Government

Chicago’s 2015 Budget Includes Tax And Fee Hikes

Gee, who could’ve anticipated new fee and tax hikes look to be in store for Chicago next year?

From Fran Spielman over on the Chicago Sun-Times website this morning:

[Chicago Mayor Rahm] Emanuel will campaign for re-election on a budget that raises $62.4 million through “targeted” tax hikes and closing “loopholes,” which amounts to the same thing.

People who live, work and play in Chicago will be paying more for everything from parking and vehicle leasing to cable television and stadium skyboxes…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

These individuals have been doing that for a number of years now. Hal Dardick pointed out over on the Chicago Tribune site:

As the Chicago City Council prepares to approve his latest budget Wednesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel repeatedly has reminded voters that he didn’t raise city property taxes during his first four years in office.

But that doesn’t mean homeowners haven’t had to pay. Under Emanuel, vehicle stickers cost more. Cable TV and phone taxes went up. And water and sewer fees increased significantly…

Taken together, Emanuel’s hikes mean the typical Chicago family will pay about $481 more to the city next year than it did in 2011. That’s the equivalent of a typical Chicago homeowner paying 60 percent more in city property taxes, which are nearly $800 a year for city and library services on a $250,000 home…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Nearly $800 a year for city and library services on a $250,000 home”

In the Chicago neighborhood I recently moved out of, I’m not sure if any inhabitable houses at that price range with more than 2 bedrooms/1 bath even exists. So I’m guessing a number of my old neighbors- who already shoulder a significant tax burden for the city- will be somewhat pissed to hear of this “good news” coming out of City Hall.

That being said, it’s not exactly Chicago’s “financial reckoning day” we’re talking about here. But it’s probably not what Chicagoans want to deal with as the holiday season kicks-in.

As for the well-publicized pension crisis going on in the “Windy City,” Spielman added:

By December, 2015, the City Council must decide whether to raise property taxes — or find other new revenues — to fund a state-mandated, $550 million payment to shore up police and fire pension funds.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So a property tax hike might also be coming down the pipeline.

One more thing. Regarding the ongoing manpower shortage in the Chicago Police Department? That doesn’t look like it’s going to be resolved in 2015. From the Sun-Times piece:

Once again, the mayor’s budget includes only enough money to keep pace with retirements. It also includes roughly $70 million in police overtime, down from $100.3 million in 2013 and a projected $95 million this year…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Crime is down!” Yeah, whatever.

As always, I’m glad to see Fran Spielman and Hal Dardick are on top of their game.

What does all this mean for Chicago residents/workers/visitors?

It’s probably wise to budget a good deal more money for anything city-related next year. Even more so in 2016 considering what could be in store with the city’s public pension mess and what Cook County is telegraphing these days (blogged about Monday).

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

(UPDATE: The Chicago City Council approved Mayor Emanuel’s proposed 2015 city budget Wednesday by a vote of 46-4, and “puts off dealing with the city’s most vexing financial woes until after next year’s elections” according to the Tribune Thursday morning)

Sources:

Spielman, Fran. “Chicago City Council set to pass Emanuel’s $7.3 billion budget.” Chicago Sun-Times. 19 Nov. 2014. (http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/chicago-city-council-set-pass-emanuels-73-billion-budget/wed-11192014-742am). 19 Nov. 2014.

Dardick, Hal. “Higher Emanuel fees and taxes add up.” Chicago Tribune. 19 Nov. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-emanuel-budget-2015-met-20141118-story.html#page=1). 19 Nov. 2014.

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Fixed? Illinois Public Pension Gap Surpasses $111 Billion

“The Illinois General Assembly barely passed legislation yesterday that’s been touted to ‘fix’ the state’s $100 billion public pension crisis.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, who has promised to sign SB0001, declared in a press release Tuesday:

Since I took the oath of office, I’ve pushed relentlessly for a comprehensive pension reform solution that would erase a $100 billion liability and restore fiscal stability to Illinois.

Today, we have won. The people of Illinois have won.

Not so fast, big guy…”

-Survival And Prosperity, December 4, 2013, post

I remember when Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed off on Illinois Senate Bill 1 (or 0001, take your pick) on December 5 of last year, talk about the State’s monstrous public pension funding gap practically disappeared overnight. But yesterday, Benjamin VanMetre of the Illinois Policy Institute- “an independent research and education organization generating public policy solutions aimed at promoting personal freedom and prosperity in Illinois”- dredged up that nightmare for Illinoisans over at their website. That “$100 billion liability” that was supposed to be “erased.” It’s now more than $111 billion. VanMetre wrote:

Illinois’ unfunded pension liability grew to more than $111 billion this year, according to official estimates. That’s a $48 billion increase just since 2009.

That $111 billion pension shortfall means the state now has only 39 cents of every dollar it should have in the bank today to pay for future benefits. In the private sector, these funds would be deemed bankrupt…

Illinois Senate Bill 1, which was touted to reduce the State’s annual pension payment by more than $1 billion, is currently facing a legal challenge. VanMetre added:

But as we wait for a decision, Illinois’ pension debt continues to grow. The state’s pension payment for the current budget year totals $6.9 billion, and without reform, that pension payment will balloon to $7.6 billion for the 2016 budget year; an increase of $681 million…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So what’s the likelihood of the courts shooting down this new public pension law? As I wrote in that December 4, 2013, post:

This legislation is almost certainly headed to court, as in the Illinois Supreme Court. As I noted on December 1, a provision of the 1970 Illinois Constitution defines public pension benefits as “an enforceable contractual relationship” that “shall not be diminished or impaired.”

And even if it passes constitutional muster, consider what I also added in that post:

As I blogged yesterday, the Wall Street Journal recently picked apart the legislative “fix,” and concluded not only was it “fake” but:

Even under the most optimistic forecasts, these nips and tucks would only slim the state’s pension liability down to $80 billion- which is where it was after Governor Quinn signed de minimis fixes in spring 2010 to get him past that year’s election…

“$80 billion.”

Stay tuned…

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

Source:

VanMetre, Benjamin. “Illinois’ Pension Debt Balloons To $111 Billion.” Illinois Policy Institute. 17 Nov. 2014. (http://www.illinoispolicy.org/illinois-pension-debt-still-ballooning/). 18 Nov. 2014.

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Global Economy Flashes Warning Signals

I’m picking up on a growing number of “bad vibes” about the global economy these days.

First, Rich Miller reported on the Bloomberg website Thursday about the findings of the latest Bloomberg Global Poll of international investors:

The world economy is in its worst shape in two years, with the euro area and emerging markets deteriorating and the danger of deflation rising, according to a Bloomberg Global Poll of international investors.

A plurality of 38 percent of those surveyed this week described the global economy as worsening, more than double the number who said that in the last poll in July and the most since September 2012, when Europe was mired in a recession.

Much of the concern is again focused on the euro area: Almost two-thirds of those polled said its economy was weakening…

Europe isn’t the only source of concern in the global economy, according to the quarterly poll of 510 investors, traders and analysts who are Bloomberg subscribers. More than half of those contacted said conditions in the BRIC economies — Brazil, Russia, India and China — are getting worse, compared with 36 percent who said so in July.

(Editor: Bold added for emphasis)

Granted, it’s just a poll. But there’s also this from British Prime Minister David Cameron in a piece he penned that was published on The Guardian (UK) website Sunday:

Six years on from the financial crash that brought the world to its knees, red warning lights are once again flashing on the dashboard of the global economy.

As I met world leaders at the G20 in Brisbane, the problems were plain to see. The eurozone is teetering on the brink of a possible third recession, with high unemployment, falling growth and the real risk of falling prices too. Emerging markets, which were the driver of growth in the early stages of the recovery, are now slowing down. Despite the progress in Bali, global trade talks have stalled while the epidemic of Ebola, conflict in the Middle East and Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine are all adding a dangerous backdrop of instability and uncertainty…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Cameron added the following, which I thought was pretty funny (disturbing?):

When we faced similar problems in recent years, too many politicians offered easy answers, thinking we could spend, borrow and tax our way to prosperity. Those were the wrong answers then; they are the wrong answers now. We are not going to repeat the mistakes of the past…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Sound like any country you know?

Finally, exacerbating fears about global economic health was the following “shock” announcement. Mitsuru Obe and Eleanor Warnock reported on The Wall Street Journal website this morning:

Japan Falls Into Recession

Japan’s economy shrank for a second quarter in a row, after a sales-tax increase took the steam out of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ’s bid to turn Japan into a global model of revival.

Mr. Abe, who has sought to revive the world’s third-largest economy after two mostly sluggish decades, is set to announce this week that he will delay plans to raise the nation’s sales tax next year and call elections in December…

“Two mostly sluggish decades”

Some really bright financial-types suspect Japan’s so-called “zombie economy” is what’s ultimately in store for America. While I have no doubt about a coming U.S. economic crash, I remain somewhat more optimistic for the country’s prospects upon emerging from the coming carnage.

Stay tuned…

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

Sources:

Cameron, David. “David Cameron: Red lights are flashing on the global economy.” The Guardian. 16 Nov. 2014. (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/16/red-lights-global-economy-david-cameron). 17 Nov. 2014.

Miller, Rich. “World Economy Worst in Two Years, Europe Darkening, Deflation Lurking: Global Investor Poll.” Bloomberg.com. 13 Nov. 2014. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-13/world-outlook-darkening-as-89-in-poll-see-europe-deflation-risk.html). 17 Nov. 2014.

Obe, Mitsuru and Warnock, Eleanor. “Japan Falls Into Recession.” The Wall Street Journal. 17 Nov. 2014. (http://online.wsj.com/articles/japan-falls-into-recession-1416182404). 17 Nov. 2014.

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2015 Cook County Budget Holds Line On Taxes, Fines, And Fees- For Now

Cook County residents dodged a bullet this time around.

John Byrne and Hal Dardick reported on the Chicago Tribune website Friday:

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Friday won easy approval for her $4 billion 2015 budget proposal that includes no new taxes, fines or fees

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

For now. Byrne and Dardick added:

Preckwinkle earlier this year warned that the 2016 budget will be far more difficult to balance because debt payments will grow and the county will need to pay $144 million more into the county workers’ retirement system if she secures the pension fund changes she seeks from the General Assembly…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know I suspect those “new taxes, fines, or fees” are coming soon. I wrote back on May 22:

Last week, I blogged about the possibility of property and/or sales taxes going up soon in Cook County, Illinois. Dave McKinney and Brian Slodysko reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website on May 13 the hikes might occur as part of a pension “reform” bill.

Hal Dardick and Monique Garcia added on the Chicago Tribune website tonight:

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle hit Springfield Thursday to try to build support for changes to the county pension plan that she says would halt its ongoing decline toward insolvency.

She met with Senate President John Cullerton House Speaker Michael Madigan, both Chicago Democrats, and also Republican legislative leaders. “I think she’s got a good chance to pass this bill,” Madigan said afterward…

Although Preckwinkle has not identified how she would pay for her plan, it calls for the county to put $144 million a year into the pension fund. If funded with property taxes, that would cost the average homeowner up to $65 more a year, starting in 2017, according to one internal county document the Tribune obtained.

Preckwinkle, however, said Wednesday that she has closed even larger budget gaps through cuts and other, smaller scale tax and fee increases without raising property taxes — while also lowering the county sales tax by a half-cent on the dollar…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Yet, McKinney and Slodysko wrote last week:

County officials do not believe they can cut enough from the budget to cover the cost, the source said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Only a matter of time now before those hikes kick in. As I also noted in that May post:

What’s that line I keep repeating on this blog?

Higher fees, fines, and taxes. Less government services.

As much as I hate saying it, that’s what Chicago and Cook County residents should be preparing themselves for down the road.

I’d say that probably applies to all Americans, come to think of it.

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

Source:

Byrne, John and Dardick, Hal. “Preckwinkle wins easy approval of $4 billion budget.” Chicago Tribune. 14 Nov. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-cook-county-budget-met-1115-20141114-story.html). 17 Nov. 2014.

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Quote For The Week

“Have you met Joe Biden?”

-U.S. Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC 4th District), on impeaching President Obama for issuing an Executive Order granting amnesty to illegal immigrants in the United States

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

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Prepping For Ferguson-Related Civil Strife

I was planning on wrapping up my blogging on Survival And Prosperity last night (as I strive for posting regularly again Sunday through Thursday), but thought it was important that I end this week with a few words concerning the upcoming decision by a St. Louis grand jury on whether or not to charge Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. As I wrote in a post last Sunday:

Why do I care? Because I suspect there’s a lot of pent-up anger and frustration out there that could fuel significant destruction and violence in the wake of such a finding.

That being said, the authorities have had a good deal of time to prepare for the day the decision is announced and position resources in the Ferguson area to deal with any peaceful protest gone rogue.

In that respect, it won’t be like the 1992 Los Angeles Riots.

Still, that’s not to say civil strife won’t be sparked in other areas of the country after the announcement is made. St. Louis and Chicago come to mind here. A number of other U.S. municipalities are possible candidates as well.

So what do you do if you live in these areas where Ferguson-related civil disorder could break out any day now?

Late last night I came across an article on The Daily Sheeple alternative news website that might be of some help to those in the crosshairs. Daisy Luther wrote in “Officials Warn: ‘Make Sure You Are Prepared for a Period of Disruption’ Before Michael Brown Decision”:

Are you prepared for civil unrest?

The thing about racially motivated conflicts is that the divisive emotions and actions can spread far beyond the local area. You don’t have to live in the Ferguson area to face the potential for civil unrest. Here’s a synopsis of the threats during such an event and what you can do to prepare for them…

Luther goes on to talk about looting, violence for the sake of violence, destruction of property, running out of supplies, and martial law- and how to deal with each of these threats.

While it was an interesting piece to read for me, it should be required reading for those who are more likely to be impacted by any Ferguson-related civil strife. The article is located on The Daily Sheeple website here. Keep in mind there are a number of items that may require immediate action on the reader’s part, so don’t delay here as a decision could be handed down at any time now.

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

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Peter Schiff And Axel Merk Talk Gold

I’ve been so busy lately I didn’t realize Peter Schiff’s Euro Pacific Precious Metals had been rebranded as SchiffGold. And earlier today, I spotted a new Gold Videocast published on SchiffGold.com in which Axel Merk is interviewed. The topic? Gold. From the website:

In this SchiffGold exclusive video, Peter Schiff sits with Axel Merk at the recent New Orleans Investment Conference to discuss gold investing in the midst of the currency wars. Like Peter, Axel was one of the few analysts to warn of the 2008 financial crisis and he remains one of the few analysts independent from the mainstream “recovery” consensus. Their conversation covers the history of gold’s price performance, the upcoming Swiss Gold referendum, the role of physical bullion in a portfolio, and much more.

I found their discussion about gold’s victorious outcome in a currency war and ownership of physical gold particularly interesting. Especially when Peter noted:

It’s not that people want to do something illegal but people fear that the government may do something illegal in the future, may do something oppressive in the future. They might want to confiscate gold but they can’t confiscate it if they don’t know where you have it. If you have it in a brokerage account, they know where it is and they can take it. But if you have it buried somewhere or in a safe, they can’t get at it.

Good stuff, which you can read (full transcript provided) and watch in its entirety on the SchiffGold website here.

By 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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Trust The Ebola ‘Pollyannas’ At Your Own Peril

“Calm down- America is officially Ebola-free”
-Public Radio International web article headline, November 10, 2014

“America all clear of Ebola- for now”
-Yahoo! News web article headline, November 11, 2014

“Ebola In US Cured, Craig Spencer Released From Hospital, America All Clear”
-Inquisitr.com web article headline, November 12, 2014

One might think reading the above “Pollyannish” headlines that the threat to the United States from the Ebola virus is over. I, for one, remain skeptical. Why’s that? Consider the following from Martha Mendoza on the Associated Press website November 1:

Top medical experts studying the spread of Ebola say the public should expect more cases to emerge in the United States by year’s end as infected people arrive here from West Africa, including American doctors and nurses returning from the hot zone and people fleeing from the deadly disease.

But how many cases?

No one knows for sure how many infections will emerge in the U.S. or anywhere else, but scientists have made educated guesses based on data models that weigh hundreds of variables, including daily new infections in West Africa, airline traffic worldwide and transmission possibilities.

This week, several top infectious disease experts ran simulations for The Associated Press that predicted as few as one or two additional infections by the end of 2014 to a worst-case scenario of 130…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“As few as one or two additional infections by the end of 2014 to a worst-case scenario of 130.”

A number of high-profile preppers with medical backgrounds have weighed-in on the danger posed by Ebola. First, there’s Joe Alton, M.D.- aka “Dr. Bones” of Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy-fame. Sharon Churcher wrote on the Daily Mail (UK) website back on Halloween:

Florida surgeon Joe Alton, who believes the US government is deluding American citizens over the risk of infectious disease, says: ‘Members of the preparedness community are not crazy. What is crazy is not to be prepared for disasters – preppers are the normal people.

‘The US government has a website Ready.gov that says people should always be prepared for natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes and tornadoes and floods. It does not make sense not to also prepare for infectious diseases.’

He says: ‘This is a virus that has a 70 percent mortality rate and the experience we’ve had with the cases in Dallas and New York and with President Obama making ‘fairness’ a priority over public health and safety has made preppers – including doctors like me — suspicious of the notion that we can rely on the authorities to protect us…

‘I think it is highly unlikely that entire communities will be overwhelmed in this country by an epidemic but the situation in Dallas showed that our hospitals are not prepared.’

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

No Ebola epidemic. But likely inside the United States by the sound of it.

Readers may recall that back in August I also talked about Dr. Alton and Nurse and their take on Ebola. From that post:

Joe Alton, M.D.- aka “Dr. Bones” of Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy/The Survival Medicine Handbook-fame- just wrote on the Doom and Bloom website on July 30 in “Ebola Update”:

I recommend stocking up on masks, gowns, eye protection, and gloves, and learn about how to have an effective survival sick room.

He added later in the comment section:

The best masks are N95 or N100, the N95 are more readily available and somewhat more breathable. Masks by themselves are not enough, though, some kind of eye protection and coveralls would be useful additions to your medical storage for pandemics.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Churcher also talked about Tess Pennington, publisher of the Ready Nutrition website and author of The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster. From the piece:

Former American Red Cross staffer and mother of three Tess Pennington says: ‘I was working at the Dallas chapter of the Red Cross on September 11, and having been through that and a Houston hurricane, ‘I firmly believe that every family should be prepared for disasters.

‘When Ebola started migrating to America, I bulked up on N100 respirator masks, which block out more particles than N95s, and also on latex gloves, which are the best for bodily fluids because they are non permeable.

‘I also have purchased DuPont Tychem suits – twelve suits for each of us: my husband, our 12 year old boy and our 10 year old and 9 year old girls.’

Things may be quiet right now in the U.S. as far as Ebola is concerned. But I suspect that’s only temporary based on the above projections.

It’s probably only a matter of time before the next Ebola case is discovered on our shores.

If readers were planning to prep for the virus, this lull in the action might be a good time to take care of that. Otherwise, should more cases start popping up in the U.S. again, you may have a hard time getting what you need.

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

Sources:

Mendoza, Martha. “Scientists Try To Predict Number Of US Cases.” Associated Press. 1 Nov. 2014. (http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_EBOLA_HOW_BAD_CAN_IT_GET?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-11-01-10-25-24). 13 Nov. 2014.

Chrucher, Sharon. “We are NOT nutty survivalists, says Ebola’s Dr Prepper: Medical ‘lunatics’ stocking up on Hazmat suits insist THEY are the only normal ones.” Daily Mail. 31 Oct. 2014. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2812488/We-NOT-nutty-survivalists-says-Ebola-s-Dr-Prepper-Medical-lunatics-stocking-Hazmat-suits-insist-normal-ones.html). 13 Nov.2014.

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Hacker ‘Guccifer’: Chicago Targeted For Nuclear Attack In 2015

The recently-apprehended hacker known as “Guccifer” (Marcel-Lehel Lazar, an unemployed 43-year-old Romanian) is in the news today for something he told The New York Times while meeting with them. Andrew Higgins reported on the Times website yesterday:

Before agreeing to answer questions from The New York Times in prison, where he shares a cell with four others, including two convicted murderers, he read out a lengthy handwritten statement that he said explained the purpose of his hacking.

A potpourri of conspiracy theories about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the 1997 death of Princess Diana and alleged plans for a nuclear attack in Chicago in 2015, it said: “This world is run by a group of conspirators called the Council of Illuminati, very rich people, noble families, bankers and industrialists from the 19th and 20th century.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The Times article didn’t elaborate on the supposed nuclear strike. And as far as I can tell there’s been no mention of it elsewhere out in cyberspace.

Assuming “Guccifer” isn’t spinning this tale in an attempt to save his hide, some are already jumping to the conclusion that such an attack would be a “false flag” event perpetrated by this Illuminati.

But what if Mr. Lazar discovered the plans within the e-mails of those powerful individuals whose accounts he was known to hack? In other words, they had intelligence about the coming nuke attack in their possession (it’s conceivable having such power/prestige might afford them that privilege) but the event wouldn’t be of their doing.

If not them, then who?

Consider what I blogged back on June 1:

WBBM (Chicago) Political Editor Craig Dellimore recently interviewed Robert Holley, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Chicago, for the WBBM Newsradio show At Issue. From their exchange that was uploaded on the show’s web page today:

DELLIMORE: With all the headlines about street gangs, shootings, and corruption in and around Chicago, I think people can sometimes forget that terrorism is still a threat here, and is a major focus of what the FBI has to do. We haven’t had a major attack here- though there have been some plots thwarted. How real is the threat of terrorism these days?
HOLLEY: I would say, Craig, that the threat that we face now is probably more so than right after 9/11. Al-Qaeda Central has been thwarted in many of the attacks that they have been trying to conduct here in the West and against our allied partners overseas. Through Osama bin Laden being killed, and other leaders within core Al-Qaeda- the core leadership within Al-Qaeda- over the last several years, their ability to plan and conduct operations has been limited. What happened is, it is diffused to other groups. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula- we call them AQAP. Al-Qaeda in Islamic Magreb- AQIM. Al Nusra in Syria. So these are all significant threats- terrorism threats. Although they are headquartered overseas, they have an intent to strike here in the West. And they are actively plotting, recruiting, and training to conduct attacks here in the United States.
DELLIMORE: Is some of this theoretical, or do investigators uncover more concrete signs that Chicago could be a target, at least more so than we average folks might realize?
HOLLEY: I would never describe it as being theoretical. It is an actual threat. And there is no community in the United States that is immune from an attack on their communities. We saw what happened in Boston by two homegrown violent extremists. There have been multiple disruptions through different JTTF (unintelligible word) throughout the FBI in the United States over the last several years. You can look at Lubbock, Texas. Not a large metropolitan area, but had a significant attempt to conduct a terrorist attack there…

“The threat that we face now is probably more so than right after 9/11.”

Something for Chicago-area readers to chew on.

Personally, I suspect that if the bad guys got their hands on a nuke, New York City and Lower Manhattan in particular (Wall Street, One World Trade Center) would be in their crosshairs because of its economic and symbolic value. Washington, D.C., would be a close second due to its political importance.

As for Chicago? Well, some would argue Muslim extremists can’t do much more damage to the city than “The Machine” hasn’t already done.

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

Source:

Higgins, Andrew. “For Guccifer, Hacking Was Easy. Prison Is Hard.” The New York Times. 10 Nov. 2014. (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/11/world/europe/for-guccifer-hacking-was-easy-prison-is-hard-.html?_r=0). 11 Nov. 2014.

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Advertiser Spotlight: CHIEF Supply

As I work hard to get caught-up on Survival And Prosperity, I’ll be publishing a number of “Advertiser Spotlight” posts on the blog this week. The following is the first of those.

I was first made aware of CHIEF Supply- a vendor of public safety equipment and apparel- back when I worked for a fire department in Chicago’s northwest suburbs. From the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company’s website:

Since 1977, CHIEF has served the Public Safety and Surveying industries with high-quality supplies spanning hundreds of the most respected manufacturers in the industry. In 1998, we expanded CHIEF to the Internet. Between our professional sales staff and CHIEFsupply.com, we continue to add the latest products, develop new services for public safety professionals, and aid the general public in personal protection and home and family safety. We’ve gotten this far by running our business on the belief that “quality” pertains as much to the way we treat you, our customer, as it does to our products and services. CHIEF is here to provide you with a wide selection of the highest quality products and deliver service that results in your satisfaction as our customer. We want you to turn to us when you need new gear for your public safety department, for yourself or for your family, and we want you to be glad to do business with CHIEF.

For a number of years, I was under the impression the CHIEF Supply catered only to public safety professionals. But as their website points out:

You can still order from us even if you’re not in the Public Safety industry. Of course, certain products require official authorization, but many of our products, such as flashlights, apparel, knives, multi-tools, etc. can be purchased by the general public.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

And man-oh-man do they carry a lot of products. According to their site, CHIEF has “over 55,000 high-quality supplies spanning over 375 of the industry’s most respected manufacturers.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Which helps explain why they’re a favorite vendor among a number of public safety agencies.

To help customers find exactly what they’re looking for, CHIEF makes a 375-page print catalog (Premier Product Guide) available for download by section or in its entirety on their website.

While CHIEF offers plenty of promotions year round, all orders with an order total (subtotal minus any discounts) of $99+ receive free shipping everyday as I type this!

It’s also good to note the Better Business Bureau has issued a “B” rating for the company.

One more thing- this morning I received the following e-mail from the folks at CHIEF about a Veterans Day Sale they’re having:

VETERANS DAY SALE
20% OFF
ORDERS OVER $89

Use Promotional Code OFF20VET in cart
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By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Glenn Beck: ‘I Think We’re In The Most Dangerous Period Now Than The Republic Has Been In Since The Civil War’

Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Glenn Beck, the American television/radio host and producer, political commentator, author, and entrepreneur down at his Dallas studio. I was already familiar with his work from FOX News and TheBlaze, and in-person he seemed like a pretty knowledgeable guy who’s able to grasp the big picture in terms of where our country is most likely heading. Here’s what the host of The Glenn Beck Program is saying these days about where U.S. President Barack Obama is going to try and take the country now that the midterm elections are over. To which he adds a dire warning. In an exchange with Bill O’Reilly on The O’Reilly Factor Wednesday night:

O’REILLY: So you’re sitting there with your pie up and your Fred MacMurray sweater and you’re watching the returns roll in- what are you saying to yourself? Are you cheering? Is it good for you? Do you feel vindicated? What’s the feeling?
BECK: My feeling is the President is disconnected from the American people entirely. You saw there was no humility in his press conference today. And he is also disconnected from the Democrats. Hillary Clinton has already separated herself, so now she’s going to play the moderate. He announced yesterday when the election was still going on- that’s usually when the president is quiet- he came out yesterday and said by Christmas he will have his Executive Order on illegal immigration. I think this president- and I hope this is not true- but I think this president is going to go more radical. He doesn’t have anything to lose. He is going to super-serve the uber-left. And the Republicans are not prepared for this. They’re playing politics circa 1975. And they’re not going to be prepared for it. I think we have a very bad scenario headed our way where somebody- because the Democrats won’t be blamed on it because they’ll say “We didn’t have anything to do with it” and “You know what? We’re not as extreme as he is.” And so somebody is going to be able to play the middle ground between the evil Republicans and this president. And I think it could get ugly. I think we’re in the most dangerous period now than the Republic has been in since the Civil War. From now until probably spring of 2017…


FOX News Video

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

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Would Illinois Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner Ban Assault Weapons?

When Pat Quinn was Governor, Illinoisans knew where he stood on so-called “assault weapons.”

With incoming Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, it’s just not that clear.

So much so I wonder if after a major mass shooting or terrorist attack on U.S. soil and the political winds were blowing in that direction, Governor Rauner would sign off on an “assault weapons” ban.

Think that’s far-fetched? Consider what I wrote back on March 2:

The four Republican candidates for the office- State Senators Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard, State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, and businessman Bruce Rauner- were recently given campaign questionnaires by the Associated Press, in which gun rights was one of the topics.

According to the AP, two of the four candidates may support a ban on so-called “assault weapons.”

From last Tuesday:

In a campaign questionnaire for The Associated Press, the four candidates — state Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard, state Treasurer Dan Rutherford and businessman Bruce Rauner — all said gun rights need to be protected but that some public safeguards should exist.

The four differed over assault-style guns — high-capacity weapons that have been used in some of the deadliest mass shootings. They currently aren’t illegal statewide, and a proposed statewide ban backed by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn was pulled from consideration last year in Springfield…

Dillard, of Hinsdale, and Rauner, of Winnetka, both left open the possibility they would support a ban. Rutherford, of Chenoa, and Brady, of Bloomington, oppose such a ban…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I added later in that post:

So what about Rauner? The Associated Press did think his questionnaire answer was “more vague” than Dillard’s.

Turning back to their piece:

Rauner gave a more vague answer, saying he supports background checks that keep guns away from criminals and people with mental illness.

“Going beyond that requires a very careful balance between promoting public safety and protecting constitutional rights,” Rauner wrote…

Unless Kirk Dillard and Bruce Rauner actually come out and say they are against a state AWB, I would chalk them up as possibly being in support of an “assault weapons” ban if the political winds were blowing in that direction.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

There’s also this from Michelle Manchir on the Chicago Tribune website on October 15:

Rauner would not say whether he supports an assault weapons ban during a debate Tuesday night, instead saying that the “most important thing we can do with guns is to make sure we keep guns out of the hands of criminals and (the) mentally ill.”

On Wednesday, Rauner reiterated that point at a Little Village event where he sipped coffee with Latino clergy and leaders invited by his campaign.

“Pat Quinn has been a failure on crime. Keep the guns away from criminals and the mentally ill and then the real answer for crime is to make sure that the American Dream and opportunity is available to young people in our neighborhoods,” Rauner told reporters when asked whether not speaking out for an assault weapons ban could cost him votes in some segments of the electorate…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Manchir concluded then-gubernatorial candidate Rauner was “back-and-forth on guns.”

A number of Illinois owners of so-called “assault weapons” might feel they’re safe from any ban with Bruce Rauner now at the helm of the state.

But if I had one of these military-pattern semi-automatic long guns in the state, I’m not so sure I would.

Then again, when you consider what (who) the alternative was on November 4…

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

Source:

Manchir, Michelle. “Quinn hits Rauner on gun control.” Chicago Tribune. 15 Oct. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/chi-quinn-hits-rauner-on-gun-control-20141015-story.html). 5 Nov. 2014.

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Wednesday, November 5th, 2014 Crime, Firearms, Government, Gun Rights, Health No Comments

Cook County Tells Rest Of Illinois: Enact More Gun Control

Last Thursday, I blogged about a gun “control” referendum that was to appear on Cook County (Illinois) voter ballots on November 4. It said:

Shall the Illinois General Assembly enact the Illinois Public Safety Act (Senate Bill 3659) which would require universal background checks for firearm transfers and prohibit the sale and transfer of assault weapons, assault weapon attachments and high capacity ammunition magazines?

As of an hour ago, with 3,690 of 3,742 precincts reporting, the results so far show:

“Yes”: 1,024,722 votes (86.6%)

“No”: 159,028 votes (13.4%)

So there you have it. Cook County voters have spoken, and they overwhelmingly want more gun “control” for the entire state.

Too bad the referendum is non-binding. And it’s not like the rest of the “Land of Lincoln” gives a crap what “Crook County” thinks.

Still, I suspect Governor Quinn might bring it into play the next time a mass shooting or terrorist attack on American soil with a significant number of casualties occurs.

Oh, that’s right.

He gone.

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

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Terrorism, Fear, And Tim Allen

Back when “Dubya” was President, I started to suspect a number of terrorism warnings issued by his administration were being done not to inform the American public of some real danger, but rather to instill fear to achieve an objective.

I believe this use of specific alerts with an ulterior motive has carried over into the Obama administration.

That being said, I think there are warnings which are the “real McCoy,” which makes it all the more tougher to figure out which ones are bogus.

Last Friday, I was watching Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing on ABC when the following video log about fear appeared:


“Mike Explains the Power of Fear”
ABC Video

“Let’s stop believing the fearmongers.” Something to ponder. And when it comes to terrorism, consider the source and context from which the alert was issued before changing routines and such.

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

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Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 Government, Propaganda, Public Safety, Terrorism No Comments

Jihadists Conducting Recon Of British Parliament?

Something tells me our friends in Western Europe might suffer a major terrorist attack before a strike against the United States. Sunday morning I was reading the “Travel” section of my Chicago Tribune when I spotted the following under “World watch”:

United Kingdom: Authorities warned of potential terrorist threats against the Houses of Parliament in London, prompting calls to close the Palace of Westminster to the public. The ISIS-related threat was announced after British intelligence learned of suspected jihadists visiting Parliament for tours in recent weeks. The Palace of Westminster, where the House of Lords and House of Commons meet, is Britain’s most iconic structure, with the attached tower and Big Ben clock being the nation’s most recognizable symbol. Military police are refreshing their training to prevent a terrorist attack, and tourists should follow local media for updates when planning to visit Parliament…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Kids. Big Ben. Parliament. Allahu Akbar!


“European Vacation- Roundabout”
YouTube Video

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

Source:

Burlison, Dani and Habegger, Larry. “World watch: Threats may leave London travelers outside Parliament.” Chicago Tribune. 29 Oct. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/travel/ct-trav-1102-world-watch-20141029-story.html). 4 Nov. 2014.

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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