Transportation

State Department Issues Warning For Americans Traveling To Europe During Holiday Season

New readers of the blog may be wondering why I brought up the threat of terrorism in France yesterday. Not our circus, nor our monkeys, right? Wrong. As I wrote back on September 22, 2014:

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know that I’ve taken the threat of terrorism by Muslim extremists seriously for years now- whether Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, their affiliates, or sympathizers. While it’s obvious to me a number of entities (particularly politicians) are taking advantage of the newly-minted caliphate’s boogeyman factor these days for their own gain, I do believe the Islamic State does pose a real danger to Americans here and abroad. As such, I plan on blogging about the group formerly known as ISIS/ISIL on a regular basis.

“I do believe the Islamic State does pose a real danger to Americans here and abroad”

From a “Europe Travel Alert” issued by the U.S. Department of State earlier today:

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the heightened risk of terrorist attacks throughout Europe, particularly during the holiday season. U.S. citizens should exercise caution at holiday festivals and events. This Travel Alert expires on January 31, 2018…

Extremists continue to focus on tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities as viable targets. In addition, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, high-profile events, educational institutions, airports, and other soft targets remain priority locations for possible attacks. U.S. citizens should exercise additional vigilance in these and similar locations.

Terrorists persist in employing a variety of tactics, including firearms, explosives, using vehicles as ramming devices, and sharp-edged weapons that are difficult to detect prior to an attack.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The official warning comes on the heels of a new threat directed against the Vatican by the Islamic State. Nicole Rojas reported on the International Business Times website yesterday:

Isis has made a terrifying threat against the Vatican in the weeks before thousands of faithful are set to descend on the Holy See for Christmas celebrations. A pro-Isis propaganda channel made the threat by releasing a poster showing a car attack.

The ominous poster, reading “Christmas blood” and “so wait…” depicts a masked jihadi driving towards St Peter’s Basilica in a BMW. An assault rifle, backpack and explosives ride along in the passenger seat.

The threatening poster was released by the pro-Isis Wafa Media Foundation, according to monitor Site Intelligence Group. The terror monitoring group MEMRI said the image first appeared on anonymous messaging app Telegram on Tuesday (14 November) night.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I remind readers of a speech made by Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani back on September 21, 2014. From “Indeed Your Lord Is Ever Watchful”:

O Americans, and O Europeans, the Islamic State did not initiate a war against you, as your governments and media try to make you believe. It is you who started the transgression against us, and thus you deserve blame and you will pay a great price. You will pay the price when your economies collapse. You will pay the price when your sons are sent to wage war against us and they return to you as disabled amputees, or inside coffins, or mentally ill. You will pay the price as you are afraid of travelling to any land. Rather you will pay the price as you walk on your streets, turning right and left, fearing the Muslims. You will not feel secure even in your bedrooms. You will pay the price when this crusade of yours collapses, and thereafter we will strike you in your homeland, and you will never be able to harm anyone afterwards. You will pay the price, and we have prepared for you what will pain you

If you can kill a disbelieving American or European- especially the spiteful and filthy French- or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be. Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict. Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling. Both of them are disbelievers. Both of them are considered to be waging war [the civilian by belonging to a state waging war against the Muslims]. Both of their blood and wealth is legal for you to destroy, for blood does not become illegal or legal to spill by the clothes being worn. The civilian outfit does not make blood illegal to spill, and the military uniform does not make blood legal to spill. The only things that make blood illegal and legal to spill are Islam and a covenant (peace treaty, dhimma, etc.). Blood becomes legal to spill through disbelief. So whoever is a Muslim, his blood and wealth are sanctified. And whoever is a disbeliever, his wealth is legal for a Muslim to take and his blood is legal to spill. His blood is like the blood of a dog; there is no sin for him in spilling it nor is there any blood money to be paid for doing such…

If you are not able to find an IED or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman, or any of their allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him. Do not lack. Do not be contemptible. Let your slogan be, “May I not be saved if the cross worshipper and taghūt (ruler ruling by manmade laws) patron survives.”

If you are unable to do so, then burn his home, car, or business. Or destroy his crops.

If you are unable to do so, then spit in his face. If your self refuses to do so, while your brothers are being bombarded and killed, and while their blood and wealth everywhere is deemed lawful by their enemies, then review your religion. You are in a dangerous condition because the religion cannot be established without walā’ and barā’…

And so we promise you by Allah’s permission that this campaign will be your final campaign. It will be broken and defeated, just as all your previous campaigns were broken and defeated, except that this time we will raid you thereafter, and you will never raid us. We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted. This is His promise to us; He is glorified and He does not fail in His promise. If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can read that entire travel advisory on the State Department website here.

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

Source:

Rojas, Nicole. “Pro-Isis propaganda channel vows “Christmas blood” in new threat against the Vatican.” International Business Times. 15 Nov. 2017. (http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/pro-isis-propaganda-channel-vows-christmas-blood-new-threat-against-vatican-1647517). 16 Nov. 2017.

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‘We Live In A Time Of War’

Last Friday on the blog I noted three articles I came across on the Internet that contained strategies for surviving vehicular terorrism.

I’d like to add one more to the list.

Gabe Suarez, a decorated veteran of Southern California law enforcement and president of the personal safety training outfit Suarez International, published “Defeating Vehicle Jihadist Attacks” Thursday on his blog. As with the other pieces, there’s overlap but “new” ideas as well. For example, Suarez penned:

If you have the need to stop a moving vehicle understand that once it is moving, a mere small arms projectile will not stop it. But you may get an opportunity to kill the driver. Killing the driver by penetrating the windshield can be done, but if the car is moving toward you, you are better served by moving out of its path rather than shooting at it. From the side however, it is a different matter. Shooting a driver through the side window is easy, and easier than shooting him through the windshield. Trust me…it is very easy to do this.

It’s worth a read, along with many other of his “Counter Terrorism” posts.

And while we’re on the topic of Gabe Suarez, his latest blog post happens to be about the mass shooting down in Texas. It included the following reminder to readers:

In the last month we have seen a rifleman in an hotel room pulling off the greatest mass murder in recent history, a jihadist running a truck into a crowd, and now a mass murder inside a church.

This is not fantasy, it is real.

We live in a time of war…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“We live in a time of war”

A real “inconvenient truth” many Americans just can’t (won’t) wrap their minds around.

Still, some are waking up to the threat and have prepared/are preparing accordingly.

“Defeating Vehicle Jihadist Attacks” can be found on The Gabe Suarez Blog here.

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

Source:

Suarez, Gabe. “Lambs Into Lions- Is It Real For You?” The Gabe Suarez Blog. 6 Nov. 2017. (http://blog.suarezinternational.com/2017/11/lambs-into-lions-is-it-real-for-you.html). 6 Nov. 2017.

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Surviving The Vehicle Terror Attack

“A truck-driving terrorist carved a mile-long path of carnage through lower Manhattan, killing eight innocents Tuesday as he plowed down helpless victims on a bike path. The rented white pickup hopped the curb at W. Houston with ISIS-inspired suspect Sayfullo Saipov drawing a bead on bicyclists as screams filled the Halloween skies and blood stained the pavement…”

New York Daily News website, November 1, 2017

Continuing on the topic of vehicles from last night night, have any readers thought about how you might try to survive a vehicle terror attack like the one that took place in New York City earlier this week? A legitimate concern, I think, for those who live/work in and visit the “big city” (not saying “Main Street” couldn’t be in the bad guys’ crosshairs too). Consider the following from Alex Nowrasteh on the Cato Institute’s blog Halloween evening:

Vehicle attacks are not the norm in the United States where firearms are more readily available, but they are rising in frequency, as we saw in Charlottesville earlier this year. ISIS recently encouraged its followers to use trucks in lone wolf terrorist attacks and Saipov allegedly left a note declaring allegiance to that wannabe-Caliphate.

RAND Corporation terrorism expert Brian Michael Jenkins remarked that airplane hijackings were the norm for 1970s terrorist attacks while suicide bombers were the norm for the 1980s. Today, vehicle attacks are increasingly common around the world. Jenkins identified approximately 40 vehicle attacks around the world from 2000 through 2016 that resulted in 167 deaths, approximately four per attack. That total also includes the terrorists who died carrying them out…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

As vehicular terrorism shouldn’t be taken lightly, I scoured the Internet for strategies to avoid falling victim to such violence. Three articles grabbed my attention:

“Five Ways to Survive a Terror Truck Attack” by Bob Owens, Editor of BearingArms.com

“Vehicular Terrorist Attacks: Strategies For Safety And Survival” by Steven Crimando for RECOIL OFFGRID magazine

“10 Tips for Surviving a Terrorist Vehicle Attack” by Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training

While there’s some overlap, each piece brings different yet complimentary ideas to the table. I’m thinking a decent plan to counter the car or truck terror attack could be developed from these resources. But that’s something readers can decide for themselves.

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

Source:

Nowrasteh, Alex. “The Halloween Terror Attack in New York: The Threat from Foreign-Born Terrorists.” Cato At Liberty. 31 Oct. 2017. https://www.cato.org/blog/halloween-terror-attack-new-york-threat-foreign-born-terrorists. 2 Nov. 2017.

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Mrgunsngear And Flat Tires

Is it just me, or is there a flat tire epidemic going around these days?

My girlfriend’s car and my Mom’s crossover both suffered punctures not too long ago. And then I spotted the following on the Mrgunsngear Channel (YouTube.com ) this morning. For those not familiar with Mrgunsngear:

Here on the channel I do reviews of firearms and related gear. I’ll probably throw in the occasional how-to video here and there as well.

Good information/presentation, and I tune in on a regular basis. Anyway, here’s Mrgunsngear filming his flat tire ordeal the other night, along with some advice:


“Broken Down Late Night In A Bad Neighborhood: Be Prepared!”
YouTube Video

Mrgunsngear recommended having a flashlight on hand for such an occasion. I agree.

However, I’m also a big fan of LED headlamps. I just used one of mine the other evening while inflating tires on my girlfriend’s sister’s crossover. I’ve found headlamps can be much more convenient than handheld flashlights with certain tasks.

Speaking of tire inflation, keeping a portable air compressor/tire inflator in your vehicle might be a good idea. Such a device allowed me to deal with a slowly-leaking tire until I could get to a repair shop, and inflate a more significantly-punctured tire adequately enough to drive the vehicle two blocks to my mechanic buddy’s place of work.

One last thing. How many readers out there actually know how to change a flat tire? It’s also probably a good idea to learn/practice how to perform this fix before actually needing to do it “for real.” My vehicle’s owner’s manual has detailed instructions for changing a flat, so maybe check there first.

As Mrgunsngear pointed out in the video:

It’s definitely a better feeling to be prepared and have some sort of skills and tools at your disposal to be able to handle these situations.

Happy motoring. More on the topic of vehicles later…

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

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Expensive SHTF Preps New Status Symbol In New York City?

Last night’s post about rich Americans charging full-steam ahead with their prepping reminded me of an article I read on the New York Post website at the start of this month. The January 1 piece focused on afluent New Yorkers shelling out big bucks on preparedness these days. Dana Schuster reported in “These families have elaborate escape plans if terror hits NYC”:

It seems that the new status symbol in NYC is safety. City dwellers are splashing out serious dough for everything from five-figure air infiltration systems to swanky survivalist kits. Luxe retailer Moda Operandi has jumped on the bandwagon, hawking a $4,995, monogrammed “go bag,” with essentials such as night-vision scopes, a GPS satellite communicator and a caviar serving set and Mast Brothers chocolate…

But New York preppers aren’t your run-of-the-mill doomsayers. Tom Gaffney, CEO of Gaffco Ballistics, a safety design firm in NYC, said he’s seen requests for dirty-bomb protection double in 2016.

“If I did 30 town houses in Manhattan last year, 25 of them got infiltration units,” said Gaffney, who says the systems cost between $20,000 and $30,000 and are typically incorporated into the safe rooms of his A-list clients, including Fortune 500 CEOs, hedge-funders and music-industry honchos.

For some, an air-purified bunker isn’t enough. It’s more about escaping New York

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Schuster brought up Chris Dowhie and Plan B Marine private evacuation services, which maintains a small fleet of emergency evacuation boats docked in Brooklyn and Manhattan “as an alternative to chaos in the event the unthinkable happens. We provide peace of mind and the fastest possible way off the island under catastrophic circumstances.”


“PlanBmarine”
YouTube Video

Another interesting look at how well-heeled Americans are prepping, which you can find here on the New York Post site.

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

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel To ‘Kneel Before Zod’- Donald J. Trump?

The editorial board at Crain’s Chicago Business published the following about Chicago’s impending loss of clout in Washington, D.C., on the Crain’s website this past Saturday:

Chicago residents, regardless of their personal politics, are going to miss having one of their own in the White House.

As President Barack Obama moves on to his post-presidential life, he takes with him the last vestiges of our once-formidable clout in the nation’s capital. Chicagoans have become accustomed to the idea that, with the right connections, they can be just a phone call away from the highest levels of power. With the incoming Trump administration, that’s about to change

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity may recall what I blogged back on December 7:

If readers still don’t think there will be repercussions to Chicago from a Trump administration despite its unabashed support for Hillary Clinton on Election Day (the Democrat received 83.63% of the city’s votes on Election Day), its official policy of providing “sanctuary” to illegal aliens, and political grandstanding (Trump’s honorary street signs downtown were removed this past weekend, courtesy of the City Council), then consider what was published on the Bloomberg website yesterday:

“Chicago Faces Political Power Outage as Trump Succeeds Obama”

Chicago is racing the clock.

Nowhere will political power evaporate more dramatically at noon on Jan. 20 than in the third-largest U.S. city, a bastion of Democratic power that’s enjoyed special access to Washington during President Barack Obama’s eight years in the White House.

When Donald Trump becomes the 45th president, Chicago will trade a first family and top advisers with deep ties to the city for a chief executive who has repeatedly called it a violent mess embodying the failed policies of his predecessor and the Democratic Party…

Not since the era of Abraham Lincoln have Chicago and Illinois enjoyed such strong ties to the White House and Washington. Obama’s exit will bring an end to that

I wrote back on November 11 in a post entitled “Chicago Could Lose Billions In Federal Funding Under Trump Administration”:

Drip. Drip. Drip.

That’s the sound of federal funds to the “City By The Lake” drying up.

A real possibility. And a lot of moolah at stake…

Crain’s editorial board brought up the much-publicized planned renovation of Chicago’s Union Station in their piece. They penned:

As City Hall pushes for federal funding to revamp Union Station—a project that will require Trump administration support—Chicago may soon learn the limits of its clout in this new era.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

If the presence of Trump International Hotel & Tower in downtown Chicago isn’t enough to gain the President-elect’s support for the renovation, then I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump requires the city to renounce its “sanctuary city” status and/or other concessions he deems important before federal funds are made available.

Will Mayor Emanuel be forced to “kneel before Zod”?

Stay tuned…


“Kneel before Zod!”
Clip from Superman II (1980)
YouTube Video

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

Source:

Editorial Board. “Chicago’s D.C. clout exits with Obama.” Crain’s Chicago Business. 14 Jan. 2017. (http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20170114/ISSUE07/301149996/chicago-will-miss-president-barack-obama). 17 Jan. 2017.

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2017 Tax Hits To Chicagoans

“Broken record” time.

“New/higher fees, fines, and taxes, and less government services.”

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity (and older ones from my Boom2Bust days) know I’ve been warning about this for years now (since 2008?) concerning Chicago- as well as Cook County, Illinois, and lots of other places aroud the country.

And it’s pretty much what has transpired from what I’ve seen.

Particularly in the “Windy City”- where the hits keep on coming. Hal Dardick reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

Chicago property owners hoping for a respite from rapidly rising taxes will be disappointed in 2017, when city government and Chicago Public Schools will continue digging deeper into their pocketbooks.

Two more major property tax increases are coming. So is a new tax on water and sewer service. And some city dwellers will face other rising costs: a fee for each store-provided disposable bag and slightly higher Park District fees.

Come mid-year, city and suburban residents will be paying a new sweetened beverage tax effective in all of Cook County, and another round of Metra fare hikes is coming soon. Here’s a look at what to expect…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Dardick did a good job summarizing the dents Chicagoans (and Chicagoland residents) could expect to their finances in the new year. Head on over to the Tribune website here to get the entire story.

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

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