California

Gabe Suarez Shares Latest Insights On Terrorism, Mass Shootings

In the previous post I referenced one published back on April 28, 2011, about the next Mumbai-style attack. I blogged:

Consider what Gabe Suarez, a decorated veteran of Southern California law enforcement and president of the personal safety training outfit Suarez International, wrote in his blog Warrior Talk News on May 6, 2010:

Put yourself in the enemy’s shoes… err, sandals… which option would YOU pick? Which offers the easiest implementation, least chance for detection, greatest chance for success – bombs or bullets?

The mass shooting and not the improvised and unsuccessful bomb is the “easy button”, and that fact cannot be ignored by us as it will not be overlooked by the enemy.

So what do we do?

1). We must identify who the enemy is. Please go back and peruse the list of events above, both failed and successful. What is the common thread connecting the attackers?

2). Carry your gun everywhere… a REAL fighting gun… not some sissy “suitable for CCW” 5 shot “self defense gun”. The times are not such that concern over a mugger is the issue anymore. Carry extra ammo with you. It is not difficult at all to carry a full sized pistol with a couple of extra magazines. I have done so since 1983.

These are not the times to be seeking political correctness over public safety. It is not the time to fear false labels created and assigned by the mass media. The Israelis learned that lesson long ago. After all is said and done, it is better to be a live “intolerant racist” (as the MSM would call us) than a dead “co-existing”, tolerant “paragon of political correctness”. I suspect that had Shahzad’s bomb been successful, lots of tolerant, “co-exist” types would have died right alongside us “intolerant racists”. The times call for careful profiling and suspicious curiosity as well as daily preparation.

Dress everyday as if you had a business meeting in Mumbai on 26 November 2008 with a bunch of Jews, Christians, and atheist Americans at a cafe right across the street from the Jihad School Of Terrorism.

Be ready or be a victim.

“Be ready or be a victim.” Great words to live by.

Almost six years on, Gabe Suarez continues to head up the multinational corporation Suarez International. I still check-in on Suarez on a regular basis via Facebook and his Suarez International Blog, “a ‘warrior lifestyle’ publication dedicated to the modern excellence-seeking martial enthusiast.” I blogged about his January 8 “Every Man Is A Counter Terrorist” Facebook post, in which he discussed the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in Paris, France, and called upon readers to become counter-terrorists.

No holds barred. Thought-provoking. Classic Suarez.

I highlighted two other terrorism/mass shooting-related posts of his for the remainder of last year. One was a follow-up to his January 8 Facebook entry. The second focused on the October 1 mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.


“GROUND ZERO WITH THE ACTIVE SHOOTER”
YouTube Video

Today, I want to share with Survival And Prosperity readers Gabe Suarez’s latest material on terrorism/mass shootings. From his Suarez International Blog in January:

Terrorism In America- Reality Check” (January 6):

Are there sleeper cells in the USA planning…actively…to bring terror to every American? Yes, of course. Did anyone doubt this? I would have to sit and ponder for a time just how many events there have been. I recall the suicide bomber outside the OSU football game in 2005. And of course the prominent ones…Fort Hood…Boston Marathon…and now, San Bernardino. The common and undeniable thread is of course – the terrorists are all acting in the name of their political-religious ideology…

We Live In A Time Of War” (January 8):

From a good friend who has been there done that… on the dark side

***

Being prepared in a dangerous world. PLEASE take time to read & digest. Please share with others. As we have become complacent in our lives, others want to and will do their best to disrupt that complacency. This is extremely long, but, quite thorough. And, in the big picture, good advice…

Living In The ‘Before’” (January 11):

I had a long discourse today with a friend from high school. She was concerned about all the terrorism today and wanted advice. She had been living in the “before”.

What is the before?

I found Gabe Suarez’s insights in these three blog posts valuable. Perhaps readers will too.

For more information about Suarez International, visit their website here.

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

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SP Intel Report- December 8, 2015

How’s this for timing? Bringing up the rear in my last SP Intel Report entry:

I too believe it’s only a matter of time before a major terror attack is launched by jihadists against the U.S.

Okay, so the San Bernardino, California, terrorist attack (pretty pathetic how some tried real hard to paint this as merely workplace-related violence) wasn’t exactly “major,” and anyone with at least half-a-brain should have seen this coming. But the Muslim extremists are here, and they will strike again at the “homeland” on the level of what just happened out on the “Left Coast” (all that gun “control” didn’t work out too well for California in this instance) all the way up to another 9/11-type attack with thousands of Americans dead.

Chicagoland

U.S. Supreme Court Declines To Hear Appeal Of Lower-Court Ruling Upholding City of Highland Park, Illinois, Assault Weapons Ban

From a press release published on the City of Highland Park website Monday:

On Monday, December 7, 2015, the United States Supreme Court announced that it will not entertain a challenge to the City of Highland Park’s ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, thus allowing the 7th Circuit Court opinion supporting the ordinance to remain standing. This Supreme Court’s determination is a resounding victory for the City of Highland Park and the safety of its residents…

Or so their local government leaders think. For a number of years now I’ve thought Highland Park might be a potential target for home-grown and visiting jihadists in the Chicago area due to its significant Jewish population that, in general, doesn’t seem to celebrate the natural right to self-defense and firearm protections provided by the Founding Fathers like their brethren do over at the JPFO (Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership). One might think world history would cause them to act otherwise. Here’s hoping the Highland Park Police Department is equipped with some major firepower, because if the (aspiring) terrorists weren’t familiar with Highland Park already, they are now, considering the amount of nationwide publicity gun “control” supporters (mainstream media) are giving this inaction by the U.S. Supreme Court. The “North Shore” community might now look even “softer” in the eyes of these bad guys. Good luck with that.

Illinois

Illinois State Rifle Association Declares December 12-13 To Be ‘Illinois Family Security Weekend’

Speaking of that last SP Intel Report entry, in it I talked about a November 14, 2015, Facebook post from the Illinois State Rifle Association in which they issued an “Urgent Alert” regarding terrorism preparedness. Well, the ISRA just issued another alert today. From their website:

SPECIAL ALERT
THIS WEEKEND IS “ILLINOIS FAMILY SECURITY WEEKEND”
PROTECT YOUR FAMILY – PREPARE FOR THE WORST

The closing months of 2015 provide chilling proof of just how successful Obama has been in engineering the decline of the USA. In less than 8 years, the USA has gone from world power to whimpering “also ran.” There is no better illustration of this sad state of affairs than the happenings of the last several weeks.

In October, cultists bombed a Russian airliner killing more than 200 people. In November, cultists bombed and shot more than 100 people in attacks on Paris’ entertainment district. In response to these attacks, Europe banded together under the leadership of President Putin to deliver a staggering military attack on cultist strongholds.

Earlier this month, cultists attacked a Christmas party in San Bernardino – killing 14 and wounding at least a dozen more. In response, Obama got on TV to tell law-abiding citizens to give up their guns and to lecture Americans about how they have to do a better job of making friends.

Get the picture here?

If you think that Obama is capable, or even willing to faithfully discharge his duty to protect this nation and its people from cultist attacks, you are sorely mistaken. That means that the safety and security of you and your family is totally up to you. Are you prepared for that mission?

Your Illinois State Rifle Association has declared the weekend of December 12-13 as “Illinois Family Security Weekend.” The purpose of this declaration is to emphasize the dire situation our nation is in and the necessity for all good citizens to be prepared for swift and devastating changes to our way of life. The Illinois State Rifle Association is asking all Illinois citizens to make a pledge to themselves and their families to spend some time this weekend preparing for the unthinkable, yet inevitable horrors that could be inflicted on our nation at any moment.

Key things that you and your family need to be working on this weekend…

Check out what the ISRA has to say over on their website here.

National

The New York Times Pushes National Gun Confiscation

If there was still any doubt about the ongoing push for nationwide gun confiscation in the United States (did anybody ever really believe that “we’re not coming for your guns” horse crap?), one only needs to read the front page of The New York Times last Saturday. From their Editorial Board:

Certain kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, and certain kinds of ammunition, must be outlawed for civilian ownership. It is possible to define those guns in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would require Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up for the good of their fellow citizens

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

By the way, this was the newspaper’s first front-page editorial since 1920.

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

Source:

Editorial Board. “End the Gun Epidemic in America.” The New York Times. 4 Dec. 2015. (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/05/opinion/end-the-gun-epidemic-in-america.html?_r=0). 8 Dec. 2015.

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Signs Of The Time, Part 88

The Financial Times (UK) website reported yesterday that Z/Yen, billed as “the City of London’s leading commercial think-tank,” just published its eighteenth Global Financial Centres Index. GFCI 18, as it’s otherwise known, rated 84 of the world’s financial centers. From a Z/Yen press release Wednesday:

London has moved ahead of New York to reclaim the number one position. London climbed 12 points in the ratings to lead New York by eight points…

London, New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore remain remain the four leading global financial centres. New York, in second place is now 33 points ahead of Hong Kong in third. Tokyo, in fifth place, is 25 points behind the leaders…

Toronto (8th), San Francisco (9th), and Washington, D.C. (10th) were other North American cities in the “top ten” of this year’s Index.

You can read the entire Z/Yen press release on their website here (.pdf format).


YouTube Video

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

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Thursday, September 24th, 2015 Asia, Europe, North America, Signs Of The Time No Comments

Chicago Falling To Fourth-Largest U.S. City?

Really not surprised to read of the following. Jon Herskovitz reported on Reuters.com Sunday:

Within eight to 10 years, Houston is forecast by demographers in the two states to pass Chicago, which has seen its population decline for years, as the third-largest city.

Houston is projected to have population of 2.54 million to 2.7 million by 2025 while Chicago will be at 2.5 million, according to official data from both states provided for their health departments. New York and Los Angeles are safe at one and two respectively…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Herskovitz added Chicago officials weren’t immediately available for comment about the forecast.

Perhaps too busy working out the details for that huge property tax hike that looks to be on its way? According to Greg Hinz over on the Crain’s Chicago Business website earlier today:

City Hall insiders say the goal is to completely exempt the lower half of Chicago homeowners from paying any of the roughly $500 million in higher property taxes the mayor is expected to propose on Sept. 22 in his annual budget speech. The upper half of homeowners would get a partial break, but still pay somewhat more.

If it moves forward in its current form, the plan would whack commercial and industrial property owners with a double shot. They would have to pay their normal share of the $500 million but also pick up what homeowners aren’t paying…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Like the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop said yesterday:

Here a tax, there a tax, everywhere a tax tax.

That “tax tax” could soon be arriving at the doorsteps of commercial/ industrial property owners in the “Second City.”

Or soon-to-be “Fourth City” if that prediction pans out.

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

Sources:

Herskovitz, Jon. “America’s city rankings set for Texas-sized shake up; Houston to edge past Chicago.” Reuters. 13 Sep. 2015. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/13/us-usa-houston-idUSKCN0RD0E420150913). 14 Sep. 2015.

Hinz, Greg. “Who gets socked—and who doesn’t—in Emanuel’s latest tax hike plan?” Crain’s Chicago Business. 14 Sep. 2015. (http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20150914/BLOGS02/150919926/emanuel-plan-would-exempt-chicago-homeowners-from-big-property-tax). 14 Sep. 2015.

SCC. “And Another 9%.” Second City Cop. 13 Sep. 2015. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2015/09/and-another-9.html). 14 Sep. 2015.

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Survey: Illinois Runner-Up State For ‘Worst Climates For Small Business’

Continuing Tuesday’s discussion about Illinois not being business friendly, I spotted a piece last night on the MarketWatch website entitled, “The best state and city for small business are…” Caitlin Huston reported yesterday afternoon:

The best state for small business owners is Texas and the worst is Rhode Island, according to an annual survey revealed Tuesday.

The survey, conducted by technology marketplace Thumbtack, contends that the friendliest states and towns for small businesses offer easier or non-existent licensing requirements. On a city basis, the report called Manchester, N.H., the best and Hartford, Conn., the worst for small-business climate…

Huston noted that survey responses came from 17,633 small businesses, with most having 5 or fewer employees.

As for Illinois? It’s the state runner-up under the “Worst Climates for Small Business” category, losing out to Rhode Island but ahead of Connecticut, California, and New York, in that order.

From the Thumbtack.com survey web page:

Small business owners gave California, Connecticut, Illinois, and Rhode Island an “F,” while Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York earned a “D” grade…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Digging deeper into the Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey, the “Land of Lincoln” received an “F” for “ease of starting a business” and “overall friendliness.”

Nice. Real nice. Congratulations Illinois policymakers (not Rauner’s fault)- local and at the state level- on a “job” well done.

Then again, what would one expect from folks (not all of them, to be fair) who have never started/run a business in their lives?

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

Source:

Huston, Caitlin. “The best state and city for small business are…” MarketWatch. 18 Aug. 2015. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-best-state-and-city-for-small-business-are-2015-08-18). 19 Aug. 2015.

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Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 Business, Government, Main Street No Comments

Exit Of Illinois Businesses Picking Up Steam?

Illinois companies are leaving the state for more business-friendly environments.

A tale I come across on a regular basis these days, despite all the sustained propaganda to the contrary.

Marissa Bailey reported on the CBS 2 (Chicago) website Monday regarding the situation of Chicago-based Hoist Liftruck, which just announced they’re departing for Indiana:

Gov. Rauner ran his campaign on what he could do to keep small businesses in Illinois. On Monday, he was begging small businesses to stay in the state.

CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey talked with a business owner who is leaving Illinois for a better deal.

Its 300 employees — most in a trade – work hard in a warehouse the size of two city blocks. But it’s the company’s home for only a few more months.

“I think if anyone looks at the numbers, they would make the same decision I did,” President and CEO Marty Flaska says.

He’s moving his company to East Chicago, Ind. early next year. Flaska says being a manufacturer in Illinois just got too hard. His biggest reasons involve the worker’s compensation system here, the cost of property taxes and lastly, he says, “the uncertainty about income tax in the state and where it may go.”

Flaska estimates that by moving he can save $6 million upfront and $2 million each additional year, thanks to property incentives, state grants and tax cuts in Indiana…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Chicago Business Bailing On Illinois”
CBS 2 Video

On the heels of that Hoist Liftruck announcement, Bob Adelmann added over at The New American magazine website:

On Thursday, Hoist Liftruck’s announcement that it was moving more than 500 manufacturing jobs to Indiana was just the latest in a long and almost fevered list of other companies seeking to escape Illinois’ outrageous workers compensation costs and high taxes.

On July 14 machine-maker DE-STA-CO said it was moving 100 jobs to Tennessee. The next day energy processor Bunge North America said it was shutting down its plant in Bradley, Illinois, and laying off 210 workers. The day after that General Mills pulled the plug on its manufacturing plant in West Chicago, terminating 500 workers.

A week later Mitsubishi Motors announced it was closing its production facilities that made its Outlander, ending 918 jobs there, even though there was the threat it would have to return some of the $9 million Illinois paid to get them to move there a few years ago.

Five days after that Mondelez (makers of Oreos and Chips Ahoy) said it was laying off 600 manufacturing jobs at its Chicago South Side facilities.

On August 12 Kraft Heinz, within weeks of their merger, announced its goal of saving $1.5 billion by the end of 2017. First to go were 700 jobs at Kraft’s Northfield facility. The very next day Motorola Mobility announced it was cutting its workforce in Chicago by 25 percent, eliminating another 500 jobs…

Adelmann also noted:

Chief Executive Magazine’s “2014 Best and Worst States for Business” report ranked Illinois 48th out of 50…

I dug up the most recent edition of that same report. The results of Chief Executive’s 11th annual survey have Illinois ranked again as the 48th “worst state for business” in 2015, following New York and absolute “worst state” California.

California, New York, and Illinois. What could those three possibly have in common that might account for such low marks?

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

Sources:

Bailey, Marissa. “For One Chicago Business, Illinois Became Too Inhospitable.” CBS 2. 17 Aug. 2015. (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2015/08/17/for-one-chicago-business-illinois-became-too-inhospitable/). 18 Aug. 2015.

Adelmann, Bob. “Trickle of Companies Leaving Illinois Turning Into a Flood.” The New American. 14 Aug. 2015. (http://www.thenewamerican.com/economy/sectors/item/21405-trickle-of-companies-leaving-illinois-turning-into-a-flood). 18 Aug. 2015.

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Tuesday, August 18th, 2015 Business, Government, Income, Taxes No Comments

Signs Of The Time, Part 86

Back in 2007 when I was running Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street,” I came across an article which illustrated just how ridiculous the housing bubble had gotten. Several California homeowners were asked about future price appreciation for their homes. Most, if not all, had wildly optimistic expectations about how much their properties would be “worth” down the road.

Fast forward to July 24, 2015, and Robert Shiller, the Yale professor who correctly-called the “dot-com” and housing busts, wrote the following in a New York Times piece entitled “The Housing Market Still Isn’t Rational”:

Extravagant expectations do lurk in parts of the market. In the 2015 Yale School of Management survey of recent home buyers that Karl Case of Wellesley College, Anne Thompson of Dodge Data and Analytics and I direct, our preliminary results confirmed the overall Pulsenomics conclusion yet found that some people have strikingly unrealistic expectations.

In San Francisco, for example, we found that while the median expectation for annual home price increases over the next 10 years was only 5 percent, a quarter of the respondents said they thought prices would increase each year by 10 percent or more. That would mean a net 150 percent increase in a decade. These people are apparently not thinking about the supply response that so big a price increase would generate. People like this could bid prices in some places so high that eventually the local market will collapse…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“The Nastiest Wife on Television”
Uploaded April 11, 2006.
And we all know what happened to housing right after that…
YouTube Video

Irrational exuberance is alive and well, it seems. You can read Dr. Shiller’s entire article on the Times site here.

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

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Rich Dad Author Robert Kiyosaki: ‘I’d Rather Have Gold And Silver And Guns And Bullets’

“Gold futures settled near a five-and-a-half week low on Friday, with expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will soon lift interest rates helping to send prices down for a fifth straight week…”

-MarketWatch website, July 24, 2015

“Gold is doomed”

The Washington Post website, July 25, 2015

Back in February, I blogged about Robert Kiyosaki, an American entrepreneur, educator, investor, and author of the New York Times best-selling book Rich Dad Poor Dad. Kiyosaki appeared on the Alex Jones Show on February 17, 2015, and warned viewers:

It doesn’t make me happy that I’m getting richer and richer, and I see my friends getting poorer and poorer. I’m very concerned right now about my generation- the Baby Boom generation, the biggest generation in history. And they bought that program of put all your money in a 401(k) and invest for the long term. Now, I wrote a book called Rich Dad’s Prophecy back in 2002. That was 13 years ago. And I said the biggest stock market crash in the history of the world was coming in 2016. I was kind of guessing. But unfortunately, I didn’t write it to be right. I wrote it out of concern. If I’m correct that in 2002 what I said the biggest market crash was coming in 2016, that means millions and millions of Baby Boomers, their kids, their grandkids, will feel the effect of that when their retirement savings are wiped out. I hope I’m wrong. But so far, my numbers look accurate and it’s holding course right now. So I don’t write because I want to be rich or poke fun or want to be righteous. I am rather concerned about my fellow citizens.

Kiyosaki revealed one way he was preparing for the crash while discussing his new book, Second Chance: for Your Money, Your Life and Our World. From the exchange:

I like silver personally. I love gold. I have a lot of gold and silver.

While there’s no shortage of precious metals bears these days, Kiyosaki remains bullish on gold and silver- in addition to two other “metals.” In a Palisade Radio interview uploaded onto YouTube on June 28, he told viewers:

You should buy gold and silver because eventually the tug of war between deflation and inflation, somebody’s going to quit, and I think it’s going to be hyperinflation. So that’s why gold and silver make sense to me…

So I’m pretty optimistic. I’m going to make even more money when the crash comes. But unfortunately, like I said, for those who are not prepared, gold and silver are probably the best investments. But you have gold and silver, two other precious metals, guns and bullets (laughing). The reason for that, I laugh about it, but my friend reminds me of this. He says you rich guys can buy gold and silver. Poor guys buy guns and bullets. So I can understand that mentality is this gap between the 1 percent and the 99 percent. I’d rather have gold and silver and guns and bullets. This is why I don’t live in California (laughing). I live in Arizona, where they already respect guns and bullets.


“Robert Kiyosaki: Biggest Stock Market Crash in History Coming in 2016 – June 28, 2015”
YouTube Video

According to Kiyosaki, 2016 to 2030 is “going to be very tumultuous.”

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

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

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Islamic State Claims 71 ‘Trained Soldiers’ In ‘Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, California, And Michigan’ Plus 10 Other States?

“The next six months will be interesting.”

So claims a threat attributed to the Islamic State posted on anonymous message board JustPasteIt, per Sasha Goldstein and Jason Silverstein over on the Daily News (New York City) website late last night. From the message entitled “The New Era”:

The attack by the Islamic State in America is only the beginning of our efforts to establish a wiliya in the heart of our enemy…

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…

“Illinois.” Yet another list we’d really prefer not to be on.

According to various sources on the Internet, “wiliya” (“wilayah”) means “province,” and “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.

Last August, I blogged about a Twitter post supposedly connected with the Islamic State which contained a photo of the Old Republic Building, 307 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, along with the following:

#AmessagefromISIStoUS

We are in your state
We are in your cities
We are in your streets
You are our goals anywhere.

In that same August 27, 2014, post, I noted retired General Michael Hayden, the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency, had just told CNN’s Jim Sciutto in an interview:

HAYDEN: Well, Jim, you’ve outlined it perfectly. This is a question of timing. Not of inevitability. Not of intent. And right now, I think it’s fair to say, that ISIS is very powerful local terrorist organization, and probably a reasonably powerful regional terrorist organization. But it’s one that has global ambitions. And it has the tools, as you suggested. American passport holders, European passport holders. It’s expressed the intent. And so, if it’s not Tuesday, it’s at a time and place of their choosing. And will come probably sooner rather than later. Look, they’re in a competition now with Al-Qaeda Prime, folks along the Afghan-Pakistani border, and there’s no way more powerful to express their street credentials among the jihadist community than a successful attack against the West.
SCIUTTO: So, to be clear, you’re saying it’s just a matter of time before ISIS attempts to attack or attacks the U.S. homeland?
HAYDEN: I think so…

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

Source:

Goldstein, Sasha and Silverstein, Jason. “ISIS threatens anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller in message boasting of ’71 trained soldiers in 15 different states’” Daily News. 5 May 2015. (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/isis-appears-threaten-pamela-geller-claims-militants-article-1.2211913). 6 May 2015.

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Bill Introduced To Permit Illinois Municipalities To File For Bankruptcy

Since I started blogging about a U.S. financial crash back on Memorial Day Weekend 2007, I’ve believed one casualty will be municipal government. Particularly in Illinois. So imagine my non-surprise when I spotted an article on the Chicago Tribune website a couple of days ago about proposed legislation at the state level granting Illinois towns the authority to file for bankruptcy. Nick Swedberg of the Associated Press wrote on March 26:

Stressed by pension debt, other financial issues and the possibility losing a chunk of their state aid, some Illinois cities want the option to file for bankruptcy. They’ve found an ally in a Republican lawmaker, who’s proposed legislation to allow municipalities to follow in the footsteps of Detroit and other cities in restructuring debt and paying back creditors…

Rep. Ron Sandack is sponsoring legislation that would grant authority for communities to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 9 of the federal code. The Downers Grove Republican says it’s a “measure of last resort,” especially with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposal in next year’s budget to cut in half the local governments’ share of state income taxes by 50 percent.

“It’s just giving time and space to do things right,” he said…

Swedberg added later in the piece:

Municipal bankruptcies are rare, NCSL data shows. Of 37 local government filings since 2010, only 8 were cities, with the majority filed by utilities and special districts.

Detroit filed for the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy in July 2013, looking to restructure $12 billion of debt…

It’s true. Municipal bankruptcies haven’t happened too often. But keep in mind what Eric Weiner wrote on the NPR website back on February 28, 2008:

For most of U.S. history, cities and towns were not eligible for bankruptcy protection. But during the Great Depression, more than 2,000 municipalities defaulted on their debt, and they pleaded with President Roosevelt for a federal bailout. “All they got was sympathy,” reported Time magazine in 1933. Instead, Roosevelt pushed through changes to the bankruptcy laws that allows towns and cities to file for bankruptcy. They even got their own section of the bankruptcy code: Chapter Nine…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

There’s also this from Robert Slavin on The Bond Buyer website back on January 14:

For the municipal bond industry, 2015 marks the midpoint in what may turn out to be the decade of the bankruptcy.

Four of the five largest municipal bankruptcy filings in United States history have been made in roughly the last three years, a trend analysts attribute to the aftereffects of the 2008 credit crisis and Great Recession, as well as changing attitudes about debt.

“The crash of 2008 and five years of stagnation preceded by years of escalating wages, pensions and Other Post-Employment Benefits set the stage for our recent Chapter 9 filings,” said Arent Fox partner David Dubrow.

Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy was adopted in 1937 but had been rarely used, particularly by large governments. However, since November 2011 San Bernardino, Calif., Stockton, Calif., Jefferson County, Ala., and Detroit have filed four of the five largest bankruptcies as measured by total obligations.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Could the specter of Meredith Whitney, the “Diva Of Doom,” be returning to take revenge on the municipal bond industry?

I’m not surprised Illinois municipalities would be interested in House Bill 298. From Patrick Rehkamp and Andrew Schroedter on the website of the Chicago-based Better Government Association back on December 6, 2014:

Reasons for filing vary but often include troubled public development projects, unanticipated hefty legal judgments against a taxpayer-backed entity, or massive pension and bond debt payments that leave a municipality cash-strapped and unable to cover operating costs of employee salaries, vendor payments and other expenses.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The public pension crisis in Chicago and Illinois has been well-publicized for some time now. And while such entitlements are supposedly protected by a provision in the 1970 Illinois Constitution, the BGA noted in their piece:

In Illinois, public employee pensions are guaranteed by the state constitution. But in the Detroit and Stockton, California bankruptcy cases, federal judges have ruled that pension benefits can be adjusted, the same as other debts, despite a constitutional guarantee.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can track the progress of HB 298 on the Illinois General Assembly website here.

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

Sources:

Swedberg, Nick. “Bill pushes for possible municipal bankruptcies in Illinois.” Associated Press. 29 Mar. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-bc-il–closer-look-bankruptcy-20150329-story.html). 3 Apr. 2015.

Weiner, Eric. “What Happens When City Hall Goes Bankrupt?” NPR. 28 Feb. 2008. (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=60740288). 3 Apr. 2015.

Slavin, Robert. “Why So Many Big Bankruptcies?” The Bond Buyer. 14 Jan. 2015. (http://www.bondbuyer.com/news/markets-buy-side/why-so-many-big-bankruptcies-1069539-1.html). 3 Apr. 2015.

Rehkamp, Patrick and Schroedter, Andrew. “Next Up: Illinois Municipal Bankruptcy?” Better Government Association. 16 Dec. 2014. (http://www.bettergov.org/next_up_illinois_municipal_bankruptcy/). 4 Apr. 2015.

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Survival And Prosperity
Est. 2010, Chicagoland, USA
Christopher E. Hill, Editor

Successor to Boom2Bust.com
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