Why I’m Relieved Wisconsin’s Scott Walker Ended His White House Bid

As I strive to find time in the coming days to head to my family’s residence in the southeastern part of Wisconsin, I’ve been thinking about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker suspending his presidential campaign.

While Illinois has pretty much been run into the ground at this point, I’ve been under the impression that Walker and Wisconsin have been moving in the right (figuratively/literally) direction lately.

Perhaps somewhat selfishly, I became concerned about the governor’s bid for the White House. Why would this “F.I.B.” (“affectionate” Wisconsinite acronym for Illinoisans) care? Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity might remember something I wrote back on January 29, 2013, as part of this blog’s “Proejct Prepper” series of posts:

By the time I started this blog back in November 2010, I already had a pretty good idea I’d eventually be leaving the city of Chicago to reside someplace else. And every once in a while, I’d query the “best places” to live in America- should TSHTF or not. While the area of southeastern Wisconsin I’m looking at moving to in a few years is probably not “ideal” (even less so the suburbs of Chicago) from a prepper’s perspective, practitioners of modern survivalism would probably see more positives than negatives with the location. Keeping in mind that not only do I envision a certain lifestyle for myself down the road, but I also think I have a pretty good idea of what will be required to “survive and prosper” in America in the coming years, this part of the Midwest really appears to be a nice fit not only for me but my girlfriend as well. Here’s hoping it is…

Five years on, a permanent address in Wisconsin still looks to be part of the plan, so Scott Walker’s moving from the state scene to the national stage:

A. Had the real potential of hindering progress north of the Illinois state line

B. Might have made me scrutinize that future “Escape To Wisconsin” more so than I’ve been planning on doing

Thankfully, I hear Walker is returning to Madison- for now. Madeleine Behr reported on The Post-Crescent (Appleton) website Monday:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s once-promising presidential campaign has come to an abrupt end.

Walker announced his plans to drop out of the presidential race at a downtown Madison hotel Monday, returning his focus to his gubernatorial work in Wisconsin

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Best of luck with your future endeavors, Governor Walker.

In the coming days, perhaps I can mull over that Wisconsin plan with some sense of relief while taking care of tasks at my family’s place behind the “Cheddar Curtain.”

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


Behr, Madeleine. “After Walker drops out, what’s next for Wisconsin?” The Post-Crescent. 21 Sep. 2015. (http://www.postcrescent.com/story/news/politics/elections/2015/09/21/after-walker-drops-out-whats-next-wisconsin/72583572/). 22 Sep. 2015.

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Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015 Government, Preparedness No Comments

Quote For The Week

“I am too pissed off tonight to be diplomatic about what’s going on and I’m not going to stick my head in the sand about it. I said last December that war had been declared on the American police officer led by some high profile people- one of them coming out of the White House, one coming out of the United States Department of Justice. And it’s open season right now. There’s no doubt about it…

And I’m tired of hearing people calling these black “activists.” They’re not activists. This is black slime and it needs to be eradicated from the American society and American culture…

I need every law-abiding person in the United States of America to stand up and start pushing back against this slime, this filth, that’s disparaging the American law enforcement officer within these communities. When these ugly people come out and start this, and start talking this stuff on social media, to push back against it, and demand- demand- people that belong to these organizations to get out of their town. There’s no room for it. Look, the American police officer is holding these communities together. And we need the support of the people that we defend everyday in order to get that done.”

-Milwaukee County (Wisconsin) Sheriff David Clarke, Jr., reacting to the killing of Harris County (Texas) deputy Darren Goforth on the Fox News TV show Justice with Judge Jeanine last Saturday

YouTube Video

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

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Chicago-Area Expressway Shootings Jump

I thought there was an uptick in the number of local expressway shootings lately. Frank Main reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website yesterday:

Expressway shootings have become a major problem. They not only threaten the lives of motorists, but they have also caused frequent traffic jams as police shut down the expressways to investigate them.

In 2010, there were six shootings on Chicago-area expressways.

Last year, there were 18.

And so far this year, there have been 25

In the past two years, one person was killed and 23 people were wounded in the shootings, according to the Illinois State Police.

Most of the shootings don’t appear to stem from road rage, said Sgt. Clare Pfotenhauer, a spokeswoman for the state police. Usually, they involve gang conflicts, she said.

A law enforcement source said gang members follow their targets onto the Dan Ryan and Eisenhower expressways because they believe it’s easier to get away from police on the expressways than on neighborhood streets…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’ve logged a lot of hours on the Eisenhower over the years. Back in the late nineties, I was heading east on I-290 into the city when I noticed my girlfriend at the time was staring out the front passenger window at other vehicles. Just then what appeared to be a car full of gangbangers pulled up alongside of us. By the look on their faces, they weren’t too happy being stared at by some far west suburban white girl. Nothing came of the incident. However, living off the West Side at this time, I knew better than to stare at other vehicles and their occupants on certain stretches of Chicagoland roadway lest they consider “popping a cap in my ass” (a couple of years earlier while driving on I-43 in downtown Milwaukee I already had a handgun flashed at me), and gladly shared such concerns with this young lady later that day.

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


Main, Frank. “As Chicago expressway shootings soar, state police crack down.” Chicago Sun-Times. 9 Aug. 2015. (http://chicago.suntimes.com/lynn-sweet-politics/7/71/864981/trumps-blood-feud-deviants-think-hes-wrong). 10 Aug. 2015.

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Monday, August 10th, 2015 Crime, Public Safety, Transportation, Vehicles No Comments

Guns & Ammo Publishes ‘Best States For Gun Owners 2015’

Yesterday I happened to come across an article entitled “Best States for Gun Owners 2015” on the Guns & Ammo website. Keith Wood wrote Tuesday:

For the third consecutive year and first time in print, Guns & Ammo presents our assessment of each state’s gun laws in a format that ranks them from worst to first for gun owners…

G&A has conducted a thorough review of each state’s laws and considered initiatives pending in state legislatures. Every effort has been made to create a ranking system that is fair, equitable, accurate and objective. States were ranked numerically in each of five categories: right-to-carry, right to own “black rifles” (i.e., firearms possessing a tactical appearance), presence of the Castle Doctrine, subjects relating to the National Firearms Act (NFA) and a catchall miscellaneous column…

Interesting. Considering the amount of activity in the state recently as it concerns gun rights, I was real curious to see where Illinois ranked on this list. From the piece:

43. Illinois

Illinois has gone from one of the worst states for gun owners to “not so bad as long as you don’t live in Chicago” these last few years. The state’s “shall issue” concealed carry permit system is up and running for both residents and nonresidents, and the sky did not fall. Illinois’ Firearm Owner’s Identification, or “FOID,” requirement remains in effect for all residents wishing to touch a firearm or ammunition except for those possessed by nonresidents in accordance with state law. Suppressors are not permitted in Illinois, though a bill to change that is currently before the legislature. Short-barreled rifles are not allowed. At the point of sale, there is a three-day waiting period before picking up a handgun, and a 24-hour waiting period is applied to all long guns. The state has strong use-of-force laws, and all tactical rifles are legal outside of municipalities such as Chicago and Highland Park…

To expand on that bit about “all tactical rifles are legal outside of municipalities such as Chicago and Highland Park,” Don Babwin reported on The State Journal-Register (Springfield, Illinois) website back on July 20, 2013:

According to the Illinois State Rifle Association, at least 16 municipalities – including Chicago – enacted ordinances banning or regulating assault weapons. Every one of them was in the Chicago metropolitan area. Around 30 other municipalities took up the issue but voted down the bans.

The list of towns that took action includes places such as Evanston, Highland Park, Hazel Crest and Calumet Park…

So that’s Illinois. How about north of the state line where I pursue the bulk of my outdoor activities (when I have the time, that is)? From the article:

25. Wisconsin

Life improved markedly for gun-owning Wisconsin residents when former Gov. Jim Doyle was replaced by Gov. Scott Walker. Wisconsin’s hard-won CCW law gets good marks for strong reciprocity and very limited “gun-free zones.” The state has a Castle Doctrine statute on the books and doesn’t restrict NFA items or tactical-looking firearms. A bill to repeal the state’s 48-hour waiting period on handgun purchases was recently signed by Gov. Walker, yet another step forward for gun owners. Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is about as outspokenly pro-gun as it gets, which is a rare thing in a major metro area…

Nearby Indiana, by the way, actually placed 16th in this year’s rankings. Nice job.

Where does your state fall in the 2015 list? Head on over to the Guns & Ammo website here to find out.

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


Babwin, Don. “By deadline, few Illinois towns pass assault weapons bans.” The State Journal-Register, 20 July 2013. (http://www.sj-r.com/article/20130720/News/307209909). 23 July 2015.

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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Authorizes National Guard To Carry Weapons On Duty

I try to spend as much time as I can at my family’s place in Wisconsin. And it’s my opinion that these days, Illinois could learn a thing or two from its neighbor to the north, particularly as it concerns combatting terrorists- both foreign and domestic. From a press release issued today from Wisconsin’s Office of the Governor:

Madison – Governor Scott Walker today issued Executive Order #168 allowing Wisconsin National Guard members to carry weapons while on duty.

“Safety must be our top priority, especially in light of the horrific attack in Chattanooga,” Governor Walker said. “Allowing our National Guard members to carry weapons while on duty gives them the tools they need to serve and protect our citizens, as well as themselves. I am also directing Adjutant General Donald Dunbar to evaluate longer-term plans to ensure the safety of our service members.”

A copy of Governor Walker’s Executive Order is attached.

I’ve read similar directives have been issued in Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.

As for Illinois?

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

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Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 Military, Public Safety, Terrorism 2 Comments

Illinois Tax Hikes Coming Warn Municipal Bond Fund Managers

Talk of rapidly-approaching tax hikes in the “Land of Lincoln” is growing. Reuters’ Nick Brown, Megan Davies, and Karen Pierog reported yesterday:

With no easy way to financially engineer or negotiate its way out of a budget and pensions crisis, Illinois is likely to dish out some unpleasant medicine to its residents in the next few years. And investors say that is most likely to come in the form of higher taxes.

Given the Democrats’ control of the state legislature and their opposition to many proposals for spending cuts, municipal bond fund managers see little alternative for Republican Governor Bruce Rauner other than eventually agreeing to hike taxes, such as raising the state’s income tax or broadening its sales tax base…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity shouldn’t be surprised when the hikes (fees, fines, and taxes) arrive, as they’ve been discussed on this blog for quite some time now. The tragedy is that Springfield continues to waste time and resources on trivial matters while neglecting to tackle crucial issues like the well-publicized debt crisis. Monique Garcia and Kim Geiger reported on the latest nonsense preoccupying the politicians. From the Chicago Tribune website this afternoon:

Democratic Speaker Michael Madigan’s effort to ask voters to approve a measure to impose higher income taxes on millionaires failed in the House on Thursday, but provides the powerful Southwest Side politician ammunition to attack Republicans in next year’s legislative campaigns.

The proposal needed 71 “yes” votes to pass, but received just 68. But now there’s a roll call, and Madigan’s Illinois Democratic Party could send out mailers criticizing Republicans who voted against the idea. Democrats already have sent out attack ads against Republicans who did not vote in favor of a property tax freeze last week

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Games. Stupid political games as the state’s “financial reckoning day” fast approaches.

By the way, back on March 24 of last year I blogged about that push for a “millionaire’s tax” in Illinois. My prediction now is pretty much the same as it was a year ago:

Should Illinois Democrats jack up their income taxes, I suspect the number of Illinois millionaires right before the tax hike is implemented will plummet. Revenue will follow. Out-of-state vacation homes in Indiana and Wisconsin will be declared as primary residences.

The only difference being, I forgot to mention Michigan vacation homes.

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


Brown, Nick, Davies, Megan and Pierog. “As Illinois runs out of options in budget crisis, tax rises seen in the cards.” Reuters. 20 May 2015. (http://news.yahoo.com/illinois-runs-options-budget-crisis-tax-rises-seen-051616644.html). 21 May 2015.

Garcia, Monique and Geiger, Kim. “Madigan’s ‘millionaire tax’ question fails in House.” Chicago Tribune. 21 May 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-rauner-warns-of-long-overtime-20150521-story.html). 21 May 2015.

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Project Prepper, Part 35: Expanded ‘Innate Survival Needs’ List

This “Project Prepper” entry is going to be a short one since I’m busy plugging away at a number of preps to be covered in this series of posts down the road.

Back in Project Prepper, Part 9 (dated February 27, 2013), I talked about the six “innate survival needs” that my preparedness efforts for this series would focus on (hat tip Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast as the originator of this list of needs). That list included (in order of priority):

• Security
• Water
• Food
• Shelter
• Sanitation and Health
• Energy

Recently, I was listening to episode 1557 of The Survival Podcast, “The Responsibility Of Being Prepared.” On April 15, Spirko told listeners:

All we need to do is start looking at the basic needs of human kind and in the modern world. These are simple. They’re universal:

• Food
• Water
• Shelter
• Energy
• Health and Sanitation
• Physical Security
• Financial Security

Note how Spirko has now broken down “Security” into “Physical Security” and “Financial Security.”

I like that expanded list of “innate survival needs,” and will adopt it. Reordered for my purposes:

• Physical Security
• Financial Security
• Water
• Food
• Health and Sanitation
• Energy
• Shelter

“Physical Security” is still priority number one because I predict the push for more gun “control” will continue while crime simultaneously gets worse. “Financial Security” breaks into the list at number two because the most likely disaster I see on the horizon is an economic one. “Shelter” now brings up the rear as I’ve completed that move from my Chicago apartment to a house in the suburbs (plus there’s my family’s place in Wisconsin where I spend time).

More soon…

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

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Illinois’ Largest Foreign Trading Partners Weigh In On State’s Attractiveness For Investment

Illinois blog readers might be interested in the following, which appeared on the State of Illinois home page earlier this week:

In order to obtain an independent assessment of Illinois’ competitiveness, the Governor’s office asked the state’s largest foreign trading partners to share their confidential views on Illinois’ attractiveness for investment from their countries

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The survey focused on ten nations, and the findings were posted on the state’s website along with this accompanying memo:

From: John DeBlasio, Director for International Trade and Investment
To: Interested Parties
Date: May 4, 2015
Subj: Key Reforms Needed to Strengthen Foreign Direct Investment in Illinois

In order to obtain an independent assessment of Illinois’ competitiveness, the Governor’s office asked the state’s largest foreign trading partners to share their confidential views on Illinois’ attractiveness for investment from their countries.

Collectively, these nations have invested tens of billions of dollars in factories, warehouses, office buildings, and transportation facilities across America, and employ hundreds of thousands of American workers. They are in a unique position to compare the relative strengths and weaknesses of individual states with which Illinois must compete. Every year they make important decisions on where to locate major new facilities and high-paying jobs. Their comments taken together create a policy roadmap of strategic recommendations that we can use to drive powerful new economic growth and job creation in our state.

Attached are the letters, memos, and priorities the Governor’s Office has received, with names, locations, and specific stories redacted to protect the confidentiality of individual countries. The letters deserve to be reviewed in detail, but some of their key comments are highlighted below:

“Top Concern: tax issues-too high, property & corporate, worries about further increases due to financial condition of the state”
• “There are large (and growing) perceptions that infrastructure improvements are not keeping up”
• “Foreign firms place a premium on opportunities to “cluster” – to work with concentrations of talent in their sector”
• “The plethora of universities, research institutions & accelerators headquartered in the region constitute a significant positive – firms and entrepreneurs are drawn here by the world-class innovation taking place”
• “Chicago is attractive to college students – which therefore enhances the quality of the workforce pool”
• “Vast difference in perception between Chicago and downstate Illinois. While the former has plenty of positives, the latter is not seen to be competitive with Indiana, Wisconsin, etc.”
• “Costs in particular linked to Unions are high. It’s a problem, especially with Wisconsin and Indiana as neighbors – if there is a legal dispute with workers….Cook County is known for being anti-boss or pro-employee”
• “Right to Work is being used by other states to position them favorably compared to Illinois. This is similar to other labor market regulations and workers compensation, unemployment insurance levels, etc. that put Illinois at a disadvantage compared with other states”
• “The manufacturing workforce is aging and vocational training for the next generation of skilled employees is lacking”
• “Chicago is one of the most expensive trade show locations in the world. Being an expensive/bureaucratic trade show location often carries over to the state being perceived as a high cost/bureaucratic location for investing”
• “Illinois overseas offices are primarily focused on exports not investment attraction, which is two very different tasks”
• “Many states have modernized their structure by founding Economic Development Corporations tasked specifically with pursuing investors”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Sifting through the trading partners’ letters and memos which contained remarks on foreign investment in Illinois, this one from so-called “Nation #3” stood out:

Even (redacted) companies have a high degree of ignorance about Chicago and the region and rarely see beyond Capone and Jordan

High crime rates- hugely amplified internationally. Chicago is seen as the crime capital of the USA

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Crime capital of the USA” I get. Jordan too. But Capone? Really?

“F**k that, I’m going to Vegas!”
Scene From Chicago Overcoat (2009)
(Warning: Language, violence, “Chicago Typewriter” in all its glory)
YouTube Video

You can read more on that survey from Governor Rauner’s office here (.pdf format) on the State of Illinois website.

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

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Thinking Of Illinois’ Financial Woes While In Wisconsin

Saturday morning while working on projects around my family’s place in Wisconsin, something I read earlier in the week came to mind. Steven Malanga wrote on The Fiscal Times website on March 30:

Illinois officials… are awaiting a ruling from the state’s Supreme Court on a suit by workers seeking to overturn the legislature’s 2013 pension reforms. If the court, which has previously refused to allow any changes to retirement plans for retirees or current workers, throws out the reforms, Illinois will face $145 billion in higher taxes over the next three decades just to pay off the debt, according to a report by the Civic Committee of Chicago.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Illinois will face $145 billion in higher taxes…”

I don’t recall hearing/seeing that figure being used before, so I decided to track it back to the source. From an October 9, 2014, press release from the Civic Committee:

The “What If?” initiative identifies some of the consequences that could result from an overturn of the pension law, including:

$145 billion in higher taxes and service cuts over 30 years
• Highest property taxes in the nation
• 41¢ of Big Three state tax dollars devoted to pensions, up from 8¢ in 2007
• A possible $2,500 tuition spike at the University of Illinois
• Severe cuts to K-12 education, leading to as many as 13,000 teacher layoffs
• Critical meltdown of social services, including the end of child care for 41,000 kids and 21,000 seniors losing in-home care

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

That’s a pretty scary picture being painted. The accompanying “What If?” brochure does a good job at accomplishing that. Consider some of these additional forecasts being made:

• 64,000 jobs lost
• $375 average property tax increase
• $3,000-plus in state taxes per household

The brochure didn’t indicate how all this was computed.

However, if conditions in the “Land of Lincoln” deteriorate to such a point, Wisconsin is where I’ll likely stay for good. Regular readers might recall that I’ve mentioned my permanent address being a Wisconsin one in the future.

You can read that entire press release/learn more about their “What If?” initiative on the Civic Committee website here.

While I support public pension reform in Illinois, I’m just not convinced what’s been put into play (passed into law) is the best way of going about it.

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


Malanga, Steven. “Outrageous public pensions could bankrupt these states.” The Fiscal Times. 30 Mar. 2015. (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/outrageous-public-pensions-could-bankrupt-172700274.html). 5 Apr. 2015.

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Former Astronauts Push Effort To Locate, Track Threatening Asteroids

Here’s another natural-disaster related post where I’m going to send you straight to the source. David Perlman, science editor for San Francisco Chronicle, wrote on SFGate.com Sunday:

A group of former astronauts in the Bay Area announced last month they had marshaled more than 100 astronomers and space enthusiasts around the world to call for a major increase in efforts to locate and track all asteroids that could pose a danger to Earth…

At a recent Senate hearing, James Green, director of NASA’s planetary science division, said there may be hundreds of thousands of orbiting asteroids the size of the one that blasted apart over Chelyabinsk. It was not detected in advance by any NEO telescope, he said.

“Right now the amount of warning time that we are likely to get from one of these asteroids is zero,” [former astronaut Edward] Lu told the senators…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Chelyabinsk, Russia, Meteor Strike: “Looks like a movie. But it is not.”
YouTube Video

Back in the fall of 1992, me and a buddy were driving his ’65 Mustang convertible (top down) to my family’s old cabin in southeastern Wisconsin when a meteor lit up the night sky- making everything as bright as day- before shooting down the country road we were on. The event was instantaneous, but I remember to this day the contrail left behind from that fireball.

One of the wildest things I’ve ever seen.

By the late 1990s I learned more about the threat posed by asteroids and meteors when I took up astronomy as a hobby, so I’m very happy to hear of such an initiative.

You can read Perlman’s entire article on the SFGate website here.

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

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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)


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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Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Blasts Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Bill de Blasio For Anti-Police Sentiment In U.S.

Last night, I happened to catch the Fox News Channel show Justice with Judge Jeanine. The discussion was about the Saturday murders of two New York Police Departments cops- Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos- by career criminal Ismaaiyl Brinsley. African-American law enforcement officer and Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr., who first grabbed national headlines with a memorable PSA he recorded for Milwaukee County residents near the beginning of 2013 (blogged about here), appeared on the show and shared his thoughts about the killings. From the exchange between Judge Pirro and Sheriff Clarke:

PIRRO: You’ve got an African-American in the White House. And he wasn’t elected by just blacks. He was elected by whites. And yet he seems to be, along with his attorney general, the men who are creating this perception that cops are your enemy, and that you have to protect your kids from them. Why is that? Why are they doing this?
CLARKE: Because it was politically advantageous for both President Obama and Eric Holder to do that- and for Mayor de Blasio as well. And I found their statements that they came out with after the announcement of the death of these officers- I found them to be hollow, I don’t want anything to do with it. They can have it back. The only reason they’re saying what they’re saying today is because it is politically advantageous for them to say that today. They had a chance, Judge, to extol the virtue of our nation’s law enforcement officers early on in these tragic incidents. And instead, they chose divisive politics. And they benefitted from that divisive politics. But now the law enforcement community, our law enforcement officers, and our neighborhoods are suffering as a result of these divisive politics.

This stuff needs to stop from these individuals.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke On Justice with Judge Jeanine
YouTube Video

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

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Monday, December 22nd, 2014 Civil Strife, Crime, Government, Public Safety 2 Comments

Project Prepper, Part 30: Status

Last week in the “Project Prepper” series of posts I did a recap of what the series is all about for those who didn’t already know.

Today, I’m going to talk about where the project stands after a little over two years in the works.

To start, my girlfriend and I moved out of the city of Chicago last year to a house in the northwest suburbs- with an eye towards eventually settling down in Wisconsin.

I decided my preparedness education and activities will focus on a prioritized list of six “innate survival needs” (hat tip Jack Spirko @ The Survival Podcast). This includes:

1. Security
2. Water
3. Food
4. Shelter
5. Sanitation and Health
6. Energy

Concerning security, that’s something that’s been in the works for several years now. Like I wrote on this blog’s “About” page:

Survival And Prosperity is unlike other financial blogs in that SP focuses simultaneously on finance and personal safety, two areas Christopher Hill has spent a lot of time researching these past couple of years and which are intertwined in any serious discussion about surviving and prospering in tumultuous times. Case in point, an individual might pursue a strategy of wealth preservation and growth that would pay off handsomely in a financial crash. Yet, if personal safety was ignored in the process, that same individual might end up a victim of the social turmoil that is sure to accompany the economic collapse. So much for that new-found wealth, right?

(Editor’s note: Blog added for emphasis)

Decent strides have been made in the area of security, although plenty of work remains with all those “innate survival needs.” Physical security on the exterior/interior of the new house has been improved, particularly with landscaping, lighting, and locks. Personal safety gear, supplies, and tools have been acquired, with training having commenced a few years back.

New Tools: United Cutlery Honshu Tantos

New Tools: United Cutlery Honshu Tantos

Purchased @ BUDK.com For $36.99 (Stainless), $39.99 (Black)

Concerning water, the foundation for an emergency water supply is now in place. While utilizing some water storage containers I had prior to this project, I’ve acquired additional containers. To maintain the quality of the water for an extended period of time, I purchased aerobic stabilized oxygen. I’ve also kept a couple of cases of bottled drinking water on hand, along with an emergency water containment system that holds up to 100 gallons of fresh water in a bathtub standing by in the wings. At present, my girlfriend and I have close to a week-and-a-half supply of emergency water each (based on federal government guidelines of one gallon per person per day). Even though this is significantly more than Uncle Sam’s 72-hour recommendation, I’m not comfortable with this amount.

Concerning food, the foundation for an emergency food supply is also in place. Taking advantage of price drops and gift cards, my girlfriend and I scored a relatively-inexpensive 1-week supply of high-quality freeze-dried meals each. Like with the water though, I’d like to increase that amount commensurate with the potential emergencies I’ve identified.

Concerning shelter, purchasing that house last spring was a pretty big “prep.” And it was certainly an improvement over the multi-family housing arrangement where my girlfriend and I used to live. As much as I love the city of Chicago and would have liked to stay in our northwest side neighborhood, my girlfriend and I are much better off here in a close-by suburb, all things considered.

Concerning sanitation/health, not much work has been done in this area yet. As health is concerned, I’ve acquired a good deal of basic first aid supplies and instructional material in the last couple of years. But it’s been too long since I’ve had any training in this area. It’s one of my goals in 2015 to complete an American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED class and build a comprehensive first aid kit- as well as having the knowledge/skills to use it. In addition, while working around the house has been good for the body, I really need to improve my physical fitness. Not only will it help me cope with the difficult times I see coming down the pipeline, but hopefully it will keep me from having to rely on our floundering health care system as much as possible.

On sanitation, an unforeseen (and somewhat costly) improvement was carried out late last year on our sewer line going from the house. I’ll spare readers the details, but a new cleanout was added on the front of the home, and with it, a check valve. Should the city’s sewer system fail for any reason (extended power grid failure?), the valve should prevent sewage from backing up into our house and through the toilets. At least, that’s how I understand it should work. When it comes to people having to “go to the bathroom” in an extended grid-down scenario and dealing with the waste, I’m already researching a number of possible solutions.

Finally, as energy is concerned, for short-term blackouts I’ve been looking at portable generators to use at first until my girlfriend and I can afford a standby generator that can be hooked up to the natural gas line coming into the house. I’m also exploring if we can’t utilize renewable sources of energy somehow. I really hope so, because it’s probably what we’ll be forced to turn to in a long-term grid-down situation. That being said, we are limited by what we can use due to our location in a major metropolitan area.

So that’s where I stand with “Project Prepper” as 2014 draws to a close. Decent progress has been made in tackling those “innate survival needs,” but there’s still a lot more work that needs to be done. Hopefully, time and money will be on my side in the new year.

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

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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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Wisconsin Prepper & Survival Expo Scheduled For October 25

Last Wednesday, I blogged about a prepper/survivalist show that took place over the weekend in northwest Indiana (anyone go?).

This Wednesday, I’m going to talk about one that’s scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 25, in Appleton, Wisconsin (3 hour 17 minute drive from Chicago according to Google). From the event flyer:

Are you and your family ready if disaster strikes?

Wisconsin Prepper & Survival Expo

Largest preparedness and sustainable living event in Wisconsin

Free Admission

October 25th
9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Players Choice Sports & Expo Center
W3035 Edgewood Trail (Hwy JJ)
Appleton, WI 54913


If the power went out for several days, would you and your family be ready? How about in the middle of winter? What if you were given a half hour notice that you had to evacuate your home. Consider the reverse, what if there was a pandemic and you had to stay in your home for a week or two?

If you have never given this serious thought, now is the time to learn from the experts. Join us for the largest prepping and survival expo in Wisconsin.

Everything you will need & want to know to be prepared for Natural or Man-made Disasters, Pandemics and other Emergency Issues that could affect our daily lives in the Midwest.

This family friendly event meant for everyone, from those with little experience to the most experienced.

According to the flyer, over 200 exhibits, presentations, workshops, classes, and activities are planned for the expo. Subject areas include:

• Alternative Energy
• Backyard Farming & Urban Homestead
• Breathing and Oxygen Systems
• Bug Out Bags & Home Ready Kits
• Camping Equipment
• Chicken, Goats, Rabbits, & Quail
• Curing Meat and Fish
• Butchering Livestock at Home
• Communications/HAM radio/GPS
• Disaster Response
• Drying fruit, herbs & vegetables
• Earth Shelters and Bunkers
• Emergency Preparedness
• First Aid & Emergency Medical Supplies
• Food Production/Advanced Gardening
• Foraging for Wild Plants
• Heirloom Seed and Organic Gardening
• Homebrew Equipment
• Homeopathic Health / Natural Remedies
• Hunting, Trapping, Fishing & Gathering
• Hydroponics/Aquaponics
• Pet Care Preparedness
• Preserving the Harvest
• Safe and Fast Evacuation
• Security and Defense
• Sharpening Hand Tools
• Soil & Fertility
• Survival Skills & Equipment
• Tactical & Military Surplus
• Urban Survival
• Water & Food Storage Options
• Water Purification and Filtration
• Wilderness Survival

Nice. Sounds like there’s tons of useful information that can be taken away from this event. And did I mention admission is free?

In addition to Saturday’s show, there’s something called the “Prepper Immersion Experience” ($50) the day before the event and a “Prepper Breakfast” ($TBA) the day of the expo.

For more information about the Wisconsin Prepper & Survival Expo, go to their website here.

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

Tags: ,

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

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