Maybe he was bored. Presiding over the mass starvation of your country’s people isn’t a cakewalk, after all.

Venezuela’s Joe Stalin lookalike dictator has been criticized for becoming a fat bastard while the people in his country wait for hours in line to get bread, resort to picking through trash for anything edible, and die in the streets of hunger – but that won’t make Nicolás Maduro lose his appetite:

American Thinker has more about this:

Thursday, Maduro was in the midst of a long-winded national speech known in Venezuela as a “cadena.”  He paused, pulled a sandwich-like object out of his desk, and took a bite, chomped it down, and then continued his speech.  He was eating what looked like a Venezuelan arepa, a tasty cornmeal-based snack with probably some meat inside, although the Latin press accounts identified it as an empanada, a dish more commonly associated with Argentina and Chile.

It comes at a time when the Venezuelan daily minimum wage, just raised for the sixth time this year, won’t even cover the cost of an empanada, let alone an arepa, given that inflation is running at close to 3,000% and Maduro has just introduced the new 100,000 bolivar note.

Efecto Concuya, via Google Translate, reports:

For the sixth time in 2017, President Nicolás Maduro announced a new increase in the minimum wage that placed the daily salary at Bs. 5,916, but the number of products that can be purchased with that amount is increasingly reduced.

In a sale of breakfast and lunch located in the municipality of Libertador, a pie costs 5,500 bolivars and a filled arepa exceeds Bs. 12,000. There was Rodolfo Gutiérrez, who bought two empanadas and a malt for an amount of Bs. 15,500. That is, someone who only receives a minimum wage, nothing else could pay for a pie.

In a restaurant located in El Cafetal, municipality Baruta, it is impossible to even buy a pie, because it has a price of Bs. 7,500. A large coffee is also inaccessible since it is sold above 8,000 bolivars.

What it shows is the Venezuelan elites’ complete indifference to the suffering of Venezuela’s people.  They mark their superiority over the masses – not by flashing Rolexes anymore, but by eating in front of them.

And don’t think such a message didn’t get out.  Cadenas in Venezuela break into every TV set, every radio show, every program without warning, no matter what’s playing.  You don’t have the option to flip the channel, because the cadena is on every channel.

And cadenas can last for hours.  The logic was that the president’s announcements were so crucial, so important, and so necessary that every other broadcast could just be broken into, like the emergency broadcast system.

You got that? It wasn’t just a video version of the “hot mic”, people had no choice in watching it if they had a television on, and Maduro knew it.

Is this man stupid or just cruel?

Please pray for the people of Venezuela.

*******

MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

-Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride
by William Goldman

I live in a relatively small town in Massachusetts and, like most towns, we have our political differences. They usually play out in local issues, but something happened about a year ago that seems to have the leftists in our little town riled up, much like leftists across the country. I won’t go into details, but there have been a number of contentious issues brought up and discussed at recent town meetings and through letters to the editor in our local paper that make this division clear. It is interesting to me that all of these new problems have been brought up by leftists in our town who apparently didn’t know that these problems existed until President Trump was elected.

Shortly after the election, one of the more progressive churches in town distributed lawn signs which many of my neighbors – including one right across the street – display even today:

It is a safe bet that anyone with such a sign in front of his or her house did not vote for President Trump. It is also clear that the sign is an attempt at signifying some kind of moral superiority on behalf of the residents of that house, implying that no reasonable person could possibly disagree with them on these points.  The problem is that these points are so completely disingenuous that it’s obvious that anyone putting up such a sign has no desire to engage in a reasonable debate on any of them.

Black lives matter: Of course they do. So do all other lives, including the lives of police officers who risk their lives to keep us safe and have been put in greater danger by the behavior and rhetoric of “Black Lives Matter” and their political sycophants. Unfortunately, the people in this house are unwilling to admit the “Black Lives Matter” movement is based on a lie. Michael Brown was a criminal who was assaulting a police officer when the officer shot him in self defense. He was not a “gentle giant” who was surrendering with his hands up.

Women’s rights are human rights: Of course they are. Everyone’s rights, by definition, are human rights, and those rights are spelled out in the Constitution. But the fact that I am against abortion-on-demand and taxpayer-funded birth control does not mean that I am a “misogynist.” I believe in the right to life, from conception to natural death. This is the most basic human right.

No human is illegal: Of course not. But when humans break the law, like entering our country illegally, they should be punished. That’s what “the rule of law” means.

Science is real: Of course it is. Science is based on the idea that you form a hypothesis, experiment, and adjust the hypothesis according to the data. Science is never “settled.” The closest the proponents of “global warming” have come to the scientific method is when they changed the name to “climate change” when they were unable to massage the data enough to show that the earth is actually warming. Biology is also a science, and it tells us that men are men and women are women and wishing to be the opposite sex doesn’t make it so.

Love is love: Of course it is. But that is not a justification for changing the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples. Especially when that change brings with it the force of the state to compel others to endorse and participate in same-sex ceremonies that violate their sincerely held religious principles. The reason that the traditional definition of marriage was in place throughout all of human history until only a few years ago is that it is the ideal environment for bringing up children. My wife and I are complementary in many ways, each bringing a unique perspective to our family in ways that same-sex couples simply cannot.

Kindness is everything: I agree, which is why I don’t have a sign on my lawn that implies that my neighbors are a bunch of neanderthals for disagreeing with me. If these people truly believed that kindness is everything, they would respectfully engage in conversations instead of accusing those who disagree with them of being science denying racists, bigots and homophobes.

Daniel Webster School, a CPS school on the West Side

By John Ruberry

On Friday a friend of this very blogger forwarded a Chicago Tribune Breaking News Alert to me: Chicago Public Schools enrollment drops by nearly 10,000 students. And the year before CPS enrollment slid by 11,000.

There are 371,382 students taking classes in CPS schools  In 2002 there 438,589 kids running the halls, with some of them learning something.

So, taxes for schools will go down, right?

Not in the Prairie State, the home of “Illinois Math,” where two plus two equals five.

For a while, that is.

CPS is expected to raise property taxes soon–a state bill that will likely pass to pass gives them that power–by $120 million to pay for, wait for it, teacher pensions. That’s on top of $100 million in a tax jump already sanctioned

“Building a New Chicago” at Dunne School on the South Side, where your blogger attended kindergarten

The sad tale of the Chicago Teachers Pensions Fund [CTPF] goes back to 1981 when the Chicago Board of Education agreed to pick up most of the teachers’ obligation to pay into their pension plans. Out of sight–out of mind. Yes, Chicago Teachers Union, I’m looking at you! In 1995 a lost weekend of retirement funding began–it lasted ten years–and all of that money that was supposed to go to pensions instead went towards teacher salaries and nuts-and-bolts school expenses. Oh, don’t forget to throw in a calorie-loaded Chicago-style pizza buffet line of cronyism, giveaways, and malfeasance into this toxic dish.

Illinois still hasn’t completely recovered from the Great Recession–government corruption and incompetence, in my opinion, are the sole reasons for that–so naturally a partial CTPF “pension holiday” was declared from 2011-13 and the can was kicked down the potholed road again.

Chicago Public Schools bonds are rated as junk.

Two years ago Chicago property owners had to swallow the largest property tax hike in the city’s history to help shore up police and firefighter pension funds, which are even more underfunded than the teachers’ pensions. And last week Chicago’s embattled mayor, Rahm Emanuel, released his 2018 budget proposal, which of course includes tax increases. When asked if more tax hikes were coming, Emanuel dodged the question.

Chicago is the only large American city with a shrinking population.

As bad as Chicago’s financial situation is, the reality is probably far worse because Illinois Math is very likely disguising the wretched truth.

Decline and fall.

Blogger in downtown Chicago

Here is some more Illinois Math for you: The free-market Illinois Policy Institute says, “There are now more inactive employees and beneficiaries in CTPF than there are active workers paying into the pension fund.”

Someday there will be a new Illinois Math equation. Two plus two won’t equal five–it will equal just one.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

I knew that I’d get to use this graphic again.

by baldilocks

California regression

Home, sweet, home.

Wine country is burning, no doubt exacerbated because of laws against underbrush removal –the fuel of forest fires.

There’s a Hepatitis A outbreak, mostly among the homeless.

California Gov. Brown declared a state of emergency Friday because of a hepatitis A outbreak that has killed at least 18 people in the state.

The declaration allows state health officials to buy additional doses of the hepatitis A vaccine to try to halt the outbreak, which is already the nation’s second largest in more than two decades.

“We have the capacity to use as much vaccine as we can get our hands on,” said Dr. Gil Chavez, state epidemiologist with the California Department of Public Health.

The outbreak began in San Diego’s homeless community late last year, but has since spread outside the region. Los Angeles and Santa Cruz counties are also now experiencing outbreaks.

I read that this outbreak has been exacerbated because plastic bags are no longer free here; some municipalities have banned them outright. Many of the homeless who are on the street dispose of their waste using such bags. So many are just pooping where they stand and leaving it. I’ve seen this myself. Hand-washing, apparently, is passe. Just natural, I guess.

It is no longer illegal to knowingly infect another person with HIV.

Child prostitution is now legal here de facto. So, while Harvey Weinstein is probably done with his hunt, his pedophile friends have just had their tastes validated.

And, health care workers can go to jail for using the wrong pronoun when referring to LGBT seniors.

Also, the state is considering banning gasoline-fuel vehicles.

[Sacramento car dealer Rick] Niello questioned how a ban would play out: Would California limit the ban to new models and let people drive their old cars? Could the state’s electrical grid handle everyone’s electric vehicles plugged in every night? How would the state deal with issues of affordability for the poor?

“How do you take care of the people that need transportation when you want to yank their car away from them?” Niello said. “I hope they’ve thought about that. Because if they haven’t, the backlash would be rather significant.

All consequences are foreseen. Each of the logical and linear outcomes produce physical, financial and/or spiritual death and destruction — and dependence, especially the notion of outlawing gas-powered vehicles. That’s feature for the Organized Left.

A note of optimism: this is probably one of the fastest rates of speed that overt socialism has ever devolved.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

You may not have heard of them yet, but they want your stuff and they mean to take it from you, because raaaaacism.

via FrontPage Mag Discover the Networks:

Formed in May 2017 and based in New York City, the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement (RAM) is a contingent of the Marxist/anarchist Antifa movement which has made many headlines this year with its violent, bloody attacks against conservatives from coast to coast. RAM’s self-described “revolutionary anarchists” are committed to waging “armed” warfare against American “fascism” ― the term that RAM employs as a synonym for conservatism. Rooted in what it calls “the context of the abolitionist struggle against slavery” ― and “dedicated to freeing people from bondage and building resistance in the United States” ― RAM contends not only that America was “built on slavery and genocide,” but also that “modern slavery and mass brutality” against black people “persist unchecked” to this day.

Because “the Civil War was never resolved,” RAM elaborates, “the system of slavery transitioned into the prison industrial complex” where blacks are inarcerated in disproportionately high numbers. On the premise that the United States government has conspired “with white supremacist organizations” to “ensure that the relations of slavery [remain] entrenched in U.S. political, social, and economic life,” RAM claims that “the [slave] ships” of yesteryear have been replaced by the “correctional buses” that transport African Americans en masse to prison cells across the country; that “the [slave] auction blocks [of the 1800s] are now the courtrooms” in American cities; and that black people today “are indelibly marked with prison numbers that remain etched on their records till they die.”

“The abolitionist struggle,” says RAM, must be extended and directed against “the state and capitalism,” which are supposedly the leading modern-day “perpetrators of oppression.” Openly advocating violence against “fascists” and police officers ― the latter of whom RAM views as government-sanctioned enablers of fascism ― the Movement indoctrinates its members and allies by means of workshops bearing titles like “Introduction to Anarchism” and “Our Enemies in Blue.”    MORE

From the RAM website, we learn that they intend to remedy what they see as the injustice of sending criminals to prison and deporting illegal foreign invaders is to create their version of the “Underground Railroad” to facilitate evasion of justice for fugitives:

We will create networks for those facing detention, incarceration, deportation, or white supremacist violence to escape and live with dignity. We invite revolutionaries to help build a contemporary underground railroad, outside the reach of the state. Revolutionaries, social centers, and antifa groups that are already active can help build greater infrastructure of resistance to support those fleeing the state.

They will need resources to accomplish their illegal goals, which they will obtain by taking from those who are unwilling to provide (AKA stealing):

To carve out an autonomous territory, or to begin the revolutionary process, goods, land, and tools must be expropriated, or taken away from those who withhold them.

Who are heroes to these people? Cop killers, of course!

Among RAM’s most visible individual heroes are a pair of Marxist cop-killers and former Black Panther Party members: (a) Mumia Abu Jamal, whom RAM characterizes as a shining symbol of “Philadelphia’s rich revolutionary tradition,” and (b) Russell Shoats, who characterized himself as “a runaway slave” when he escaped in 1977 from the prison where he was serving a life sentence for the murder of a Philadelphia police officer.

RAM also greatly admires the Marxist revolutionaries Angela Davis, who in 1970 provided the gun that was used by one of her Black Panther comrades to blow off the head of a California judge, and Assata Shakur, who in 1973 fired two fatal gunshots into the head of a New Jersey state trooper.

Columbus Day is coming up soon, and these goons have plans for it:

Today, RAM is calling for its supporters to stage “Deface Columbus Day” demonstrations across the United States in early October. Most notably, those supporters are urged to “‘decorate’ their neighborhoods” with the hashtags “#Fu**ColumbusDay” and “#DestroyColonialism.”

The left just keeps on pushing, never expecting the laws they break to ever be enforced or for their intended victims to ever fight back. I guess we will just have to see how that all works out for them.

*******

MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

by baldilocks

For the last few days, it’s been all about Donald Trump and his fiery words to NFL owners regarding players who choose to sit down or kneel during the playing of the National Anthem. Lots of mischaracterizations out there about the state of this feud, including that it’s a “First Amendment” issue or a “Free Speech” issue. It’s neither. It’s a contractual issue between the employer – the NFL – and the employees –the players. And if the employer chooses to allow its employees to react in any way that an individual employee sees fit, then that’s the way it should be.

And, of course, the consumers — ticket-buyers and viewers — should respond in the way each individual consumer sees fit. Nothing new there.

Consumers should remember that

[t]he league regularly clamps down on social messaging, like wearing cleats commemorating the heroes of the 9/11 attacks or decals honoring slain Dallas law enforcement officers. Taking a knee for God can also be problematic, just ask Tim Tebow. But the anthem protests are explicitly league-sanctioned activities.

Emphasis mine.

I think that the ultimately goal is to bankrupt the NFL. Why owners would go along with this is open to speculation, so that’s what I will do. Speculate.

The elite know things about which we non-elites can only conspiracy theorize and I think they see which way the wind is blowing in this country – toward socialism. And many of them are undoubtedly assisting the wind’s direction. So, they want to cut their losses sooner than later and, therefore, are willing to see their Golden Egg-laying Goose destroyed. No big deal because, for most of them, the NFL isn’t their only Goose. One wonders whether President Trump’s son-of-a-female-dog commentary was intended to speed up this process; to inflame anger in the true tools in this saga: the players and the consumers, not to mention the taxpayers who often fund the construction of stadiums.

But there’s something else to consider:

The last thing Americans (and particularly American men) need is agenda-spreading bread and circuses, either paying for the “privilege” or wasting hours in front of the telescreen. With the accelerated pace the Republic is being internally subverted, and with the enhanced and extended dangers that appears to be making inevitable, I’m sure we could all find more productive uses for our limited time and resources.

If my theory is correct, I don’t think the elite bargained for the fact that they might be removing a distraction from those who would oppose their true agenda, but that’s what they are probably doing.

Speaking of dead geese and removing a distraction, this is from the Instagram account of Sonequa Martin-Green, the star of the new Star Trek: Discovery:

The cast is kneeling in solidarity with the NFL players.

I watched the first two episodes free via CBS All Access and I was impressed. Because of that, I had been thinking about buying the service, but now I think I’ll pass. I already have to ignore enough Leftist political musings from members of the older Trek casts.

Maybe I’ll check it out when it’s free – assuming there aren’t more pressing things on all of our plates by then.

(Thanks to Big Hollywood)

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

by baldilocks

Back in May, I said this.

When we think of lies, we tend to think of them as linear one-dimensional, straight-out falsehoods: 2+2=57, for example—a thing so outrageously false as to be laughable.

And this.

 The Devil is building his multi-dimensional kingdom of lies—in counterpoint to the Kingdom of God.

And in imitation of it.

Usually, the word ‘dialectic’ causes my eyes to glaze over, but that didn’t happen while I was reading this intro for a site I plan to explore further.

In 1847 the London Communist League (Karl Marx and Frederick Engels) used Hegel’s theory of the dialectic to back up their economic theory of communism. Now, in the 21st century, Hegelian-Marxist thinking affects our entire social and political structure. The Hegelian dialectic is the framework for guiding our thoughts and actions into conflicts that lead us to a predetermined solution. If we do not understand how the Hegelian dialectic shapes our perceptions of the world, then we do not know how we are helping to implement the visionWhen we remain locked into dialectical thinking, we cannot see out of the box.

Hegel

Hegel’s dialectic is the tool which manipulates us into a frenzied circular pattern of thought and action. Every time we fight for or defend against an ideology we are playing a necessary role in Marx and Engels’ grand design to advance humanity into a dictatorship of the proletariat. The synthetic Hegelian solution to all these conflicts can’t be introduced unless we all take a side that will advance the agenda. The Marxist’s global agenda is moving along at breakneck speed. The only way to completely stop the privacy invasions, expanding domestic police powers, land grabs, insane wars against inanimate objects (and transient verbs), covert actions, and outright assaults on individual liberty, is to step outside the dialectic. This releases us from the limitations of controlled and guided thought.

The emphasis belongs to the author and rightly so. I have called this “binary thinking” – the idea that only two opposing choices are available when solving a problem; or the idea that a person must always choose one of two and only two sides in any dispute; or the idea that no “thinking” person could conceive of more than two choices. And so on.

If I didn’t have such an aversion to most of the Great Philosophers, I might have identified dialectical thinking earlier. Blessedly, I have an innate aversion to dialectical thinking even if I didn’t know what to call it before now.

But I’ve sensed for a long time that we are being herded into a totalitarian space. Outrages of the day –especially those involving race or gender issues — are distraction from this herding and, ironically, prodding toward it.

The Hegelian Dialectic is part of the Devil’s kingdom of lies. And it is a very small part of it, but the pattern is a simple one. And, once you recognize the pattern, you’ll see it everywhere.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

By John Ruberry

“They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.
“The Rainmakers, Government Cheese.

“I am sick and tired of subsidizing crooks.”
Roger Keats, Toni Preckwinkle’s 2010 Republican general election opponent, announcing his move to Texas.

Last month in this space I wrote about Illinois’ bubbling soda tax rebellion in Cook County, where Chicago is. It’s where I live. Many people call it “Crook County.” I do.

After a lawsuit delayed its imposition for a month, a one-cent per ounce sweetened beverage took effect which covers not just soda–whether it has sugar or artificial sweetener–but also flavored bottled water, sports beverages, energy drinks, and sweetened coffee. But not expensive  sugary coffee purchased from a barista at a Starbucks or other high-end coffee vendors. Oh, how did that last one escape notice?

A penny-per-ounce doesn’t sound like much, but as you’ll see in my photograph on the left, a 42-ounce bottle of AriZona iced-tea on sale for a dollar at a Dollar Tree store near my home suddenly costs $1.42–that’s a 42-percent sales tax rate. A budget-minded family who purchases a 24-pack of store-brand pop (the word soda isn’t used much in the Chicago area) for $5.00 at the local big-box retailer has to dish out $7.88.

Of course the tax is “for the kids.” It always is that way with leftists.

Leftist? Who is a leftist?

Cook County Board President Toni “Taxwinkle” Preckwinkle, a Chicago Democrat, that’s who.

Proof? Do you want proof?

On my way to work on Friday I heard a clip from Dan Proft on WIND-AM Chicago of former Utah Republican politician Dan Liljenquist describing a “sobering experience” about the time he met with Preckwinkle when she was a Chicago alderman. Liljenquist was a law student at the University of Chicago and working for the Institute for Justice’s Clinic on Entrepreneurship. They were offering free legal advice to inner city Chicagoans who wished to start their own business. Liljenquist pitched his idea to Preckwinkle, who replied to him, “I’m opposed to self-employment. You give these people false hopes that they could ever earn a living on their own.”

Yes, Preckwinkle is a leftist. With leftists, government is their god. When there is a problem only government can solve it. Government, of course, is never the problem. So Preckwinkle has set herself up as Mother Preckwinkle, spending other people’s money on Cook County’s massive health care network. Perhaps private hospitals and health care institutions can do a better job, and there are plenty of them here. Sure, not all health care facilities accept Medicaid but plenty do. And what if–wait for it–instead of depending on county health care, county residents instead got jobs in the private sector and become eligible for employer-based health insurance. Or even better, let’s say they start their own businesses and hire people who become eligible for private insurance.

Oops, I’m giving them “false hopes.”

Cook County, not surprisingly, is suffering from negative population growth.

I mentioned Mother Preckwinkle. But sometimes a mother can’t do it all–she needs a nanny. Enter billionaire and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. “Nanny Bloomberg” is spending $3 million on radio and television ads supporting Taxwinkle’s tax. Opponents of the soda tax, the Can the Tax Coalition, led by retailers, are spending a lot on their ads too. Preckwinkle dismisses them as “Big Soda.”

Mother and Nanny say that the soda tax is a health care measure to prevent diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. But Taxwkinkle sued the retail group for delaying collection of the tax by for a month. You mean that the tax was not about health? After an uproar, the suit was quickly dropped.

Oh, speaking of uproar, 87 percent of Cook County residents oppose the soda tax.

Food stamp recipients, because of federal law, don’t have to pay the pop tax. There are nearly 900,000 people on food stamps in Cook County. That shoots the “for the kids” and “it’s for our health” argument to pieces.

Crook County has been living beyond its means for decades. Some of the soda tax money will go to woefully underfunded but generous pension plans. Mother Preckwinkle and her predecessors have been rewarding their public-sector union allies for most of my life.

But it’s not Preckwinkle’s money. It belongs to taxpayers such as myself.

In downtown Chicago

Taxwinkle hasn’t campaigned as a leftist. Amazingly, she originally ran as a tax-cutter. Preckwinkle eliminated an unpopular county sales tax. Then she brought it back. But Preckwinkle is governing as a leftist. Because of course she is one. It’s time for Cook County residents to wake up and think about what they vote for. And that includes the mostly lap-dog members of the Cook County Board.

And many more politicians as well.

Leftism is expensive but it’s profitable for retailers who live on the other side of the Cook County line. Pop sales are booming there.

John Ruberry is a fifth-generation Cook County resident who regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

Occupy Chicago activists with Palestinian flag in 2012

Even in Illinois this story was barely noticed, but the dropping of a socialist running mate by an Illinois gubernatorial candidate betrays a deep rift within the Democratic Party that deserves a close look.

Late last month State Sen. Daniel Biss, a candidate for governor, announced Chicago alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa as his running mate. Just as on the presidential stage, ticket balancing is a goal for Illinois gubernatorial hopefuls and lately white candidates have been picking minorities as their running mates. Incumbent governor Bruce Rauner’s lieutenant governor is an Hispanic. Biss of course chose that strategy too.

But his ticket was perhaps too balanced. Or was it too unbalanced? Six days later Biss dropped his running mate.

Not only is Ramirez-Rosa an Hispanic but he’s also openly gay. So he’s a two-fer, which covers a pair core Democratic constituencies. That is almost certainly why this 28-year-old with scant experience was selected, not because he’s qualified to serve as governor. C’mon now, 28 years old? Illinois is burdened with declining population, $14 billion in unpaid bills, and one of the worst-funded public pension systems among the 50 states. And at one time Biss thought Ramirez-Rosa was good enough to be a heartbeat away from being in charge of fixing this debacle?

But Biss clearly didn’t dig very deep into the background of Ramirez-Rosa. Biss is Jewish but his running mate for that brief time is a supporter of BDS, that is, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. Biss’ mother grew up in the Jewish state. When a Jewish Illinois Democratic congressman retracted his endorsement of Biss over the BDS controversy, the chain reaction began.

Ramirez-Rosa was elected to Chicago’s City Council–that inept legislative body that sees a member graduate to a federal penitentiary every 18 months or so–two years ago. Earlier this year he joined the Democratic Socialists of America. It’s more socialist than Democrat.

Just as in 2004, when since-disgraced John Edwards claimed there were “two Americas,” there are two Democratic parties, the old guard, which is still trying to recreate the Franklin D. Roosevelt coalition, and the new wing, which is channeling the spirit of five-time Socialist Party candidate for president, Eugene V. Debs. Or to put a contemporary label on these factions, it’s Hillary Clinton versus Bernie Sanders.

Last month the DSA, which is not formally a political party, held its biennial convention in Chicago. Two things of note occurred. The Democratic Socialists voted nearly unanimously to support the BDS movement. Yes, Sanders is Jewish, but like most leftist Jews he’s secular. Secondly, as Salon noted, an online kerfuffle broke out during the DSA shindig when old guard Democrats complained that the socialists were “hijacking the party.” Perhaps they are. And even though the champion of the hijackers is a septuagenarian, energy and youth is with the socialists’ side, not the stalwarts.

Young against old. Gee, I wonder who is going to win?

Blogger at the border

By 2020, the Democratic Party, which was founded by Andrew Jackson, may be America’s socialist party. With it will come the anti-Israeli and yes, anti-Semitic baggage of the far-left. Except the far-left could be the center-left by then.

As for Jewish Democrats, especially those who support Israel, they will wonder what the heck happened to their party. Actually, it’s occurring now. Early this year in a poll Pew discovered Democrats’ loyalties are almost evenly split in regards to the Israeli-Palestinian struggle.

Perhaps Biss was too hasty in dumping Ramirez-Rosa.  A pro-Israel Democrat paired with a BDS Democrat? Now that’s a balanced ticket!

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

by baldilocks

A little secret: I had to do community service for a misdemeanor. My crime: carrying a loaded weapon in public. (Hey, it’s California.) I plead guilty and, because it was a first offense, I received community service. Some might remember that I fractured my left wrist from a fall back in 2012. I had been doing community service when it happened.

During my community service – CALTRANs — most of the other offenders were black and Latino. They were there for things like major traffic violations which did not result in injury or accident – mostly first-time DUIs. Most were much younger than I was and I had little in common with most of them as far as our personal interests went.

However, one politically astute guy was there for fixing cars without a business license; his “crime” had caused him to awaken, he freely admitted. Still another guy – whose offense I don’t recall — and I discussed current events and religion a few times. Both men were very intelligent.

One day, as we performed our usually task, cleaning up the freeways, three groups formed: a black one, a Latino one, and a very small group who refused to go there. Of course, I was a part of that last group.

I walked up to the last guy I mentioned — part of the black group – and said, “What are we doing? Forming up according to race now? This isn’t prison.”

“It’s natural to do this.”

“It’s also natural to urinate and defecate where you stand, but our parents train us not to do that.”

He had nothing to say to that, but I noticed that he separated from the group and started working by himself.

I tell this story to point to the implications behind “natural behavior”: that it’s perceived as good and right. The Bible, of course, tells us otherwise for the most part. The natural man has no knowledge of God and feels more kinship with other human beings who look like him – starting with his immediate family and branching out to his ethnic tribe.

It’s natural. It’s also deadly to truth.  We’ve never completely gotten rid of ethnic tribalism and we watch as it crests once again in our “modern” era. However, those of us who think we are more enlightened and don’t see race should not think of ourselves as better than our carcass-worshiping acquaintances. Often, we create our own tribalism. It behooves us all to be wary of it.

Because when we lie to ourselves for too long, those lies begin to look just like the truth. Naturally.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

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