Posts Tagged ‘chicago’

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 Cerone’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.

By John Ruberry

The political conversation in Illinois has turned to “The Scream.” In one of the most powerful, and yes, disturbing political ads ever aired, there is no dialogue other than a woman screaming as three thugs run from a car to mug her.

The ad, which is funded by the People Who Play By The Rules PAC, has been pulled from b some television stations. Like many Chicago area residents, I viewed it a week ago, during the Chicago Bears-San Francisco 49ers game on the Fox broadcast network. The ad, using video footage obtained by CWBChicago opens with this caption, “On a Sunday afternoon in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.” It ends with, “Pritzker. Lightfoot. How much worse does it have to get.” Lori Lightfoot is Chicago’s inept mayor, who takes any attack on her, even on COVID-19, and turns it into a racial issue. J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire and Illinois’ governor, is a bit more polished than Lightfoot, but he labeled the ad racist too. Both politicians are Democrats. 

The 45-year-old woman was robbed of her fanny pack, keys, wallet, and phone. While the 32nd Ward of Chicago, where the attack occurred just two Sundays ago, is predominately white, it’s difficult to determine the victim’s race, as is the case of the attackers, they wore hoods and masks. 

Crime has skyrocketed in Chicago since 2019, the year both Pritzker and Lightfoot were sworn into office. Pritzker is running for a second term, and possibly, assuming he wins in November, for president in 2024. Lightfoot is running for reelection too, the first round of voting takes place in late February.

Kim Foxx is Cook County’s State’s Attorney. A Democrat, her campaigns have been funded by ultra-leftist billionaire George Soros. She’s a catch-and-release “prosecutor” of the vein of Los Angeles County’s George Gascon and since-ousted San Francisco district attorney Chesa Boudin. Foxx, best known internationally as Jussie Smollett’s protector, is a member of the rival leftist camp of Cook County Board headed by president Toni Preckwinkle, who was Lightfoot’s runoff opponent in 2019. Despite Foxx’s numerous failures, Lightfoot endorsed Foxx in the Democratic primary in 2020. 

Going back to the ad, “How much worse does it have to get?” Barring changes to the absurdly misnamed Illinois SAFE-T Act, things will get much worse here. Cash bail will be eliminated in Illinois. The Prairie State has 102 counties and of course 102 prosecutors. Of those, 100 oppose the SAFE-T Act. Of course Foxx is one of those two backers of it. While signed into law early last year, Pritzker and Illinois Democratic legislators smelled a pile of you-know-what, so they wrote into the legislation that the law won’t take effect until January 1, 2023, nearly two months after the gubernatorial and General Assembly elections. 

One of the most prominent opponents of the SAFE-T Act is a Democrat, James Glasgow, the state’s attorney of Will County. 

This weekend on Fox Chicago’s Flannery Fired Up, Glasgow told the host, Mike Flannery, “There are forcible felonies that are not detainable.” He then fires those crimes off, “Burglary, robbery, arson, kidnapping, second degree murder, intimidation, aggravated battery, aggravated DUI, [and] drug offenses.”

“Mike,” Glasgow continued, “if I showed up with dump truck full of Fentanyl–enough to kill everyone in the United States of America and I got caught under this new law, I would be processed and released. I could not be detained for a day.”

Flannery mentioned those who say Glasgow is wrong. “[I] just explained it to you,” the prosecutor replied. “Those crimes] are not listed in the detainable offenses. If it’s not listed in the detainable offenses–you can not detain.”

Beyond deeming objections to the SAFE-T Act racist, the media wing of the Democrat Party has also struck back by means of a fact-check, at Snopes, where Nur Ibrahim deemed such criticism as “Mostly False.” No, Ibrahim is mostly false in my opinion about his misleading fact-check–he should have reached out to Glasgow. Yes, there is a reason that Dan Bongino has a regular segment on his radio show and podcast, “Fact-Check Clown Show.”

Barring veto session amendments to the “Unsafety Act,” the rampant criminality of Chicago will spread statewide. If you live outside of Cook County and you want to see what you are facing in 2023, read CWBChicago every day, as I do. The site is filled with stories about accused criminals being released on no little bail, or placed on electronic monitoring, then committing more crimes, including car jackings, rapes, and murders. 

Here are some headlines from this month at CWB Chicago:

18-time felon tells authorities his electronic monitoring bracelet got cut by CTA train tracks

#38: Gunman shot 12-year-old boy in the head while on $1,000 bail for one of Illinois’ most serious gun crimes

#37: Man shot woman dead because he didn’t want her at a block party—while he was supposed to be home on electronic monitoring for 3 felonies, prosecutors say

#36: Driver exchanged shots with gunman in another car while on felony bail, prosecutors say

What do those numbers mean? It is part of CWBChicago’s “coverage of individuals accused of killing, shooting, or trying to kill or shoot others while on bond for a pending felony case. CWBChicago began our series of reports in November 2019 after Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans publicly stated, ‘we haven’t had any horrible incidents occur’ under the court’s bond reform initiative.” Don’t forget, soon there will be no cash bond in Illinois, pending changes in the SAFE-T Act, beginning in 2023.

What to do? Even if you don’t live in Illinois–your state may be next to eliminate cash bail–Glasgow has some advice for you. “It is absolutely critical that we get this message out,” he warns, “or public safety will be damaged more than we can ever imagine.”

And if the SAFE-T Act remains in place? John Kass, in his most recent Chicago Way podcast, recalled this advice from a former confidante of the first Mayor Daley, who said these words to the former Chicago Tribune columnist after Kim Foxx was reelected in 2020, “The message is get the (bleep) out,” A relative of mine lives in Chicago’s 32nd Ward, blocks away from “The Scream” attack and also blocks away from where a culinary student was shot three times after being robbed of his cell phone. He’s planning his Chicago exit after living there for over two decades.

John Ruberry lives in suburban Cook County and he regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Willie Wilson billboard in 2016 on Chicago’s West Side

By John Ruberry

“Since the 1930s the technique of buying votes with the voters’ own money has been expanded to an extent undreamed of by earlier politicians.” Milton Friedman.

“But it can also be said that the social largesse of the boss system, the food, coal, clothing, and jobs provided for the needy, was there when it counted–with no delay and no paperwork–for those loyal to the system.” David McCullough, at the opening of the PBS American Experience documentary, “The Last Boss.”

Democratic politics has gone from handing out free stuff, ploys used by machine politicians including James M. Curley of Boston and Richard J. Daley of Chicago, to handing out free stuff again. In between, the social programs created Franklin D. Roosevelt, proved to be a better and more popular distributor of goodies. Daley, unlike most of the other big city bosses, adopted to the times a bit; he was able to siphon a generous chunk of the funds from Lyndon B. Johnson’s Model Cities boondoggle, for instance. 

Last month President Joe Biden, like a Democratic boss of old, in a legally tenuous move, announced that he would forgive $10,000 to $20,000 in student loan debt. That debt of course won’t disappear, federal taxpayers will get stuck with the tab.

You’ve heard about Dr. Jill Biden. The first lady uses that title because she has doctorate in education. Chicago has millionaire businessman Dr. Willie Wilson, who according to ABC Chicago, “is the recipient of a Doctor of Divinity degree from Mt. Carmel Theological Seminary, a Doctor of Humane Letters from Chicago Baptist Institute International, Honorary Doctorate in Humanitarianism from Swisher Bible College and a Doctorate in Humanitarianism from Denver Institute of Urban Studies and Adult College.” I haven’t heard of those schools either.

Wilson is a political gadfly. He has run for mayor of Chicago three times, including his current attempt at the office, as well as for US senator and president. But he is best known as a man who gives away stuff, through his foundation, of groceries, PPE masks, groceries, and gasoline. The local media falls for his ploy–and to be fair, they have been placed in a trap, as their audience likes freebies. Who doesn’t?

Oh, Wilson favors slavery reparations.

Laura Washington, a far-left columnist for the Chicago Tribune, rightly condemned the “Willie Wilsonization of politics” in a column ironically published two days before Biden announced his student loan debt forgiveness plan. And she didn’t stop with Wilson. First up was Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

From that Trib column, paid registration may by required:

Thanks to an “avalanche” of federal stimulus funds, Lightfoot is “running for reelection armed with a seemingly bottomless gift bag of giveaways that includes everything from gas cards, Ventra cards, bicycles, locks and helmets to more than $1,000-per-household in rebates to defray the cost of security cameras, outdoor motion sensor lighting, cloud storage and GPS trackers to hunt down vehicles in the event of an auto theft or carjacking,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported in June. 

Lightfoot’s “Chicago Moves,” is the city’s $12 million transit response to skyrocketing fuel costs and inflation. It will distribute up to 50,000 prepaid $150 gas cards and 100,000 prepaid $50 transit cards to Chicago residents. 

Earlier this year, Lightfoot pushed through a controversial guaranteed income program for low-income families. The pilot program will provide no-strings-attached $500 payments to 5,000 Chicago families per month for a year. The recipients were chosen through a lottery system.

For months, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who is running for reelection in the Nov. 8 election, has ballyhooed a $1.8 billion tax relief plan in his campaign ads. It provides short-term tax reductions and freezes on purchases of gas, groceries and school supplies.

Pritzker’s “tax cuts” are quite dishonest. His gasoline tax reduction only delays a mandated tax hike–Illinoisans pay the second-highest gas taxes in the nation–until, how convenient, after Election Day. Gas station owners are required to post signs touting Pritzker’s tax “cut.” Those who refuse face a $500-a-day fine. The grocery tax “cut,” which also comes with a requirement that grocers post signage about it, although non-compliant grocers don’t face face a fine for refusing to obey. Next year, when presumably Pritzker has been sworn in for a second term, the grocery taxes return.

Because of unfunded public worker pension debt, both Chicago and Illinois face enormous fiscal challenges. In regards to those pensions, Lightfoot and Pritzker are doing what their predecessors have done worst–kicking the can down the road.

Amazingly, Pritzker is considering a presidential run. His chances of winning are dismal, I offer the reasons why here. But if Pritzker somehow succeeds in 2024, imagine all of the vote-buying possibilities for him! He already has the physique of Santa Claus. On the other hand, Christmas comes just once a year. The federal government is with us every day.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Father Marquette monument on Chicago’s Southwest Side

By John Ruberry

As I’ve stated many times before in this space, Chicago’s best days are behind it. Seemingly random and numbing violence is everywhere. Yes, shootings and murders are down from 2020 and 2021, but remain much higher than in 2019, the year its embattled mayor, Lori Lightfoot, was sworn into office. 

However, theft, burglary, and automobile theft are dramatically higher compared to 2021–overall crime is up 36 percent. Since two waves of riots in 2020, major retailers such as Macy’s, the Gap, and the Disney Store have closed their massive stores on Chicago’s premier shopping district, North Michigan Avenue, for now at least, known as the Magnificent Mile. 

Boeing is moving its headquarters out of Chicago, as is investment firm Citadel, which is headed by Ken Griffin, a prominent donor to Illinois Republican candidates. Griffin mentioned Chicago crime as a reason for departing for Miami. 

Chicago’s CTA public transportation system includes its sprawling el train lines. Violent assaults and murders have become common on the el. The criminal descendants of Jesse James aren’t attacking trains from the outside, they are paying, well…maybe paying, customers. I suspect most of the creeps are turnstile jumpers.

Click here for my confrontation with a CTA thug, from my most recent, and perhaps last, ride on a Chicago el train.

In 2020, soon after the violent riot outside a Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park, in the middle of the night Lightfoot had the statue removed for “temporary” storage. She was too much of a coward to do so during daytime, and too much of a financially reckless liberal to care about the expense, as it is likely the workers removing the Columbus statue were being paid doubletime wages. Illinois, the home of Abraham Lincoln and a solid Union state, has no Confederate monuments, but the always-angry left chose an old “favorite,” Christopher Columbus, both a brilliant and flawed man, to vent its rage. 

Two other Columbus statues were also placed into storage around that time. 

Another response by Lightfoot formed the Chicago Monuments Project. One of Chicago’s last remaining honest journalists, John Kass, called it in his Chicago Way podcast, “Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Woke Committee on Problematic Statuary.

Since then, a former city of Chicago attorney claimed in a lawsuit that not only did Lightfoot, who is up for reelection early next year, prevent an agreement with a local Italian-American group to return the Columbus statues for public view, but she had this to say, “My d— is bigger than yours and the Italians, I have the biggest d— in Chicago.”

To be fair, in March, Lightfoot said she “fully expects” the Columbus statues to return to their former locations.

On Friday afternoon, in an old-school “news dump,” Lightfoot’s committee revealed its recommendations. It’s hard to believe, but Chicago’s Lincoln statues were on the committee’s hit list. Honest Abe survived, as did the other US presidents on the committee’s woke naughty list. But a whole bunch of others, including the Columbus statues, a Roman column monument to Italian aviator Italo Balbo, a Mussolini cohort, monuments to French explorers Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette–they were the first recorded Europeans to visit what is now Chicago–and a statue of General Phil Sheridan on horseback at the southern end of Sheridan Road, are recommended for removal. In regards to Marquette and Jolliet, semblances of “white supremacy” is the reason. Some monuments that have been in storage for years will not be returned to public view.

The full report from the “woke committee” can be found here.

Sheridan’s prominent role in the Indian Wars is why he may be toppled from Chicago. Few people know these facts, but Sheridan, one of the North’s ablest generals in the Civil War, had a home in Chicago and “Fightin’ Phil” was present during the Chicago Fire. When the city’s mayor placed Chicago under martial law, Sheridan was in charge. 

Three statues, including ones of George Washington and William McKinley, should have “artistic prioritized interventions,” the committee says. My guess is that signs will be placed next to them, pointing out the honored ones flaws. Who among us is flawless? Liberals can’t imagine the non-enlightened ones thinking for themselves, or using their smartphones to Google “President McKinley.” And yes, slavery is the worst scourge in American history, but how many Americans don’t know Washington owned slaves?

For now, Abraham Lincoln’s statues will be spared these “artistic prioritized interventions,” but the committee warns, “such measures may be employed in the future through ongoing program investments.” Illinois, of course, is known as “the Land of Lincoln.”

Lightfoot’s monument committee is recommending new monuments, mostly “red meat” ones appealing to the left, although I support a statue of Chicago’s gospel legend, Mahalia Jackson. But why not one for Muddy Waters too?

What about a Ronald Reagan statue? The Gipper was the first president to live in Chicago and the only one born in Illinois.

There is no monument recommended for Lightfoot, “Triple Threat” is not only an African-American, but she is Chicago’s second female mayor and its first lesbian one. 

If a Lightfoot statue is ever erected, I’m sure I won’t be the only one focusing on her crotch. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.