Chicago

Illinois Democrat Introduces Statewide Gun Registration, Ammo ‘Control’ Bill

“A list, record, or registry of legally owned firearms or law-abiding firearm owners is not a law enforcement tool and can become an instrument for profiling, harassing, or abusing law-abiding citizens based on their choice to own a firearm and exercise their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed under the United States Constitution. Further, such a list, record, or registry has the potential to fall into the wrong hands and become a shopping list for thieves.”

-State of Florida Statutes, 790.335 Prohibition of registration of firearms; electronic records

The push for more gun “control” is on the march in the “Land of Lincoln.”

Last year around this time, State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) spearheaded statewide gun registration and ammunition “control” in Illinois with HB4715. Creating the “Firearms Registration Act,” the legislation eventually went nowhere.

This time around, State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago) is the torch-bearer of more gun and ammo “control” in the Midwestern state, filing the resurrected Firearms Registration Act legislation in the Senate (SB1413) on February 20. From a synopsis of the bill over on the Illinois General Assembly website:

Creates the Firearms Registration Act. Provides that every person in the State must register each firearm he or she owns or possesses in accordance with the Act. Provides that a person shall not purchase or possess ammunition within this State without having first obtained a registration certificate identifying a firearm that is suitable for use with that ammunition, or a receipt demonstrating that the person has applied to register a suitable firearm under the Act and that the application is pending. Provides that the Department of State Police must complete a background check of any person who applies for: (1) a registration certificate for a firearm that was lawfully owned or possessed on the effective date of the Act, was brought into the State by a new resident, or was acquired by operation of law upon the death of the former owner; or (2) a renewal of a registration certificate unless, within 12 months of the date the renewal application is submitted, the applicant passed a background check conducted by the Department in connection with the applicant’s acquisition of another firearm. Provides exceptions. Amends the Criminal Code of 2012. Provides that it is a Class 2 felony to sell or transfer ownership of a firearm to another person without complying with the registration requirement of the Firearms Registration Act.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Before Illinois gun owners dismiss the chances of such legislation becoming law in the state, it should be noted that:

• 2014 was as an election year for state senators and representatives
• Illinois Democrats maintain a veto-proof supermajority in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly in 2015- 71 Democrats to 46 Republicans in the House and 39 Democrats to 20 Republicans in the Senate
• A future mass shooting along the lines of Newtown or some other mass casualty event on American soil “featuring” firearms could be all it takes for the public to get behind the Firearms Registration Act

For more information about Illinois Senate Bill 1413 and to track its status, you can visit the Illinois General Assembly website here.

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

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Moody’s Downgrades Chicago’s Credit Rating Yet Again, Issues Negative Outlook

Chicago’s financial health is still pretty bleak in 2015.

Almost one year ago to this day, I blogged about bond credit rating giant Moody’s Investor Service downgrading the City of Chicago’s general obligation (GO) and sales tax ratings to Baa1 from A3, affecting $8.3 billion of GO and sales tax debt. I added last March:

According to Moody’s, “Obligations rated Baa are judged to be medium-grade and subject to moderate credit risk and as such may possess certain speculative characteristics.”

Just before the weekend, Moody’s downgraded Chicago’s credit rating yet again. The Global Credit Research division announced on the Moody’s website under “Ratings News” Friday:

Rating Action: Moody’s downgrades Chicago, IL to Baa2; maintains negative outlook

Baa2 applies to $8.3B of GO debt, $542M of sales tax debt, and $268M of motor fuel tax debt

New York, February 27, 2015 — Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1 the rating on the City of Chicago, IL’s $8.3 billion of outstanding general obligation (GO) debt, $542 million of outstanding sales tax revenue debt, and $268 million of outstanding or authorized motor fuel tax revenue debt. We have also downgraded to Speculative Grade (SG) from VMIG 3 the short-term rating on the city’s outstanding Sales Tax Revenue Refunding Bonds, Variable Rate Series 2002. The outlook on the long-term ratings remains negative…

“The outlook on the long-term ratings remains negative”

Kind of hard to get excited about the “Windy City’s” prospects after reading that.

To be fair, some are suggesting the credit rating downgrades are being influenced by City Hall in order to avoid meeting certain financial obligations (i.e., Chicago’s well-publicized public pension crisis).

“We ain’t got it.”

You can read the entire Moody’s press release on their website here.

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

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Are Expandable Batons Legal In Chicago, Illinois? (2015 Update)

On January 19, I started reviewing Chicago-area laws concerning self-defense tools for the new year. That day, I blogged about the legality of pepper spray in Chicago.

Today, I’m going to look at if collapsible/expandable/retractable/telescopic batons are legal in Chicago, Illinois.

Like with that pepper spray post, let’s start at the top. Looking at the Illinois Compiled Statutes, Criminal Offenses, (720 ILCS 5/) Criminal Code of 2012, “ARTICLE 24. DEADLY WEAPONS”:

(720 ILCS 5/24-1) (from Ch. 38, par. 24-1)
Sec. 24-1. Unlawful Use of Weapons.
(a) A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons when he knowingly:
(1) Sells, manufactures, purchases, possesses or carries any bludgeon, black-jack, slung-shot, sand-club, sand-bag, metal knuckles or other knuckle weapon regardless of its composition, throwing star, or any knife, commonly referred to as a switchblade knife, which has a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife, or a ballistic knife, which is a device that propels a knifelike blade as a projectile by means of a coil spring, elastic material or compressed gas; or
(2) Carries or possesses with intent to use the same unlawfully against another, a dagger, dirk, billy, dangerous knife, razor, stiletto, broken bottle or other piece of glass, stun gun or taser or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument of like character…

No specific mention of collapsible/expandable/retractable/telescopic batons. But there’s also this:

13) Carries or possesses on or about his or her person while in a building occupied by a unit of government, a billy club, other weapon of like character, or other instrument of like character intended for use as a weapon. For the purposes of this Section, “billy club” means a short stick or club commonly carried by police officers which is either telescopic or constructed of a solid piece of wood or other man-made material.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

From my research on this subject, I’ve encountered instances where collapsible/expandable/retractable/telescopic batons have also been referred to as “billy clubs” (like above) and “bludgeoning devices.” Keep that in mind going forward.

Since Chicago is part of Cook County, let’s next look at the Cook County Code of Ordinances, Part I- GENERAL ORDINANCES, Chapter 58- OFFENSES AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS, ARTICLE VI. OFFENSES AGAINST THE PUBLIC PEACE, Sec. 58-172. – Disorderly Conduct:

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to commit disorderly conduct. A person commits disorderly conduct when he knowingly…
(6) Carries in a threatening or menacing manner, without authority of law, any razor, knife, stiletto, blackjack, bludgeon, metal knuckles, slingshot, any knife, the blade of which is released by a spring mechanism, including knives known as “switch-blades”, undetectable knives as defined in Section 58-176 of this Code, an object containing noxious or deleterious liquid, gas or substance or other weapon, or conceals said weapon on or about the person or vehicle…

Once again, no specific mention of collapsible/expandable/retractable/telescopic batons. But “bludgeon” makes an appearance.

Finally, let’s see what the City of Chicago has on the books regarding these batons. From the Municipal Code of Chicago, TITLE 8 OFFENSES AFFECTING PUBLIC PEACE, MORALS AND WELFARE, CHAPTER 8-24 FIREARMS AND OTHER WEAPONS, 8-24-020 Sale or possession of deadly weapons:

(a) No person shall sell, offer for sale, keep, possess, purchase, loan or give to any person any bludgeon, blackjack, slung shot, sandclub, sandbag, metal knuckles, or other knuckle weapon regardless of its composition, throwing star, switchblade knife or ballistic knife; provided that this subsection shall not apply to the purchase, possession or carrying of a black- jack or slung shot by a peace officer.

Nothing specific. But there’s “bludgeon” again.

So are collapsible/expandable/retractable/telescopic batons legal in Chicago?

While not mentioned specifically in the Illinois Criminal Code, the Cook County Code of Ordinances, and the Municipal Code of Chicago, should the authorities want to prosecute an individual purchasing, possessing, selling, etcetera a collapsible/expandable/retractable/telescopic baton in the city of Chicago, it should surprise no one if the device is equated with a “billy club” or “bludgeon.” In which case, that individual could be in a lot of trouble.

Next time, I’ll be discussing knives in Chicago.

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

(Legal disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain such advice.)

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Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 Legal, Non-Lethal Weapons, Self-Defense No Comments

Chicago-Area Shopping Malls Targeted By Terrorists?

Muslim extremists are calling for terror attacks directed against Western malls. From the website of Chicago CBS affiliate Channel 2 Saturday night:

A terror group with ties to al-Qaeda released an online video Saturday appearing to call for attacks on Western malls, including at least one U.S. shopping center.

There is no credible, serious threat to a location in the Chicago region, but CBS 2’s Chelsea Irving reports one area police agency is taking the message seriously.

In the 75-minute video released Saturday, Islamic extremist group al-Shabaab calls for lone followers to attack Western targets.

The speaker specifically mentions the Mall of America in Minnesota. In the last five minutes of the video, the logo of Westfield shopping centers appears. The addresses in the video are for Westfield malls in England, but the speaker calls for attacks on any Westfield mall.

In the U.S., Westfield has 38 malls in eight states. Three are in the Chicago region: in Aurora, Skokie and Vernon Hills…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Specifically, those Chicago-area shopping malls are Westfield Fox Valley (Aurora), Westfield Old Orchard (Skokie), and Westfield Hawthorn (Vernon Hills).

Keep in mind authorities say “there is no credible, serious threat to a location in the Chicago region.” Personally, I’d just as soon visit these three malls as any other these days, maintaining optimal situational awareness during those “shopping sprees.”

You can read the entire CBS 2 piece on their website here.

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

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Maxon Shooter’s Supplies And Indoor Range In Des Plaines Awarded 5-Star Rating From NSSF

Firearm enthusiasts in the Chicago area might have heard of Maxon Shooter’s Supplies and Indoor Range in the near-northwest suburb of Des Plaines. While I haven’t visited their new facility (yet), I have had some interaction with Maxon’s in the past, assisting their office manager in late 2012 with populating the “Helpful Resources” area of their website. This weekend, I happened to be poking around the Illinois State Rifle Association’s website when I spotted the following:

Maxon Shooters Supplies & Indoor Range has been awarded the prestigious Five Star rating from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). The NSSF evaluates facility amenities, cleanliness and appearance, customer service, community involvement and overall management. There are just 58 shooting ranges throughout the United States that have received a Five Star rating from the NSSF. In December of last year, a representative from the NSSF conducted a thorough inspection of the Maxon facility and interviewed personnel. After completing the inspection, the NSSF representative consulted with his colleagues which ultimately resulted in the awarding of the Five Star rating for Maxon. The nearest Five Star-rated range is over 300 miles from Chicago in Ohio. Maxon Shooters Supplies & Indoor Range is the only range in Illinois to have achieved this distinction

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Congratulations to Maxon’s on this terrific achievement.

As “Shotgun Joe” Biden would say, “This is a big f*****g deal.”

You can read the rest of the ISRA piece on Maxon’s here, and visit the gun store and range’s website here.

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

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Thoughts On Chicago Home Invader Yelling ‘Fire! Fire!’

“According to the FBI, nearly 50,000 robberies within residences (the bureau’s classification for home invasions, not all of which involve violent entry) occurred in 2011, or about 135 per day…”

-NBC News website, September 9, 2014

Beware of the following. From Chicago’s ABC 7 website back on January 27:

Police are warning residents of a pair of home invasions on Chicago’s Far Northwest Side.

Authorities said a man broke into two homes, one in the 3800-block of North Pacific Avenue around 1:20 p.m. on Jan. 19 and one in the 6700-block of North Oxford Avenue around 2:50 p.m. on Jan. 21.

In each incident, police said the suspect forced his way through the front door, yelled, “Fire! Fire!” and ran out.

The suspect then got into a dark-colored vehicle driven by someone else and took off…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can read the rest of that article here, which doesn’t give an explanation for why the home invader spent the time and effort breaking into these residences- only to shout “Fire!” on both occasions, then leave. Note the following comment on the piece though:

This is just bizarre; I think there’s more to this story than the article lets on. If they do find this guy, they definitely need to get him psychiatric help since he’s clearly mentally ill…

“Mentally ill.” Perhaps. But consider this alternative. The home invader broke into these homes, discovered he wasn’t alone, and in an effort to create confusion for a rapid escape, the “Caucasian or Hispanic man in his late 20s” subsequently yelled “Fire! Fire!”. Under these circumstances, it would have been easy for the (almost) victims to mistake the intruder as some Good Samaritan at first and set about checking the premises for fire before realizing what really happened.

Mentally ill? How about “fast-thinker” or “smart criminal”?

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

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The Civic Federation Proposes Less Government Spending, More Taxes To Tackle Illinois’ $6.4 Billion In Unpaid Bills

Regular Survival And Prosperity readers shouldn’t be surprised to hear the following from The Civic Federation, an independent, non-partisan government research organization that provides analysis and recommendations on government finance issues for the Chicago region and State of Illinois. From a press release last Thursday:

In a report released today, the Civic Federation’s Institute for Illinois’ Fiscal Sustainability proposes a comprehensive five-year plan that responds to the dire reality of Illinois’ financial condition with painful, but necessary recommendations. The plan immediately stabilizes the State’s operating budget and establishes a sustainable long-term financial plan that would pay off Illinois’ unpaid bill backlog of approximately $6.4 billion. The full 56-page report is available here.

Nearly five years after the official end of the national economic downturn, Illinois is still burdened with billions of dollars in unpaid bills. The State’s five pension systems, underfunded for decades and further weakened by recession-driven investment losses, are consuming a growing share of annual operating revenues. Temporary income tax rate increases enacted in 2011 helped the State cope with these massive problems, but the higher rates began to phase out on January 1, 2015 and the State’s income tax revenues are expected to plummet by $5.2 billion between FY2014 and FY2016.

“The incomplete FY2015 budget resulted in a greater deterioration of Illinois’ finances and made the necessary actions to fix this crisis even more painful,” said Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation. “Illinois cannot afford such a steep rollback of its tax rates without eliminating entire areas of State services or completely restructuring the government.”

After examining the effectiveness of multiple budget scenarios based on the fundamental long-term financial goals detailed below, the Federation proposes the following recommendations as part of a comprehensive five-year plan…

In a nutshell, The Civic Federation proposes less government spending and more taxes for the State of Illinois. From that press release:

1. Fix Fiscal Cliff in FY2015: Rather than sharply dropping income tax rates by 25% in one year, the State should retroactively increase the income tax rate to 4.25% for individuals and 6.0% for corporations as of January 1, 2015. The State could then provide additional tax relief by rolling back the rates on January 1, 2018 to 4.0% for individuals and 5.6% for corporations.
2. Control State Spending: The State should restrict discretionary spending growth from the 2.7% level shown in its three-year projections to 2.0%, closer to the rate of inflation. This could reduce total State spending by $1.3 billion over five years.
3. Broaden the Income Tax Base to Include Some Retirement Income: Out of the 41 states that impose an income tax, Illinois is one of only three that exempt all pension income. To create greater equity among taxpayers, the State’s income tax base should include non-Social Security retirement income from individuals with a total income of more than $50,000.
4. Expand Sales Tax Base to Include Services: Illinois should expand its sales tax base to include a list of 32 service taxes proposed by Governor Rauner. Due to the complexity of sourcing rules and collections for new businesses that are not currently required to collect sales taxes, it is estimated this expansion could take up to two fiscal years to fully implement.
5. Temporarily Eliminate Sales Tax Exemption for Food and Non-Prescription Drugs: To provide much-needed immediate revenue, the State should temporarily eliminate the tax exemption for food and non-prescription drugs. The State should apply the full 6.25% sales tax rate to food and over-the-counter drug purchases through FY2019 and then reinstate the exemption in FY2020 after the service tax expansion is fully implemented and the State’s backlog of unpaid bills is eliminated.
6. Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to Provide Assistance to Low Income Residents: To help soften the impact of the State’s fiscal crisis on low income residents, the Civic Federation proposes an increase in the State’s Earned Income Tax Credit from 10% of the federal credit to 15% of the federal credit by FY2018…

At this point, I wholeheartedly believe it’s just a matter of time now before a number of the above are implemented either willingly (legislatively) or forcefully (“financial reckoning day”) in the “Land of Lincoln” down the road.

As such, it might be wise for Illinoisans to start preparing (if they haven’t done so already) for an impending hit to household finances and elsewhere.

You can read the entire press release and obtain that report on The Civic Federation’s website here.

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

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Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills Offering Survival Basics, Fire Building Classes On February 28

Chicago-area blog readers may have noticed local content has been somewhat heavy on nearby survival-related training opportunities lately.

I hope you’ve enjoyed finding out about them as much as I have.

Back on January 9, I blogged about Chris Mayor and the Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills, and some instruction they were scheduled to provide earlier this month. Looking at the school’s “Calendar Of Events” page last week, I noticed two classes being offered on the last day February. From the calendar:

survival basics

Saturday, February 28, 2015
11:30am-1:30pm

introduction on the essentials: fire, water, shelter, and food. How to plan a successful trip. We’ll also discuss gear and getting properly outfitted for deep woods camping. class cost 25$

we’re meeting at 10:00 am at the heartland cafe and traveling to our destination. contact us to reserve a spot

In addition to basic survival training, the school will be offering instruction on a potentially life-saving skill particularly for this time of year in this part of the country. Also from the calendar:

fire building

Saturday, February 28, 2015
2:00pm-4:00pm

In this class students will learn a variety of ways to start a fire in a survival or wilderness setting,

the class will cover making charcloth and punkwood and how to use them in combination with a flint and steel. we’ll discuss gathering fatwood , identifying various stones that spark when stuck with steel, proper safety, and what to do in worst case situations. location to be disclosed students should bring an altoids tin as well as a piece of cotton fabric or denim. class cost 25$ contact us to reserve a spot

Looking at Dabble.co (not .com), where information about the school’s classes can also be found, it shows only 8 spots left for Survival Basics and 6 places available for Fire Building as I type this.

In early March, I see a Flint Knapping workshop and Field First Aid class on the calendar. Lots of interesting and useful instruction coming out of the Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills these days, which you can learn more about on their website here.

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

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Upcoming REI Survival-Related Classes In The Chicago Area

Chicago-area readers- below are survival-related training classes from REI for the next month or so:

Valentine’s Day Couples Survival in the Wilderness, Palos Forest Preserve- Bull Frog Lake (south suburbs- Willow Springs), February 14, 9 AM-2 PM, $65 member/$85 non-member, 2 spots left
Map and Compass Navigation Basics, Northbrook REI (north suburbs- Northbrook), February 19, 6:30-8:30 PM, $30 member/$50 non-member, 9 spots left
Backcountry Navigation with a Map & Compass, Palos Forest Preserve- Bull Frog Lake (south suburbs- Willow Springs), February 22, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member, 6 spots left
Wilderness First Aid with WMI and REI, Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center (west suburbs- Oak Brook) February 21, 9 AM-6 PM, $225 member/$255 non-member, 3 spots left
Wilderness Survival: 3-Season Skills, Palos Forest Preserve- Bull Frog Lake (south suburbs- Willow Springs), February 28, 9 AM-2 PM, $65 member/$85 non-member, 4 spots left
Backcountry Navigation with a Map & Compass, Deer Grove Forest Preserve- Grove 5 (northwest suburbs- Palatine), March 8, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member, 7 spots left

REI membership is still available for only a one-time fee of $20. For more information about REI, visit their website here.

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

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Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 Emergencies, Health, Medicine, Preparedness, Training No Comments

C.U.M.A. Survival School Offering Civil Unrest/Bug Out/Cold Weather Survival Training In Glenview, Illinois, This February

Here’s the latest survival training being offered by Waysun Johnny Tsai and the Chicago, Illinois-based C.U.M.A. Survival School (first blogged about here in April 2014). From the school’s Facebook page in a January 31 post:

NEXT C.U.M.A. SURVIVAL SCHOOL Civil Unrest/ Bug Out/ Cold weather Survival

This class will cover:

Home Prep
Home Defense
The Bug In
The Bug Out Vehicle
The Bug Out
Basic Wilderness Survival Skills
C.U.M.A. COMBATIVES Street Defense

WHEN: Sunday Feb 22nd, 2015

TIME: 10:00AM CST-4:00PM CST

WHERE: OFF THE X-TRAINING CONCEPTS CENTER
4350 Di Paolo Center, Suite H, Glenview, Illinois 60025
AND FOREST PRESERVE in Des Plaines, Illinois… Entrance to be disclosed after you register.

COST: $150.00 (New Students /$75.00 C.U.M.A. SURVIVAL Alumni)

This is a CLOSED DOOR CLASS.

Students MUST Pre-Register / Pre-Pay to attend this class:

Via PAYPAL: Send payment to sifujohnnytsai@gmail.com

By attending this class you agree to having your picture taken/ be video taped in class and allow us to use such materials for marketing purposes.

To reach me call: 773-227-1888 or email sifujohnnytsai@gmail.com

For more information about C.U.M.A. Survival School, you can visit their website here.

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

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The Green Suite Of Chicago Offering DIY Solar Electricity, Window Farming, Zombie Survival Training Classes In February

Here’s the latest instruction being offered by Nick Conrad over at The Green Suite in Chicago (first blogged about here in January 2014). From the Dabble website:

Window Farming for Beginners with The Green Suite
Gardening Classes in Chicago

Class Info

Have you always wanted to start a garden but don’t have the space or knowledge? Window farming is inexpensive and easy way to grow your own food right in your window! Constructed from recycled materials, window farms are perfect for small apartments with limited space.

The class consists of a 1hr introduction to the basics of hydroponics, window farming and seed cultivation followed by a thirty-minute workshop. In the workshop you will make a small hydroponic planter to take home with you. Each student should bring one empty plastic bottle. (12-32oz is best)

Anyone can learn how to grow fresh, organic food, hydroponically. Enroll today and you’ll learn how to grow your own food, save money and turn trash into treasure!

What to bring

Each student should bring one empty plastic bottle. (12-32oz is best)

What will be provided

Hydroponic Supplies

The class is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, February 11, 2015, from 7 to 9 PM at The Green Suite (3958 N. Fremont, Apt. 3, Chicago). As I type this Sunday afternoon, there’s 10 spots still left. Cost is only $30 to attend.

In addition to window farming, The Green Suite is also offering instruction on solar electricity. From the Dabble website:

DIY Solar Electricity with The Green Suite
Sustainability Classes in Chicago

Class Info

Wouldn’t it be awesome to harness your own electricity from the sun? Solar energy is green, silent and a lot easier to build than you think.

This DIY class will cover the basics of electricity as well as how to design, build, and install your own solar panel system. In addition to solar electricity, we will discuss other sources of renewable energy such as wind and geothermal power. The class concludes with hands-on experience assembling part of an actual solar panel.

You will walk away from this course with the basic knowledge needed to start generating your own solar energy at home…and for a lot less money than you thought!

The class is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, February 18, 2015, from 7 to 9 PM at The Green Suite. There are 9 spots left as I type this. Cost again is only $30 to attend.

Finally, Nick has brought back Zombie Survival Training in February. From the Dabble site:

Zombie Survival Training with The Green Suite
Disaster Survival Classes in Chicago

Class Info

If the zombie apocalypse happened right now, would you be ready? Do you even have a plan?

This course is designed to teach you how to survive the worst disaster imaginable, even a wide-spread pandemic of flesh-eating zombies. Using the zombie apocalypse as the worst case scenario, we will discuss survival strategies, food and water preparation and improvised weapons. Class consists of a one hour lecture followed by a thirty minute hands-on workshop. This unique experience is perfect for zombie lovers and survivalists alike.

After this class you will know where to go, what to eat and how to defend yourself when the unthinkable happens. Join us for good food, cold beer and life-saving survival tips.

What to bring

Two empty, uncrushed beverage cans. (Needed to make survival stove.)

What will be provided

building materials.

The class is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, February 25, 2015, from 7 to 9 PM at the Holiday Club, 4000 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago. There are 11 spots left as I type this, and the cost is- you guessed it- a measly $30.

If you’re interested in any of this instruction, head on over to the Dabble website here for more information and to register for a class.

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

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Democrats Push ‘New Message’ Of Rebounding U.S. Economy

Big eye roll on my part when I spotted the following on my Internet service provider’s home page this afternoon. Charles Babington of the Associated Press reported Friday:

Democrats’ new message on America’s economic recovery is: We told you so, and we’re going to keep telling you so.

The economy is rebounding on nearly every front, even if the middle class still needs help, and it’s time to tell that story loudly, top Democrats say. That’s the key to reversing their midterm election setbacks, according to a host of House Democrats, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, all of whom came to Philadelphia this week for pep talks and strategy sessions.

“Democrats have to stand up, you’ve got to explain what we did,” Biden said to loud applause Friday. “Be proud of it… We can’t let the Republican Party rewrite history.”

Obama said much the same the night before. “The record shows we were right” the president said, referring to the 2009 stimulus, the bank and auto industry bailouts, and other strategies to pull out the great recession of 2008…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A couple of thoughts here:

1. The true state of the U.S. economy and larger financial system is worrisome, as the “great recession of 2008” was merely “papered over” (I talk about that enough on this blog on a regular basis that I don’t feel the need to go into it today).

The news radio station I listen to most often in Chicago has been going on and on this week about the U.S. economy being on such strong footing these days. It’s almost as if they (like others in the mainstream media?) are carrying out the marching orders of the Democratic spindoctors to promote this “new message.” It’s been so ridiculous that if you didn’t know any better, you might think you were listening to old newsreels laying it on thick with the propaganda of the day:


“Vintage 1930s Inflation Propaganda”
YouTube Video

2. “We can’t let the Republican Party rewrite history.” “The record shows we were right.” Democrats vs. Republicans. Us vs. Them. Liberals vs. Conservatives. Left vs. Right. Coke vs. Pepsi…

Personally, I prefer RC.

And like that situation with the sodas, two choices often aren’t ideal for me. Particularly when it comes to the major U.S. political parties, who I’ve come to see as merely two “heads” belonging to the same monster (special interests of the rich and powerful).

3. Finally, I’ve said this before but it bears repeating:

Use this economic “rebound”- as much of an illusion as it may be- to your advantage.

Is your employment status less than ideal? You may want to consider improving that situation while “the getting’s good.” Need some extra income? You may want to look at taking on a part-time job while they’re available. Looking to purchase some emergency preps? “The shadow of crisis has passed.” President Obama said so in his recent State of the Union speech. Shop around for discounted gear, supplies, and other items while demand isn’t as strong as it has been lately and will be when hard times arrive down the road.

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

Source:

Babington, Charles. “House Democrats’ new message on the economy: We told you so.” Associated Press. 30 Jan. 2015. (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/house-democrats-message-economy-told-183956034.html). 30 Jan. 2015.

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Girlfriend’s Doctor Visit: ‘Are Firearms Stored In Your Home?’

The other day, my girlfriend went to see her physician in the Chicago suburbs for a routine check-up. Upon arriving, she was handed some paperwork to fill out- including a sheet of questions that didn’t look like it originated from the doctor’s office. At the top of the page was my girlfriend’s name already printed out along with a QR code (that bar code –like thing that smart phones can read), immediately followed by a series of health questions.

Mixed in with those health-related questions was one about seatbelt use. And smoke detectors in the home. Finally, there was this:

Are firearms stored in your home?

Like I said, according to my girlfriend, that page of questions didn’t look like it came from her doctor. Which makes me wonder- who is behind this effort then, and what are they planning to do with the responses to the questions (particularly the one about guns stored in the home)?

For a while now, I’ve known more gun “control” was going to be attempted via the public health (backdoor) route due to recent, well-publicized setbacks on the national level. I suspect this questionnaire (and others like it) are a part of that effort.

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

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Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 Firearms, Government, Gun Rights, Health No Comments

Chicago Reader: Did Rahm Emanuel Deliver On Public Safety Campaign Promises?

The Chicago Reader has done a terrific job lately of keeping a tab on public safety in Chicago. And yesterday, the Reader website ran an article entitled “Did Rahm live up to his campaign promises on public safety?” Mick Dumke wrote:

During his first campaign for mayor four years ago, Rahm Emanuel kept talking about police.

He noted as often as he could that his uncle had been a cop on Chicago’s north side. He boasted of his role in crafting the Clinton administration’s 1994 crime bill that funded the hiring of 100,000 police officers nationwide.
And, as the centerpiece of his public safety plan, he vowed to find the money to add 1,000 more officers to Chicago’s force. He said this would prevent crime and improve relationships with the community.

“Police officers will become a presence in the neighborhood rather than only available in response to emergency,” he said.

But within weeks of taking office, Emanuel stopped talking about hiring cops. Instead, over the course of his first term, the number of officers on the force dropped from about 10,900 to 10,600. And the mayor responded to violent crime not by investing in community policing but by calling for stricter gun laws and blaming legislators who balked.

The result after four years: crime totals have fallen, as they have across the country. But Chicago still has more violent crime per capita than New York or Los Angeles, with an average of seven people shot every day…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A real insightful piece, which can be read in its entirety on the Chicago Reader website here.

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

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Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 Credit, Government, Gun Rights, Public Safety No Comments

Illinois Debt Crisis Latest: $9 Billion Annual Deficit, $159 Billion In IOUs

Illinois residents are waking up to disturbing news this morning. From the “Press Room” over on the website of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois:

Illinois faces $9 billion annual deficit and $159 billion in IOUs

New analysis (PDF) by the Fiscal Futures Project finds no easy fix to Illinois’ chronic fiscal imbalance. Illinois now faces a $9 billion annual deficit that will grow to $14 billion by FY 2026.

“Years of pay-later budgeting has resulted in a massive imbalance between sustainable revenue and spending,” said Richard Dye, co-director of the Fiscal Futures Project. “Like a person in deep credit card debt, the state has been spending more than it can afford, and is covering the gap by issuing IOUs.” The report finds that the state’s IOUs now total $159 billion—more than twice the inflow of revenue in a single year. It’s a monumental problem that will require a long-term fiscal plan that includes tax increases, spending cuts, and economic growth.

The report, Apocalypse Now? The Consequences of Pay-Later Budgeting in Illinois, examines what it would take to balance the budget. The options are limited.

• Bringing back the 2011 tax increase would close only about one-half of the gap projected for the next several years.
The problem cannot be solved with spending cuts alone. Because Illinois can’t cut debt service or pension payments, it would take at least a 20 percent cut of all remaining spending to eliminate the deficit. This includes education, corrections, Medicaid, public safety, transportation, and more.
• Economic growth is also not a cure-all: an increase in the growth rate of personal income by an extra one-half percent every year for 10 years (an optimistic scenario) would only have a modest effect on the deficit.

The report concludes: “Changes in awareness, expectations, and policy are needed to restore fiscal balance in Illinois. Being saddled with paying past years’ bills means that today, Illinoisans must reduce their expectations for the services that they can expect from government and be prepared to pay more for government, now and in the future.”

(Editor’s notes: Bold added for emphasis)

Like I blogged a week ago:

A lot less government services. Much higher fees, fines and taxes.

An outcome I see for Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois residents down the road.

And plenty of Illinoisans wonder why their neighbors are high-tailing it out of the “Land of Lincoln.”

You can read a summary fact sheet or the entire report over on the IGPA website here.

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

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