Democrats

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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Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner To Push Drastic Spending Cuts, Sales Tax Hike In Near Future?

Some local news outlets have been giving new Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner a hard time lately, claiming he’s still in “campaign mode” and not providing much in the way of tackling the state’s economic ills.

But yesterday, Illinoisans got a glimpse of one potential measure the Winnetka businessman may turn to for improving the state’s finances. Jessie Hellmann and Ray Long reported on the Chicago Tribune website Thursday:

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner pressed a bit harder Thursday for an expansion of the Illinois sales tax as part of an agenda to right the state’s financial ship.

Using charts and graphs, Rauner explained how surrounding states use broader-based sales taxes than Illinois to take advantage of growing service economies. “We’re not competitive,” Rauner said.

The idea of expanding the state’s sales tax base to include services, such as on auto repairs, dog grooming or haircuts, has been debated in Illinois since the late 1980s. Expansion efforts repeatedly have stalled in the face of heavy resistance, but Rauner outlined how he thinks Illinois is “out of balance” with other states.

“We are not thoughtful about this,” Rauner said, adding that the Illinois sales tax is too high and too narrowly applied.

Expanding the sales tax is one of the few items Rauner repeatedly has mentioned as a part of an unspecific overhaul of the entire tax code, saying Illinois can’t “just nibble around the edges.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

It’s going to take a whole lot more than a sales tax hike to turn around the state’s economic fortunes. And Governor Rauner knows that.

So what other measures could be on his agenda for the near-term?

Rich Miller discussed the governor’s visit to the University of Chicago on January 22 and wrote on the Crain’s Chicago Business website the following day:

What is crystal clear is that he won’t ask for any more revenues without first making deep and even drastic cuts.

The new governor pointed to flat population growth and flat job growth as the roots of the problem.

Without “booming” growth, he said, Illinois can never dig itself out of the hole it’s in. And Rauner always HAS said that high taxes are a hindrance to growth.

Rauner singled out two items for his chopping block. First up, Medicaid spending.

“When you realize our job growth is flat, how do you pay for it?,” Rauner said of Medicaid. “I want to do that, but that is not sustainable.” Medicaid, which pays for everything from childbirth to nursing home care, consumes a quarter of the state’s operating budget, and despite some real reforms almost two years ago, costs are continuing to rise. And that’s a problem when next fiscal year’s budget deficit is being pegged at a whopping $9 billion.

Rauner also claimed state employees make too much money, saying they earn more than private sector workers (which AFSCME rejects, pointing to a recent University of Illinois study) and are the third-highest paid in the country. The number of state workers is declining, Rauner noted, but payroll costs are still increasing. Their health insurance is based on “low contributions” from workers, but has a high cost. So, while workers aren’t chipping in much, “you’re chipping in a lot,” he told his audience…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Deep and even drastic cuts.” “Expansion of the Illinois sales tax.”

It will be interesting to watch how Illinois Democrats- who hold veto-proof supermajorities in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly- react to such proposals if Governor Rauner goes this route.

This could get ugly real quick…

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

Sources:

Hellmann, Jessie and Long, Ray. “Rauner presses for sales tax expansion in U. of I. speech.” Chicago Tribune. 29 Jan. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-bruce-rauner-champaign-appearance-met-0130-20150129-story.html). 30 Jan. 2015.

Miller, Rich. “Watch out: Rauner sharpens his cleaver.” Crain’s Chicago Business. 23 Jan. 2015. (http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20150123/NEWS02/150129882/watch-out-rauner-sharpens-his-cleaver). 30 Jan. 2015.

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Illinois Diaspora Latest: Net Loss Of 94,956 People In State-To-State Migration In 2014

More evidence that Illinoisans are voting with their feet rather than be around as the “Land of Lincoln” is run into the ground. From the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board back on January 6:

Even on days when the temperature is above zero, Illinois struggles to keep people here. They’re leaving, in droves, for states with sunnier economic opportunities.

New census data and other figures reveal the cold hard truth: More people are moving away than coming, tipping Illinois last year into the dreadful category of states with declining populations. From July 2013 to July 2014, Illinois shrank by about 10,000 residents in all

Illinois suffered a net loss of 94,956 people in state-to-state migration last year, the highest rate in decades. That number is one part of an equation involving births, deaths and immigration from other countries that yields the overall population loss. But Illinois’ state-to-state migration loss is the biggest contributor to that overall population decline, Frey says. The last year Illinois had lost population was 1987-88

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The Illinois Diaspora has been a recurring-yet-unwelcome theme on Survival And Prosperity lately. I blogged as recent as January 4:

The Illinois Diaspora continues…

Gregory Karp reported on the Chicago Tribune website Friday afternoon:

Illinois was the No. 3 state in America for outbound moves in 2014, United Van Lines said Friday.

Earlier this week, Allied Van Lines said Illinois was No. 1 for outbound versus inbound moves in 2014, according to its moving data for the year. And Atlas Van Lines said Friday its data also show more people leaving the state than coming, with Illinois ranking second among states with the highest proportion of outbound moves.

Whatever, people sure seem to love to leave Illinois…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’m skeptical that a Republican governor now at the helm will be able to reverse the outflow- or the state’s fortunes- anytime soon. First, the Democrats who have mainly presided over the fiscal mess are pretty much still in power- sans Pat Quinn. Second, I’m awaiting the Rauner administration to announce down the road that “drastic times call for drastic measures” (or something like that) to bring the state’s economy back. I’m guessing those “measures” might not be too appealing to prospective Illinois residents, let alone those already here.

“I’m awaiting the Rauner administration to announce down the road that ‘drastic times call for drastic measures’ (or something like that) to bring the state’s economy back”

Anyone hear Governor Rauner’s multiple mentions of “sacrifice” in his inaugural address just the other day?

Stay tuned…

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

Source:

Editorial Board. “Goodbye, Illinois: residents are leaving for other states.” Chicago Tribune. 6 Jan. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-illinois-census-brookings-edit-0107-20150106-story.html). 15 Jan. 2015.

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‘People Sure Seem To Love To Leave Illinois’

The Illinois Diaspora continues…

Gregory Karp reported on the Chicago Tribune website Friday afternoon:

Illinois was the No. 3 state in America for outbound moves in 2014, United Van Lines said Friday.

Earlier this week, Allied Van Lines said Illinois was No. 1 for outbound versus inbound moves in 2014, according to its moving data for the year. And Atlas Van Lines said Friday its data also show more people leaving the state than coming, with Illinois ranking second among states with the highest proportion of outbound moves.

Whatever, people sure seem to love to leave Illinois…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So where are all those former Illinoisans heading? Oregon, North Carolina, and South Carolina according to Karp.

Oregon? Must be the dream of the 90s being alive in Portland.

Regular Survival And Prosperity readers shouldn’t be surprised to hear about any of this. I blogged back on May 13 of last year:

“Diaspora- the movement, migration, or scattering of a people away from an established or ancestral homeland.”
-Merriam-Webster Online

On April 28, I blogged about a recent Gallup poll which revealed 1 in 4 Illinois residents (25 percent) say the state is the worst place to live.

On May 1, I talked about the same poll and the finding that 50 percent of Illinois respondents said they would leave the state if given the opportunity.

I had previously discussed how Illinoisans were departing the state in significant numbers.

And this morning, I read a commentary piece on the Chicago Tribune website that provided more evidence of a “diaspora” taking place from the “Land of Lincoln.” Diana Sroka Ricker of the Chicago-based non-partisan research organization Illinois Policy Institute wrote:

A startling pair of Gallup polls recently suggested that Illinoisans are an unhappy lot. Half of us would move elsewhere if we could. One in 4 says Illinois is the worst possible place to live in the entire U.S.

Naysayers claim it’s all talk. It isn’t.

Not long after the Gallup polls came out, the Internal Revenue Service released fresh numbers showing which states people are moving to and which states people are fleeing.

Spoiler: Illinois didn’t earn any positive marks in this report, either.

According to the IRS, Illinoisans don’t just want to move; they are moving. And they’ve been moving for a long time.

From 1995 to 2010, Illinois lost more than 850,000 people to other states. That’s after you offset the number of people who actually moved in.

The bleeding is bad; on net, 1 person leaves Illinois every 10 minutes.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’m skeptical that a Republican governor now at the helm will be able to reverse the outflow- or the state’s fortunes- anytime soon. First, the Democrats who have mainly presided over the fiscal mess are pretty much still in power- sans Pat Quinn. Second, I’m awaiting the Rauner administration to announce down the road that “drastic times call for drastic measures” (or something like that) to bring the state’s economy back. I’m guessing those “measures” might not be too appealing to prospective Illinois residents, let alone those already here.

As for me? Permanent residency in Wisconsin is still a possibility, with the move depending quite a bit on how the “Land of Lincoln” fares in the next few years. If it all goes to crap, then there’s a good chance I’ll be seeking refuge behind the “Cheddar Curtain.”

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

Source:

Karp, Gregory. “Another moving survey shows people leaving Illinois.” Chicago Tribune. 2 Jan. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/ct-illinois-outbound-moves-0103-20150102-story.html). 3 Jan. 2015.

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Illinois Named Worst-Run State In America In 2014

“‘We don’t have the time to mess around. We are in deep, deep trouble financially,’ [Illinois Governor-elect Bruce] Rauner told a meeting of the Illinois Farm Bureau at a downtown Chicago hotel. ‘The next 24 months are going to be rough. And I apologize. I ain’t going to be Mr. Popularity for a little while. That’s OK. Four years from now I think, though, everybody will appreciate what we did.’”

-Chicago Tribune website, December 8, 2014

Talk about lists you don’t want to be on. In 2012 and 2013, Illinois was the 3rd worst-run state in the annual best- and worst-run states in America survey conducted by New York City-based financial news and opinion organization 24/7 Wall St.

So how did the “Land of Lincoln” fare in 2014? From the 24/7 Wall St. website on December 3:

How well run is your state? Assessing a state’s management quality is hardly easy. The current economic climate and standard of living in any given state are not only the results of policy choices and developments that occurred in the last few years, but can also be affected by decisions made decades ago, and by forces outside a state’s control.

Each year, 24/7 Wall St. attempts to answer this question by surveying various aspects of each state. To determine how well states are managed, we examine key financial ratios, as well as social and economic outcomes. This year, North Dakota is the best-run state in the country for the third consecutive year, while Illinois replaced California as the worst-run state

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Ouch. Worst part is, the people who brought us this mess are the same ones still in charge, more or less. It will be interesting to see how much of a difference Governor-elect Rauner- who ran on the Republican ticket- can make in the Democrat-controlled state.

24/7 Wall St. went into more detail about my home state’s latest “honor.” From the piece:

Illinois is the worst-run state in the nation. Like many other low-ranked states, more people left Illinois than moved there. Illinois lost more than 137,000 residents due to migration between the middle of 2010 and July 2013. A poor housing market may partly explain the exodus. Median home values fell 16.2% between 2009 and 2013, the second largest drop nationwide. Illinois has extremely poor finances by many measures. Just 39.3% of Illinois’ pension liabilities were funded as of 2013, worse than any other state. Further, the state’s reserves are estimated at just 0.5% of its general fund expenditure, the second lowest reserves rate nationwide. Both Moody’s and S&P gave Illinois the worst credit ratings of any state, at A3 and A- respectively. According to Moody’s, the state’s rating reflects its low fund balances and high pension obligations, as well as its “chronic use of payment deferrals to manage operating fund cash.”

As for our neighbors, Indiana is ranked 28th and Wisconsin comes in at 26th in 2014- down from 19th and 21st- respectively.

That’s quite a hit (9 places) the Hoosiers took from last year. Wonder what’s behind the drop?

Curious as to where 24/7 Wall St. ranked your state in 2014? Head on over to their website here.

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

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Chicago Selected To Join 100 Resilient Cities Network

Nice to see Chicago is finally not on some list you really don’t want to be on.

In all seriousness, the following sounds promising. From the Mayor’s Press Office last Wednesday:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the City of Chicago was selected by the Rockefeller Foundation as one of 35 global cities to join the 100 Resilient Cities Network. The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Network (100RC) includes a leading community of pioneers, innovators, and highly esteemed cities ready to build urban resilience across the globe by improving their own capacities to prepare for, withstand, and bounce back rapidly from shocks and stresses. Chicago was selected for its emergency preparedness, continuing 21st century infrastructure improvements, economic diversity, and urgency to identify, prepare for and combat threats that are most likely to challenge its resiliency. As a part of the award, the City will be granted funding for no less than two years to hire its first Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), as well as expanded resources to strategize and execute long-term goals with a holistic focus on resilience at the neighborhood level…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

If the City of Chicago gets a CRO who’s actually qualified for the position (not picked because of clout/ties to “The Machine”), and doesn’t blow the wad pursuing foolish gun “control” initiatives, they might do okay with this project.

One more thing. What’s got the Rockefeller Foundation so spooked they’re bankrolling this 100 Resilient Cities Network? I’m guessing they’ve come to realize- like I did some years ago- life’s not going to be all about rainbows and unicorns anytime soon.

You can read that entire press release on the City of Chicago website here.

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

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Obama’s Foreign Policy In A Nutshell

I’m going to roll back things a bit today. Last night, I talked about the 1-hour Huckabee TV special “Threats To America” on FOX News. In the segment about China, KT McFarland, the FOX News National Security Analyst and host of FoxNews.com’s DEFCON 3, talked about how the Obama administration perceives our nation’s place on the world stage. McFarland told Huckabee viewers:

This administration came into office not thinking America should be the greatest power in the world. They thought if America gets taken back a peg or two, that’s going to make the world a better place. They don’t think America has necessarily been a force of good in the world. And as a result, they’re very comfortable with seeing the rising China, the rising Middle East, the rising Iran. And why? Because they think if America steps back, then somehow this global community is going to be in charge of things and we’ll all be at peace. When in fact, if it’s not America, then who is it? It’s Chinese rules. It’s Moscow rules. It’s Tehran rules. Or, even worse, it’s complete chaos.


KT McFarland on Obama’s foreign policy (starts at 2:37)
YouTube Video

I consider myself a lifelong student of U.S. foreign policy and international relations. And even have some academic and work experience in these areas as well. Having followed this administration’s dealings with the rest of the world since day one, I’d have to say McFarland- who’s held national security posts in the Nixon, Ford, Reagan administrations- seems pretty much spot-on in her assessment of Obama’s foreign policy.

“Somehow this global community is going to be in charge of things and we’ll all be at peace”

I used to think this might be possible (mostly skeptical however) back when I was a college/graduate student.

Then I wised up after observing how the real world works.

Got realpolitik? Because China, Russia, and Iran sure as hell do.

Remember what one of Barack Obama’s predecessors- John F. Kennedy- warned:

Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us.

Amen to that. I’m not saying idealism is necessarily a bad thing. Just that U.S. foreign policy makers need to start “keeping it real” again, as other nations will pursue national self-interest over the “global good” when the situation arises, the two cannot be mutually-satisfied, and the perceived benefits outweigh the costs.

When America “gets taken back a peg or two,” in many cases spurning the greater good (and inviting the ire of Uncle Sam/others) doesn’t look nearly as “expensive” as it once did.

And some still wonder why China, Russia, Iran, and others have been so active on the international stage the last couple of years…

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

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2015 Cook County Budget Holds Line On Taxes, Fines, And Fees- For Now

Cook County residents dodged a bullet this time around.

John Byrne and Hal Dardick reported on the Chicago Tribune website Friday:

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Friday won easy approval for her $4 billion 2015 budget proposal that includes no new taxes, fines or fees

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

For now. Byrne and Dardick added:

Preckwinkle earlier this year warned that the 2016 budget will be far more difficult to balance because debt payments will grow and the county will need to pay $144 million more into the county workers’ retirement system if she secures the pension fund changes she seeks from the General Assembly…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know I suspect those “new taxes, fines, or fees” are coming soon. I wrote back on May 22:

Last week, I blogged about the possibility of property and/or sales taxes going up soon in Cook County, Illinois. Dave McKinney and Brian Slodysko reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website on May 13 the hikes might occur as part of a pension “reform” bill.

Hal Dardick and Monique Garcia added on the Chicago Tribune website tonight:

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle hit Springfield Thursday to try to build support for changes to the county pension plan that she says would halt its ongoing decline toward insolvency.

She met with Senate President John Cullerton House Speaker Michael Madigan, both Chicago Democrats, and also Republican legislative leaders. “I think she’s got a good chance to pass this bill,” Madigan said afterward…

Although Preckwinkle has not identified how she would pay for her plan, it calls for the county to put $144 million a year into the pension fund. If funded with property taxes, that would cost the average homeowner up to $65 more a year, starting in 2017, according to one internal county document the Tribune obtained.

Preckwinkle, however, said Wednesday that she has closed even larger budget gaps through cuts and other, smaller scale tax and fee increases without raising property taxes — while also lowering the county sales tax by a half-cent on the dollar…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Yet, McKinney and Slodysko wrote last week:

County officials do not believe they can cut enough from the budget to cover the cost, the source said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Only a matter of time now before those hikes kick in. As I also noted in that May post:

What’s that line I keep repeating on this blog?

Higher fees, fines, and taxes. Less government services.

As much as I hate saying it, that’s what Chicago and Cook County residents should be preparing themselves for down the road.

I’d say that probably applies to all Americans, come to think of it.

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

Source:

Byrne, John and Dardick, Hal. “Preckwinkle wins easy approval of $4 billion budget.” Chicago Tribune. 14 Nov. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-cook-county-budget-met-1115-20141114-story.html). 17 Nov. 2014.

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Quote For The Week

“Have you met Joe Biden?”

-U.S. Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC 4th District), on impeaching President Obama for issuing an Executive Order granting amnesty to illegal immigrants in the United States

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

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Hacker ‘Guccifer’: Chicago Targeted For Nuclear Attack In 2015

The recently-apprehended hacker known as “Guccifer” (Marcel-Lehel Lazar, an unemployed 43-year-old Romanian) is in the news today for something he told The New York Times while meeting with them. Andrew Higgins reported on the Times website yesterday:

Before agreeing to answer questions from The New York Times in prison, where he shares a cell with four others, including two convicted murderers, he read out a lengthy handwritten statement that he said explained the purpose of his hacking.

A potpourri of conspiracy theories about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the 1997 death of Princess Diana and alleged plans for a nuclear attack in Chicago in 2015, it said: “This world is run by a group of conspirators called the Council of Illuminati, very rich people, noble families, bankers and industrialists from the 19th and 20th century.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The Times article didn’t elaborate on the supposed nuclear strike. And as far as I can tell there’s been no mention of it elsewhere out in cyberspace.

Assuming “Guccifer” isn’t spinning this tale in an attempt to save his hide, some are already jumping to the conclusion that such an attack would be a “false flag” event perpetrated by this Illuminati.

But what if Mr. Lazar discovered the plans within the e-mails of those powerful individuals whose accounts he was known to hack? In other words, they had intelligence about the coming nuke attack in their possession (it’s conceivable having such power/prestige might afford them that privilege) but the event wouldn’t be of their doing.

If not them, then who?

Consider what I blogged back on June 1:

WBBM (Chicago) Political Editor Craig Dellimore recently interviewed Robert Holley, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Chicago, for the WBBM Newsradio show At Issue. From their exchange that was uploaded on the show’s web page today:

DELLIMORE: With all the headlines about street gangs, shootings, and corruption in and around Chicago, I think people can sometimes forget that terrorism is still a threat here, and is a major focus of what the FBI has to do. We haven’t had a major attack here- though there have been some plots thwarted. How real is the threat of terrorism these days?
HOLLEY: I would say, Craig, that the threat that we face now is probably more so than right after 9/11. Al-Qaeda Central has been thwarted in many of the attacks that they have been trying to conduct here in the West and against our allied partners overseas. Through Osama bin Laden being killed, and other leaders within core Al-Qaeda- the core leadership within Al-Qaeda- over the last several years, their ability to plan and conduct operations has been limited. What happened is, it is diffused to other groups. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula- we call them AQAP. Al-Qaeda in Islamic Magreb- AQIM. Al Nusra in Syria. So these are all significant threats- terrorism threats. Although they are headquartered overseas, they have an intent to strike here in the West. And they are actively plotting, recruiting, and training to conduct attacks here in the United States.
DELLIMORE: Is some of this theoretical, or do investigators uncover more concrete signs that Chicago could be a target, at least more so than we average folks might realize?
HOLLEY: I would never describe it as being theoretical. It is an actual threat. And there is no community in the United States that is immune from an attack on their communities. We saw what happened in Boston by two homegrown violent extremists. There have been multiple disruptions through different JTTF (unintelligible word) throughout the FBI in the United States over the last several years. You can look at Lubbock, Texas. Not a large metropolitan area, but had a significant attempt to conduct a terrorist attack there…

“The threat that we face now is probably more so than right after 9/11.”

Something for Chicago-area readers to chew on.

Personally, I suspect that if the bad guys got their hands on a nuke, New York City and Lower Manhattan in particular (Wall Street, One World Trade Center) would be in their crosshairs because of its economic and symbolic value. Washington, D.C., would be a close second due to its political importance.

As for Chicago? Well, some would argue Muslim extremists can’t do much more damage to the city than “The Machine” hasn’t already done.

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

Source:

Higgins, Andrew. “For Guccifer, Hacking Was Easy. Prison Is Hard.” The New York Times. 10 Nov. 2014. (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/11/world/europe/for-guccifer-hacking-was-easy-prison-is-hard-.html?_r=0). 11 Nov. 2014.

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Glenn Beck: ‘I Think We’re In The Most Dangerous Period Now Than The Republic Has Been In Since The Civil War’

Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Glenn Beck, the American television/radio host and producer, political commentator, author, and entrepreneur down at his Dallas studio. I was already familiar with his work from FOX News and TheBlaze, and in-person he seemed like a pretty knowledgeable guy who’s able to grasp the big picture in terms of where our country is most likely heading. Here’s what the host of The Glenn Beck Program is saying these days about where U.S. President Barack Obama is going to try and take the country now that the midterm elections are over. To which he adds a dire warning. In an exchange with Bill O’Reilly on The O’Reilly Factor Wednesday night:

O’REILLY: So you’re sitting there with your pie up and your Fred MacMurray sweater and you’re watching the returns roll in- what are you saying to yourself? Are you cheering? Is it good for you? Do you feel vindicated? What’s the feeling?
BECK: My feeling is the President is disconnected from the American people entirely. You saw there was no humility in his press conference today. And he is also disconnected from the Democrats. Hillary Clinton has already separated herself, so now she’s going to play the moderate. He announced yesterday when the election was still going on- that’s usually when the president is quiet- he came out yesterday and said by Christmas he will have his Executive Order on illegal immigration. I think this president- and I hope this is not true- but I think this president is going to go more radical. He doesn’t have anything to lose. He is going to super-serve the uber-left. And the Republicans are not prepared for this. They’re playing politics circa 1975. And they’re not going to be prepared for it. I think we have a very bad scenario headed our way where somebody- because the Democrats won’t be blamed on it because they’ll say “We didn’t have anything to do with it” and “You know what? We’re not as extreme as he is.” And so somebody is going to be able to play the middle ground between the evil Republicans and this president. And I think it could get ugly. I think we’re in the most dangerous period now than the Republic has been in since the Civil War. From now until probably spring of 2017…


FOX News Video

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

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Oak Park And Cook County Referenda For More Gun ‘Control’ In Illinois, U.S.

Here’s the latest from “ground zero” for gun “control” in the United States. Voters in Cook County and Oak Park (Cook County, Illinois) will have the opportunity to vote on the following referenda in next week’s election. For Cook County voters:

Shall the Illinois General Assembly enact the Illinois Public Safety Act (Senate Bill 3659) which would require universal background checks for firearm transfers and prohibit the sale and transfer of assault weapons, assault weapon attachments and high capacity ammunition magazines?

And for Oak Park Township voters:

Shall the Federal Government enact legislation requiring universal background checks of criminal and mental health history records for all transfers of ownership or possession of firearms, including transfers which occur at gun shows, over the internet and privately, as a step toward preventing the ownership or possession of firearms by criminals and those with serious mental illnesses, and as a step toward preventing gun trafficking altogether?

Regarding that Cook County referendum- I understand its primary purpose (along with other referenda appearing on the November 4 ballot) is to energize Democrats to vote in this mid-term election.

As for that Oak Park referendum- Your guess is as good as mine. I’m going to go with making a statement, seeing that both referenda are non-binding.

I will say this though. After the next mass shooting or terrorist attack on American soil with a significant number of casualties, expect the results of both (should voters “approve” them) to be trotted out by various politicians pushing more gun “control.”

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

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Chicago Faces $297 Million Budget Shortfall In 2015, $588 Million Deficit By 2017

I’ve been wanting to blog about the latest City of Chicago annual financial analysis for some time now. This afternoon I’m finally getting that chance. From Fran Spielman (who’s done a terrific job breaking those analyses down the past couple years I’ve been paying attention to them) on the Chicago Sun-Times website back in August:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has ruled out a pre-election increase in property or sales taxes, but he’ll have to find another way to close a $297.3 million budget gap that assumes the Illinois General Assembly will lift the pension hammer hanging over Chicago.

State law requires the city to make a $550 million contribution to shore up police and fire pension funds that have assets to cover just 30 and 24 percent of their respective liabilities.

If Emanuel chooses to fund the payment with property taxes, the city’s levy must be raised in 2015 so bills issued the following year reflect the increase.

Instead of including that payment in the financial analysis now used as a substitute for Chicago’s preliminary budget, the mayor left it out, assuming he will get both revenue and reform before the payment is due

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

$297.3 million budget shortfall for Chicago in 2015- assuming the city gets “relief” from that State of Illinois-mandated $550 million pension fund contribution.

From what I’ve read, that looks to be a big assumption.

Still, the projected 2015 budget gap that’s being advertised by City Hall is significantly rosier than a year ago (big election coming up in February 2015 you know).

I blogged back on August 1, 2013:

The latest financial analysis is out, and the budget gap in 2014 is projected to be $339 million. Still crappy, but a lot better than what could be in store for the “Windy City” by 2015. Hal Dardick reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

The day of financial reckoning for Chicago is not far off, with the city budget shortfall expected to near a record $1 billion in 2015 if major changes are not made to the government worker pension systems, city officials said Wednesday.

That stark assessment, contained in the annual financial analysis prepared by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s top budget officials, overshadowed the fact that the city needs to close an expected $339 million budget gap predicted for next year.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Returning to that Sun-Times piece from this August, Spielman added:

As for the more manageable, $297.3 million gap, sales and property taxes are off the table. But [Budget Director Alexandra] Holt refused to rule out other tax and fee hikes after exhausting further cost-cutting that might include layoffs

Last year’s financial analysis projected a $338.7 million shortfall that would balloon to $994.7 million in 2015 and $1.15 billion in 2016 without a painful mix of employee concessions and new revenues. This year’s version takes the 2017 shortfall down to $587.7 million, but only if the mayor’s risky assumptions are correct.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

That classic Benny Hill skit about why one shouldn’t assume things comes to mind right now.

Okay. Looking at the actual 2014 annual financial analysis on my laptop screen right now, I see that $297.3 million budget shortfall projected for Chicago in 2015, a $430.2 million gap in 2016, and that $587.7 million deficit in 2017 that Spielman mentioned.

The trend is definitely not Rahm’s and the City’s friend in this instance.

Here’s what I see going down for the “Windy City.” The Machine will mobilize as many kissing cousins (Democrats elsewhere in the state) as it can to get Mayor Emanuel his much-desired pension “reform.” Basically “kicking the can down the road.” If full reform isn’t achieved, perhaps partial “relief”?.

Of course, the City of Chicago will still have those snowballing budget shortfalls to contend with. At first, I anticipate a lot of stupid spending still going on, with only some belt-tightening and layoffs here and there (“Kiss Your Clout’s Ass” Day soon to be a much celebrated event?). And fees, fines, and taxes will be heading up (but not property and sales taxes initially). But I suspect as Chicago’s “day of reckoning” gets closer, all these measures will be intensified.

Think major cost-cutting in conjunction with a much stronger attempt to increase incoming revenues.

Like my forecast for the rest of the nation- regrettably, I see things getting a lot worse before they get better again.

You can view the entire 2014 City of Chicago Annual Financial Analysis on the City of Chicago website here (.pdf format).

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

Source:

Spielman, Fran. “City budget puts off day of reckoning until after election.” Chicago Sun-Times. 1 Aug. 2014. (http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/city-budget-puts-day-reckoning-until-after-election/fri-08012014-1210am). 23 Sep. 2014.

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General McInerney’s September 7 Mystery Book Revealed?

Earlier today, I wrote the following on Survival And Prosperity:

On Monday, I learned retired United States Air Force Lieutenant General and FOX News military analyst Thomas McInerney had issued a dire warning regarding terrorism directed against the United States. The former commander of the 11th Air Force appeared on the FOX News Channel last Saturday, and told viewers:

On the 7th of September, a major news network and a major publishing network are going to put out a book, and it’s going to be earth-shattering of what’s happening and what happened. And, the fact is, we may even see on 9/11/14 MH370 resurface again. We should be prepared for anything. We should go to DEFCON 1- which is our highest state of readiness- and be prepared as we lead up to 9/11.

When pressed for more details about that September 7 date, McInerney said he couldn’t elaborate. He did add:

It is going to be extremely important, and America should take notice…

While I noted that “a quick search of the Internet revealed nothing except speculation,” earlier this evening I decided to take another crack at identifying this mysterious book General McInerney said would be coming out on September 7, 2014.

I think I may have succeeded.

Sifting through coming releases on Amazon.com, I spotted this book:

The REAL Benghazi Story: What the White House and Hillary Don’t Want You to Know, by Aaron Klein.

According to its description:

Bigger than Watergate! Bigger than Iran-Contra!

Ten times bigger than both, Rep. Steve King has said.

The Benghazi scandal may have been covered up by the White House, but the truth is about to come out. “The Real Benghazi Story” is a groundbreaking investigative work that finally exposes some of the most significant issues related to the murderous September 11, 2012, attack – information with current national security implications. Investigative journalist and New York Times bestselling author Aaron Klein provides the answers many have longed for, from the secretive activities transpiring inside the doomed facility to shocking new details about the withholding of critical protection at the U.S. special mission. Learn about what really happened to Ambassador Chris Stevens that ill-fated night, the central role Hillary Clinton actually played in the scandal – and more! Also answered for the first time is why the State Department hired armed members of the al-Qaeda-linked February 17 Martyrs Brigade to protect the facility. New reasons are revealed for not sending air support or Special Forces during the assault, while extensively probing not only jihadist groups but also possible state actors behind the attack. These are just some of the new details to be revealed in this game-changing book.

Now, General McInerney said:

On the 7th of September, a major news network and a major publishing network are going to put out a book…

WND (formerly WorldNetDaily) fits the bill for that major news network/publishing network description. From WND.com:

Founded by Joseph and Elizabeth Farah in May 1997, it is now a leading Internet news site in both traffic and influence…

WND consistently ranks as the “stickiest” news site on the Internet, meaning readers spent more time on it than on any other – including giants CNN, MSNBC and ESPN.

WND often ranks at the top of the news pack in number of pageviews per user and minutes per page – two other important categories measured by Internet ratings agencies.

It is a Top 500 website, according to Alexa.com, the search and ratings agency affiliate of Amazon.com, and the No. 1 independent news site. WND currently attracts nearly 5 million unique visitors a month and more than 40 million pageviews, according to its own internal monitoring software.

WND also has a publishing arm- WND Books- that was founded in 2002 by the Farahs and has multiple New York Times best-sellers to its credit.

As to that September 7 date? Well, according to those vendors that will be selling Klein’s book, the release date of The REAL Benghazi Story isn’t until 2 days later- September 9. Now, release dates being postponed/pushed back is not unheard of. Perhaps that was the case here and McInerney hadn’t been informed about the change when he appeared on FOX News last Saturday. Or maybe he really meant the book is being released the week of September 7, seeing that the day falls on a Sunday?

I have one more reason to believe The REAL Benghazi Story is the “earth-shattering” book General McInerney was talking about.

Both are closely associated with the September 11, 2012, event in which a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked and resulted in American casualties.

Tatiana Lozano wrote on the CNSNews.com website on June 18, 2014:

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney says he believes the evidence will show that President Obama and top administration officials were guilty of a “dereliction of duty” both during and after the deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya that cost the lives of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

“Verification of what the National Command Authority knew and when they knew it is extremely important as it will show, I believe, that there was dereliction of duty by the President, the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of State, and the CIA Director,” Lt. Gen. McInerney said at a joint conference with military and legal experts held by the Heritage Foundation and the Benghazi Accountability Coalition on Monday.

“That is a very serious charge. That is a very serious charge, and it was done in violation of the law of the United States,” declared Gen. McInerney, who served as an assistant vice chief of staff in the Air Force’s Washington headquarters, and was part of a group calling for a select committee to investigate the events in Benghazi back in March…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I wonder if Klein has been able to determine “what the National Command Authority knew and when they knew it”?

And prove Thomas McInerney’s suspicions correct.

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

Source:

Lozano, Tatiana. “Gen. McInerney: Evidence Will Show ‘Dereliction of Duty’ in Benghazi.” CNSNews.com. 18 June 2014. (http://cnsnews.com/news/article/tatiana-lozano/gen-mcinerney-evidence-will-show-dereliction-duty-benghazi). 27 Aug. 2014.

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Proposed National ‘Enhanced’ Body Armor Ban Details

Speaking of body armor tonight, have you heard of the federal legislation that’s been proposed by a California Democratic Congressman to ban Americans not in the military or law enforcement from selling, purchasing, using, and possessing such personal protective gear? From the website of U.S. Representative Mike Honda (D-CA, 17th District):

Responsible Body Armor Possession Act Keeps Military Armor out of the Wrong Hands

Congressman Honda’s act bans the sale and possession of new enhanced body armor

Jul 31, 2014 Press Release

Washington, DC- Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA17) today introduced the Responsible Body Armor Possession Act of 2014, which allows law enforcement to respond to active shooters more effectively. It accomplishes this by prohibiting the sale, purchase, use, or possession of enhanced military-grade body armor by anyone who is not a member of law enforcement, active duty military, or other authorized users.

“There is no reason this type of armor, which is designed for warfare, should be available in our communities except for those who need it, like law enforcement,” Congressman Honda said. “There’s nothing more dangerous than what a well-armored, unstoppable active shooter can do. This bill is common-sense and long overdue.”

The U.S. News & World Report website highlighted the finer points of the proposed “enhanced” body armor ban. Steven Nelson reported August 8:

Honda’s “Responsible Body Armor Possession Act,” introduced July 31, would prohibit civilians from buying or owning armor – including vests, shields, helmets and other items – rated Type III or higher on the National Institute of Justice’s penetration resistance scale…

Weaker armor rated Type I or Type II would remain available to the public if the legislation becomes law. However, many bullet-resistant items on the market now, such as bulletproof backpacks for school children, are rated Type III and would therefore be banned.

The ban would not apply to body armor already in private hands, but Honda says law enforcement might want to encourage people to turn in the items anyhow. “If there are records of sales [law enforcement] could track those down,” he says…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’m not so sure this bill has got much mileage.

While those who support it may think doing so will create or enhance a “tough on crime” image, constituents may instead interpret this proposed ban as what some are claiming is yet another attempt by those in Washington to reduce the American citizenry into unarmed, now unprotected sheep ready to be led to the slaughterhouse if it comes to that.

“Oh, behaaave!”

Anyway, below is a copy of the legislation:

Body Armor Ban Bill


H.R.5344, Responsible Body Armor Possession Act of 2014
Scribd File

You can track the progress of the proposed “enhanced” body armor ban legislation over on Congress.gov here.

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

Source:

Nelson, Steven. “Congressman Guns for High-Performance Body Armor Ban.” U.S. News & World Report. 8 Aug. 2014. (http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/08/08/congressman-guns-for-high-performance-body-armor-ban). 12 Aug. 2014.

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