Archive for the ‘opinion/news’ Category

By John Ruberry

On the evening of November 8, a woman from Skokie, Illinois, which is the town just east of where I live, was tragically killed in an automobile accident on Interstate 55 just south of Springfield, Illinois. 

The victim, Lauren Wegner, 35, by all accounts a wonderful woman, was fatally injured when a GMC Sierra, according to police officials driven by Shane Woods, 44 of Auburn, Illinois, drove the wrong way on the interstate.

The Chicago media and other sources in the Prairie State have been repeatedly reporting on this story. And a primary reason for its deep interest in it appears to be because Woods, also known as Shane Castleman, pleaded guilty in September to assaulting a Capitol Police officer and a media photographer during the January 6 riot at the US Capitol. He is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in January. Woods faces up to eight years in prison for those crimes. Woods of course faces much more serious prison time if he is found guilty of killing Wegner–from 20 to 60 years. He has been charged with first degree murder, eluding a police officer, aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, and aggravated fleeing. Woods is being held in the Sangamon County Jail, bail has been denied.

Once again, and probably not for the last time, I feel it is important that I unequivocally denounce the January 6 riot at the Capitol. Those people who stormed the Capitol on that sad day, including Woods, who destroyed property and attacked people deserve to be punished.

But just like MSNBC, the Illinois media can’t let go of obsessing over January 6. In regard to the Wegner death, the worst example of that obsession in regard to the Woods story is a State Journal-Register article from November 16 that was as much about the Capitol riot and Donald Trump as it was about the victim. The piece even mentions two men from Springfield who also allegedly participated in the riot–both of whom have no connection to the accident that killed Wegner. Was that necessary?

Absolutely, the January 6 angle is a valid part of the story of the fatal accident, as it appears Woods may have been trying to commit suicide when he started his SUV on the evening of November 8.

Here are some of the Illinois media headlines of stories that I found about the deadly car accident after a Google News search. Yes, some national outlets picked up the story too.

Also, Shia Kapos’ Politico Illinois Playbook newsletter linked to January 6/Woods stories on November 14, 16, 17, and 23.

Media obsession over January 6? I believe so. But I expect the drumbeat to continue. As for Woods, he is a despicable person.

Memorial contributions in the name of Lauren Wegner can be made to Community Animal Rescue Effort of Skokie (carenorthshore.org).

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

I was around for the 1994 and the 2010 Red Wave elections. And for the most part, they were pretty awesome, particularly the first one, when the Republican Party bulldozed the Democrats and captured the Senate after eight years of Democrat control, as well as the House of Representatives, after a record 52-year reign by the Dems. And while the GOP didn’t win the Senate in 2010, the Republicans gained an astounding 63 House seats in what is now known as the Tea Party election. 

After both midterms, conservatives salivated at the prospect of the next presidential election. In 1992, Bill Clinton was victorious, it was believed, because George H.W. Bush ran a lackluster campaign–that was true–and votes for third-party candidate Ross Perot siphoned enough support from the GOP conservative base to elect the Democrat. In 2008, the feeling was that John McCain never had a chance against Barack Obama after the Great Recession market crash two months before Election Day. But McCain ran a lackluster campaign too. 

Overconfidence, bordering on hubris, kicked in for the GOP after those Red Waves.

As of this writing there will be a Democrat majority in the Senate in the next Congress, and maybe, a razor-thin Republican majority in the House. 

Bubba had a come-to-Jesus moment–having Dick Morris in his camp helped–and Clinton after the ’94 midterms pivoted to the center by declaring, “The era of big government is over.” The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, widely-known as the Welfare Reform Bill, offered tangible proof.

After what Obama deemed “a shellacking” in 2010, Obama, as he does best, talked a good game–but he didn’t pivot. With no hope of getting unpopular legislation, such as cap-and-trade passed by the new GOP House, he channeled his charisma to win in 2012–as conservatives seethed. And ObamaCare didn’t go into effect until 2013.

Besides over-confidence hindering their White House chances, Republicans nominated country club-flavor Republicans, Bob Dole and Mitt Romney, for president in 1996 and 2012, respectively. In essence, their campaign was, “I’m not the other guy.” Yawn.

As of this writing there will be a Democrat majority in the Senate in the next Congress, and maybe, a razor-thin Republican majority in the House. 

Election denial.

It’s time for the GOP to look at what went wrong this year, starting with election-denial. As I wrote in March, Joe Biden versus Donald Trump was not a free and fair election. Big Tech and media meddling in regard to suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop story, in my opinion, was the foremost reason. Richard M. Nixon was the victim of a suspicious presidential election tally in 1960. I was a child in 1968 and 1972, but I don’t recall reading about Nixon mentioning the 1960 race at all during his ’68 or ’72 successful presidential runs.

Deal with it. The Dems won in 2020 and we lost. Move on. If Trump runs in 2024, that needs to be his message. Most of the candidates in close races who said that Biden stole the election from Trump in 2020 were defeated. Election denial is toxic for Republicans.

The big winner in the midterms was Florida governor Ron DeSantis. He’s not an election denier and he has a solid list of accomplishments to point to after four years in office.

The new election playing field.

I loathe mail-in voting, “election season” instead of Election Day, and ballot drop-boxes. But these things aren’t going away. To prevail, Republicans have to adapt and find ways to perform better on the new playing field. Mail-in voting is a good place to start. Increasingly, the GOP is the party of private sector jobholders. Let’s say you’re a construction worker raising a family who is told by his boss, “Hey, I need you at this worksite tomorrow in Nebraska–it pays well.” But that worker hasn’t voted yet and Election Day is two days away. Meanwhile, in Blue Illinois, Election Day is a holiday for government workers.

What if it snows on Election Day? That happened in a Republican area in Nevada last Tuesday.

Shortly before Election Day in 2016, my mother was hospitalized. She had voted in every presidential election since 1956, but mom wasn’t able to vote for Trump, much to her disappointment. We need to reach out to seniors and, gently of course, convince them to utilize mail-in or early voting. 

Republicans need to build on its increasing support among Hispanics and reach out to Asians. The GOP is the party of law and order. However, the media wing of the Democratic Party labels the phrase “law and order” as racist. So Republicans need to rebrand and become, let’s say, the “safety and security” party. Safety and security is an appeal that will resonate among all racial groups.

Tribalism.

If the increasingly frail and mentally feeble Joe Biden runs for reelection and wins renomination–the Democrats won’t have a strong campaigner like Clinton or Obama on the top of the ticket in ’24. And Biden has already said that he won’t pivot, as Bill Clinton did, to the center now that the midterms have passed.

Woo-hoo! We’re gonna win!

Slow down there, cowboy.

Republicans face disaster if they underestimate the support Biden will enjoy from the tribalist base of the Democrats. That tribe will vote every candidate who has a “D” next to their name. In the Chicago area, I live among millions of these people. They might wise up one day. Maybe they won’t. But as Dan Bongino said numerous times in the last week, “Things are just not bad enough yet for a lot of people to wake up from the Kool-Aid slumber.”

And it’s not just Illinois that is afflicted by Dem tribalism. Pennsylvanians chose a cognitively challenged far-left US Senate candidate, John Fetterman, who suffered a stroke this spring, over a mentally nimble Republican candidate, Dr. Mehmet Oz. True, Oz could have run a better campaign. 

Ronald Reagan, in his 1984 landslide win over Walter Mondale, won 49 states. But in the popular vote–yeah, I know, the Electoral College declares the victor–Mondale still collected more than 40 percent. In 2024, even if Biden is in worse physical and mental shape than Fetterman is, he’ll do much better, courtesy of tribalism, than Mondale did, in both the Electoral College and the popular vote.

Fetterman, if by some other-worldly convergence ends up as the Democrat nominee for president in 2024, could match Mondale’s popular vote percentage. I am dead serious about that. Tribalism is a tough nut to crack.

There is much to think about and much to do for the Republican Party. But at least the GOP won’t be overconfident in 2024. That might be the best news out of this Red Ripple election.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

Every time Americans shop at a supermarket, they are reminded of a de facto tax on their spending power–inflation. The classic definition of inflation is too many dollars chasing too few goods, which, President Joe Biden and his apologists, jumped on last year when they deemed inflation as “transitory,” pointing at the supply-chain crisis and the backlog of freighters at America’s major seaports. Left out of Biden and Company’s explanation was his $1.9 trillion stimulus package, which the president signed into law in early 2021, when the economy was clearly already recovering from the COVID lockdown.

But the supply-chain crisis was in fact a couple-months long hiccup. After all, if the supply-chain crisis was such a concern, why did we only find out after the media began asking questions on the whereabouts of the person in charge of our ports, secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg? Only then was it revealed that Buttigieg was on paternity leave

The semiconductor chip shortage has driven up the price of new automobiles. The lack of chips is tied to the worldwide COVID lockdown. I’ll discuss cars in a bit. 

Over the past 12 months, according to the September figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation soared, again, to a level not seen in four decades, at a rate of 8.2 percent. Despite what appears to be, for real, a transitory drop in gasoline prices. But fuel prices are dramatically higher than when Donald Trump was president because of the Biden administration’s anti-fossil fuel polices. Food and housing prices are way up. Agriculture is a major user of energy, and many fertilizers are derived from fossil fuels. And those increasingly expensive loaves of bread you see on the shelves of your local supermarket don’t arrive there by way of osmosis, nor by electric trucks.

But don’t worry, Biden recently signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law. Insert The Simpsons’ Nelson Muntz “haw-haw” here.

The new car shortage has led to a used car shortage. All vehicles are more expensive. To fight inflation, the Federal Reserve, continues to hike its key interest rate, which drives up all lending. Most people don’t pay cash for cars, they finance. 

Then there is housing. Maria Bartiromo, on Fox and Friends this morning, laid the truth on the line when she said, “People who are going to buy a home are realizing that their mortgage payment now going to be going to be hundreds and hundreds of dollars more than they thought every month.”

Okay, no big deal, you might say, “I can always rent a place to live.” But rents are up too.

Now, if you are a Beltway insider, then you need not worry. Washington is recession proof. And the capital’s response, particularly when Democrats are in charge, is always more government. If you are a DC insider, you are well paid. You’re not sweating about food prices going up and you can afford an electric vehicle and the expense of installing a car charger in your garage.

The only known cure for high inflation is a recession. Despite Democrats’ creative denials, we are in one already.

Expect our economy to get even worse.  

But to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, “Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Joe Biden loses his.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

The latest media controversy in Illinois is the mailing of what the liberals call “pink slime” newspapers. The term was invented a decade ago by Ryan Zickgraf, a Washington Post reporter, to describe newspapers that aren’t “real,” such as the copy of North Cook News which was mailed to my home last week. On the other hand, as you can see in the photo, the North Cook News is printed on paper and it contains, get this concept, news. North Cook News, and similarly named publications (yes, I said it), is published by Local Government Information Services, which is run by Dan Proft, a conservative activist and former Illinois gubernatorial candidate, who is a co-host of a morning talk radio show on WIND-AM Chicago, part of the Salem News Network.

Proft is also the chair of the People Who Play By The Rules PAC, which has run a series of commercials, including “The Scream,” that have drawn much-needed attention to the SAFE-T Act. Among other things, the law eliminates cash bail in Illinois. Riding off of the emotion after the murder of George Floyd, the voluminous SAFE-T Act passed the Illinois state Senate at 5am on the last day of the lame duck session of the General Assembly early in 2021. It passed the state House that same day. Illinois’ Democratic governor, J.B. Pritzker, signed it into law a month later. Sensing trouble, Dem legislators, or whoever wrote the law, pushed the date that the SAFE-T Act takes effect until January 1, 2023, nearly two months after the 2022 general election. 

Not a single Republican voted for the SAFE-T Act.

As I noted in my Da Tech Guy post last week, in a discussion about the SAFE-T Act, Will County State’s Attorney, James Glasgow, a Democrat, told Fox Chicago’s Mike Flannery on his Flannery Fired Up show, “There are forcible felonies that are not detainable: burglary, robbery, arson, kidnapping, second degree murder, intimidation, aggravated battery, aggravated DUI, [and] drug offenses.” Not detainable means they’ll be set free until their trial date. 

Crime, particularly in the Chicago area, has skyrocketed since 2019. Blame is being given to Cook County’s catch-and-release state’s attorney, Kim Foxx and the anti-police policies of Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot. The mayor was sworn into office in 2019, as was Pritzker. Foxx supports the SAFE-T Act, while all but one of the other 101 county prosecutors oppose it.  

The mayhem of Chicago and Cook County will spread statewide. And the Chicago area will suffer even more because of the SAFE-T Act. 

People Who Play By The Rules PAC television ads and the Proft “pink slime” newspapers must be working. Pritzker and Illinois’ attorney general, Kwame Raoul, say they are open to amendments to the SAFE-T Act–but they don’t offer details. My guess is that the Democrats are panicking. I have no sympathy for them, they’ve had nearly two years to make major changes to the SAFE-T Act.

Meanwhile, Pritzker, a billionaire, is pushing back. He cancelled an appearance at a forum with his Republican opponent, Darren Bailey, sponsored by the Daily Herald newspaper. That paper is published by Paddock Publications, which printed Proft’s Local Government Information Services newspapers; LGIS used Paddock’s bulk-mailing permit to distribute them. That infuriated Pritzker. The governor’s campaign manager, among other things, called Proft’s papers, “fake and misleading and newspaper-style mailers.” Tellingly, the Pritzker camp doesn’t specifically attack the content of Proft’s papers. They are committing the ad hominem fallacy. Paddock, in a statement, announced that it cancelled future printings of LGIS papers. The forum is back on.

The headline of my North Cook News is “Former Chicago chief of detectives: Violent offenders given ‘get out of jail free card.'” That’s true.

Not only have Pritzker and the Democrats, who thanks to gerrymandering enjoy supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly, been negligent in fixing the SAFE-T Act debacle, so has the local media. With occasional exceptions, the newsrooms of Illinois’ major newspapers are woke echo chambers. They still claim to be the watchdogs for the public, but these so-called journalists are mostly interested in protecting and advancing leftist narratives. Contemporary reporters are a toxic combination of “the cool kids” in high school, with all of their arrogance, and the false ethical superiority of Iran’s morality police. Community newspapers usually only report on petty crime, but if you need to locate the nearest bake sale, well, you know where to find that information. These weekly papers are in fact weakly ones.

If the Illinois media performed their jobs honestly and capably, there’d be no need for “pink slime.”

Fact-checkers have been unkind to opposition arguments to the SAFE-T Act. The worst of these fact-checks comes from Jeff Cercone at PolitiFact. He deemed such opposition as “false.” Politi-Farce, that is Dan Bongino’s nickname for them, is partially funded by Facebook; the social media giant has used Cercone’s fact-check to blur out a video pointing out the flaws in the SAFE-T Act. Interestingly, Cercone’s Tweets are protected on Twitter. Is he afraid of his readers? I’m not. You can find me on Twitter. Come and get me, I’m not a coward!

Who did Cercone seek out as experts in his fact-check? Cops? No. Prosecutors? Nope. County sheriffs? Uh-uh. He called on Pritzker’s press secretary, Jordan Abudayyeh, and two criminology professors. Oh sure, he included links to articles with opposing opinions. As for Cercone’s experts, I don’t believe their defenses of the SAFE-T Act.

Instead, Cercone should have reached out to John Curran, a suburban Chicago Republican state senator who is a former Cook County assistant Cook County state’s attorney. That, my friends, is what I call an expert.

“You cannot take deterrence out of the system,’ Curran told John Kass last week in the former Chicago Tribune’s columnist’s Chicago Way podcast, “They’ve been doing that for years, the SAFE-T Act is the final straw. Crime is rampant because people don’t fear getting caught. They [the criminals] don’t stop, the police can’t pursue anymore because of insurance issues, coverage issues, and safety issues. They run and then when they do get caught–they know they are going to get processed, booked, and be back out that day. When there is no fear of accountability in the system, what is going to stop someone who sees something and says, ‘I want to take that?'”

Keep in mind, Curran is talking about the current status quo–before the SAFE-T Act kicks in. When that law goes live, Curran warns, what he described will “put that in place permanently.” Only worse, I’d like to add.

For flight risks, apologists for the SAFE-T Act claim, accused criminals can be detained. “The problem with that,” Curran pointed out to Kass, “is to show that someone is a willful flight risk the prosecutor has to prove that they are planning or attempting to intentionally to evade prosecution by concealing oneself. That is never going to happen,” adding, “You literally have to catch them with the plane ticket in their pocket going to the airport.”

So called fact-checker Cercone needs to listen to that Chicago Way podcast with an open mind.

As I mentioned earlier the SAFE-T Act, which is 764 pages long, passed on the last day of the 101st General Assembly. Curran said he was given one hour to read it.

Social media regularly blocks or suppresses stories that the “enlightened ones” deem false. Most notably is the New York Post’s initial report on the information found on the Hunter Biden laptop, which has since been found to be as genuine as today’s sunrise. On a personal note, I’ve been repeatedly warned by Facebook that my blog entries that I’ve posted on Facebook will be pushed lower into the general FB feed, meaning of course that fewer people will see my posts, because my writings have been labeled “false and misleading.” I am fairly certain I am “shadowbanned” by Twitter. I used to oppose setting up alternative social media platforms for conservatives–it’s best that the libs see the truth, was my reasoning.

Only they don’t see it.

Twitter and Facebook used to suspend accounts of users who claimed that COVID-19 was manufactured in a Chinese laboratory. That story, still not debunked, may end up being authenticated. There are numerous similar tales

What to do?

Well, as a resort, to get an alternative message out, conservatives can mail out “pink slime” newspapers. As a last resort there is always the Howard Beale approach. You can open the window and scream, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna to take it anymore!”

Proft is undaunted. In a statement he fired back at the billionaire, “Governor Pritzker believes his money guarantees him control of government and entitles him to make all media subservient to his government. He lords over Illinois through executive orders. He sees the Fourth Estate as no different than his equestrian estate in Wellington, FL. If he doesn’t like a television ad, it must be taken off the air. If he doesn’t like a newspaper, it must not be printed or circulated.”

Oh yeah, television. Two Chicago TV stations pulled a People Who Play By The Rules PAC ad featuring a Pritzker critic, which the governor says is “false and defamatory.”

In that same statement, Proft vowed that his papers “will continue to be printed and distributed even if we have to return to the Gutenberg press and must enlist fair-minded people across Illinois who want the truth, not Pritzker’s ‘truth,’ to hand deliver them door-to-door.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs from suburban Cook County at Marathon Pundit.