Mainstream Media

Chicagoans: Should They Stay Or Should They Go?

These days, there are times living out here in the northwest suburbs of Chicago that I feel like Henry Hill (played by actor Ray Liotta) at the end of the 1990 film Goodfellas.

No, not that part about Henry living the rest of his life as a “schnook.”

Rather, where previously I could step out my door adjacent to a major city artery and things were generally hopping, this suburban subdivision I now live in can be pretty dull at times (which isn’t entirely a bad thing).

Thank god the Italian food around here isn’t nearly as bad as what the other Hill encountered.

Grazie a Dio.

However, I was just reminded this morning of one of the big reasons why my girlfriend and I moved out of the city of Chicago while reading the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop. “016 Up For Grabs” discussed 5 people getting shot in less than 2 days in the Chicago Police Department’s 16th District, something that kind of hit home considering I used to live in that same district.

Now, it’s not like crime never happened in 016 before. It’s the big city, and the 80 percent of good, law-abiding people are packed shoulder-to-shoulder with the 10 percent of human refuse and remaining 10 percent who play by the rules because they’re forced to. I can recall walking into a convenience store down the street from me just minutes after it had been robbed, having a “welcome to the new home” plant stolen from my building’s entryway shortly after it had been delivered, and finding a big metal Coleman cooler stolen from my underground parking garage space- all within weeks after moving in to my old Northwest Side neighborhood, one of the “nicer” ones in the city.

Funny thing about that cooler. It used to store bottles of antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, engine oil, and more- none of which was taken even though it was inside the cooler. But plenty of which splashed around and/or leaked in that container.

Something tells me those bastards got pretty ill later drinking from those beer bottles/cans because they were too lazy to clean out that cooler before using it.

Karma’s a bitch. Or here’s hoping, right?

Still, armed with “intel” from Second City Cop and other alternative media with a local focus (Chicago mainstream media was hit-or-miss on reporting criminal activity in my neighborhood), Chicago-related research/blog material, and my own local observations, I realized that the 16th District had not only become “grittier” as it concerned crime, but it was occurring at a time when police protection in my area was significantly-reduced from when I first moved in.

Coupled with the City of Chicago’s financial woes that are finally coming home to roost? Chicagoans don’t need to be brain surgeons to figure this one out. Like I’ve been saying for some time now, more fees/fines/taxes and less government services seem to be on the horizon.

I suspect less police protection will be part of that equation, unless Chicago taxpayers pony up more of their hard-earned cash to at least keep the “thin blue line” intact.

And boy is it thin these days.

But I suspect increased revenues will be directed at Chicago’s public employee pension crisis and City Hall’s pet projects (where’s my park, dang it) before it’s steered over to the CPD and public safety.

In other words, Chicagoans had better be prepared to keep hearing “crime is down” for a long time.

In the meantime, City Hall still can’t comprehend that losing Downtown to all the wilding will see the City’s bottom line hit hard as word gets out.

Judging by recent MSM coverage nationwide about such criminal activity here, the word’s already out.

I wonder how hard it is to fudge tourism numbers?

While I would have preferred to have stayed in Chicago, and in particular, our old or the adjacent neighborhood in the CPD’s 16th District, considering what I see is in store for the area and our particular circumstances, my girlfriend and I made the right decision to move when and where we did.

Then again, that might not be the “correct” decision for other Chicagoans. Consider this. We didn’t have much invested in our old location. We didn’t own it (could have, but we steered clear of buying anything until home prices came back down to earth somewhat), we weren’t required to live within the city limits as required by a municipal job, we don’t have kids in the local schools, family and friends didn’t live down the street, the list goes on. So it wasn’t all too painful for us to just pick up and leave when our latest lease ran out.

The same can’t be said for others, and I respect that.

At least I, for one, have given you enough notice of what to expect down the road.

Prepare accordingly.

Is the “Second City” going to get worse? Could get “Third World” when all is said and done, and the ongoing financial storm finally blows completely through.

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

Source:

SCC. “016 Up For Grabs.” Second City Cop. 13 Aug. 2013. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2013/08/016-up-for-grabs.html). 13 Aug. 2013.

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CIA Vet Michael Scheuer: Idea That Al-Qaeda Is On The Way Out Is ‘Completely Politicking’

“Al Qaeda Scoops American Media on Fact They Are Not Decimated”

-A headline on Breitbart.com yesterday

Back on September 11, 2011, I blogged:

While there’s been lots of talk recently about Al-Qaeda’s operational capabilities being severely crippled, one expert on the organization points out they still pose a significant threat. Retired CIA veteran Michael Scheuer, who tracked Osama bin Laden as Chief of the Bin Laden Issue Station (“Alec Station”) from 1996 to 1999 and later as a special advisor to the unit from 2001 to 2004, told Ali Moore of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in an interview that was broadcast last Friday that:

Well they’re capable of any number of things. They’re certainly capable of car bombs or any of the Hamas-style attacks are something that they’ve been capable of since 9/11 or before. And something they’ve deliberately chosen not to do.

But in the last four or five years we’ve seen during the end of bin Laden’s career, a deliberate effort on the part of Al-Qaeda to recruit U.S. citizen Muslims to begin to try to incite operations within the United States.

Anwar al-Awlaki, Adam Gadahn- who’s known as al-Amriki- a number of other people who are intent on encouraging U.S. citizen-Muslims, English-speaking Muslims, to attack in the United States.

So they have the capability of sending people from abroad, our borders are wide open, and they also have an increasing number of U.S. citizen-Muslims who are willing to take action.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

The last time I mentioned Michael Scheuer in Survival And Prosperity was in April 2012, when I brought up the above quote amid growing claims that Al-Qaeda was toast, which grew louder as the November 2012 U.S. Presidential election drew closer.

In light of the recent revelation that the terrorist group is not “on the run” or “decimated” as claimed by U.S. President Barack Obama in the days leading up to his re-election, but now threatens the United States and its interests abroad, the mainstream media is miraculously paying attention again to what Mr. Scheuer has to say. Rhonda Schwartz and James Gordon Meek reported on the ABC News website Monday:

Michael Scheuer, a former CIA officer who led the hunt for bin Laden before his retirement in 2004, went further, telling ABC News that he believed al Qaeda really hasn’t changed since bin Laden’s death.

“I think the guys on the ground [local affiliate commanders], day-to-day tactical decisions were made there, where they always have been,” he said. “Core al Qaeda lays down the guidelines to keep everybody pointed at the enemy.”

Scheuer said he believes al Qaeda is more dangerous under its currently leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, than it was under bin Laden. Zawahiri, Scheuer said, may settle for smaller U.S.-based operations that would have a much smaller body count than a 9/11-type operation that bin Laden aspired to repeat.

Any idea that al Qaeda is on the way out, Scheuer said, is “completely politicking.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

As I thought.

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

Source:

Schwartz, Rhonda and Meek, James Gordon Meek. “Al Qaeda Threat: Officials Fear ‘Ingenious’ Liquid Explosive.” ABC News. 5 Aug. 2013. (http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/al-qaeda-threat-officials-fear-ingenious-liquid-explosive/story?id=19871892). 7 Aug. 2013.

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Is Chicago At A Tipping Point?

Several incidents that recently took place in the city of Chicago lead me to suspect my girlfriend and I may have moved out of there just in the nick of time.

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know that I think the “Windy City” is gusting in the wrong direction when it comes to areas such as finance, public safety, and leadership.

Which sucks, since I want nothing more than the Midwest metropolis to do well.

That being said, get a load of these recent developments…

Back in January 2011 I started to blog about Chicago’s growing problem with flash mobs, flash mobbery, mob actions, wildings, what have you. I subsequently warned in May of that year:

If City Hall “loses” downtown to the bad guys- or, in this case, bad boys and girls- you lose the tourists, their money, revenue… you get the point.

You listenin’ Rahm?

More than two years later, the downtown is being “lost.” Wilding in the area is being reported in both the mainstream and alternative news media with increasing regularity. So much so that even this appeared in the Sunday Chicago Tribune paper:

Two visitors to Chicago received a rude welcome to the city Friday when one was robbed by a group of city teens and the other was punched while trying to help, officials said.

The two visitors – a 15-year-old Florida girl and a 51-year-old Michigan woman – were both walking on the Mag Mile Friday evening when the older woman was robbed of her iPhone by a group of eight juveniles, officials said…

“We had only been in town four hours and I got robbed,” Tammy said with the hint of a laugh during a telephone interview Saturday evening. “Welcome to Chicago.”

Welcome to Chicago, indeed.

The cat’s out of the bag so much that regarding the “Magnificient Mile”, aka Michigan Avenue, the storied boulevard is now being called “Muggers’ Mile.” From Chicago ABC affiliate Channel 7 News last night:

The Guardian Angels went as far as saying the “Mag Mile” is well on its way to becoming the “Muggers Mile.”


Channel 7 News Chicago Video

Instead of the usual “crime is down” line that’s been regularly touted by the Chicago Police Department this year, the Channel 7 News reporter in the segment, Michelle Gallardo, noted:

And while not all cell phone robberies are reported, police did insist in pointing out that in the last 28 days, only 3 robberies have been filed in this area.

Only 3 robberies in the last 28 days? That’s hard to believe.

The popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop shed some light on this matter early this morning. SCC wrote:

Again, here is where CompStat really shines. Reclassify the crimes from “Strong Arm Robbery” to “Theft from Person” and –tada!!!– Instant drop in violent crime. You don’t think they’re doing it? How about those juveniles that got caught the other day? The one had another smart phone and was charged with “Theft of Lost/Mislaid Property” probably because no one could identify who committed the actual robbery.

Or the lack of police that is emboldening the robbers? If someone has to wait an hour for a police report, they might as well head home and do it over the phone….or not do it at all. –Tada!!!— another drop in crime!

Downgrade and reclassify? That’s just tin-foil hat talk, right?

Sadly, I’m convinced the wilding will continue to get worse because of the ongoing Chicago Police manpower shortage and the punks only getting slaps on the wrist. City Hall and CPD brass will keep dishing out the spin to try and prevent visitors from being scared away. And I suspect the Chicago mainstream news media will keep going along with the “official line” out of fear of finding themselves out in the cold, information-wise.

Don’t think the MSM isn’t doing this already? That story about the two out-of-town Magnificent Mile robbery victims from Friday night? It made the Tribune as “Breaking News” Sunday- on page 14.

And all that wilding that took place downtown around the Fourth of July? The Tribune covered the criminal activity- once the tourists cleared out of town.

At least they mentioned it though. I don’t recall hearing/reading anything about the wildings anywhere else around town.

Let’s see. Finances. Public safety. Oh yeah- political leadership. Anyone familiar with the word nepotism? From the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Favoritism (as in appointment to a job) based on kinship.

I once worked as an assistant to a city administrator in a Chicago suburb where many residents happened to be related. This was reflected in the political structure of the city as well.

Not surprisingly, nepotism was not an unheard of event there.

I’ve experienced first-hand how family ties and nepotism can poison local, representative government.

Consequently, I believe responsible government should guard fiercely against this.

And then there’s the City of Chicago.

Mitch Dudek and Fran Spielman reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website today:

Completing a process the Sun-Times first reported in January, state Rep. Deb Mell was sworn in Wednesday to replace her retiring father as alderman for the Northwest Side’s 33rd Ward…

Emanuel’s decision to write a Mell family sequel to Chicago’s long-running saga of “All in the Family” politics is unlikely to sit well with some independent voters.

It will look like a continuation of the longstanding tradition that has allowed fathers like former Ald. Anthony Laurino (39th) to handpick their daughters — like Marge Laurino — and wives — like Carrie Austin, who replaced her late husband, Ald. Lemuel Austin (34th).

After the swearing-in, Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th), who replaced his father as alderman in 1969, read the list of names of families that have had multiple members who served in the Chicago City Council.

It includes two Burkes, four Cullertons, two Ogdens, two Hoellens, two Knickerbockers, two Baulers, two Clark’s, three Keanes, two Sheridans, two Vrdolyaks, two Austins, two Beavers, two Sawyers, two Laurinos and now two Mells.

Too bad. The specter of Nepotism rears its ugly head again.

There should be no doubt that I predict tough times ahead for the city. But it’s not just me who harbors such suspicion. Even the Chicago FOX affiliate, Channel 32 News, is running a series called “Chicago at the Tipping Point” these days.

Chicago-based Survival And Prosperity readers can’t say the “signs” weren’t there.

I’ve already sprung into action.

Question is, what are they going to do about it?

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

Sources:

Regina Sobol, Rosemary. “Welcome to Chicago — now give me that iPhone.” Chicago Tribune. 21 July 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-chicago-crime-iphone-robbery-magnificent-mile-20130721,0,1601942,full.story). 24 July 2013.

Dudek, Mitch and Spielman, Fran. “State Rep. Deb Mell named to replace father in City Council.” Chicago Sun-Times. 24 July 2013. (http://www.suntimes.com/21503401-761/state-rep-deb-mell-named-to-replace-father-in-city-council.html). 24 July 2013.

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Back To Blogging

Just wanted to let you know I’m back to blogging on Survival And Prosperity after a two week “vacation”- working mainly on the new house in the Chicago suburbs. I did head up to my family’s vacation home in Wisconsin during that time- but it was only for a day and to move furniture in and out of the place as my mom embarks on yet another of her redecorating projects.

Truth be told, I wish she’d set aside some of that money she’s been spending for some basic preparedness items. Last summer, their condo building in the western suburbs lost power for an extended period after a “derecho” event blew through the Chicago area. A heat wave on the heels of that severe weather event only made matters worse, and by the second day my mother was calling me to warn me I might have to carry my elderly, mobility-challenged father down several flights of stairs (in the dark?) to evacuate him to cooler surroundings. Thankfully, the electricity was restored before it came to that.

Shortly thereafter, I suggested to my parents that we get them some real simple preps like a battery-powered camp lantern and battery-operated fans for the next time something like this occurs. Initially, they were receptive to the idea. But as time went on, they changed their tune.

Apparently, this change of heart isn’t uncommon. Some time ago I read or heard that after an event of this magnitude- or even worse- happens, those affected often have good intentions to prepare for something similar the next time around. However, as time passes by, there’s usually no follow through. Not surprised.

All I know is this. As soon as I can scrape together some extra cash, I’m going to buy my P’s these preps. If anything, because I’m not looking forward to carrying my dad down several flights of stairs in the dark and on my back.

Before I let you go, while it’s easy to get lulled into complacency by the gorgeous summer weather (okay, maybe not in Chicagoland today, where the heat index is 99 degrees as I type this) and spin being spewed by the politicians and their “presstitutes,” threats to our health and wealth still exist in America in the summer of 2013. The U.S. economic recovery? Artificial- our economic woes simply papered over and our “financial reckoning day” kicked down the road a bit. Crime and violence down as Big Brother takes over the reigns of our personal safety? While things may seem hunky-dory in your neck of the woods, the devil is in the details, and the personal safety “threat board” becomes more clear once crime data collection/reporting is analyzed along with media reporting. As Chicagoans are hopefully starting to realize, the local press might not be reporting crimes that are taking place and which their audience probably want to know about. For example, Chicago saw some serious wilding take place downtown on July 4, and the local mainstream media either didn’t report it or did so a couple of days later once tourists had departed town after the long holiday weekend. What if the criminal activity had continued the next day, or the rest of the weekend? A lot of good that would have done their audience, some of whom might have planned a trip downtown on July 5, 6, or 7. Thank God for Second City Cop and other blogs like that one.

Anyway, despite the Pollyanna-ish attitude that has returned to much of America today, my “Spidey sense” tells me we’re not out of the woods just yet. If anything, I believe we’re still on a collision course with that proverbial brick wall I’ve blogged about from time to time (even earlier today).

And at this point in time, in America in the summer of 2013, I’m not so sure much can be done to avert a crash anymore. Depressing, but such is life occasionally.

In the meantime, I intend to take advantage of the supposed “recovery” the Pollyannas are going on about any way I can. Who knows? Perhaps I can find some battery-powered lanterns and fans at some good prices.

Christopher E. Hill
Editor

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Former High-Ranking Treasury Official: Fed Ordered Attack On Gold

Speaking of manipulating the price of gold, there’s been a good deal of suspicion that the yellow metal has come under deliberate attack.

It doesn’t come as a surprise to me that some might think this, considering the following:

• A number of Federal Reserve officials keep blabbing on about how the central bank might dial back quantitative easing soon, helping to shore up the U.S. dollar when they do this while subsequently detracting from gold’s allure
• The seemingly-reformed financial news media (accused of being stock market cheerleaders in the 90s and early 2000s) has bared their true colors and have savaged gold with a barrage of negative press. Of course they fail to mention that “gold is still up by more than 400 percent from the lows in 1999, whereas the S&P is barely up 2 percent from their highs in 2000,” as Marc Faber reminded Yahoo! Finance viewers this morning.
• Then there’s that huge disconnect between the “paper” gold market- where traders are supposedly running for the hills- and the “physical” gold market, where buyers are paying significant premiums over spot to acquire tangible gold and dealers are describing current demand as being a buying frenzy, not seeing anything like this in years- even decades.

Enter Paul Craig Roberts, chairman of the Florida-based Institute for Political Economy. Roberts is a former associate editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal who President Reagan appointed as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy.

Roberts thinks the Federal Reserve has been orchestrating an attack on gold.

He wrote on the Institute’s website this past Saturday:

On Friday, April 12, 2013, short sales of gold hit the New York market in an amount estimated to have been somewhere between 124 and 400 tons of gold. This enormous and unprecedented sale implies an illegal conspiracy of sellers intent on rigging the market or action by the Federal Reserve through its agents, the BTBF that are the bullion banks.

The enormous sales of naked shorts drove down the gold price, triggering stop-loss orders and margin calls. The attack continued on Monday, April 15, and has continued since.

Before going further, note that there are position limits imposed on the number of contracts that traders can sell at one time. The 124 tons figure would have required 14 traders with no open interest on the exchange to sell all together in the same few minutes 40,000 futures contracts. The likelihood of so many traders deciding to short at the same moment at the maximum permitted is not believable. This was an attack ordered by the Federal Reserve, which is why there is no investigation of the illegality.

Note also that no seller that wanted out of a position would give himself a low price by dumping an enormous amount all at once unless the goal was not profit but to smash the bullion price.

Since the April 12-15 attack on the gold price, subsequent attacks have occurred at 2pm Hong Kong time and 2 am New York time. At this time activity is light, waiting on London to begin operating. As William S.Kaye has observed, no entity concerned about profits would choose this time to sell 20,000 to 30,000 futures contracts, but this is what has been happening.

Who can be unconcerned with losing money in this way? Only a central bank that can print it.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Roberts isn’t the only one accusing the Fed of ordering an attack on gold. Back on April 29 I started off a post with the following April 17 statement from Ambrose Evans-Prtichard, international business editor over at The Telegraph (UK):

My view is that the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan ‘caused’ the gold crash. The rest is noise…

The world is still in a contained depression. Sliding commodities tell us global money is if anything too tight. ‘There is a threat of deflation almost everywhere. A lot of central banks will have to follow the Bank of Japan, whatever they say now,’ said Lars Christensen form Danske Bank.

The era of money printing is young yet. Gold will have its day again.

You can read the entire Roberts’ piece on the Institute for Political Economy’s website here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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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Chicago Reporter Goes Off Anti-Gun Reservation

Anyone who’s read/listened to the work of Chicago-based reporters over a period of time might detect the anti-gun bias that many of them seem to have. So I was somewhat shocked when the following appeared on the Chicago Sun-Times website the other day. Steve Huntley wrote on May 9:

Amid the gun control debate following the Newtown killings, average Americans could be forgiven for thinking — as polling shows most do — that gun violence is higher than 20 years ago. The truth is exactly the opposite — both the number and rate of gun murders have plunged since 1993.

In what can only be interpreted as a setback to the gun control crusade, two new studies document a remarkable trend in firearm crime. Gun-related homicides in 2011 numbered 11,101, down from 18,253 in 1993 — a 39 percent decline, according to the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. And the number of non-fatal firearm victims in the same period fell by more than two-thirds, from 1.5 million in 1993 to 467,300 in 2011. Separately, the Pew Research Center found that the nation’s gun homicide rate had fallen 49 percent between 1993 and 2010.

These declines came as the population of the United States increased, gun sales soared, and concealed-carry laws multiplied. Yes, the decline came as overall violent crime fell, guns account for 70 percent of murders, and major cities like Chicago are plagued by violence. But the bottom line is firearm violence has fallen to the point that most gun deaths aren’t murders — six in 10 of them are suicides.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Huntley added later in the piece:

I’ve never owned a firearm and support reasonable gun legislation, but given the facts, has the legislative emphasis after Sandy Hook been focused too much on guns and not enough on the violently mentally ill?

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Nice to see some in the so-called “Fourth Estate” still asking thought-provoking questions. And reporting the facts. And checking their biases in at the door.

After penning this article, brave Mr. Huntley might want to be on the lookout for the following:

1. A bayonet being shoved up his butt by a former Chicago mayor
2. A dead fish being mailed to him by the current Chicago mayor
3. Being wire-tapped (plenty o’ stories going around about that this week- choose your own search engine)

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

Source:

Huntley, Steve. “Gun deaths are down as debate rages.” Chicago Sun-Times. 9 May 2013. (http://www.suntimes.com/news/huntley/20001555-452/gun-deaths-are-down-as-debate-rages.html). 13 May 2013.

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Glenn Beck: ‘We Are The First Responders’

Glenn Beck, the conservative radio/television host, political commentator, and author, gave the keynote address at the National Rifle Association’s 2013 national convention that just wrapped up in Houston. Beck, who I actually met and spoke to briefly when I was in Dallas at the end of March for the FoodInsurance™ “Ready, Set, Prep” Summit, pointed out the following concerning the term “first responders” as he spoke about different firearms that “tell the story and teach the story of the 2nd Amendment.” From his speech:

9/11- Walter Reaver’s Revolver

September 11th, 2001. A moment in history that will define this generation. While victims were running away, men, were running into those buildings. Amazing men like young Walter Weaver, a member of the NYPD and an NRA life member. He was last seen in the World Trade Center trying to rescue people. He was in the lobby trying to free people trapped in an elevator. A servant fighting for the individual’s freedom until the very end.

After the towers fell and the nation mourned, we sifted through the rubble, this is all that was left as a reminder of Walter Weaver. A silent token of liberty.

Walter Weaver, I’m sure wouldn’t want to be called a hero.

He was simply an American.

He was an example of what we all should be—men, who just do the right thing when time calls our name.

When there is an emergency or trouble we are the ones that should run to help. We must be the action on the other end of the 911 call.

I don’t know, but I believe Walter Weaver would tell you that he wasn’t trained to be hero by the police academy.

But he was raised in a culture that taught him about self-sacrifice and to always do the right thing, even when no one else is watching. He had those things long before he wore a uniform.

How many of us can say that.

Good cops, bad cop, it doesn’t mean you take all the badges. It’s the people, not the badge.

As good as the policemen in our country are. When you are in trouble the average police response rate is 8 minutes; most crimes take less than one.

If a responsible citizen with a gun had been in that movie theater in Colorado, or if members in the audience in that theater were allowed to bring their gun into the theater and not leave them locked in their cars, how many lives would have been saved?

How many of the mourning, children would instead have been able to spend time over breakfast with their mom or dad this morning if someone good was allowed to have a gun?

While our politicians from the local to the federal level have spent us into oblivion, and our public services are being obliterated and our police force is being cut.

I will no longer accept the media falsehood nor reinforce it by calling our brave men and women in blue on our cities and streets first responders. It’s time for America to recognize WE are the first responders.

They are the 2nd responders, we are the first responders.

When there is trouble let us be the first on the scene to help.

Let us be the first responder when someone is sick or hungry or frightened.

Let us be the first to share our bread with the hungry; Let us be the first to open our hearts to the homeless poor; Let us be the first to remove the yoke of injustice.

I don’t know what America will choose. But for me and my family, I choose to stand with courage. I choose to stand with selflessness. I chose to stand with God with Malice toward none and charity to all.

That’s who we are.

Forget what the media says, I know that’s who we are.

You can read Glenn Beck’s entire speech here on GlennBeck.com.

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

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Peter Schiff Warns Of ‘Phony Jobs In A Phony Economy’

“Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 165,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in professional and business services, food services and drinking places, retail trade, and health care.”

-U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 3, 2013

Peter Schiff, the CEO/Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital who correctly called the U.S. housing bust and “Panic of ’08,” was critical of the latest U.S. jobs report in his latest entry on The Schiff Report YouTube video blog. Schiff pointed out:

The fact of the matter is, all of the jobs that were created, the reason they were created was because of QE. QE is the only reason we’re creating these jobs. And if the Fed ever were to taper it back, the jobs would disappear. As a matter of fact, the Fed is going to have to up the size of the QE to sustain these jobs. Just like with any drug, you develop a tolerance. And so the more you use, the more you have to use. So we’re going to need ever-increasing doses of QE to maintain these phony jobs.

Meanwhile, the data itself, was not even good.

(Editor’s note: Schiff’s look of disgust after saying this= priceless)

I mean, sure, it beat expectations. Because the bar had been lowered so much. It only created 165,000 jobs. All of those jobs were in the service sector. We didn’t create one manufacturing job. Zero. So we’re not creating the jobs that make us richer. We’re creating the jobs that are actually going to drain our wealth because we’re borrowing money to create them…

The bottom line is the media is going to cover this- the unemployment rate has gone down to 7.5 percent. It’s like a four-year low. We’re creating jobs. They’re going to say that things are getting better. They’re not. They’re not getting better, they’re getting worse. Government statistics don’t tell the whole story. In many cases, they tell the wrong story. And eventually, of course, when the music does stop, these jobs are going to disappear. Along with the phony economic growth that went along with it. One way or another, it’s going to happen.


“Jobs And Stocks — Behind The Numbers Lurks A Bubble Disguised As A Recovery”
YouTube Video

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

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Quote For The Week

What we’re doing with that dinner, as it has been constituted for the past several years, is saying, ‘We’re Versailles. The rest of you eat cake.’

-Tom Brokaw, American television journalist and author, speaking about the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner in a recent POLITICO interview

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

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Monday, April 29th, 2013 Mainstream Media, Quote For The Week No Comments

U.S. Economy Grew Only 0.1 Percent Last Quarter

Since the following economic news wasn’t being talked about too much in the mainstream media Thursday, I thought I’d share it here. From the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis website:

National Income and Product Accounts
Gross Domestic Product, 4th quarter and annual 2012 (second estimate)

Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 (that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter), according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 3.1 percent.

The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the “advance” estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, real GDP declined 0.1 percent. The upward revision to the percent change in real GDP is smaller than the average revision from the advance to second estimate of 0.5 percentage point. While today’s release has revised the direction of change in real GDP, the general picture of the economy for the fourth quarter remains largely the same as what was presented last month (for more information, see “Revisions” on page 3).

All that government intervention, all that stimulus, all that new debt. To which I say:

“Keepin’ your head above water…”

You can read the entire news release on the BEA webpage here.

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

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More Chicago-Area Homes Underwater Last Quarter

Back when I was running “The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street” I used to talk with increasing regularity about the “underwater people”- Americans who owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth. According to online home and real estate marketplace Zillow, their ranks are now thinning out. At least in certain parts of the country. Cory Hopkins reported on the Zillow Blog yesterday:

Almost 2 million American homeowners were freed from negative equity in 2012, and the overall percentage of all homeowners with a mortgage in negative equity fell to 27.5 percent at the end of the fourth quarter, according to Zillow’s fourth quarter Negative Equity Report.

The falling negative equity rate is good news for struggling homeowners and is largely attributable to a 5.9 percent bump in home values nationwide last year to a median Zillow Home Value Index of $157,400 (when home values rise, negative equity falls). At the end of 2011, 31.1 percent of homeowners with a mortgage were underwater, or more than 15.7 million people…

Still, despite more than 1.9 million homeowners nationwide finding their way back above water last year, 13.8 million American homeowners are still struggling with negative equity.

Here in the Chicagoland region, there’s still plenty of “underwater people” around. Francine Knowles reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website early this morning:

Nearly 37 percent of homeowners with mortgages in the Chicago area had negative equity in the fourth quarter of 2012, edging up from the third quarter, according to a new report that forecasts conditions will be worse by the end of the year… That was up from 36.6 percent in the third quarter, but down from 39.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011.

The Seattle, Washington-based company predicts falling home prices for the “Windy City.” Knowles added:

Zillow expects the percent of homes with negative equity will rise to 37.3 by the end of this year.

“Our forecast shows that Chicago’s negative equity rate is expected to rise because home values are expected to decrease by 0.6 percent” in the metropolitan area in December 2013, Zillow senior economist Svenja Gudell said in an email.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

I’ve been reading/hearing about a Chicago-area housing market recovery in the local media outlets with more frequency these days. Sure, sales are up. But prices have been going down. Plus there’s a whole bunch of foreclosures in the pipeline.

A recovery? I’ll believe it when I see it. And let you know when that happens.

UPDATE: This afternoon the Chicago media is running stories about a February 21 Illinois Association of REALTORS press release which might be interpreted as showing the Chicago-area housing market is experiencing a solid recovery. The problem is, January 2013 home sales and median prices are being compared to just one month (“year-over-year”)- January 2012. Instead, consider what the REALTORS wrote on January 22 about the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA) over 12 months (January through December 2012):

Year-end 2012 home sales totaled 90,365, up 26.7 percent from 71,315 homes sold in the region in 2011… The year-end 2012 median price reached $160,000, down -1.5 percent from $162,500 in 2011.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Like I said before: Sales up. Prices down.

Analyze year-end totals for home sales and median prices, and a clearer picture emerges of how healthy the Chicago-area housing market really is.

Or isn’t.

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

Sources:

Hopkins, Cory. “2 Million Homeowners Freed From Negative Equity in 2012; 1 Million More to Come in 2013.” Zillow Blog. 20 Feb. 2013. (http://www.zillowblog.com/2013-02-20/2-million-homeowners-freed-from-negative-equity-in-2012-1-million-more-to-come-in-2013/). 21 Feb 2013.

Knowles, Francine. “More Chicago homes underwater in last 3 months of 2012.” Chicago Sun-Times. 21 Feb. 2013. (http://www.suntimes.com/business/18361768-420/more-chicago-homes-underwater-in-last-3-months-of-2012.html). 21 Feb. 2013.

“Home sales, median prices increase in January; housing gains extend into new year.” Illinois Association of REALTORS. 21 Feb. 2013. (http://www.illinoisrealtor.org/node/3203). 21 Feb. 2013.

“Illinois sees home sales increase in December; 2012 notches 22.9 percent sales gain over 2011.” Illinois Association of REALTORS. 22 Jan. 2013. (http://www.illinoisrealtor.org/node/3182). 21 Feb. 2013.

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Thursday, February 21st, 2013 Housing, Main Street, Mainstream Media, Recovery No Comments

Hadiya Pendleton’s Death May Prove Embarrassing For Chicago, Cook County

Summer 2005. I had just moved into my Northwest Side neighborhood a few weeks earlier when I popped into a White Hen Pantry down the street one morning. I noticed quite a few CPD officers in the parking lot while walking in. It’s not like they were hanging out- they were scurrying around with a purpose. “What’s going on?” I asked the cashier. With a sigh, he confided in me that the store had just been robbed a short time ago. Thankfully, no one got hurt.

“Maybe this neighborhood isn’t as safe as I thought it was,” I thought to myself as I headed home, glad for once I was extra-pokey that particular morning.

I’ve been following Chicago crime trends with increasing regularity since that incident.

And one of the things I’ve noticed is that there’s no shortage of crimes being reported by the Chicago media where the perpetrator turns out to be a convicted criminal who for some reason or another is out on the streets of Chicago still committing crimes, even though they’re butts should be behind bars.

Consider the following as it relates to the homicide investigation of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, the local high school student who performed at several presidential inaugural events last month. Jason Meisner reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

The reputed gang member accused of gunning down 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton last month was on the street even though he had been arrested three times in connection with break-ins and trespassing while on probation for a weapons conviction in recent months, the Tribune has learned.

In two of those arrests, including one just 2 1/2 months ago, Cook County probation officials failed to notify prosecutors or the judge that Michael Ward had been arrested on the new misdemeanor charges and allegedly violated his probation.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Chicago politicians, their “kissing cousins” in Washington, D.C., gun “control” supporters, and the mainstream media have shined a spotlight on Pendleton’s death. However, if the alleged gunman is found guilty, and what the Tribune is reporting about the multiple violations of probation is indeed true, then this individual should have been locked up, and Chicago, Cook County, and its criminal justice system have yet another embarrassing incident on their hands.

In the meantime, let’s see what transpires in the investigation. And as for Michael Ward, innocent until proven guilty.

Still, if Chicago’s leaders are really serious about putting a dent in criminal activity- especially violent crime- they might try making sure the “wolves” are locked-up instead of roaming freely among the “sheeple.”

This is something I’ve alluded to time and time again on this blog.

To put this in words City Hall might understand- dead constituents equal dead voters.

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

Source:

Meisner, Jason. “Alleged gunman in Hadiya Pendleton slaying was on probation for weapons conviction.” Chicago Tribune. 12 Feb. 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-hadiya-pendleton-probation-20130212,0,1383301.story). 12 Feb. 2013.

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Chicago-Area Preppers And Their Guns

Some time ago, I received a message from Aurora Aguilar, a project editor with Chicago public radio station WBEZ 91.5 FM. Her request was one that I’ve received with increasing frequency over the last year or so. She was hoping to interview a prepper. Not just any modern survivalist- but one who is “stockpiling guns.” I gave Aurora names and contact info of more well-known and visible preppers who might be willing to talk to her, while at the same time cautioning her about the shying away from publicity that’s common among survivalists. I explained:

If you don’t know already, many preppers tend to be secretive about their activities. Not because they’re doing something illegal, but rather because of something called operational security (OPSEC).

Last night, I came across Ms. Aguilar’s piece on preppers and firearms. Published on the WBEZ website Wednesday, “Preppers: Guns are the most important tool in preparing for the end of civilization,” is the second story a in a series entitled “Our Guns,” which are “conversations with gun owners.”

Another hack-job?

Hardly. Aguilar pretty much hit this assignment right out of the park.

Now, the headline “guns are the most important tool in preparing for the end of civilization” may be a bit of a stretch. Guns are certainly a tool but the “most important” one? Debatable. Also, while some modern survivalists prepare for the “end of civilization” plenty of others prep for emergencies, man-made and natural disasters, and the end of civilization- as we know it. Firearms could have a role to play in those scenarios as well.

But Aguilar comes back strong in the body of the article. Consider the following statements:

“A growing group of Americans who believe life, as we know it, will end”

“In a family of war veterans, hunters and farmers, guns are thought of as tools, meant to provide food and protection”

“The fear that their stockpiles of food or weapons could be stolen stops preppers from talking.”

“After all, the entire family needs to be prepared.”

“Preppers go through a lot of ammo because many practice shooting at least once a week. They also see ammo as an investment. They believe people will need ammo if there’s a catastrophe.”

“The idea is to always be prepared…”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Aguilar gets its. She demonstrates that she has a good handle on what the Prepper Movement is about.

Too bad the same can’t be said about many of her colleagues.

A terrific, refreshing article, which can be found on the WBEZ website here.

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

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New York Times Article ‘The Preppers Next Door’

Yesterday I read an article that appeared in The New York Times last weekend entitled “The Preppers Next Door.”

I was all prepared to read a hack job about modern survivalism, but came away impressed by Alan Feuer’s effort.

This could have something to do with the fact that Feuer himself is a prepper.

The reporter wrote about modern survivalists in the New York City area, including Jason Charles, the New York City firefighter who appeared in season 1 episode 3 of Doomsday Preppers and who heads up the New York City Preppers Network, and Aton Edwards, founder of the International Preparedness Network and who recently starred in the Doomsday Preppers “Escape From New York” special, to name just two.

Articles by mainstream journalists in which preppers aren’t portrayed as somewhat to full-blown kooky are few-and-far-between, so it was refreshing to come across Feuer’s piece, which you can read here on the Times website.

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

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Thursday, January 31st, 2013 Mainstream Media, Preparedness No Comments

S&P Downgrades Illinois Credit Rating To Worst In Nation

When I heard a major credit rating agency had downgraded Illinois Friday, the term “death spiral state” quickly came to mind.

And then my thoughts turned to the tens of millions of dollars Illinois taxpayers might be on the hook for down the road.

Ray Long and Monique Garcia reported on the Chicago Tribune website Friday:

Illinois fell to the bottom of all 50 states in the rankings of a major credit ratings agency Friday following the failure of Gov. Pat Quinn and lawmakers to fix the state’s hemorrhaging pension system during this month’s lame-duck session.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Service downgraded Illinois in what is the latest fallout over the $96.8 billion debt to five state pension systems. The New York rating firm’s ranking signaled taxpayers may pay tens of millions of dollars more in interest when the state borrows money for roads and other projects.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Illinois now has an “A-” rating with a negative outlook from S&P. Among other major credit rating agencies, Moody’s ranks Illinois last among the 50 states and Fitch ranks it 49th but on watch for a possible downgrade.

Regarding the state’s huge pension funding gap, Mark Peters wrote on the Wall Street Journal website Friday:

S&P estimates the pension system in the coming year will see assets fall to 39% of future obligations.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Hardly any talk about the crisis in the local mainstream media outlets this weekend. Amazing. I can’t understand why more Illinois residents aren’t up in arms over this humongous financial mess the state is in.

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

Sources:

Garcia, Monique and Long, Ray. “Illinois credit rating sinks to worst in nation.” Chicago Tribune. 25 Jan. 2013. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-01-25/news/chi-illinois-credit-rating-sinks-to-worst-in-nation-20130125_1_action-on-pension-reform-robin-prunty-illinois-credit). 27 Jan. 2013.

Peters, Mark. “S&P Cuts Illinois Credit Rating.” Wall Street Journal. 25 Jan. 2013. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324539304578264293106044944.html). 27 Jan. 2013.

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