When I was a young engineer, I had just started at a new company and, as part of my orientation, we attended a presentation by the company CEO, who was a wonderful motivational speaker. His talk was about “Negative Target Fixation,” in which he related the story of amateur pilots who, sometime have to do an emergency landing in a wide-open field with a single tree in it, and while they’re thinking “don’t hit the tree,” wind up hitting the tree. The very act of focusing on what you don’t want to happen can prevent you from accomplishing your goal. I was taking notes throughout the talk and, to my horror, realized that I had actually written down “avoid Negative Target Fixation.” Of course, by framing it in that way, I had made “Negative Target Fixation” the metaphorical tree in my own “wide-open field.” I’ve tried to be cognizant of this irony over the years since then.

One might say that “Negative Target Fixation” is what cost Hillary the 2016 election. It’s become almost a cliché that political candidates can’t just say what they’re against, they have to say what they’re for. However, with all the talk of the midterm “Blue Wave,” the Republicans find themselves in an interesting situation, mostly because when they claim to be “for” something, no one believes them anymore.

I will freely admit that I was anti-Trump in 2016 right up until he won the nomination. Once that happened, my electoral “wide-open field” was one in which Hillary was not president, so I voted for Trum. For the midterm, the Left is completely focused on the Negative Target of allowing Trump to continue to govern. Even though there is no hard evidence that the president did anything illegal, the “impeachment” mantra persists if the Democrats take over the House, even though there is absolutely no possibility of conviction in the Senate. I keep hoping that enough voters will recognize the tree in the middle of this electoral field and that the Republicans will be able to give them a positive message for which to vote. I can’t say I’m optimistic that either side will rise to the occasion.

Illinois bicentennial flag on bottom

By John Ruberry

“We are a nation that has a government—not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth.”
First presidential inaugural address from Ronald Reagan, who was born in Illinois.

“As a result, Illinois government is a massive retirement system that, during work hours, also offers some services.”
Chicago Tribune on Illinois’ pension system.

Last summer the Democratic-dominated Illinois General Assembly, overriding a veto from Republican governor Bruce Rauner, slugged Illinoisans with a 32 percent hike in the state income tax.

The Democratic nominee for governor, billionaire JB Pritzker, favors another tax increase. This phony, in a successful ploy to decrease property taxes on his Chicago mansion, purchased a neighboring mansion, disconnected its toilets, then in an assessment appeal, received his tax cut because the palace next door was “uninhabitable.”

Welcome to ILL-inios.

Rauner barely won the Republican nomination in last month’s primary over a little-known and little-funded insurgent conservative, Jeanne Ives, in a thoroughly dishonest campaign. I backed Ives. As for Prtizker, he comes with additional baggage, including embarrassing recordings of FBI-wiretapped phone conversations with now-imprisoned former governor Rod Blagojevich, which is the only reason why he is not the prohibitive favorite to wipe the floor with Rauner in November. Still, it’s likely that a Governor JB is in the future for the Prairie State.

Illinois is broken and broke. It might not have the worst-funded public pension system among the states, but it’s so close to the bottom it doesn’t really matter. Illinois House speaker–“speaker for life”–Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), with some Republican help, transformed Illinois’ pension system into a generous political reward in exchange for support from public-sector unions. Illinois’ budget dedicates 25 percent of spending on state worker pensions. In Wisconsin that amount is 16 percent. Okay, that doesn’t seem like much, but Wisconsin’s pension plan is 100 percent funded, Illinois is at a paltry 35 percent.

Bad times have arrived in Illinois–with worse times coming. For the last three years Illinois has suffered from negative population growth.

It’s hard to see how Illinois won’t be able to avoid some sort of default.

Pritzker favors a “temporary” income tax increase until a graduated tax rate is put in place. But for that to get enacted the state constitution must be amended. That requires three-fifths of both houses of the General Assembly to approve it and a majority of Illinois voters to go along. Even in blue Illinois those are tall hurdles, especially since a “Prtizker amendment” will be viewed, rightly, by voters as a pension bailout amendment.

Of course Pritzker is vague about rates  for both that “temporary” tax plan and the graduated one. Of course with the latter one, only “the rich” will pay more.

We’ve heard that lie before.

In regards to local government, some pension plans, especially in Chicago, are in even worse shape.

The Illinois exodus will continue.

John Ruberry is a fifth-generation Illinoisan who is eyeing the exit ramp while blogging at Marathon Pundit.

I have a habit of checking the email that is labeled as spam as even the best of spam filters will sometimes grab a legit comment and given the censorship against conservatives these days I like to see if conservative thought is a target.

There was a rather nasty comment that blamed “The Jews” for everything from feminism to 9/11 and claiming that most terrorist attacks are “false flag” operations by, you’ve guessed it, the Jews and that the Holocaust was a myth despite tens of thousands of American soldiers eyewitness accounts of discovering said camps. Who knew Richard Winters and the Men of Easy Company were a bunch of liars?

Like a Howard Zinn history book there was a distinct lack of references to back up these claims but I do have some stats concerning Jews and racism that are a tad more current:

Jews represent less than 1 percent of the population in France, yet in 2014, 51 percent of all racist attacks were carried out against them, according to the French Interior Ministry. A survey from that year of about 1,000 French respondents with unknown religious affiliation and 575 self-identified Muslims . . . found that the Muslim respondents were two or three times more likely to have anti-Jewish sentiments than those from the random French group. Nineteen percent of all respondents felt that Jews had “too much” political power. Among Muslims, the number was 51 percent. As for the idea that Zionism “is an international organization that aims to influence the world and society in favor of the Jews,” 44 percent of Muslims surveyed approved of this statement. . . .

Meanwhile even Palestinian propaganda against the Jews in Israel keeps butting into reality:

Felesteen interviews some of those injured by “occupation snipers” during the riots on the Gaza border.

Somehow, they are all military aged men…Even though we see photos of women and children at the riots, somehow they aren’t being shot.

Sometimes hilariously so

In the wake of the Hamas-instigated “March of the Return” Gaza riots that tore across the Israeli border last week, the center was keen to publicize what it claimed was a publicity coup. In a Facebook post, it told its 500,000 followers that a French doctor had arrived in the Gaza Strip to perform her work and treat ‘wounded Palestinian protesters.’

If you think that you’ve seen Doctor Izzie Stevens somewhere before, then like my wife, you likely are a fan of Grey’s Anatomy.

While the mainstreamed anti-semites of the left vastly outnumber those on the right they have one thing in common, being dependent on fantasy to make their points.

If you’d like to continue to support independent journalism, help defray the $140 a month extra I’ll need for my new hosting site please consider hitting DaTipJar here.



Consider subscribing. 7 more subscribers at $20 a month will pay the monthly price for the new host/server.


Choose a Subscription level


Finally might I suggest my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.