California

New ‘Responsible Body Armor Possession Act’ Legislation Coming?

At the end of last week I pointed out the new “Assault Weapons Ban of 2017” legislation that was introduced in the U.S. Senate on November 8.

Not really surprising considering the recent mass shootings in Nevada and Texas.

Another proposed ban that wouldn’t be shocking is a new “Responsible Body Armor Possession Act” bill, “justified” via initial reports of the Nevada and Texas shooters both possibly possessing ballistic protection at each crime scene. The Associated Press reported back on October 9:

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo says the shooter at a Las Vegas concert who killed 58 people fired at fuel tanks near the Mandalay Bay Hotel from which he was shooting.

Lombardo also says Stephen Paddock had personal protection equipment in his room.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

And from Doug Poppa over on The Los Angeles Post-Examiner website on November 9:

Stephen Willeford was at home less than a block away from the First Baptist Church when his daughter ran in telling him that there was gunfire coming from the church.

Willeford immediately went to his gun safe, removed his AR-15 rifle, a box of ammunition and an unloaded magazine and ran out of the house barefooted, loading up the magazine with several rounds as he headed for the church.

When he approached the church, he said he saw Kelley, who was wearing a tactical helmet with a visor and ballistic armor, heading to his truck with a handgun in his hand.

Kelley opened fire on Willeford who was using a neighbor’s truck as cover.

Willeford, who is an NRA certified firearms instructor said he knew when he saw Kelley’s ballistic armor that he had to aim for Kelley’s side which was exposed between the Velcro straps that pulled the front and back of the ballistic armor together.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

While Paddock’s “personal protection equipment” may not turn out to be body armor (not sure if the American public will ever be privy to that information), taking into Stephen Willeford’s shooting background, it does sound like Devin Kelley could have been wearing a bullet-resistant vest/plate carrier (if what The Los Angeles Post-Examiner reported is true). Even if it turns out neither individual had body armor, the potential remains for a new ban being proposed. Consider the following from the Loadout Room website concerning the push for the original Responsible Body Armor Possession Act of 2014:

In support of this bill, it has been claimed the mass killers who carried out the shootings in Newtown and Aurora were wearing body armor during their crimes. Initial press reports falsely described the shooters wearing body armor. One was wearing a ‘fishing vest’ and the other a mall ninja type load bearing vest. Neither killer had any type of ballistic protection.

Should new legislation seeking to ban “enhanced” body armor be introduced, I can’t say for sure what kind of reception it will get in Congress. The same goes for the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2017” (especially after what just happened in California).

Survival And Prosperity will be watching, however.

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

Sources:

“Las Vegas sheriff: Shooter fired at nearby fuel tanks.” Associated Press. 9 Oct. 2017. (http://www.kolotv.com/content/news/Las-Vegas-sheriff-Shooter-filed-at-nearby-fuel-tanks-450144573.html). 14 Nov. 2017

Poppa, Doug. “Three heroes emerge amidst the tragedy in Texas.” The Los Angeles Post-Examiner. 9 Nov. 2017. (http://lapostexaminer.com/three-heroes-emerge-amidst-tragedy-texas/2017/11/09). 14 Nov. 2017.

Miller, Mark. “My Body Armor, My Choice: Member of Congress Introduces a Bill to Ban Body Armor for Civilians.” Loadout Room. 9 Sep. 2017. (https://loadoutroom.com/thearmsguide/body-armor-choice-california-congressman-introduces-bill-ban-body-armor-civilians/). 15 Nov. 2017.

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Signs Of The Time, Part 118

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

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

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

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

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

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

60 minutes.

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

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

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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

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

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

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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

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

Source:

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

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

Could California’s Recent Heavy Rainfall Trigger A Big Earthquake?

“20 inches of rain, 12 feet of snow finally end 5-year drought in N. California”

USA TODAY website, January 12, 2017

“Drenched: How L.A. went from bone-dry to 216% of normal rainfall in four months”

Los Angeles Times website, January 23, 2017

“Parts Of California See 300 Percent Of Normal January Rainfall”

-CBS Los Angeles website, January 24, 2017

“Flooding rain, mountain snow to pound western US into the weekend”

-AccuWeather.com, February 2, 2017

It’s been some time since I last blogged about California and its earthquake threat. And just recently, I learned there could be a connection between heavy rainfall and big earthquakes (hat-tip Armstrong Economics Blog).

Considering the deluge California received last month (with more coming, by the sounds of it), I wonder if the odds of a major tremblor happening soon have increased in “The Golden State”?

Richard A Lovett reported on the National Geographic website back on December 15, 2011:

Heavy rainfall can trigger earthquakes in what one scientist calls “disaster triggering disaster.”

Shimon Wdowinski, of the University of Miami in Florida, first noticed a connection between storms and earthquakes last year.

The devastating magnitude 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti in early 2010 came only 18 months after Haiti had been deluged by several hurricanes and tropical storms.

And another large earthquake, a magnitude 6.4 temblor that rocked Taiwan in 2009, occurred only seven months after the area had been hit by Typhoon Morakot, which dropped 9.5 feet (2.9 meters) of rain in five days. Hurricanes are called typhoons in parts of Asia.

To test the rainfall-earthquake link, Wdowinski dug through the past 50 years of earthquake and weather records for Taiwan, an island that experiences a lot of severe rainstorms and earthquakes.

He found that a magnitude 7.6 earthquake had struck in 1999, only three years after Typhoon Herb soaked Taiwan with 6.6 feet (2 meters) of rain.

Overall, his analysis revealed that Taiwan’s large earthquakes- deemed as magnitude 6 and higher- were five times more likely to occur within four years after such storms than if the storms had had no effect

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

According to Dr. Wdowinski, erosion from landslides is the main culprit, which lessens stress on underlying rocks, therefore making it easier for a fault to move.

Back on January 23, Matt Hamilton and Hailey Branson-Potts reported on the Los Angeles Times website:

After another round of heavy rains soaked parts of California, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency late Monday for several counties dealing with an estimated tens of million dollars in damage from flooding, erosion, and mud flows…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I wonder what Professor Wdowinski’s take on California’s situation would be?

Hopefully, nothing to worry about.

You can read that National Geographic article here on the magazine’s website. Very interesting stuff.

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

Source:

Branson-Potts, Hailey and Hamilton, Matt Hamilton. “Gov. Brown declares state of emergency after storms cause flooding, erosion, highway damage.” Los Angeles Times. 23 Jan. 2017. (http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-la-rain-monday-20170123-story.html). 2 Feb. 2017.

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Thursday, February 2nd, 2017 Asia, Emergencies, Natural Disasters, Science, Weather No Comments

Rich Americans Keep On Prepping

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know that I’ve been observing and blogging about “prepping” for several years now. Case in point, this 2011 post recapping a new TV show called Doomsday Preppers (ever heard of it?).

Early on I noticed wealthy Americans were getting into preparedness. They recognized and took steps to deal with potential TEOTWAWKI scenarios- just like their lower-net worth compatriots.

And such activity continues to this day, spurred on not just by concerns over major emergencies and man-made/natural disasters, but fears of a financial crash, civil unrest/war, and impoversihed and angry masses turning against the rich.

Earlier this evening I finally got the chance to read an article from the January 30, 2017 issue of The New Yorker entitled “Doomsday Prep For The Super-Rich.” Evan Osnos penned:

Survivalism, the practice of preparing for a crackup of civilization, tends to evoke a certain picture: the woodsman in the tinfoil hat, the hysteric with the hoard of beans, the religious doomsayer. But in recent years survivalism has expanded to more affluent quarters, taking root in Silicon Valley and New York City, among technology executives, hedge-fund managers, and others in their economic cohort…

The lengthy-yet-interesting piece took a closer look at the prepping mindset and priorities of the wealthy these days. One notable passage was:

I asked [prominent investor and co-founder of LinkedIn Reid] Hoffman to estimate what share of fellow Silicon Valley billionaires have acquired some level of “apocalypse insurance,” in the form of a hideaway in the U.S. or abroad. “I would guess fifty-plus per cent,” he said…

There was also this from Osnos:

In building Reddit, a community of thousands of discussion threads, into one of the most frequently visited sites in the world, [co-founder and CEO Steve] Huffman has grown aware of the way that technology alters our relations with one another, for better and for worse. He has witnessed how social media can magnify public fear. “It’s easier for people to panic when they’re together,” he said, pointing out that “the Internet has made it easier for people to be together,” yet it also alerts people to emerging risks. Long before the financial crisis became front-page news, early signs appeared in user comments on Reddit. “People were starting to whisper about mortgages. They were worried about student debt. They were worried about debt in general. There was a lot of, ‘This is too good to be true. This doesn’t smell right.’” He added, “There’s probably some false positives in there as well, but, in general, I think we’re a pretty good gauge of public sentiment. When we’re talking about a faith-based collapse, you’re going to start to see the chips in the foundation on social media first.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’ve noticed a growing amount of anger directed against President Trump and the Republicans on my Facebook “home page” these days.

“Early signs” of significant civil unrest coming?

If you’ve got some time to spare, head on over to The New Yorker website and check out the Osnos piece here.

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

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Amended Illinois Tax Hike Plan To Hit Taxpayers, Businesses, And Employment?

Back on January 16 I published a post on Survival And Prosperity entitled “Illinois ‘Grand Bargain’ Legislation Includes 32 Percent Personal Income Tax Hike.” I started the piece with:

Illinois taxpayers may get hit with a significant income tax hike pretty soon…

Yesterday morning, I learned the potential “hit” could be a “combination of punches” directred at taxpayers, businesses, and employment.

From the Greg Hinz On Politics blog on the website of Crain’s Chicago Business:

There’s still no word on when lawmakers are going to vote on it, but an amended tax-hike plan has been introduced in the state capital.

It’s a doozy, with an even higher income tax, a limited service tax and a sort of minimum tax on business. But the soda pop levy is gone, as are a couple of those corporate loophole closings that business groups didn’t like…

The highlights:

The Individual income tax would go to 4.99 percent from the current 3.75 percent, and the corporate income tax to 7 percent from 5.25 percent. Combined, that would pull in about an additional $5 billion a year.

A new “business opportunity tax” ranging from a fee of $225 to $15,000 a year would be imposed, based on payroll. The intent is to make sure that all companies pay something, whether they are profitable or not. The state’s net on this is an estimated $750 million a year.

However, the research and development tax credit would be made permanent and the manufacturers purchase and graphics arts credits would be combined, as some businesses wanted.

A service tax—extension of the sales tax—would be imposed on certain items including repair and maintenance of personal property, use of amusement services including gyms, landscaping, laundry and dry-cleaning, and storage of personal goods such as cars and property. This would pull in a projected $400 million a year.

The telecom excise tax would be extended to cable and satellite services.

Both Radogno and Cullerton are said to have negotiated and support the above, pending action on the rest of the package…

Hinz does a good job summarizing the proposed expanded revenue grab. At this point, I want to go back to that bit about a new “business opportunity tax.” From the actual legislation for the so-called “Business Opportunity Tax Act”:

Section 1-10. Tax imposed.
(a) Beginning on July 1, 2017, a tax is hereby imposed upon each qualified business for the privilege of doing business in the State.
(b) The tax under subsection (a) shall be imposed in the following amounts:
(1) if the taxpayer’s total Illinois payroll for the taxable year is less than $100,000, then then annual tax is $225;
(2) if the taxpayer’s total Illinois payroll for the taxable year is $100,000 or more but less than $250,000, then the annual tax is $750;
(3) if the taxpayer’s total Illinois payroll for the taxable year is $250,000 or more but less than $500,000, then the annual tax is $3,750;
(4) if the taxpayer’s total Illinois payroll for the taxable year is $500,000 or more but less than $1,500,000, then the annual tax is $7,500; and
(5) if the taxpayer’s total Illinois payroll for the taxable year is $1,500,000 or more, then the annual tax is $15,000…

I can see a number of existing and prospective Illinois business owners having concerns with the proposed “Business Opportunity Tax Act.”

First, Illinois already has poor business reputation. For example, early last year Chief Executive magazine asked 513 CEOs to rank states they are familiar with on the friendliness of their tax and regulatory regime, workforce quality, and living environment. The “Land of Lincoln” came in as the 48th worst state in this annual survey, beaten only by New York and California in that order. The “Business Opportunity Tax Act” has the real potential of increasing the perception that Illinois is business-unfriendly.

Second, if my understanding of the legislation is correct, the larger the payroll an Illinois business has, the more taxes they will pay. Consider the following. If I’m an Illinois business owner with a payroll just shy of $250K who would like to bring on more staff, I may be dissuaded from doing so to avoid forking over an additional $3,000 to the state (unless I’m convinced the hiring would offset the $3K hit). And how might employee raises be impacted once payrolls start approaching a higher tax bracket? The proposed “Business Opportunity Tax Act” may not be too terrific for Illinois employment.

Third, readers of this blog may know that I am in the process of rolling out a research business focusing on specialized asset protection. It’s been my intention to launch in the Chicago area. Lately, however, I’ve been thninking of opening up shop in southeast Wisconsin (where my family has a residence) due to the direction Illinois looks to be heading with taxes and its treatment of the business community. The passage of the “Business Opportunity Tax Act” could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I wonder how many other prospective Illinois business owners might be in the same boat?

Stay tuned…

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

Source:

Hinz, Greg. “New, wider tax plan rolls out in Springfield.” Greg Hinz On Politics. 24 Jan. 2017. (http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20170124/BLOGS02/170129931/springfield-lawmakers-roll-out-new-wider-tax-hike-plan). 26 Jan. 2017.

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HeyJackass! On 2016 Chicago Murder Tally: ‘We’ll Most Likely Exceed The 800 Level’

“As the gunfire dies down, HeyJackass will finalize the numbers for 2016, the Department will lie about the other numbers, death investigations will be scheduled for reclassification, Rahm will pretend that 600 black people weren’t murdered in his city by other black people, another 3,600 weren’t maimed and that 25 police shootings are the real problem…”

-New Year’s Day post on Chicago police blog Second City Cop

Happy New Year everyone. Hopefully readers were able to ring in 2017 safely- particularly those in Chicago, where the last weekend of 2016 turned out to be another bloody one.

Just how bad were shootings and murders in the “Windy City” in 2016? Well, consider the following from the CBS News website yesterday:

One of the most violent years in Chicago history ended with a sobering tally: 762 homicides, the most in two decades in the city and more than New York and Los Angeles combined

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

That’s pretty awful. And once the final tally is in, 762 murders might be significantly lower than the actual body count.

From the popular HeyJackass! website (“Illustrating Chicago Values”):

Preliminary 2016 Totals
Shot & Killed: 713
Shot & Wounded: 3665
Total Shot: 4378
Total Homicides: 795

And under the section “New Year’s Stupidity” on the site:

While the 800 homicide gorilla awaits entry into 2016’s frunchroom, the fact is we’ll most likely exceed the 800 level soon after the New Year due to late passings and reclassified death investigations. Happy New Year!

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Stay tuned…

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

Sources:

SCC. “2016 Final Numbers- Pending.” Second City Cop. 1 Jan. 2017. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2017/01/2016-final-numbers-pending.html). 3 Jan. 2017.

“Chicago saw more 2016 murders than NYC, LA combined.” CBS News. 2 Jan. 2017. (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/chicago-murders-shootings-2016-more-than-new-york-city-los-angeles-combined/). 3 Jan. 2017.

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Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 Crime, Government, Public Safety, Self-Defense No Comments
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