Posts Tagged ‘illinois’

By John Ruberry

By all accounts, crime was the biggest issue in this year’s Chicago mayoral election. Voters in America’s third-largest city had a choice between two Democrats in the runoff matchup in April, Paul Vallas, a moderate who ran on a law-and-order agenda, and Brandon Johnson, who until late last year was a defund-the-police advocate.

Johnson won and he was sworn in as Chicago’s 57th mayor on May 15. 

But his brief time as mayor-elect was rough. While Johnson of course denounced a late April downtown flash-mob riot, he did so with a caveat, declaring that the riotous thugs “shouldn’t be demonized,” even though they acted demonically. A few days later outside Illinois’ state capitol building, Johnson doubled down on his naivete, explaining his feelings about the rioters, “They’re young. Sometimes they make silly decisions.”

A big test for any Chicago mayor is Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer is also traditionally when violence ramps up. 

One new wrinkle for this year’s holiday weekend was implementation of yellow-vested “peacekeepers” to control the mayhem, including 30 funded by the state. While I don’t believe Johnson dispatched any of his own peacekeepers, he’s on board with the concept. 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get it, Johnson’s not even been mayor for a month, but if Memorial Day weekend’s crime fighting results are any indication, Chicago is in for a tough four years.

The last weekend in May was Chicago’s most violent Memorial Day weekend since 2016–eleven people were shot to death, 42 others were wounded, and one woman was beaten to death. Let’s take a closer look at that last one. The deceased was brutally and fatally beaten with a baseball bat two blocks from Johnson’s West Side home–the alleged murderer lives across the street from the mayor.

The beating victim and nine of the eleven weekend shooting victims were killed last Saturday. Only Hey Jackass Chicago among the local media noticed that it was one of the few double-digit murder days in the last decade the city has suffered. 

Now, back to the yellow-donned peacekeepers. The concept is ripe for a parody. For instance, on my own blog, I noted that Leslie Barbara, one of the less imposing cadets of the motley class in “Police Academy,” was wearing a yellow blazer when he was tossed by hooligans into a river from a bridge–along with his photo kiosk. The aforementioned Hey Jackass Chicago is selling official peacekeeper T-shirts on the “Buy Crap” section of its website.

One of those real peacekeepers, whom a veteran of the Obama administration hilariously defended as someone who “mishandled the stress” of being a peacekeeper, was arrested after allegedly beating and robbing a man. The accused, an ex-con who was on parole, was allegedly in the process of removing his yellow peacekeeper vest as the cops approached him.

Okay, skeptics may object and tell me that Memorial Day weekend was just one weekend, and a long one at that. What about this weekend?

Well, as of 9am Sunday morning Chicago time, nine people have been shot to death this weekend so far and at least 33 others wounded. Included in those numbers is mass shooting in Johnson’s neighborhood in Austin, where one person was killed and six others were wounded.

Let’s go Brandon!

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

When does a local crime story become a national one? Outside of a mass shooting, a local crime story becomes a national one when there is a race element. 

On May 1, a deranged homeless man, Jordan Neely, was threatening passengers on a New York subway train. A former marine, Daniel Penny, aided by two other passengers, placed Neely, who by the way had 42 prior arrests, in a chokehold. Penny has since charged with second-degree manslaughter. I’m sure that you know these details: Penny is white, Neely is black.

The mainstream media, to use an old radio term, still has the Neely killing on heavy rotation.

On May 6 a much more troubling homicide occurred on Chicago’s South Side. Aréanah Preston, a Chicago police officer, had just finished her shift. As she exited her car in front of her home, Preston, who was still in uniform, was shot to death. Jakwon Buchanan, 18, two 19-year-olds Trevell Breeland and Joseph Brooks, and a 16-year-old, Jaylen Frazier, have been charged with her murder.

Preston, 24, was to have been awarded her master’s degree from Loyola University on Saturday. 

Here is the headline about the arrest of the alleged murderers from CWB Chicago, 4 people, all with extensive juvenile criminal backgrounds, killed off-duty Chicago cop during armed robbery: prosecutors.

By now you probably know why the murder of Preston is not a national news story. Preston, and the alleged killers, are African American. If the accused murderers were white, reports about this homicide would dominate the news outlets, particularly MSNBC and CNN, who would introduce each segment on the cop killing with a custom graphic and somber music. 

There are additional chilling details about the alleged perpetrators, all of whom are in jail, bail has been denied.

Their crime spree began early on the morning of May 6, according to a Cook County assistant state’s attorney, because the girlfriend of Jakwon Buchanan needed money for a barbecue. That’s right, a barbecue. Buchanan, by the way, has a pending carjacking case in juvenile court. 

First, the four teens, who were dressed in black and wore face masks, stole a Kia Forte, after robbing a woman of her charge cards, her smart phone, and a Louis Vuitton belt. As for the youths’ look and their criminality, think Alex and his “Droogs” from A Clockwork Orange crossed with ninja warriors from a 1980s action film. Next, a 62-year-old woman and her son’s girlfriend were robbed by at least three of the teens of a phone and a Coach purse. Then two of the accused allegedly robbed a man as he was leaving his car.

Then Preston was murdered. Her gun was taken and one of the accused allegedly sold her weapon.

I can describe the four accused killers with two words, ones that the holier-than-thou media has deemed racist: “Career criminals,” despite their youth, and “super-predators.” Remember how CWB Chicago portrayed the four, “all with extensive juvenile criminal backgrounds.” And CWB Chicago, citing a law enforcement source, said of two of the accused, “Brooks and Buchanan ‘are by far in the top 10 for prolific juvenile carjackers over the last two years.'”

Here’s another recent story from CWB Chicago about two different thugs–that’s right, I said it, thugs: Chicago boys charged with 16 armed robberies and carjackings. They’re 15 and 16 years old.

On Monday, Brandon Johnson, a Democrat who is essentially a creation of the far-left Chicago Teachers Union, will be sworn in as mayor of Chicago. Until his mayoral campaign began Johnson was a “defund the police” guy. Among other things, Johnson favors sending social workers, instead of cops, to domestic disturbances. After a riot last month in downtown Chicago, the mayor-elect had this to say about the creeps, “It is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities.”


If people do demonic things, they can expect to be demonized.

A few days later, Johnson doubled down on those initial remarks about the rioters. “They’re young,” Johnson said. “Sometimes they make silly decisions! They do. So we have to make sure that we are investing to make sure that young people know that they are supported.”


Johnson is a big proponent of summer jobs programs for young people. I don’t believe such employment would cause youths like Buchanan, Frazier, Brooks, and Breeland to alter their destructive life decisions for $15-an-hour make-work jobs.

Chicago is stacked with career criminals and super-predators. My solution to the city’s crisis is simple, aggressively prosecute these lawbreakers and imprison them when they are found guilty. Johnson, Cook County’s so-called prosecutor Kim Foxx, and Cook County Circuit Court chief judge Tim Evans don’t agree with me. They’re “root causes” people. 

Sadly, even though some moms rise to their challenge, there is one root cause the media and left-wing politicians refuse to discuss. Over eighty percent of African American births in Chicago are to single mothers

I don’t know what the solution to that problem is. But admitting there is a problem is the first step in confronting it. 

On Wednesday, four days after she was to receive her master’s diploma from Loyola, the funeral for Preston will be held.

John Ruberry regularly blogs five miles north of Chicago at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

Some big news came out of Chicago on Tuesday. For the first time since 1996, and only the second time since the riotous year of 1968, the Democratic National Convention will be held in Chicago next year.

But more consequential news arrived Tuesday as well. America’s largest retailer, Walmart, announced it was closing four of its Chicago stores, half of its city presence. These outlets lock their doors for good tonight.

Chicago’s relationship with the big box giant has been a hate-love-hate one. In the early 2000s, the term “food desert” came into use to describe areas without access to fresh food, but really, what theses apologists were talking about were neighborhoods where supermarkets pulled out because of high crime, mostly shoplifting. In their place sprang small stores, family-run operations usually owned by people from the Middle East, or south or east Asia. Of course, these merchants charge shoppers more for goods because, without the volume discounts that the retail behemoths enjoy, they have to. 

And it was in the early 2000s that Walmart, and its primary big box rival, Target, wanted to open stores in major cities like Chicago. Target, even though like Walmart is non-union, got a pass from the opposition–the Chicago City Council and its union allies–because Target is a creature of the left. Walmart’s corporate philosophy was decidedly conservative then. So the City Council, that failed body that sees one of its members convicted on corruption charges every eighteen months or so, passed an anti-big box retail store ordinance in 2006, which Mayor Richard M. Daley vetoed. I believe it was his only veto in his 22 years as mayor. 

So Walmart arrived in Chicago, opening eight stores, some of them in impoverished areas. That’s the love part. 

And now for more hate. 

Widespread looting during the George Floyd riots in 2020 hit Chicago retailers hard. North Michigan Avenue, one of America’s premier luxury shopping areas, was devastated by a second round or looting two months later, igniting a retail exodus. As for Walmart, all of its Chicago stores were shuttered, four for two months. Two other stores, including one of the outlets that closes tonight, in Chatham on the South Side, were shuttered for six months. The Chatham location, a supercenter, was also set on fire. On this weekend’s edition of Fox Chicago’s Flannery Fired Up, host Mike Flannery said of the Chatham outlet, “It was virtually destroyed.”

Now it and three other Walmarts are closing.

Late last year, Walmart’s CEO, Doug McMillon, decrying shoplifting, particularly thefts conducted by organized gangs, issued a general warning. If local law enforcement didn’t do their job, “prices will be higher, and/or stores will close.” He added, “It’s just policy consistency and clarity so we can make capital investments with some vision.”

Last week, in response to McMillon’s comments, WIND-AM’s Dan Proft remarked, “That is a very vanilla way of saying ‘We can’t do business in a place that doesn’t enforce the rule of law.'”

And in Chicago and elsewhere Walmarts are closing because leftist public officials refuse to enforce the rule of law. Two weeks ago Chicago elected a neo-Marxist leftist, Chicago Teachers Unions product Brandon Johnson, as mayor. What did Johnson, then a Cook County commissioner, say about looting in 2020? He refused to denounce it. In fact, Johnson minimized it because looted businesses have insurance.


The mayor-elect was a defund-the-police proponent, until this year, when he wasn’t. Johnson favors something he calls “Treatment not Trauma,” he wants to send social workers instead of cops to domestic disturbances.

In a press release announcing the closings, Walmart said, “The simplest explanation is that collectively our Chicago stores have not been profitable since we opened the first one nearly 17 years ago – these stores lose tens of millions of dollars a year, and their annual losses nearly doubled in just the last five years.” Hey, but at least, as Johnson pointed out, Walmart has insurance. Of course, insurance companies never lowball claims, they never raise rates, and they never cancel policies due to risk factors. Right?

As for Johnson, he’s off to a wretched start as mayor-elect. In his first national media interview after his runoff win over moderate Democrat Paul Vallas, Johnson blamed large companies for Chicago’s high crime and poverty rates. “We have large corporations,” Johnson replied when asked about criminality in the city, “seventy percent of large corporations in the city of Chicago — in the state of Illinois, did not pay a corporate tax.” That’s probably false–and while Chicago does have sales and property taxes, it doesn’t have a Detroit-style municipal income tax. Johnson claims he’s against a city income tax, but in a February Flannery Fired Up appearance, he repeatedly dodged questions on whether he supports one.

The day after the store closings were announced, Fox Chicago reported that six televisions were shoplifted from the Chatham Walmart. In a way, the five-finger-discounter was participating in a going out of business sale.

Chicago’s meddlesome priest, the obnoxious and bombastic Father Michael Pfleger, is one of the loudest voices condemning the Walmart closings. He is threatening to lead a boycott of a Walmart supercenter located just outside of Chicago’s city limits. Good lord, Pfleger is a bigger goof than I thought. If that suburban Walmart closes because of a boycott, it will mean one less shopping choice for Chicagoans–and an even larger food desert.

Tyson Foods, Boeing, Citadel, and Caterpillar are among the corporations who have recently closed offices in Chicago and its suburbs. As I mentioned earlier in this post, North Michigan Avenue is dying because stores are shutting down. Chicago’s population is declining.

The Chicago Exodus began in 2020. It’s accelerating now.

One more thought: On Saturday night a very large group of what the media called “teenagers,” thugs is a better word, descended on downtown Chicago. They smashed car windows, set some vehicles on fire, and two people were shot. I call that a riot. One woman watched helplessly as her husband was beaten by a mob. There was a similar gathering the night before at a South Side beach.

Chicago’s criminals are emboldened.

Hell has arrived. I’ve seen what an urban hell looks like. It’s called Detroit.

Let’s go Brandon!

John Ruberry is a regular suburban Chicago Walmart shopper who blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

“I heard my momma cry, I heard her pray the night Chicago died.” The Night Chicago Died, Paper Lace, 1974. 

Any doubt in my mind that Chicago would be the next Detroit evaporated last Tuesday night as election results came in showing that far-left Democrat Brandon Johnson would replace the disastrous Lori Lightfoot as mayor of Chicago. 

It was the night Chicago died.

There are serious lessons from this Democrat battle for Republicans. 

Moderate Democrat Paul Vallas, a policy wonk who can produce a white paper as easily as quickly as a Kardashian can upload skanky pics on Instagram, offered a commonsense solution to Chicago’s crime epidemic: hire more cops.

Woke triumphed over wonk.

Johnson, whose political career is a creation of the neo-Marxist Chicago’s Teacher Union, has a “roots cause” outlook in regard taking back Chicago. He favors sending social workers to domestic disturbances instead of police officers. And almost as if on cue on the day after the first round of voting for mayor, Andres Vasquez-Lasso, a 32-year-old cop, was shot to death responding to a domestic disturbance call.

Living just five miles north of Chicago, I agree with Johnson on one thing–there are many mentally disturbed people living in America’s third-largest city. Of course, there is one root cause leftists never speak of, the dominance of fatherless households in Chicago’s most-crime ridden neighborhoods

Six months ago, few Chicagoans had heard of Johnson. He’s been a Cook County commissioner since 2019, a rubber stamp body, for the most part, is controlled by Toni “Taxwinkle” Preckwinkle. She is also the chairman of the Cook County Regular Democratic Organization, aka, the Chicago Machine. 

Well, it was Chicago’s Machine.

The new machine in the city is the Chicago Teachers Union, which is aided by a couple of key allies, two other public-sector unions, SEIU and AFSCME. 

Johnson, after a few years as a teacher, where he admitted he never assigned homework, moved on to be a CTU organizer. In fact, he kept collecting about $100,000 a year from the union even though he was an elected official. 

And despite Johnson’s “defund the police” rhetoric from 2020, which be backed off of as his campaign gained traction before the February runoff, Johnson is Chicago’s mayor-elect.

With crime soaring in Chicago, how did that happen? 

That’s easy, it was that new machine, CTU and friends, that got Johnson elected. 

“They were brilliant,” former ABC Chicago political analyst Clarence Thomas told Chicago’s Morning Answer Dan Proft last week of CTU. “They did it, they went door to door, they knocked on doors, they found those vote by mail ballots, and said, ‘Hey, let’s fill this out, let’s send this in.'”

Vallas, meanwhile, ran a conventional political campaign, heavy on collecting corporate campaign contributions, big-name endorsements including Dick Durbin, former governor Pat Quinn, recently retired six-term Illinois secretary of state Jesse White, and many Chicago alderpersons. Illinois’ most-read newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, endorsed Vallas.

That was a wonderful strategy–that is, if Vallas was a candidate for mayor of Chicago in 1991. 

How many doors did Dick Durbin knock for Vallas? Or Quinn? How many voters did the Chicago Tribune reach out by way of text messaging, reminding them when, where, and how to vote? How many voters did Jesse White contact in regard to receiving a mail-in ballot? How many social media private messages did those pro-Vallas alderpersons send? How many people got rides to polling places from those corporate megadonors? 

The answer to those questions is the same: almost certainly zero.

The Chicago Teachers Union game plan that got Brandon Johnson elected will be replicated by leftists nationwide in 2024. Listen, I hate early voting and I despise mail-in ballots, but until the rules are changed–and that is, if they are changed–Republicans have to adapt to the new ballgame. 

The CTU looked for voters, found them, and they made sure they voted for Johnson last week–as well as the two weeks prior to Election Day. A low turnout–about 35 percent—clearly upped the odds for CTU/Johnson.

As for that abysmal turnout, shame on you, Chicago.

One more thing about Vallas. When he conceded on election night, he trailed Johnson about 10,000 votes. But that evening there were still around 50,000 outstanding mail-in ballots, and yes, they are still trickling in and being counted. Vallas learned too late that the game had changed. He knew the great majority of those mail-in ballots were from Johnson voters. 

Get to work, Republicans. Find out who your voters are, connect with them, stay in touch with them, and get them to vote.

And yes, knock on doors. More people can be found at home now, many people work from there. Times have changed. 

Adapt or die.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.