Posts Tagged ‘leftism’

By John Ruberry

If you give a press conference and the result looks like a Saturday Night Live sketch, a pre-woke version of the show that is, then you have a big problem.

So it was last week with Chicago’s inept leftist mayor, Lori Lightfoot, when she blamed retail crime victims for the rise of flash mob thieves plaguing Chicago’s Magnificent Mile shopping area.

“We still have retailers that won’t institute plans like having security officers in their stores, making sure that they’ve got cameras that are actually operational, locking up their merchandise at night, chaining high-end bags,” the first-term Democrat said. “These purses can be something that is attracting a lot of organized retail theft units.”

So it’s the victims’ fault.

Just like it was in this SNL skit from 1991, featuring Chicago native Joe Mantegna, where he blames New York City crime victims for their problems.

“Yeah, I was flying to Florida, and we had a stopover in New York,” a caller to a talk radio show told Mantegna. “Well, while we were sitting on the ground a group of ‘wilding’ teenagers boarded the plane and beat with me on the head with a pipe.”

“And which airport was this,” Mantegna asked,

“LaGuardia,” was the reply.

“Well, there you go,” Mantegna scolded the caller.

Chicago Police brass were said to have a plan in place to combat smash-and-grab thieves and avoid scenes such as what happened when a Burberry’s on North Michigan Avenue was emptied of purses–each handbag was worth more than a thousand dollars. 

If there was a plan by the CPD, then it clearly didn’t work. Since Lightfoot’s delusional presser a North Face store on the Mag Mile was struck twice. But proving that the Burberry’s looting was just a tame opening act, yesterday a luxury car dealer just off of the Magnificent Mile was robbed of an estimated $2 million worth of high-end watches–which, are you paying attention Mayor Lightfoot?– were locked up inside a locked glass display case. Yep, $2 million.

The dealership is now seeing customers on an appointment basis only–its doors are locked during store hours. Welcome to the new Chicago.

On Friday night’s Flannery Fired Up show on Fox 32 Chicago, host Mike Flannery estimated that 20 percent of the storefronts on North Michigan Avenue are empty. Regular readers of my posts know that the Mag Mile was devastated by two rounds of looting–oops, I mean “mostly peaceful protests”–in 2020. 

The luxury dealership, which sells Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, and Lamborghinis, is owned by Joe Perillo, who is rethinking operating in Chicago.

“It is wrong for someone to break into a place – if they get caught, they get let out!” Perillo explained to ABC 7. “If they get arrested, they get let go. So, how do you intend to ever solve that problem?” He added, “If they don’t do anything about this, they’re going to lose a lot of businesses. They lost Macy’s. They’re losing Neiman Marcus. They may lose this store.”

While Neiman Marcus still has a store on the North Michigan Avenue, the Gap and Disney have also left in the last year. And remember what Flannery said about Mag Mile vacancies. 

It’s not just Lightfoot’s fault.

Kim Foxx is one of those woke so-called prosecutors whose campaign was funded by radical leftist George Soros. She’s received plenty of well-deserved scorn for her mishandling of the Jussie Smollett case. But the greater sin of the Cook County state’s attorney is her catch-and-release policy involving criminals accused of serious offenses. Even some alleged murderers are out of jail on electronic surveillance.

How ’bout if a non-woke SNL updated that skit with a Chicago twist?

“Hello, my store was emptied of merchandise by flash mob looters,” a caller to that SNL-radio show might say.

“What do you sell,” Lori Lightfoot would reply.

“Purses worth more than $1,000.”

Lightfoot’s retort would be, “Well, there you go.”

Retail groups have been complaining that shoppers are now afraid to visit North Michigan Avenue. Who can blame them?

Chicago is dying. The cause of death? Woke politicians.

Well, there you go.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

The far-left has taken over many elected prosecutor’s offices, including Chesa Boudin in San Francisco, George Gascon in Los Angeles County, Marilyn Mosby in Baltimore, and Kim Foxx in Cook County, where Chicago is the county seat.

As I sadly live in Crook County I’m going focus on Foxx, Cook County’s state’s attorney and Jussie Smollett’s protector, who among other things, refuses to prosecute shoplifters with a felony unless they are accused of stealing merchandise worth more than $1,000.

Foxx is also a huge supporter of electronic monitoring of criminal suspects.

Small-time crooks often move on to bigger crimes. The “broken-windows” practice of policing that Rudy Giuliani put into place during his eight years as mayor of New York–his cops aggressively cracked down on petty criminals–led to a major decrease in violent crime. In the years before Rudy’s election NYC averaged over 2,000 murders annually. His successor, Michael Bloomberg, largely kept Guiliani’s policies in place. When Bloomberg left office in 2013 there were just 333 murders in America’s largest city. The murder rate has gone up with Bill de Blasio as mayor of New York but that’s a post for another time. 

The soft-on-crime approach of Foxx has been a disaster for Cook County residents, particular minorities who Foxx claims to champion. According to Hey Jackass there have been 467 homicides after the first seven months of 2021. Of the victims 83 percent of them were black and 13 percent were Hispanic

Bail is often light under Foxx and her prosecutors. Bad people who yes, have not yet been convicted of the crimes they are accused of, are being released with low bail or under electronic monitoring. 

Even Cook County’s sheriff, Democrat Tom Dart, doesn’t think electronic monitoring should be utilized the way Foxx is using it. “We were handed this thing—we didn’t ask for it,” Dart told NBC Chicago last week. “This is not what it was designed for The program was never designed for violent people.” And yet that is what is being done. 

More from NBC Chicago:

Nevertheless, numbers provided by the sheriff’s office show that on a recent day this month,100 murder suspects were free on electronic monitoring. Another 106 suspects were out in the community charged with criminal sexual assault, 547 charged as felons in possession of a weapon, and 263 as armed habitual criminals.

Let me repeat the first two: There are 100 people accused of murder who are free on electronic surveillance in Cook County. And what happened to the #MeToo movement? There are 106 people charged with criminal sexual assault on home arrest right in the county where I live.

Some of those on electronic monitoring in Cook County have eluded surveillance, including a man who escaped from electronic monitoring a few days after agreeing to it; he has since been charged with shooting a man in the face. Then there is the man accused of attempting to murder a cop who escaped from house arrest who was later found with an auto-fire gun. It gets worse. A man on electronic monitoring for a gun charge was charged with a murder during a home invasion.

Then there is this bizarre twist on electronic monitoring. Last month just a few minutes after being fitted with an electronic surveillance device rapper KTS Dre was shot–Sonny Corleone-style–64 times outside Cook County Jail. Clearly the rapper was better off being locked up. But Dre wasn’t the only person shot, two women were wounded in that attack. 

Can crimes be committed by people who stay home during their electronic home confinement? Of course! A woman selling cars on Facebook was lured to the home of a man on electronic monitoring. “Give me everything. You don’t f*cking move,” the accused allegedly warned. He also told the man who accompanied the salesperson, “Tell your b*tch not to move or I’ll shoot her too.”

As bad as Kim Foxx is–and she is indeed horrible–the ultimate responsibility for this public safety debacle belongs to Cook County voters–not me of course–who blindly voted Democrat party-line and returned Foxx to office last autumn. 

The warning signs on Foxx were there.

Chicago mayor’s Lori Lightfoot weak-on-crime policies deserve condemnation too. The man she chose to run the Chicago Police, David Brown, who for the most part has done a rotten job, did express some wisdom last week when he asked, “How many people think it’s OK to have over 90 people on electronic monitoring that we’ve charged with murder released back into our communities?”

The local mainstream media, NBC Chicago being an exception, is either ignoring or minimizing the crimes in Cook County being committed by accused criminals under house arrest. Many thanks to CWB Chicago for regularly reporting on this issue. After all, “Democracy dies in darkness.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Lincoln: The Man in 2008

By John Ruberry

On Wednesday, in response to the summer riot in Chicago that nearly toppled a Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park last month–it and another Columbus statue have been since placed in storage–Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago Monument Project revealed 41 monuments that “have been identified for public discussion.” 

The project’s web site cautions, in bold print no less, “No decisions have been made about the following monuments.”

Yeah, right. BS! Imagine that you work at a company where the annual reviews are conducted each December. But in June you are informed that you’ll soon have a mid-year review but then are told, “Don’t worry, nothing is wrong.” At that point a wise person will begin the process of résumé updating. 

The statues, reliefs, and plaques include monuments honoring four presidents, several memorials recalling the first Europeans to visit Chicago, Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette, as well as generals, a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and many public art pieces with Native American themes. And yes of course those two Columbus statues. Oh, if you are one of those people who believe Leif Ericsson was the real European discoverer of America don’t be smug. He’s on Lightfoot commission’s list too.

This not a list of shame. It’s a tragic shame that there is such a list.

Five of the 41 monuments are Abraham Lincoln statues–and there are five Lincoln statues in Chicago. Hmm. Widely considered by liberals and conservatives as the greatest American president, the Great Emancipator’s presence in Illinois is profound and inescapable. “Land of Lincoln” is emblazoned on every Illinois license plate as is Honest Abe’s visage. 

I live on Lincoln Avenue in a Chicago suburb–that street winds its way south into Chicago and Lincoln Park, where you’ll encounter what Andrew Ferguson in his book Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe’s America says is “what is generally thought to be the greatest Lincoln statue of the nineteenth century, a towering figure by Augustus Saint-Gaudens.” That makes this statue, generally referred to as Lincoln Standing although its formal name is Lincoln: The Man, a masterpiece. Yep, a masterpiece. So much so that it has been recast several times, and those Lincoln: The Man reproductions can be found in Parque Lincoln in Mexico City, Parliament Square in London, Forest Lawn Cemetery–Hollywood Hills, and the Lincoln Tomb in Springfield. Earlier this month Little Marathon Pundit and I visited the Detroit Institute of Arts, where we found one of the many miniatures of Lincoln: The Man

Of course back in Chicago the original artistic triumph is “under public discussion.” In Grant Park sits another targeted Saint-Gaudens work, Abraham Lincoln: Head of State.

Also troubling is the aforementioned Marquette and Jolliet memorials on this list. Jolliet, while crossing the Chicago Portage in what is now southwestern suburban Cook County, noted that it would be an excellent location for a canal, one that would connect the watersheds of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. Lincoln, while a member of the Illinois legislature, was a proponent of the Illinois-Michigan Canal, which opened 17 decades after the Marquette-Jolliet expedition. While that canal very well may have been built without either men, if it hadn’t, Chicago may have ended up like many other small cities on Lake Michigan, like Sheboygan, Wisconin. (Oh, I’ve been there–it’s a lovely place by the way.)

George Washington has two “nominations” from the Chicago Monuments Project, including his horseback statue in his namesake park. McKinley Park’s statue of William McKinley is in peril too. Does that mean their park names will be next? While Grant Park doesn’t have a Ulysses S. Grant statue–Lincoln Park does. He has a nomination too, as do his fellow union generals Phil Sheridan, on Sheridan Road no less, and John Logan, whose statue stands in Grant Park.  

Lori Lightfoot is a failed mayor in a city that is in clear decline. Failed mayor? She’s up for reelection in a little more than two years and already there is speculation as to who her opponents will be. Since I declared Chicago a city in decline last summer its retail cash cow, North Michigan Avenue, has been hit by the announment of two closings, a massive Gap store and Macy’s at Water Tower Place. Chicago’s streets are potholed disasters, there are omnipresent red-light cameras to contend with, the murder rate is soaring, as are the number of car jackings. Taxes are oppresive, and its financial millstone, the worst-funded municipal pension progam in the nation, has never been properly addressed. Oh, this appears to be a little thing but graffiti is no longer routinely cleaned up along Chicago’s expressways. The proliferation of kudzu-like graffiti foreshadowed New York City’s descent in the 1970s.

Instead Lightfoot zooms in on statues and monuments to pander to her leftist base. 

The ultimate responsibility for this real-life dystopia of course goes to Chicago’s misguided voters. What was it that H.L Mencken said of democracy? Ah yes, here it is, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”

Chicago voters are a special kind of common people it seems

That being said there has been surprisingly little anger here in the Chicago area about these possible monument removals, as coverage has been modest and a major snowstorm earlier last week, on top of another one, had people focused on more immediate needs. 

But that needs to change. Click here on the Chicago Monuments Project web site to offer your thoughts. As always, please be polite–but be firm too. The form asks for a ZIP code. A Chicago one will make you more acceptable to those reading the replies; choose any 606 ZIP code between 60601 and 60661. Just saying.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit. He has visited Lincoln’s birthplace, his Springfield home, Ford’s Theatre, and the Peterson House, where our 16th president passed away.

By John Ruberry

More than once President Donald Trump–and as most recently as this morning in a telephone interview with Maria Bartiromo–President Donald J. Trump has called with media “the enemy of the people.”

And for the most part he is correct. On the national side most writers are propagandists for the left. Things are slightly better on the local level, which the president noted in that discussion with Bartiromo. After all only local TV stations were pressing Joe Biden during the presidential campaign about whether he’d pack the court with liberal justices. This is a very serious issue as it would upend and transform one of the three branches of the federal government. Eventually Biden, like a typical liberal, punted the decision by announcing he’d form a committee to explore issues of injustices in the legal system. And the elite media once again practiced the sin of omission in their reporting.

Last year Warren Buffett–although excluding the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal–said of newspapers, “They’re going to disappear.” And this year Buffett disappeared from the newspaper business

Old line magazines such as New Yorkthe Atlantic, and the New Yorker are dominated by left-wing journalists. You know, the smug-elitists who got their jobs by way of nepotism and their attendance at an elite university, which probably admitted them because of one of their parents also attended that college. Actually these publications might not have any conservative writers. The last one, the New Yorker, offers a newstand price of $8.99. In my opinion it’s not worth 99 cents. All are behind an internet paywall. All of these publications are intellectually irredeemable and likely doomed to insolvency. 

Let’s get back to newspapers. I cancelled my print subscription to the Chicago Tribune years ago and although I toyed with the idea of subscribing online,being the enterprising sort I learned that the only thing, outside of an occasional sports story, that I cared to read in the Tribune was John Kass’ column, which I discovered I could find on other newspapers sites or Real Clear Politics for free. 

Buffett is right. Newspapers are dead men walking. And magazines. Mostly. Oh, Chicago’s other major daily newspaper, which was purchased by a consortium a few years ago that included the Chicago Federal of Labor for $1, isn’t going to make it. You can bet on it. 

The Tribune, once a strong conservative voice in heavily Democratic Chicago, has been drifting lefward for years. Now it’s “woke.” Except for columnist John Kass. And the Trib is a shell of its former self. Like Warren Buffett–and here the similarities between us end–I’m a former newspaper delivery boy. I hated Thanksgiving Day editions because the papers were jammed with Christmas shopping ads–making the delivery of those bulky papers take three times as long. I have this year’s Thanksgiving Day Tribune lying right next to me. It’s thinner than the Saturday editions–a low readership and therefore a low-advertising day–that I used to deliver. 

Here’s my idea for saving and perhaps transforming daily newspapers and magazines out of the liberal echo chamber that they are now. For instance, the cost of a Tribune subscription, once the promos end, is $3.99 a month. For a dollar more you can have the print edition delivered to your door too. Now, and union rules may have to be changed for this to happen, but I propose for subscribers to have one-quarter of their subscription fee to go directly to the columnist of their choice. If there’s a sports writer or a movie reviewer who you really like, then of course choose that person. And of course I have all newspapers, magazines, and online-only publications in mind. 

My selection at the Tribune would of course be John Kass, a strong conservative voice who suffered a demotion of sorts by seeing his column moved from the coveted page 2 location to the innards of opinion section. The impetus for that move was a rebellion by his leftist co-workers about a column explaining how George Soros funded the campaigns of far-left prosecutors such as Kim Foxx in Cook County, Illinois. Those propagandists called Kass’ column anti-Semitic, even though Kass never mentioned the faith of Soros in that article. Soros is a secular Jew, not a religous one, by the way. Kass was attacked by his colleagues not because he was wrong about Soros–but because he was right.

Kass on a personal level is the antithesis of the media elites of you find elsewhere on the Tribune or at the New York Times and the Atlantic and their ilk. He attended–but did not graduate from–Columbia. That is Columbia College in Chicago, which my daughter once also attended, not the “other” Columbia in New York. The mainstream media of of course is always calling for more diversity within its ranks. But never for more intellectual diversity. Or class diversity. 

So my proposal has two obvious merits. It can save newspapers and it can up the conservative presence at the legacy media. Before it becomes the extinct media. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit and is available for hire by a legacy media publication.