by baldilocks

Title sung to the melody of John Lennon’s Imagine, appropriately enough.

They always tell you what they’re planning and the plan always involves control of two things: you and your money.

From Aaron Sorkin at the New York Times:

Here’s an idea.

What if the finance industry — credit card companies like Visa, Mastercard and American Express; credit card processors like First Data; and banks like JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo — were to effectively set new rules for the sales of guns in America?

Collectively, they have more leverage over the gun industry than any lawmaker. And it wouldn’t be hard for them to take a stand.

PayPal, Square, Stripe and Apple Pay announced years ago that they would not allow their services to be used for the sale of firearms.

“We do not believe permitting the sale of firearms on our platform is consistent with our values or in the best interests of our customers,” a spokesman for Square told me.

The big financial firms don’t even have to go that far.

For example, Visa, which published a 71-page paper in 2016 espousing its “corporate responsibility,” could easily change its terms of service to say that it won’t do business with retailers that sell assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and bump stocks, which make semiautomatic rifles fire faster. (Even the National Rifle Association has said it would support tighter restrictions on bump stocks.)

If Mastercard were to do the same, assault weapons would be eliminated from virtually every firearms store in America because otherwise the sellers would be cut off from the credit card system.

There is precedent for credit card issuers to ban the purchase of completely legal products. Just this month, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America banned the use of their cards to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

And there’s more.

There are other sectors of the finance industry that could step up. For example, Lloyd’s of London is the favored insurance company for gun shows. It could pull out.

You want a financial meltdown? This is how you get one. Most of those who would be against this and who can afford weapons can just pull their money out of these institutions. And what happens to the institutions?  And what happens next? And after that?

I’m not financially literate enough to predict the specific consequences of such thing, but I know that it’s a bad idea for this country. Real bad. And I think that Sorkin knows this, too. Feature, not a bug.

See, I’m one of those people who thinks that the leftist intelligentsia wants Leftism and they believe that creating large-scale financial chaos – or any other type of chaos — will fast-track the descent. To that end, this class keeps pushing and pushing.

Is all of this a pipe dream?

We’ll see. I’m betting it will be tried. Imagine a USA where only criminals and the government (BIRM) have guns.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

At PJ Media, Jeff Sanders gives a list of 6 Words the Left Twists to Silence You. Any list like this would be far insufficient in length, but I believe that he only glanced against the most important one: love.

In 2013, I made this observation:

[In reality], there are three* types of love: agape, phileo, and eros; aka godly love, friendship, and sexual desire, respectively. Somewhere along the way, a new definition of love was added to the language, one which has a single outward feature: giving a person what s/he wants. With this type of “love,” one must give a person anything s/he wants or approve of the gift.  Anything less becomes the opposite of love: hatred. And when a group wants a thing for the sake of some characteristic of that group, opposition to the giving becomes hatred of that group.

Thus, when a white person won’t give a black person what he wants or disagrees with him, it’s racism on the white person’s part. When a man won’t give a woman what she wants or disagrees with her, it’s sexism on his part. When a heterosexual won’t give a homosexual what she wants or disagrees with her, it’s homophobia on the heterosexual’s part.

And when a black person, woman, homosexual, etc. disapproves of this gift, that person is ousted from the group by the group’s recipients. After all, a few naysayers have the potential to cut off the giving, so any other potential naysayers must be discouraged. Ostracism has potential to keep the others silent.

The bestowal of this new type of love is required from those who are perceived to be in a position of worldly power, but reciprocity is not required of the perceived powerless recipients of that “love.”

Additionally, and of the most importance, the new type of love has pride as its foundation. The “powerful” giver is proud to have given the gift and the “powerless” receiver is proud merely on the basis of group membership to have received that gift. No gratitude is required on the part of the latter. That group is only getting its just due.

It matters not if the giving will hurt the giver or the recipient. It doesn’t matter if the giving of said gift will hurt any aspect of society. It doesn’t even matter if the gift will wipe out the lineage of the recipient.  All that matters is that the recipient gets what s/he wants. (It’s interesting to note that the German word for the noun ‘poison’ is das Gift; the verb ‘to poison’ is vergiften. The last also means ‘to pollute.’)

Paul said that love (agape) is greater than faith and hope, so it follows that this type of true love and all the others were the first concepts to receive the Coconut Treatment — to be hollowed out and repackaged. Frankenlove –yet another form of lying.

Falsehood is a shape-shifter.

*My dad pointed out that there is a fourth type of biblically-described love: storge — familial love.

SIMILAR MUSING (by me)

Thanks To Ruth H.

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!

Aren’t leftists the ones always howling about how people to the right of them are “anti-science”? Then how is it that a simple statement about human DNA which is scientifically true caused a man to lose his livelihood? If you guessed that he must have said something about how humans are created as male or female due to biology (and not as a “social construct”), you win.

It all starts on stupid Facebook, where people were commenting about how a male rap celebrity declined to receive a kiss from a male who identifies as female. The rapper, Ginuwine, got himself labelled as “transphobic” for his “hatecrime” of turning down a kiss from someone he is not attracted to. No “#metoo” for him. No defense for refusing advances made by members of a preferred demographic; submit or be destroyed is the rule these days! And no defense for anyone who says otherwise, either!

Enter Will Caligan, disabled war veteran, who committed the terrible thought crime of saying that if you were born male then you are male and that you can’t change DNA. He said this on Facebook. The horror! Predictably, the OUTRAGE!!!! did not take long to erupt along with the demands that he lose his job and be driven from polite society. Of course the mob got its way:

Will Caligan is a Desert Shield and Desert Storm veteran who was an Airborne Counterintelligence Agent who attained the rank of Specialist. He recently lost his job as a comic book creator because of his conservative beliefs.

Caligan decided to express his opinion about a trending news topic. Rapper Ginuwine refused to kiss a transgender person. He commented on his friend’s Facebook wall about his beliefs on the subject.

Caligan told us, “The only thing I put was that DNA was science and of God. That a person could not change their sex no matter what they did. It is a natural construct. In total the statement was only about three sentences long.” You can see above that pretty much sums up what he said.

Despite Caligan’s views being held by many others, that did not stop a witch hunt against him that ended up causing him to lose his job.

The perpetually offended began a campaign on Facebook to harass Caligan’s employer, a comic book company called Short Fuse Media. Will Caligan, alerted his boss to the issue and was initially told not to worry about it, but then the pressure must have gotten to the Short Fuse people because not long after the initial reassurance, Caligan was not only out of a job but also publicly denounced by the company and had been advised to apologize and henceforth keep his opinions out of public view – for his own good, of course!   Via PJMedia:

Caligan contacted Sean Mack, his boss at Short Fuse Media Group, who seemed to take the whole thing in stride at first, writing in a communication, “If it’s not this, it would be for something else. Don’t stress over it. I’m good and we’re dealing with it head on. I have your back!” He quickly changed his tune with no explanation — presumably after being threatened by rabid SJWs and facing too much pressure by the lynch mob — and cut ties with Caligan. “I’m going to have to put some distance between us until you can change the perception people have of you,” wrote Mack. “I think you can fix this. It’s really up to you. Apologize and keep your comments and beliefs to your inner circle instead of public forums.”

More, via BoundingIntoComics:

You read that right. Will Caligan lost his job with Short Fuse Media Group because comments were deemed offensive. But Will tells us that losing his job wasn’t the worst part.

“Sean told me he was going to cut ties but in his press release he pretty much threw me under the bus. The issue was not getting fired. I think he has a right to work with whom ever he wants but what he doesn’t have the right to do is slander my name and throw me under the bus to do it. If his press release would have just said “We are cutting ties with Alpha Dog Studios” then I probably would have just let it go but that isn’t what he did. You can read the press release. He attacks me in it.”

And that’s exactly what the press release does. It attacks Will. But what’s even more ironic is that in the same press release where they are severing ties with Will for expressing his beliefs, the Short Fuse Media Group claims to “support and respect all PEOPLE from ALL walks of life.” Apparently, they don’t really believe that.

So there you have it: if you think that biology determines gender for human beings, you had better keep it to yourself if you do not want to be publicly denounced and hounded out of your job because you are apparently just like Hitler or something, and if you are a heterosexual male and a male who identifies as female wishes to be physically affectionate with you, you had better comply or you are also just like Hitler or something. This is the lunatic age we live in, until people stop fearing the leftist thought police mob, anyway.

If you are sympathetic to Will Caligan, you can offer him some words of encouragement HERE, but be aware that doing so will likely out you as being just like Hitler or something (it’s to his post on Facebook about the situation).

*******

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. 

“Age is a state of mind.” –Hermann Hesse

“Age isn’t how old you are but how old you feel.”  – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

One of my favorite subjects in high school was geometry. I especially enjoyed doing geometric proofs where, using a set of rules, or theorems, we would start with a set of agreed-upon facts about a problem (“given that angle A-B-C is a right angle”) and apply proven theorems to show how the facts lead to a specified conclusion (“prove that line segment BC bisects line segment DF”). One aspect of these exercises that appealed to my logical (and slightly OCD) brain was how the theorems themselves were built up from other theorems. Once we proved a hypothesis, it became a theorem that we could use to prove additional problems. But we had to start from somewhere. We started with “axioms” which were statements that were taken to be true and did not require proof (“two parallel lines never intersect” for example). One way we tested hypotheses in geometry was to see if they led to a contradiction of another previously-proven theorem or axiom. If a contradiction could be shown, then the hypothesis was proven false. In other words, starting from common principles, we could logically apply a set of rules to establish the accuracy or truth of a statement about a given problem. One would think that such an approach ought to work in society as a whole.

The science of genetics tells us that a person born with XY chromosomes is a male and one born with XX chromosomes is a female. This is an objective fact. According to dictionary.com, a man is “an adult male person, as distinguished from a boy or a woman.” However, liberals would have us believe that an objectively-defined man could – in fact, must – be considered a woman if he so chooses. So liberals claim that a person’s beliefs about his or her own existence override objective reality. Let’s consider this a hypothesis that we can test using our logical method from high school geometry and see how well it holds up.

There is no logical reason why this ability for a person to change an objective fact about himself or herself based simply on believing it to be so should be limited to sex. If I can make myself a woman simply by believing myself to be one, I should also be able to make myself a different age. Therefore, from now on I am declaring myself to be 68 years old which, according to the Left, now makes me eligible to collect Social Security (current eligible age: 67), Medicare (65) and to withdraw penalty-free from my 401(k) account (59½). I will be notifying the ACLU of this fact and expect them to represent me pro bono as I attempt to collect my money.

Q.E.D.

Illinois bicentennial flag on the bottom

By John Ruberry

Illinois will have one of the most-closely watched gubernatorial contests this year. Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner has been a tremendous disappointment to me and just about every conservative voter I know. I enthusiastically backed the then-political newcomer in 2014, but this time around, as I explained here at Da Tech Guy, I’m supporting Rauner’s Republican challenger, state representative Jeanne Ives in the March primary election.

Ives is attacking Rauner, and to be fair, the Dems are too. Rauner has much to answer for. Actually he has little to answer for–as Rauner has not accomplished much of anything. For her part Ives is promoting common sense reforms that only public-sector union bosses and their enablers oppose, such as amending the state constitution so pension benefits can be changed, that is, so payment increases can be lowered, and having new state employees enroll in 401(k) plans.

Meanwhile Democrats are battling scapegoats, used here in the classical sense, that is, using something else to accept the sins of a people.

Deals with the Democrats’ state worker wing, the public-sector unions, that some Republican governors signed off on–but not Rauner–have burdened the Prairie State with $250 billion in pension debt. Retiring at 50 with full benefits is nice–except for chumps like me who have to pay for it. Illinois’ current budget is $36 billion and a whopping one-quarter of it goes to government worker pension payments. Illinois has suffered from the worst credit rating among the states for years, currently that rating is just one level above junk.

Illinoisans are responding sensibly and predictably–for four straight years Illinois has had negative population growth.

There is little to celebrate during Illinois’ bicentennial year.

Two candidates on the Democratic side are getting most of the attention from the media and presumably it’s a race between them, as there is currently no polling data on gubernatorial race. Billionaire investor JB Pritzker, a scion of the family that own the Hyatt Hotel chain, has collected the lion’s share of endorsements from prominent Democrats and the party’s union allies. He the only Democratic candidate regularly running ads on radio, television, and on the internet. The other prominent contender is Chris Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy who used to run Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.

Neither have much to say about Illinois’ long-running fiscal crisis and solutions for it, other than “taxing the rich.” But they don’t even talk much about that.

Pritzker on the left protesting Trump

Pritzker’s web advertisements are a daily presence on my Facebook and Pandora pages–in these Pritzker almost always attacks Donald Trump, as he does for instance in this YouTube ad. Trump has not visited Illinois since he was elected president.  Last year, in front of Chicago’s Trump Tower, Pritzker released his five-point plant to resist the president. And when the inevitable spring tornado tears through Illinois bringing death and destruction, who will Governor Pritzker call for help?

Since Trump has been monopolized as a scapegoat by Pritzker, Kennedy is left with smaller prey. One of his targets is a worthy one, at least for scorn. That one is Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios, who is also the chairman of the Cook County Regular Democratic Organization, better known as the Chicago Machine.  Pritzker owns a mansion on Chicago’s Gold Coast. He purchased a smaller mansion that sits next to his. The billionaire didn’t maintain it–and then he successfully appealed his property tax assessment with Berrios’ office because the other mansion was “vacant and uninhabitable,” saving Pritzker a bundle of cash. Berrios has been under attack by the Chicago Tribune for his assessing practices, which the Chicago Tribune says favors the rich over the poor. Kennedy is calling for Berrios to resign as assessor, but the tiny yet powerful law firm where the longtime state House Speaker and state Democratic Party chairman, Michael Madigan, is a partner was hired to lower the property taxes of a company owned by Kennedy’s Merchandise Mart.

Oops.

Last week Kennedy moved  on to another unpopular target, Chicago’s embattled mayor, Rahm Emanuel.

“I believe that black people are being pushed out of Chicago intentionally by a strategy that involves disinvestment in communities being implemented by the city administration,” Kennedy said at a press conference held in a predominately African-American neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side. “I believe Rahm Emanuel is the head of the city administration and therefore needs to be held responsible for those outcomes,” he added.

Phrased succinctly, Rahm, according to Kennedy, is driving blacks out of Chicago.

Oops again.

For a variety of reasons, including most notably high crime and execrable unionized schools, in sheer numbers and by percentage, the black population of many large cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and even Detroit has been falling, as I stated in my own blog when I reported on this story. Kennedy’s claim is tin-foil hat stuff.

Blogger at Chicago’s Trump Tower

And what does Trump and Emanuel have to do with Illinois’ pension debacle? Nothing with the former and a just a little bit in regards to the latter, since Rahm, a longtime prominent Illinois Democrat, was silent about the festering fiscal disease that is devouring ILL-inois. As for Berrios, I’ll place the party boss somewhere in the middle.

But the role of scapegoats, using the term in the modern sense, is to defer attention away from larger problems. And Kennedy and Pritzker don’t have solutions–or if they do they don’t care to share them with voters.

Boss Michael Madigan’s use of “Illinois math” to kick the pension problem down the road isn’t an option anymore. Illinois has reached the cliff.

John Ruberry, a fifth-generation Illinois resident, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Everyone knew that whoever let the sadness overtake him would sink into the swamp.

The Neverending Story

It’s now been a year since President Trump’s election and I, for one, think that’s plenty of time for all the tantrums to have played themselves out. I can understand the disappointment of the losing side in the immediate aftermath of the election, and I can even understand how they could imagine that all their worst-case scenarios might actually come to pass, even if some of them were pretty ridiculous. But come on, after a full year of actual results, isn’t it time for the Left to stop pretending that the country is doomed?

I can understand having policy differences with the administration. Heck, I spent eight years disagreeing with the Obama administration on just about everything, so I know what that’s like. But the economy is growing at more than double the rate it was under Obama, the stock market is at record levels, ISIS is actually “on the run” now that the rules of engagement have been changed to let our military do its job, and consumer confidence is higher than it’s been in over 15 years. So, what’s the problem?

The problem is that, rather than actually being afraid that President Trump is going to ruin the country, the left is, and always has been, afraid that Trump really will Make America Great Again. So they will seize on any issue, no matter how small, as long as they can use it to claim that they’ve been right all along. What do the Russian collusion “investigation” – with no evidence having been found to that effect after more than a year of investigating – and the fake news story of President Trump supposedly over-feeding fish in a koi pond in Japan have in common? They can both be used to claim that the president is unfit for office. And then the left claims these as proof that President Trump can’t govern.

Think of how our allies, and especially our enemies see this. No matter what the president tries to do, foreign leaders will see a divided country behind him, and a relentlessly negative press and this considerably weakens our position. Imagine if President Trump could engage a foreign leader with the same kind of press coverage that Obama received. This leader, whether friend or foe, would reasonably conclude that President Trump would likely be in power for the next 7 years and could enact whatever policies he might use to entice/threaten/coerce that leader to do what we want. The options of either ignoring the U.S. or actively antagonizing us would be off the table because they would know – or at least perceive – that President Trump means business and that the country is behind him.

Regardless of how much they try to spin it, it is obvious that Obama left the country in a hole. They tried to convince us that it was “the new normal” and that things just were the way they were and had nothing to do with Obama’s incompetence or socialist tendencies. Even with the relentless negativity, President Trump has, in less than a year of governing, been able to reverse a lot of that “old normal,” and that scares the pants off the left. So, unfortunately, I predict that the whining, crying and fake news will continue for the foreseeable future. But at least we can see it for what it is: a desperate and disingenuous strategy to weaken the president and the country until democrats can get back in power. SAD!

by baldilocks

Has anyone considered that the Democrats may be throwing certain members and prominent supporters under the bus on purpose? I mean they had to know what kind of lives men like Al Franken led and they certainly knew about John Conyers since one of his victims was paid off by The Old Dirty Congressmen Fund. Oh yes, and now Bill Clinton is no longer their bright shining prince and won’t be the First Dude anytime soon (ever), they’re suddenly noticing his general lechery and alleged violence against women? Gee whiz. No loyalty.

But what I’m asking is whether a Stalinesque purge is going on right in front of our faces. Are the old – who have outlasted their usefulness — being put away to make way for the new?

Stalin, of course, had an infinitely more radical method of housecleaning.

The purges in the USSR started in the mid-1930’s and continued throughout the late 1930’s. Joseph Stalin had shared power with Zinoviev and Kamenev in the time after the death of Lenin (1924) and he had no intention of ever being put in that position again. By the mid-1930’s Stalin believed that the Bolshevik Party ‘Old Guard’ represented a threat to him and unless he did something about them they would remove him from power. Stalin suspected everyone who had any semblance of power and he wanted them dealt with. (…)

It has been estimated that between 1934 and 1939, one million party members were arrested and executed. During the same period it is thought that 10 million were sent to the gulags with many of them dying – either in transit or as a result of the terrible living conditions they had to endure.

Since we live in a country where show trials, summary imprisonment and summary executions are frowned upon (mostly), if there is a real purge going on, it’s necessary to kill or damage something other than the bodies of the no-longer useful: their reputations, such as they are. And it’s better than Stalin’s method: reputations can be revived should a formerly useful idiot become usable again.

And so, while we laugh at the hypocrisy of the Democrats and lament the stupidity of at least one Republican, let’s remember that the Democrat-controlled mainstream press allowed the accusations about Franken, Conyers and various other Democrat Party suspects supporters into the public conversation. They want this out there; they want them gone from public life, along with the other yet-to-be-named members of the $15 million club.

Hold on tight!

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!

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.