the next 12 months. The president, for whatever reason, might not finish his term. China’s president, Xi Jinping, doesn’t speak as much as Obama, but when he speaks, he makes sense. He is a powerful person. In the past 45 years, China has pursued a policy of nonintervention in other countries’ domestic affairs. But that might change because of its oil interests in the Sudan. China is the largest supplier of troops to the U.N. peacekeeping forces. Its troops are conveniently placed next to Sudan’s oil facilities. China also has a large interest in the Iraqi oilfields. If ISIS moves toward southern Iraq, which it currently can’t do, China will protect its interests. The Chinese are becoming more assertive in their geopolitical ambitions. They must ensure a supply of natural resources, such as oil, copper, and iron ore. In their view, the Americans have no interests in Southeast Asia and eventually will have to move out. It is unclear how this will be achieved, or when, but it probably won’t happen peacefully

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Thailand-based Faber, like fellow “crash prophets” Jim Rogers and Peter Schiff, recognizes that the West’s economic power is steadily being transferred to the East. He added in New York City:

Even if Asia doesn’t grow much this year, economic power is shifting to Asia. The Indian economy could grow by 5%-6% in 2015, although the Indians would say I am too pessimistic. Nonetheless, a 5% growth rate is enormous, compared to zero in Europe.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


Heineken Commercial “The Date” feat. Mohammed Rafi, Jaan Pehechaan Ho (1965)
YouTube Video

You can read the entire Roundtable discussion on the Barron’s website here.

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

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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