local government

Signs Of The Time, Part 101

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed “spelling” seems to be less important to a growing number of Americans these days?

Genevieve Bookwalter reported on the Chicago Tribune website on April 28:

Outraged Naperville residents are demanding that Hassert Boulevard be renamed, mistakenly believing the road honors former U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, who admitted this week he sexually abused students when he was a Yorkville high school wrestling coach.

Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico said he’s received dozens of emails from angry constituents.

“People are upset,” Chirico said. “You have a street named after a pedophile?”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Bookwalter continued:

The confusion also prompted the village of Bolingbrook to post a note on its website, http://www.bolingbrook.com, alerting residents that the street name was Hassert, not Hastert.

On his Facebook page, Bolingbrook mayor Roger Claar posted a photo of a sign reading, “Hassert Blvd is Named After The Hassert Family NOT Dennis Hastert The former Speaker.” Claar said Thursday evening that his staff will post six of the blue-and-white metal signs, which stand about three feet by five feet, along Hassert Boulevard by the end of the day Friday

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I don’t know what’s worse. That people can’t tell the difference between “Hastert” and “Hassert,” or that taxpayer money may have been needed to address this shortcoming.

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

Source:

Bookwalter, Genevieve. “Outraged residents confuse Hassert, Hastert; demand street sign removal.” Naperville Sun. 28 Apr. 2016. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/naperville-sun/news/ct-nvs-naperville-hassert-confusion-st-0429-20160428-story.html). 3 May 2016.

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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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SP Intel Report- December 1, 2015

I hope Survival And Prosperity readers had a nice Thanksgiving holiday. I’m going to keep the SP Intel Report short and local tonight as I get back into the swing of things.

Chicagoland

Chicago Thanksgiving Holiday Shootings Leave 8 Dead, At Least 20 Others Wounded

The long holiday weekend was a bloody one for Chicago. It was reported on the Fox 32 (Chicago) website Monday morning that 8 people were killed and at least 20 others wounded in shootings across the city. According to the HeyJackass! website this afternoon, the “Windy City” has tallied 2,750 shootings and 464 homicides year-to-date. Yikes.

‘Magnificent Mile’ Retailers Say Protest On Black Friday Resulted In Sales ‘25 Percent To 50 Percent Below Projections’

Kim Janssen reported on the Chicago Tribune website Monday afternoon:

Activists who blocked the entrances to stores on North Michigan Avenue on Black Friday to protest the fatal shooting of a black teenager by a white Chicago cop may have split opinions with their tactics.

But their goal of forcing retailers to suffer economic pain on what’s historically the busiest shopping day of the year was a success, according to unhappy store staff and managers who said Monday that Black Friday sales on the Magnificent Mile were 25 percent to 50 percent below projections

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

As if the city of Chicago needed more financial misery heaped on it these days.

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy Fired

“I’ve never quit on anything in my life. I’m 56 years old. Don’t expect that to change… The mayor has made it very clear that he has my back…”

-Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy on November 27, 2015, in response to calls for his resignation post-Laquan McDonald shooting video release


“FNN: Garry McCarthy out as Chicago Police Superintendent”
YouTube Video

“The mayor has made it very clear that he has my back”

Famous last words .

While I wasn’t a fan of Superintendent McCarthy, I do thank him for his several years of public service on behalf of the residents of Chicago.

Illinois

Illinois State Rifle Association Issues ‘Urgent Alert’ On Prepping For Terrorism

While I haven’t been following the activities of the Illinois State Rifle Association for long, I don’t think I’ve ever seen them this worked up about such an issue. From a November 14 Facebook post:

URGENT ALERT –
DO NOT PUT YOUR FAMILY SECURITY ON THE BACK BURNER
EVENTS IN PARIS ARE JUST A WARM UP EXERCISE
YOU MUST ARM AND TRAIN YOUR FAMILY TO ENSURE SURVIVAL

People around the world were treated today to a brutal spectacle having its roots in political naivety, ignorance of history, and wholly misguided immigration policy. Does that sound familiar? It should, because it aptly describes not only to the French government, but the sitting U.S. administration as well.

If you are of the mind of, “…it can’t happen here” then you are sorely deluded. The apparatus to launch a Paris-style bloodbath is already in place here in the United States. All these determined terrorists are waiting for is the go-head from their higher headquarters.

We may be only hours or even moments away from the news that dozens if not hundreds of Americans – just like you and your family – are laying dead or dying in a heap on the floor of some sporting, shopping or entertainment venue. We may be only hours or even moments away from hearing about how the police are looking for “…a few extremists” responsible from the carnage.

It’s not a question as to whether this is going to happen here, because it will. The real question is whether you are prepared to stand and protect what is yours. Are you prepared and able to defend yourself and your family? When the inevitable moment of truth arrives, are you willing to stand and fight or will you be content to play dead – hoping desperately that it is not your day to die?

The survival of you and your family is not mere fodder for some analysis of the war on terror – it’s a cultural imperative. As an American, you are very fortunate that you have a formula for survival and it’s called the Second Amendment. However, the power of any right is directly proportional to how vigorously it is exercised. Left unattended, the rights you enjoy under our Second Amendment will wither away.

To better the chances of survival for you and your family, the Illinois State Rifle Association urges you to do the following:

1. Make sure every person in your family holds a FOID card and that all eligible family members hold Illinois concealed carry permits.
2. Assemble a family defense arsenal consisting of one or more semiautomatic rifles such as the AR-15; one or more 12-gauge pump action shotguns, and one or more semiautomatic handguns. If you do not have a family defense arsenal, this is a good weekend to begin putting it together.
3. Be sure that you and every member of your family have had sufficient training in the use and field servicing of the weapons in your family defense arsenal.
4. Be sure that you have sufficient quantities of the proper ammunition on hand to defend your family.
5. Resolve this weekend to get yourself and your family into a physical training regimen. Your physical conditioning may be the difference between life and death during a Paris-style attack.
6. Encourage your extended family and friends to develop plans for protecting self and family from the threat of terror our government takes so lightly.

You have to understand that this is not a battle you can hire someone else to fight for you. When the time comes, you may very well find yourself standing nose to nose with a guy intent upon obliterating you, your culture, and everything you hold sacred.

Are you prepared?

Disturbing. Yet nothing to scoff at, as I too believe it’s only a matter of time before a major terror attack is launched by jihadists against the U.S.

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

Sources:

“8 killed, 20 wounded in Thanksgiving weekend shootings across Chicago.” Sun-Times Media Wire. 30 Nov. 2015. (http://www.fox32chicago.com/news/crime/54615863-story). 1 Dec. 2015.

Janssen, Kim. “Michigan Avenue Black Friday protests cost stores 25-50 percent of sales.” Chicago Tribune. 30 Nov. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-black-friday-mag-mile-fallout-1201-biz-20151130-story.html). 1 Dec. 2015.

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SP Intel Report- November 13, 2015

Chicagoland

DIY Solar Electricity, Window Farming For Beginners Classes From The Green Suite

Nick Conrad and The Green Suite will be putting on DIY Solar Electricity and Window Farming for Beginners classes over the next couple of weeks:

DIY Solar Electricity (class #1)
Wednesday, November 18, 7 to 9 PM
The Green Suite, 3958 N. Fremont, Apt. 3, Chicago
$30 to attend, 2 spots left as I type this

Window Farming For Beginners
Wednesday, December 2, 7 to 9 PM
The Green Suite
$30 to attend, 8 spots left

DIY Solar Electricity (class #2)
Tuesday, December 15, 7 to 9 PM
The Green Suite
$30 to attend, 5 spots left

For more information, head on over to The Green Suite website here.

Cook County Finance Committee Approves Ammunition Tax

It comes as no surprise that Cook County, Illinois, aims to tax law-abiding firearm owners in the county for the actions of criminals- yet again. Earlier this week I mentioned Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle had proposed a tax on ammunition sales in the county. Today, the Cook County Finance Committee approved the proposal. Hal Dardick reported on the Chicago Tribune website tonight:

The Finance Committee on Friday approved a series of other new taxes and fees. They include… A new tax on bullets- 5 cents per round of “centerfire ammunition” and 1 cent per round of “rimfire ammunition”- to raise $320,000 a year for public safety and health programs.

Todd Vandermyde, Illinois lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, said the county could expect a court challenge on the bullet fee, just as it is battling a lawsuit against a $25-per-gun purchase tax that went into effect two years ago.

“It seems interesting that the county wants to go down this road again, because you’ll incur even more litigation with a new suit to deal with this issue,” Vandermyde said, noting the relatively small sum the bullet tax is expected to bring in…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

See you in court? I’d be curious to find out how much that $25-per-gun purchase tax lawsuit has cost Cook County taxpayers to date.

Illinois

Illinois State Rifle Association Warns Of State Gun Control Legislation

Still on the topic of firearms tonight, gun control is on the march here in the “Land of Lincoln.” And the Illinois State Rifle Association has identified new initiatives that threaten the Second Amendment. From the ISRA Thursday Bulletin’s “Executive Director’s Message” for November 12, 2015:

In Springfield we have a couple of troublesome House Resolutions introduced. The first of these is HR0830 (Flowers, D-31, Chicago). HR 0830 calls for President Obama to hold a National Conference on Gun Violence by the end of 2015, in Chicago. This of course would be a blame the law abiding gun owners conference more than anything else. There are only 49 days left this year so it would have to happen quickly.

The next resolution, (Welch, D-7, Hillside), urges the courts, especially the Supreme Court, to adhere to the clear wording of the Second Amendment, being a right afforded to state sponsored militias, not individuals (this is their wording, not mine). What this clearly points out is that the Second Amendment is under attack. If you are not disturbed by this, you should be…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can read the entire Thursday Bulletin via the ISRA’s Twitter page here.

International

My thoughts and prayers go out to France this evening. While appalled, I am not shocked to hear of the Paris terror attack however. For a couple of years now I’ve talked about the November 2008 Mumbai, India, slaughter being emulated by terrorists. Almost a year ago to this day I blogged:

Something tells me our friends in Western Europe might suffer a major terrorist attack before a strike against the United States…

And on January 7, 2015, I wrote:

I still predict major terrorist attacks having the potential of inflicting large numbers of casualties will be directed against America and its allies in the future. The possible culprits being several, but including Muslim extremists like Al-Qaeda and its affiliates…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Captain Obvious strikes again? Perhaps. But the notion of a large scale terror attack directed against the United States and/or its allies doesn’t appear to have been registering on the radars of lots of people these days. With a laughable economic “recovery” and plenty of distractions in play by the powers-that-be, who could blame them?

After the carnage in France, America and her allies remain in the crosshairs of the terrorists. Stay safe…

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

Source:

Dardick, Hal. “Preckwinkle wins hotel tax, declines to rule out future hikes.” Chicago Tribune. 13 Nov. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-preckwinkle-hotel-tax-cook-county-met-20151113-story.html). 13 Nov. 2015.

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SP Intel Report- November 11, 2015

Chicagoland

Moody’s Predicts Chicago’s Unfunded Pension Liabilities Could Grow For At Least Another Decade

Regrettably, the City of Chicago’s pension crisis is far from being resolved. From a press release out of Moody’s Global Credit Research division Tuesday:

New York, November 10, 2015 — Today, Moody’s Investors Service released a scenario analysis of the City of Chicago’s (Ba1 negative) possible pension funding paths. The scenarios incorporate the city’s recently adopted property tax increase as well as the outcomes of two key decisions pending with the State of Illinois (Baa1 negative) and the Illinois Supreme Court. The analysis indicates that, despite significantly increasing its contributions to its pension plans, Chicago’s unfunded pension liabilities could grow, at a minimum, for another ten years.

“Chicago’s statutory pension contributions will remain insufficient to arrest growth in unfunded pension liabilities for many years under each scenario,” Moody’s AVP-Analyst Matthew Butler says in the new report, “Chicago’s Pension Roadmap: A Scenario Analysis.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for empashis)

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

National

U.S. Adults Over 30 Are Less Happy Than Their Predecessors

I spotted the following yesterday on the MarketWatch website. Catey Hill reported Monday night:

It all goes downhill after 30 — at least when it comes to happiness.

“Adults over 30 are less happy than their predecessors,” concludes a study published online Thursday in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science, which examined happiness data from more than 50,000 adults, gleaned from the General Social Survey, carried out by NORC at the University of Chicago, a nonpartisan, independent research organization, which has collected information about American adults since 1972.

From 2010 to 2014, adults over 30 had an average happiness score of just 2.18, compared with 2.24 a decade ago. That’s significant considering happiness scores were measured on a tiny scale from just 1 to 3, with 1 being “not too happy” and 3 being “very happy.” (The data used five-year cohort periods so that single year fluctuations were smoothed out.)

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A graph within the article depicted happiness scores by age over time. Something stood out right away for me looking at the measure for the “30 or older” crowd. Happiness scores rose from around 1993 until 2001- then plummeted ever since. In 1993, I remember older classmates of mine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign saying the job market was pretty rough (but better than recent years where graduate school was a popular option). Lots of bad economic news as well back in 2001. Hill added later:

What’s perhaps even more interesting is that, for the first time ever, adults ages 18 to 29 were happier than adults over 30

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The authors weren’t sure why “younger adults are happier than older ones for the first time in at least 40 years.” I’d like to offer up one possible explanation for some in that demographic:


“Cartman sends his mother to the store”
YouTube Video

In all seriousness, I come across a lot of miserable stuff on a daily basis while conducting research for this blog and other projects. I try to keep upbeat by remembering:

1. While I still see a financial crash in store for us, I don’t envision the end of the world taking place. Although it could be the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI).
2. Life ain’t fair. Nobody’s perfect. Just do the best you can.
3. God’s got my back. And I’ll try to be the best Christian I can.

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

Source:

Hill, Catey. “Americans over 30 are more miserable than they’ve ever been.” MarketWatch. 9 Nov. 2015. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/americans-over-30-are-more-miserable-than-theyve-ever-been-2015-11-09). 11 Nov. 2015.

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SP Intel Report- November 10, 2015

Chicagoland

Cook County Ammo Tax Ordinance To Be Heard Friday, November 13

Within yesterday’s SP Intel Report, I mentioned that Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle is proposing a tax on ammunition sales in the county. The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action reported on its website Monday:

Cook County Board of Commissioners has proposed Ordinance 15-6469, a proposal to impose a tax on ammunition, similar to proposals reported on in the past. This ordinance will be heard on Friday, November 13, at 1:00 p.m., by the Cook County Board of Commissioners Finance Committee.

This proposal would impose a $0.05/cartridge tax on all centerfire ammunition and a $0.01/cartridge tax on all rimfire ammunition, and would therefore penalize law-abiding gun owners for exercising their fundamental right to keep and bear arms. By definition, holders of a valid FOID card are the only persons legally permitted to purchase ammunition in Illinois, and therefore are the only persons subject to this tax – not the criminals responsible for the violence on the streets of Chicago…

That last bit sound familiar to readers of yesterday’s Intel Report? You can read the entire NRA-ILA piece on their website here.

National

Wisconsin Democrats Push To Ban ‘Semiautomatic Assault Weapons’

The push for more gun “control” is alive and well north of the Illinois state line too. From a press release published on the Urban Milwaukee website last Wednesday by Wisconsin State Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison):

MADISON –Today, Representative Subeck (D-Madison), along with Representatives Terese Berceau, Melissa Sargent and Chris Taylor, circulated an Assembly bill that would ban the transportation, purchase, possession, or transfer of semiautomatic assault weapons in Wisconsin.

“Our nation has watched as community after community has had to confront the tragedies that occur when weapons designed to kill large numbers of people quickly get into the hands of a dangerous person,” said Representative Lisa Subeck. “No Wisconsin community should ever have to face such a tragedy at the hands of someone armed with a semiautomatic assault weapon.”

Semiautomatic assault weapons are a class of firearms that are designed to kill large numbers of people quickly. They have been used in many high-profile shooting incidents, including the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut; the 2012 Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting; the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in that state; and the 1993 office shooting at the 101 California Street building in San Francisco.

“I can conceive of no legitimate reason that any citizen should need to own or use a semiautomatic assault weapon,” said Rep. Subeck…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Semiautomatic assault weapons.” Haven’t heard of that one before. The word wankers hard at work again. You know, on behalf of gun “safety.” You can read the entire press release on the Urban Milwaukee website here.

Former U.S. Comptroller General David M. Walker Warns Real U.S. Debt Closer To $65 Trillion Than $18 Trillion

It’s been some time since I’ve blogged about former Comptroller General of the United States David M. Walker. Appointed by President Clinton, Walker served as Comptroller General and head of the Government Accountability Office from 1998 to 2008. While at the GAO, Walker warned Americans about the nation’s long-term fiscal challenges as part of the “Fiscal Wake-Up Tour.” Frustrated by Washington’s refusal to confront these challenges, Walker left the public sector on March 12, 2008. I noticed Mr. Walker was back in the headlines this past weekend. Bradford Richardson reported on The Hill website Saturday:

The former U.S. comptroller general says the real U.S. debt is closer to about $65 trillion than the oft-cited figure of $18 trillion.

Dave Walker, who headed the Government Accountability Office (GAO) under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, said when you add up all of the nation’s unfunded liabilities, the national debt is more than three times the number generally advertised.

“If you end up adding to that $18.5 trillion the unfunded civilian and military pensions and retiree healthcare, the additional underfunding for Social Security, the additional underfunding for Medicare, various commitments and contingencies that the federal government has, the real number is about $65 trillion rather than $18 trillion, and it’s growing automatically absent reforms,” Walker told host John Catsimatidis on “The Cats Roundtable” on New York’s AM-970 in an interview airing Sunday…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Whenever the national debt is brought up, I think about all those Pollyannas who go around saying the debt doesn’t matter. Give it a few more years when Washington and the Fed run out of road to kick the can. Then hold on for dear life

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

Sources:

Richardson, Bradford. “Ex-GAO head: US debt is three times more than you think.” The Hill. 7 Nov. 2015. (http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/259476-ex-gao-head-us-debt-is-three-times-more-than-you-think). 9 Nov. 2015.

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SP Intel Report- November 9, 2015

Chicagoland

Nearly 1 Out Of 3 City Of Chicago Workers Made $100K Or More Last Year

Having lived in a northwest side neighborhood chock-full of City of Chicago employees prior to moving out to the ‘burbs, I wasn’t really surprised to learn of the following. Chris Fusco and Tim Novak reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website yesterday:

Nearly one out of every three workers on the city of Chicago payroll made $100,000 or more last year — a far higher percentage of six-figure employees than in state or Cook County government.

That’s according to a Chicago Sun-Times analysis that for the first time combines city workers’ salaries, overtime and other extra pay.

Twenty-six city workers drew paychecks that eclipsed Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s pay of $216,210, the analysis found. They included a police detective, two fire department ambulance commanders and two water department operating engineers…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Fusco and Novak noted that there were 35,761 City of Chicago employees last year. And nearly 1 out of 3 made $100K or more? Nice gig if you can get it, right? Regrettably, I predict that when tough financial times finally arrive at the Windy City’s doorstep, even “clout” won’t be able to protect certain positions and salaries from getting slashed.

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle To Tax Ammunition Sales?

Gun “control” (or gun “safety” as certain word wankers are now trying to call it) is on the march again in Cook County. From a County blog post Friday:

In an effort to reduce gun violence and improve public safety by creating new revenue for preventative actions, President Preckwinkle is also proposing a tax on rounds of ammunition sold in Cook County. The ammunition tax, either a penny or nickel per round depending on the category of ammunition, is aimed at addressing the costs of future gun crimes and the revenue generated will be dedicated to public safety initiatives.

President Preckwinkle, long an advocate of common sense gun laws, previously supported and passed a $25 tax on gun sales in Cook County. She has advocated for legislation that would ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, require registration of existing firearms and require background checks on all firearms sales at gun shows — commonly referred to as the “gun show loophole.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Tax law-abiding firearm owners in Cook County for the actions of criminals? Yeah, that makes a lot of “common sense.” You see, felons and other convicted criminals can’t purchase ammunition legally in Cook County, because they shouldn’t be able to get an Illinois State Police-issued Firearm Owner’s Identification Card. From the Illinois State Police, Firearm Services Bureau website:

Unless specifically exempted by statute, any Illinois resident who acquires or possesses firearms, firearm ammunition, tasers or stun guns within the State must have in their possession a valid FOID card issued in his or her name…

To be eligible for a FOID card, a person must be 21 years of age or have a parent or guardian sponsor that is eligible for a FOID card. An applicant must not be prohibited from possessing firearms in accordance with state or federal law. This requires the applicant is/has:

• Not been convicted of a felony…
• Not subject to an existing order of protection.
• Not been convicted within the past 5 years of battery, assault, aggravated assault, violation of an order of protection, or a substantially similar offense in another jurisdiction, in which a firearm was used or possessed.
• Not been convicted of domestic battery, aggravated domestic battery, or a substantially similar offense in another jurisdiction…
• Not convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence…

So what’s President Preckwinkle’s goal from a Cook County ammo tax then? My guess is gun “safety.” Something tells me we’ll be seeing the county in court if they decide to pursue this matter.

Illinois

Illinois Open Range Program To Be Held On November 14

Speaking of guns and the Illinois State Police, it’s that time of year again in the “Land of Lincoln.” From the website of central Illinois NBC affiliate WAND 17 on Friday:

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is teaming up with Illinois State Police to promote hunting safety through the annual Open Range Program on November 14.

Officials say hunters and observers will be invited to ISP ranges in order to check the sighting in their shotguns…

Ranges in Effingham, Pawnee, Pittsfield, Macomb, Joliet, and LaSalle will be open for the program from 8 AM until 4 PM this coming Saturday. For more information, head on over to WAND 17’s website here.

International

Greece’s Government Confiscating Contents Of Bank Safe Deposit Boxes?

Last week, I was working on my offshore asset protection-related projects quite a bit. And here’s something disturbing I noted Friday in a post on Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes that may interest you:

Just when the reputation of bank safe deposit boxes couldn’t get any worse comes this out of Greece. Anthee Carasavva reported on The Times (UK) website back on October 12:

Greece’s government is raiding savers’ safe deposit boxes to raise revenue and stamp out tax evasion.

Tryfon Alexiadis, the deputy finance minister, said yesterday that Greeks owing more than €150,000 in back taxes would be targeted. Those suspected of tax evasion would also come under scrutiny and their bank deposit boxes prised open without notice

“Safe deposit boxes across the country will be subject to these inspections immediately,” Mr Alexiadis told an Athens-based TV network…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

It’s being reported that the tax inspectors could seize half of the cash found, and stocks, bonds, jewelry, and works of art. You can read the entire post in its entirety here on my other blog.

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

Source:

Fusco, Chris and Novak, Tim. “THE WATCHDOGS: A third of Chicago city workers make $100k or more.” Chicago Sun-Times. 7 Nov. 2015. (http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/7/71/1072015/city-haul-3-of-10-chicago-city-workers-make-100000-a-year). 8 Nov. 2015.

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SP Intel Report- October 26, 2015

Welcome to the inaugural post of the “SP Intel Report.” On October 15 I blogged big changes were coming to Survival And Prosperity starting October 19. I wrote:

Each day will begin with an “SP Intel Report” (if it’s warranted), where I’ll be focusing on current events locally (Chicagoland area), nationwide, and overseas which I think readers should be aware of…

As luck would have it, my computer crashed October 19, delaying the implementation of these changes.

One week later, I’ve managed to repair my laptop, and I’m back in the saddle again.

So off we go then…

Chicago

“If City Hall ‘loses’ downtown to the bad guys… you lose the tourists, their money, revenue… you get the point.”

Survival And Prosperity, May 4, 2011

The Chicago news media is reporting that two tourists from Minneapolis were robbed at knifepoint by three men near Oak Street Beach late Saturday evening. The male victim was stabbed during the holdup while trying to protect his girlfriend. Two of Chicago’s more upstanding residents have been charged with the crime (police are still looking for a third individual).

The last time I blogged about a tourist getting knifed downtown was back during the 2012 holiday season. Even though it’s been a while, I fear we’ll be hearing of similar incidents with increased regularity as the city’s financial health deteriorates and the Chicago Police Department keeps receiving lip service but not bodies (meaning manpower).

There will probably be plenty of the other based on recent trends.

Note to self. Study up on defense against knives.

Illinois

Speaking of deteriorating financial health, the State of Illinois was hammered by two of the major credit rating agencies in the past week. On October 19, Fitch Ratings announced in a press release:

Fitch Ratings has downgraded the rating on $26.8 billion in outstanding Illinois general obligation (GO) bonds to ‘BBB+’ from ‘A-‘.

In addition, the ratings on bonds related to the state based on its appropriation have been downgraded to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB+’…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Three days later, Moody’s Investors Service stated in a release:

Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded the State of Illinois’ $26.8 billion of general obligation bonds to Baa1 from A3, while also lowering ratings on the state’s sales-tax (Build Illinois) bonds to Baa1 from A3, and on the state’s subject to appropriation bonds (issued by the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority and for the state’s Civic Center program) to Baa2 from Baa1. The outlook for all of these obligations remains negative…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Keep in mind the following observations by Karen Pierog over on the Reuters website on October 22:

Both general obligation bond ratings are now just three steps above the “junk” level… The downgrade by Moody’s marked the 17th by major credit rating agencies for Illinois since 2003… Even before this week’s downgrades, Illinois had the lowest credit ratings among the 50 U.S. states. Ratings histories from the three major credit rating agencies indicate few states have ever had their GO ratings fall below the A level…

Faced with a $105 billion unfunded public pension liability and a bill backlog of around $7 billion, I suspect Illinoisans will be on the hook for some sort of tax hike(s) in the near future.

International

Any Survival And Prosperity readers skeptical about the future existence of the Internet? Personally, I won’t be surprised if it goes kaput one day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m somewhat of a techie (driven by needs, not wants) and love the Internet. But I’m not sold on its staying power due to frailties with its infrastructure. A couple of years ago I remember reading about an elderly Georgian woman accidently cutting off neighboring Armenia’s access to the World Wide Web for up to five hours- using only a spade. And now there’s this from The New York Times website this past Sunday. David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt reported:

Russian submarines and spy ships are aggressively operating near the vital undersea cables that carry almost all global Internet communications, raising concerns among some American military and intelligence officials that the Russians might be planning to attack those lines in times of tension or conflict.

The issue goes beyond old worries during the Cold War that the Russians would tap into the cables — a task American intelligence agencies also mastered decades ago. The alarm today is deeper: The ultimate Russian hack on the United States could involve severing the fiber-optic cables at some of their hardest-to-access locations to halt the instant communications on which the West’s governments, economies and citizens have grown dependent

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So the Russians could switch off the Internet. Or a rogue Uncle Sam could do it and blame the Russkies.

I told my girlfriend her brilliant nephew should get into the BBS game. Wave of the future?


“Apple II on a BBS in 2014!”
YouTube Video

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

Sources:

Sobol, Rosemary Regina. “$500K, $950K bails set for 2 accused of robbery, stabbing near Oak Street Beach.” Chicago Tribune. 26 Oct. 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-police-2-held-following-armed-robbery-stabbing-near-oak-street-beach-20151026-story.html). 26 Oct. 2015.

Pierog, Karen. “UPDATE 2-Illinois bond rating cut again over budget impasse.” Reuters. 22 Oct. 2015. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/22/illinois-downgrade-moodys-idUSL1N12M2L120151022). 26 Oct. 2015.

Sanger, David E. and Schmitt, Eric. “Russian Ships Near Data Cables Are Too Close for U.S. Comfort.” The New York Times. 25 Oct. 2015. (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/26/world/europe/russian-presence-near-undersea-cables-concerns-us.html?_r=1). 26 Oct. 2015.

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Chicago’s Property Tax Hike To Hammer Small Business, Renters?

Looks like my girlfriend and I may have dodged yet another bullet moving out of our Chicago rental when we did (no pun intended). Hal Dardick and Bob Secter reported on the Chicago Tribune website yesterday morning:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has framed his record $588 million property tax hike plan around the notion that it will include breaks for those of modest means, but hundreds of thousands of renters who fit that description are still likely to pay more because they can’t benefit from the mayor’s safeguards.

The mayor has vowed to make sure “that the burden is borne by those who can best afford it,” evoking images of thriving downtown businesses and fancy high-rise condominiums. But also in the crosshairs of the tax hike would be mom-and-pop businesses and a large number of apartment dwellers whose landlords typically build property tax expense into the rent

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’m not going to steal Dardick’s and Secter’s thunder, so head on over to the Tribune website here to read the entire article (registration required).

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

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Thursday, October 8th, 2015 Business, Debt Crisis, Government, Housing, Taxes No Comments

Chicago’s North Side Hit By Tire Thieves

Squatters. Fake construction zone robberies. Virtual kidnappings.

Criminal antics which one might think are more representative of a “Third World” country that have taken place in Chicagoland recently.

Now add a rash of vehicle tire thefts in a “nicer” area of Chicago (DePaul/Lincoln Park) to the mix. From Chicago’s CBS 2 News Monday:


“Wheels Flying Off Pricey SUVs”
CBS 2 Video

The Chicago Police Department is recommending the use of locking lug nuts to counter the thefts.

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

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Wednesday, October 7th, 2015 Crime, Government, Public Safety, Security, Vehicles No Comments
Survival And Prosperity
Est. 2010, Chicagoland, USA
Christopher E. Hill, Editor

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RSS Chris Hill’s Other Blog: Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes

  • New Additions To List Of Offshore Private Vaults
    Here are new entries to that list of offshore private vaults on my website of the same name: • Barcelona Vaults (Barcelona, Spain- opening June 2016) • Fish Brothers (London and its suburb Southall, England) • Montgomery Security Vaults (Lagos, Nigeria) • Panama Vaults (Panama City, Panama) • Safe Independent Co. (Pattaya, Thailand) • SINCONA […]
  • New York City Bank Safe Deposit Boxes Robbed Yet Again
    On April 13, I blogged about safe deposit boxes in an HSBC bank branch in Borough Park, Brooklyn, New York City, being robbed. In that post, I added: I wouldn’t go so far as to say New York City is suffering an epidemic of bank safe deposit box robberies, but regular readers of Offshore Safe […]
  • Degussa’s Next Numis Day
    Degussa, a leading international player in the precious metals world which also offers safe deposit boxes (for customers) at branches in Germany, Singapore, Spain, and Switzerland, has posted information about the next Numis Day (first blogged about here) at their Geneva and Zurich showrooms. From their website: The Next Numis Day We appreciate and appraise […]
  • Baoku Treasury, World’s Largest Private, Non-Bank Safe Deposit Box Facility, Opens In Shanghai, China
    Regular readers of this blog know that new private, non-bank safe deposit box facilities keep popping up all over the world. Here’s one that sounds particularly impressive in terms of size, security, and customer “perks.” From the website of China Daily on March 19: As one component of the Guanfu Baoku project, the Baoku Treasury, […]
  • Swiss Safe Deposit Boxes No Longer Available?
    Yesterday, I blogged about an article on The Telegraph (UK) website in which the World Gold Council spoke of “anecdotal reports of a rise in demand for safety deposit boxes in Germany as some customers looked for alternative options in case of further interest rate cuts.” Reading a piece on the website of Moneywise (United […]