Photo via M Rogers Granite Grok

On Saturday I went to St. Anselm’s Institute for Politics to cover the 2017 Red Summit.

It was an interesting affair in several ways, not the least being that my wife accompanied me to the event (a very rare thing indeed). The event featured a plethora of speaker discussing topics from canvasing, to midterm elections to how the Trump campaign used twitter to lead the media.

I tweeted a fair amount of what I saw on the REDSummit hastag but here are some quick notes from what I saw.

Governor Sununu talked spoke about the state’s lowest poverty rate in the nation with 73% and said it was about keeping it local but reminded everyone that the GOP can’t become complacent stating that if you have the house, senate and the governors office you have to move the ball forward (a lesson that DC should learn).

His farther the previous Governor Sununu talked about the necessity of GOP governance to get growth but notes that the real secret of NH is it’s model of self governance. A large legislature that has to be re-elected every two years is forced to keep close to the people, as he put it: “In the other 49 states that have no idea that we can govern ourselves.”

The Next Speaker was David Carney who gave a long presentation about winning elections is about knowing your district and keeping in touch with the issues locally vs nationally saying there’s: “Not a damn thing you can do about the NFL players but you can do something about the opioid crisis. He maintained that partisanship was “fools gold”.

One of his best points was how small local races have a top up effect for an entire ticket. I’ve always maintained that it was the lack of local races that allowed Scott Brown to win in 2010 I spoke to him after his speech:

There were further presentation of things from software to identify voters while canvasing to how to build up a relationship with local media and an amusing presentation on how the Trump Campaign completely trolls the media with his tweets that featured a modified version of the classic 1949 Bugs Bunny cartoon “Long Haired Hare” to make the point

it brought the house down.

I was not the only attendee from out of state, I talked to Harold from Rhode Island:

and Beth Lindstrom of Massachusetts running in the GOP primary to challenge Elizabeth Warren

The headliner from the Event was Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. His speech was a call to arms a congratulation for NH getting the Trump Train rolling and a slap in the face to the assembled crowd. He pointed out how so many had dismissed President Trump’s candidacy as a stunt.

He pulled no punches says the GOP failed them in congress, emphasizing that Trump had to get both the Wall and Tax reform in order to win re-election. At the same time he stressed the disaster that Democrat Control of the House or Senate would mean for the agenda.

He was blunt is saying that we needed a national voter ID law and stated an opinion I shared that Trump had won NH and it had been stolen.

He had nothing but distain for the entrenched political class in government, cheered the President for his statements on the NFL and hit the players for disrespecting the flag and reminded folks that the idea of America first was a foreign concept to the last administration.

When his speech was done he was mobbed by well wishes and those who wanted a photo with him. He commented during his speech on how he would lose many friends by supporting Trump but as a person with the president’s ear it’s amazing how many new friends he has discovered.

It was impossible to get an interview in the hall so after getting permission from his wife (who is a delightful and patient woman) Corey agreed to a walking interview as he headed to his car

That was a good interview but I think the most important one of the day longterm was with Fred Douchette. I had interviewed him at the first in the nation summit and then again at the Trump event in Derry where is was a co chair of the Trump campaign in NH. Given that he was on the Trump train way before the rest of us his perspective is particularly important.

Given how he and other saw this coming before everyone else I simply can’t understand why you don’t see more of them on national shows.

The photo gallery follows my TipJar pitch


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I interviewed Donald Trump’s Campaign Manager during the Primaries Corey Lewandowski after he spoke at the 2017 Red Summit held at the Institute for Politics at St. Anselm College

His speech went over so well that it was impossible to approach him so the only way to get the interview was a walking interview as he headed to his car to go to his kid’s game.

I’d like to thank Corey’s Wife for allowing me to conduct said interview when his time was so limited

Tomorrow I’ll have my story with the rest of my interviews from the event.


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Local ElectionsA quick reminder to all of those in the MSM, on the left, piling on Trump on twitter etc and declaring victory like this fool:

Thanks to you, the NFL and the media every Democrat running in a red state, especially those vulnerable Democrat senators, now gets to answer this question during election 2018.

“Do you support or oppose professional sports players kneeling for the national anthem in protest?”

I’m sure Manchin & McCaskill et/all and all the dem class of 2018 are dying to answer that question.

If they answer “support” in the primary it will doom them in the general

If they answer “oppose” it will certainly draw a primary challenge from the left that will either be too far left to win or force them to position even farther left to ensure primary voters still show.

Either way Trump wins.

Thanks NFL & Dems, because of you Trump will have to extra GOP votes to repeal Obamacare after 2018 and can tell McCain Collins et/al to pound sand.


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[If] you do not speak up to warn the wicked about their ways, they shall die in their sins, but I will hold you responsible for their blood.    –Ezekiel 33:8

Massachusetts General Law defines abortion as “the knowing destruction of the life of an unborn child.” Further, it defines an “unborn child” as “the individual human life in existence and developing from implantation of the embryo in the uterus until birth.” Now, we can argue about whether that individual human life began at implantation or at conception, but Massachusetts law is clear that the unborn child is a life and not just a “blob of tissue.” Unfortunately, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) in Moe vs Secretary of Administration and Finance (1981) decided that taxpayer funds must be used to kill that life if its mother so wishes.

Prior to Moe, the state operated under the Doyle-Flynn Amendment – the state-level equivalent of the federal Hyde Amendment, which has been upheld repeatedly by the US Supreme Court – which prohibited taxpayer funds from being used to pay for abortions. But in 1981, the SJC took it upon itself to go beyond the federal Roe v. Wade decision and decreed that taxpayer funds must indeed be used to pay for abortions for poor women under the guise of “equal protection.” Why the legally-recognized life in the womb is not also due equal protection of the laws is not clear, but the SJC ruled that since state Medicaid funds were used to pay for legitimate maternity care and other health care for indigent women, Medicaid must also pay for abortions.

As did Roe v. Wade, this decision clearly overstepped the judicial role of interpreting the Massachusetts Constitution and enshrined a policy decision with the weight of a constitutional amendment, thus prohibiting the legislature from even debating the issue. Legally, the only proper response is an actual constitutional amendment that the SJC cannot misinterpret to its own ends. The Alliance to Stop Taxpayer Funded Abortion has taken up the challenge and is currently gathering signatures with the hope of bringing this question to Bay State voters in November 2020.

The amendment as proposed reads “Nothing in this Constitution shall require taxpayer funding for abortions.” Note that it does not make abortion illegal in MA. It only permits the legislature to debate whether taxpayer funds should be used to pay for them.

The amendment process in Massachusetts is extraordinarily difficult. The first step is to gather 64,750 signatures by November, 2017. In actuality, this means we need to gather close to 100,000 signatures because it seems like the Secretary of State’s office looks for any excuse to reject valid signatures. If there is a stray pen mark on a sheet with 25 valid signatures, the entire sheet may be thrown out. So, volunteers – including my wife and I – are being very careful with the signed sheets.

Assuming we get the required signatures, the motion must be approved by 50 members of the state legislature in two consecutive sessions in order to be put on the ballot in 2020 to allow citizens to vote on the amendment. Assuming it passes, Massachusetts will be in line with the federal government  and the legislative history of the state in letting the legislature decide whether taxpayer funds will be used to pay to knowingly destroy the life of an unborn child.

There are many ways you can help. Of course, you can volunteer, or donate to the Alliance, and if you’re a registered Massachusetts voter, please sign a petition. And please keep our efforts in your prayers.

Update: Stacy McCain talks about this (and a few other things) here.

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.

20 years ago the Media found itself in a situation they didn’t want to be in. The had gone all in on the death and funeral of Princess Diana when the day before her funeral Mother Theresa of Calcutta died. This invariably produced coverage comparisons that didn’t make the MSM look good like this from Mike Barnicle at the globe:

Realistically, nobody expects the coverage of Mother Teresa’s passing to equal the volume accorded Princess Diana. After all, Mother Teresa does not have two handsome children to appear in solemn procession behind her casket. Will not have millions of bouquets tossed in the street outside her palatial home. Wore only one outfit. Touched the emotions of a largely invisible group and did so far from the light of glamour.

That cut the MSM to the quick and they were put on the spot as a network exec admitted

One network news executive who requested anonymity said, “Honestly, we wouldn’t be sending all of our anchors and covering Mother Teresa’s funeral so extensively if it weren’t for all the Diana coverage.

“We’d be strongly criticized if we didn’t cover Mother Teresa in a big way.”

And while he made up for it by giving Christopher Hitchens one more chance to hit her during the funeral,the late Peter Jennings didn’t like being in a box.

ABC’s Jennings said TV news is in a no-win situation: “Mother Teresa’s death has not led to the worldwide frenzy that led us to break into coverage (for Diana). Given the extent to which the media covered Princess Diana, we will invariably be criticized for our coverage of Mother Teresa. But Mother Teresa is a very important story, and I don’t think the two should be compared.”

And that Brings us to Claire McCaskill and Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle.

As I’ve already written McCaskill when it comes to electoral politics McCaskill is one of the smartest pols in the game. She knew that 2012 was iffy and made sure post Obamacare she faced a Republican of her own choosing (instead of the one Sarah Palin had backed) She was willing to go after Harry Reid in a public way when it would be noticed but wouldn’t make a difference in terms of the Senate and knowing that she was going to need Trump voters tweeted out

and having made the statement against violent protests at the inauguration she backed them up despite loud objections from the left figuring it was all good:

So she will rejoice in stories like this and posts like this and highlight them to distance herself from the violent protests because regardless of the face she presents to the twitter world the radicals in her state who turned a thug like Michael Brown into a gentle giant know that the reality is she has their back.

Well unfortunately for her, one of those lefties Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal choose this time to on facebook her hope that the President of the United States be assassinated.

Missouri lawmaker acknowledged Thursday that she posted and later deleted a comment on Facebook about hoping for President Donald Trump’s assassination, saying she was frustrated with the president’s response to the white supremacist rally and violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

and in a state that Donald Trump won by almost 20 points and the GOP controls both houses of the legislature by wide margins local democrats Democrats wasted no time calling for her head:

Stephen Webber, the Missouri Democratic Party Chair, said in a statement, “State Senator Chappelle-Nadal’s comments are indefensible. All sides need to agree that there is no room for suggestions of political violence in America — and the Missouri Democratic Party will absolutely not tolerate calls for the assassination of the President. I believe she should resign.”

The Senate Democratic Causus is condemning the comment. Senate Democratic Leader Gina Walsh said, “I strongly condemn and disavow Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal’s horrible comments. Promoting, supporting or suggesting violence against anyone, especially our elected leaders, is never acceptable. There is too much rancor and hate in today’s political discourse, and Sen. Chappelle-Nadal should be ashamed of herself for adding her voice to this toxic environment. Sen. Chappelle-Nadal’s unacceptable behavior has no place in our caucus, the Capitol, or the Democratic Party. Let me be clear, her views in no way represent the constituents of the 14th District or the great State of Missouri.”

And with the combination of political violence in the news her own statements about getting past last week’s violence, and the electoral polling in Missouri going in the wrong direction tide of Claire McCaskill joined in as well:

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and the chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party both called Thursday for the resignation of Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, for posting a Facebook comment stating: “I hope Trump is assassinated!”

“I condemn it,” McCaskill said in a brief emailed statement. “It’s outrageous. And she should resign.”

Now that’s a very clear statement with no ambiguity at all, but there is one thing I find odd and interesting about her condemnation of Maria Chappelle Nadal.  While you can find Senator McCaskill’s condemnation of State Senator Maria Chappelle Nadal words mentioned in just about every news story on the subject, you know where you won’t find it, at least as of 8 PM Eastern time last night?  Anywhere on her twitter feed.

That might seem odd until you consider this story

Which was reported from Netroots nation

let’s keep in mind that Evans is a left-leaning candidate hoping to change Georgia from red to blue. But that’s not enough. It seems the issue is, at least in part, that Evans is white.

Evans, a Smyrna state legislator who is white, was drowned out by demonstrators supporting Stacey Abrams, an Atlanta lawmaker who is black. A phalanx of sign-wielding protesters formed a line in front of her as soon as she took the podium, while others chanted “support black women” and “trust black women.” What followed was several minutes of pleading – “ let’s talk through it,” Evans implored repeatedly – and an attempt to plow through the speech.

Like I said Claire McCaskill is a smart woman who knows that while she can’t win Missouri without Trump voters the last thing she needs is far left of the party that dominates social media coming down on her for daring to call for the resignation of a black woman Senator in her state.

That’s the type of thing that can produce a primary candidate of color who while not a big danger to win in a general election is likely to force her to make public statements that she really doesn’t want to make.

McCaskill may have had no choice but to condemn Senator Nadal but she’s no fool so she’ll do all she can to make sure her condemnation remains as local a story as possible.

That being the case let me repeat my advice of January to her potential opponents.

If I was running the RNC or a conservative pac I’d encourage donors to quietly start financing a radical leftists, possibly a black nationalist to primary her and point to this event as a reason to do so

Hell if it was my call I’d take a card out of McCaskill’s own deck and quietly finance a “Draft Maria Chappelle Nadal for US Senate” movement.  I suspect the end result would be quite efficacious for the GOP.

And remember any Democrat who does anything to prevent a black woman from running for that seat must be racist.


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Congresswoman Tsongas interviewed by DaTechGuy 1/2013

On the day I promised my wife I would abandon the internet until we got home from Hampton Beach my congresswoman decided to call it quits.

Having imprinted the 3rd Congressional District with the indelible mark of her family’s public service, U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas will step away from Congress at the end of her current term to help nurture her family’s next generation.

First elected in 2007 to a congressional seat her husband Paul wielded to great effect, Tsongas has made a name for herself as a fierce advocate for women in the military, veterans benefits, and health care. Her recent bids for re-election have been forgone conclusions, but Tsongas said in a statement announcing her decision that the time has come to move on.

“I am so grateful to those who have been there since day one, and to the many great Americans who I have met along the way, all of whom have served as my inspiration and support,” Tsongas said. “I have learned in life that there is a time for endings and for new beginnings. After much thought, I have decided that this is one of those times.”

Tsongas, who is 71, has three daughters and two grandchildren, with another expected imminently. She said she plans to spend more time “enjoying and celebrating” them after her term expires at the end of 2018.

Now I’m a big fan of spending one’s golden years with the children and grandchildren and in that sense I completely agree with Congresswoman Tsongas’ decision, but I couldn’t help notice how this announcement contrasts with a story in the very same paper just four months ago:

REP. NIKI Tsongas put to rest growing rumors that she’s be retiring from Congress in 2018, when her present two-year term is up.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m not going anywhere but to work. I’m happy, healthy, and committed to helping my constituents on issues that are so important to them,” said Tsongas, who represents the 3rd Congressional District.

Asked to explain the persistent rumors, Tsongas said, “I think it is age-driven. I’m 71 and some people might be thinking I’m going to retire. But that’s not something I’m thinking about.”

So the question on the floor is this:  What changed in the 107 days between April 23rd and August 9th that converted the story of  Niki Tsongas retirement from a rumor to be quenched to a reality to be celebrated?

Might I be so bold as to suggest that the congresswoman , who has been covered and interviewed by this blogger, just might have seen this post:

 Sunday, even after the GOP fell on it’s face over Obamacare and the White House was playing musical staff Nancy Pelosi is reportedly saying stuff like this

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Sunday it was “unimportant” for Democrats to win back a majority in the lower chamber in the mid-term elections, The Hill reported.

“That’s so unimportant. What is important is that we have the lively debate on a better deal,” Pelosi told Fox News host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” when asked about the chances Democrats had to win back the House in 2018.

What does that tell you?  It tells me that no matter how bad things look for the GOP the American people have decided that the Democrats are worse.

Now perhaps it’s huberis to think that Congresswoman Tsongas first heard about Minority Leader Pelosi’s declaration here but I suggest it would be naive to discount this story from the Congresswoman’s calculations.

Or  to put it another way, in April when Nancy Pelosi was talking Democrats taking congress, and the prospect of a committee chair and the power that comes with it was there, Congresswoman Tsongas was all about working for the people of the 3rd district.  Once it became clear that even an outside chance of  such a prospect meant staying in congress until she was closer to eighty than seventy, enjoying one’s golden years with the grandchildren while one is healthy enough to enjoy them trumped another guaranteed lustrum or two in the congressional minority.

FYI here is the interview with Congresswoman Tsongas that the image at the top came from

Closing thought,  Interesting that the Democrats didn’t ask her to resign early and generate a winnable special election in a deep blue state that they could tout isn’t it?

A quick Layoff bleg update. Yesterday was the scheduled end to my layoff bleg and I’m sorry to say we didn’t manage half of the goal I had set although we did manage to raise enough to get me a paycheck this week and next week. This will make August a very lean month.

So if you are inclined and at all able I would ask you to hit DaTipJar at this time even if we don’t make the goal another $315 will mean a full paycheck for August 25th.




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Via Drudge McClatchy reports that Democrats desperate to find anything that resembles victor are finding some hope deep in a few state legislative races:

In a party desperate for victories, Democratic candidates are finding the most success in little-noticed state legislative races. They’ve already won four seats previously under Republican control, some of them in battleground districts that split evenly between President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Party leaders say it’s a sign that they are benefitting from a broad backlash to the Republican president, one that failed to lift a quartet of special election U.S. House candidates — including Jon Ossoff in Georgia or Rob Quist in Montana — to victories of their own.

In one respect this is not that huge a surprise.  After all in 2014 the GOP had a spectacular year on the state level.

On the state level, the wave continued. State legislatures are also now controlled by Republicans.  That translates to 68 out of 98 legislative chambers according to Real Clear Politics, who also notes that 23 Gubernatorial offices are now held by Republicans in states where both houses are also under Republican control.

Politico noted that Republicans gained more than 300 seats in legislatures and controls legislatures in 29 states; the biggest gains since the 1920’s.

And in 2016 things, as Ballotpedia reports, things continued to improve

Republicans flipped 138 seats while Democrats flipped 95 seats. The Republican Party‘s share of seats in state legislatures increased by 43 seats across the country. Republicans controlled 4,161 (56.4 percent) of the 7,383 legislative seats heading into the election.

In 2010 and 2014, Republicans won hundreds of formerly Democratic-held state legislative seats across the United States. These past successes put them at a relatively greater partisan risk in 2016, since the GOP held a higher percentage of the seats up for election than Democrats. However, Republicans were able to maintain and increase their advantage in state legislative chambers nationwide.

Given the extreme gains for the GOP it would be quite a shock if there wasn’t some recovery for Dems and that McClatchy Story suggests the Democrats are investing in those local races to try to make it happen.

Democrats have vowed to pay more attention to state legislative races after losing hundreds of those seats during President Obama’s tenure. There are signs the party is doing just that six months into Trump’s presidency: The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a high-profile group with the support of former President Barack Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder, raised more than $10 million in the second fundraising quarter.

So given these facts and the latest polls showing Trump at 39% can someone tell me why in April Nancy Pelosi was talking like this:(emphasis mine)

Addressing the 2018 midterm elections, Pelosi revealed that Democrats are considering an expansive offensive in Texas, including a possible challenge to Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, who represents Sugar Land. The diversifying Houston suburb is the same region former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay represented during his reign at the U.S. Capitol, and Trump carried that district by eight points.

Earlier this year, Democrats announced they were considering mounting serious challenges to Republican U.S. Reps. Pete Sessions of Dallas and John Culberson of Houston, in addition to their typical target — the West Texas district of Republican U.S. Rep. Will Hurd.

An audience member asked Pelosi if the party intended to go after any Republicans in seats that are overwhelmingly conservative. Pelosi said no; House Democrats would spend their money only on seats they believe they can win, she said.

She said that would “absolutely” be enough for Democrats to win the gavel in 2018.

But Sunday, even after the GOP fell on it’s face over Obamacare and the White House was playing musical staff Nancy Pelosi is reportedly saying stuff like this

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Sunday it was “unimportant” for Democrats to win back a majority in the lower chamber in the mid-term elections, The Hill reported.

“That’s so unimportant. What is important is that we have the lively debate on a better deal,” Pelosi told Fox News host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” when asked about the chances Democrats had to win back the House in 2018.

What does that tell you?  It tells me that no matter how bad things look for the GOP the American people have decided that the Democrats are worse.

However JJ Sefton at Ace’s place finds the bright side for the left:

Considering the masks coming off at the moment of truth for Obamacare Repeal, I would not want to wager that the GOP-led legislature will do anything different when it comes to this equally crucial issue. Yup, I’m calling it now: there will be no tax reform. Two reasons, 1) anything that denudes power, influence and lucre from DC will be opposed tooth and nail and 2) they hate Donald Trump so it’s automatic that they will oppose it.

Hence, Nancy Pelosi saying it’s not important for Dems to win the 2018 Midterms is not necessarily a botox-leaking-into-the-cerbral-cortex-induced comment , especially when you have Republicans like McCain, Collins, Murkowski and most of the rest, including of course the leadership.

Of course that won’t stop the bleeding at the state level including the apparently unnewsworthy defection a sitting governor, which our friends on the left consider no big loss.

Those ignorant West Virginia grapes were sour anyways


The Layoff bleg continues. with  5 days to go we’re $  1635 away from the goal to make August dedicated to the blog, the new radio show (shows?) and events.

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And as I’ve said before if you can’t spare the cash we will be happy to accept your prayers.

Graphic courtesy of the Illinois Policy Institute

By John Ruberry

On Thursday the Democratic-dominated Illinois House, with aid of ten Republicans, overrode Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of a 32 percent income tax hike. The corporate rate jumped by 35 percent.

Apologists for the income tax increase love to point out that many states have higher income tax rates, but last week’s override places Illinois within the top 20 of the 50 states. And these tax lovers always leave out some painful facts. For instance, while sales tax rates vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, Illinois’ sales tax rates are very high across the board. Chicagoans, at 10.25 percent, pay America’s highest sales taxes. And depending on who you talk to, Illinoisans suffer under America’s largest property tax burden–or they are near the top. Chicagoans deal also suffer with nuisance taxes such as a seven-cents-per-bag tax at grocery stores, and had a judge not temporarily struck down a Cook County–where Chicago is–a penny-per-ounce sugary drink tax would be in place right now. Food stamp recipients don’t have to pay those last two. And those nuisance taxes add up, of course.

As a lifetime resident of Illinois, I can assure you that the services we receive from the state are terrible. Last year the Chicago Tribune phrased it more eloquently, “As a result, Illinois government is a massive retirement system that, during work hours, also offers some services.”

Illinois’ personal income tax rate is now at 4.95 percent and the corporate rate is now 7 percent, but because of a local only-in-Illinois 2.5 percent state personal property replacement tax, the corporate rate is really 9.5 percent, which makes the overall rate the fourth-highest in the nation.

And before these tax hikes Illinois was one of the few states losing population.

So ends the Prairie State’s national record two-year span of operating without a budget.

“Shake Up Springfield, Bring Back Illinois”

Governor Rauner, a Republican, was elected by voters to, as his campaign slogan vowed, “Shake Up Springfield.” While never averse to a tax increase, Rauner, who never held public office before, said he’d approve one as long as it included such items as term limits, redistricting reform, workers’ compensation law changes, and property tax freezes. House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), who has held his job for 32 of the last 34 years, of course views term limits as anathema to him, and this master gerrymanderer created legislative maps that gave the Democrats supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly in the first two years of Rauner’s term. The Dems still have a veto-proof majority in the Senate.

One of the reasons the Republican General Assembly members who sided with Madigan gave for their votes was that Moody’s and S&P warned that if Illinois didn’t have a budget in place for fiscal year 2018 its bonds would be rated as junk. Guess what? Moody’s says it might downgrade Illinois’ bonds anyway. The new taxes don’t address how Illinois will tackle its $100 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. Pension payments already consume a whopping one-quarter of the Illinois budget. And even assuming enough funds are there for Illinois schools to open in the fall, more legislation is needed for allocating that cash. The state has over $15 billion in unpaid bills-which is over 40 percent of the ’18 budget. That backlog will take years to pay off. Adding to the debacle is a late June ruling by a federal judge for Illinois to pay $586 million per month to bring down its past-due Medicaid bills. Which means that other vendors will have to wait even longer to get paid. How many of them will go out of business waiting for their bills to be settled?

Didn’t I mention that Illinois is losing population?

Blogger at the border

At best, the Illinois budget deal is a band-aid for much more serious problems.

Rauner is a candidate for reelection in 2018. That task was made more difficult by the manner that the tax hike was passed. In the first go-round 15 Republicans–the Madigan 15–voted for the tax hike. That allowed Boss Madigan, who has been chairman of the state Democratic Party since 1998, to allow, yes, allow 11 Democrats in vulnerable districts to vote “No.” In the override vote, four of the Madigan 15 voted “No.” Another one missed the roll call. Of course Madigan “found” the other five votes among his caucus.

Democratic candidates for governor are of course calling the tax increase “bi-partisan.”

But already one Madigan 15 member has announced he’s not running for reelection.

In my opinion bankruptcy, even though it will be called something else, is still coming to Illinois, despite this budget “fix.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

The Democratic gubernatorial primary in Illinois is more than a year away but the field of candidates to challenge Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner is taking shape. On Thursday Christopher G. Kennedy, a son of Robert F. Kennedy, announced on YouTube that he’ll be running for the Democratic nomination for governor of America’s fifth-most populous state, after several abandoned flirtations with running for public office.

Kennedy is by no means a carpet-bagger, he’s lived in the Chicago area for three decades; he moved to Illinois to work at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, which was once the jewel in the crown of the Kennedy family empire. The Mart was sold in 1998, but Kennedy still was the president of Merchandise Mart Properties from 2000-2012. He also served as chairman of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau and the University of Illinois Board of Trustees; in the latter post Kennedy famously and correctly prevented Barack Obama’s terrorist pal, Bill Ayers, from receiving emeritus professor status after retiring from the University of Illinois at Chicago. A book by Ayers’ Weather Underground group was dedicated to a slew of creeps they described as political prisoners, including Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of RFK.

As for the YouTube announcement, such a move on the surface appears to establish Kennedy’s credentials as a 21st-century candidate, but that tactic betrays his biggest flaw as a politician. He’s not a people person. I can’t remember who said it, but a wiser scribe than me said something along these lines about Hillary Clinton, “Some chefs can’t cook in front of an audience. And Hillary can’t do politics in front of people.”

And that’s Kennedy too.

Mark Brown of the Chicago Sun-Times alone of mainstream media mouthpieces noted the significance of the YouTube announcement. Kennedy prefers the safer climes of one-on-one and telephone interviews. And controlled environments such as YouTube.

At a gathering of Illinois delegates during the Democratic National Convention last year Kennedy gave a speech, after meeting with Illinois House speaker and Democratic boss Michael Madigan of Chicago, where he strongly criticized Rauner. The Republican reformer’s “turnaround agenda,” which includes such needed items as term limits, a ban on gerrymandering, and tort reform, has been blocked by Madigan, who until last month, enjoyed supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly.

After their DNC meeting, Madigan said that Kennedy would make “a very good candidate” for governor.

In his speech, Kennedy bemoaned the changing media landscape. “With the decline of daily newspapers and other media,” he said, “there is [sic] simply fewer reporters than there used to be to tell the rest of us the truth.”

As you’ll see here, a deer-in-the headlights Kennedy refused to answer questions from some of those remaining reporters, including a basic one from Fox 32 Chicago’s Mike Flannery, “Are you running for governor or not?”

Kennedy’s reply to that reporter? “Please, I don’t need to address you,” concluding with, “What have you become?” All he had to say was that he was still considering his options for the future.

Illinoisans–meet your snowflake candidate for governor, Generation X-er Chris Kennedy.

Since last week’s announcement Kennedy has been asked about Madigan–and in his replies he has either dodged the queries or countered with criticisms of Rauner, who three years ago became the first candidate for governor to win a majority of the vote since 2002.

Madigan is a one-man advertisement for term limits. He’s been a member of the General Assembly for 46 years and he’s been speaker of the state House since 1983, except for the two years in the 1990s when the Illinois Republican Party rode Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America campaign into power. Later this year Madigan will become the longest-serving state House speaker in American history. He’s also chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party. Members of the House or the state Senate who cross Madigan will find that campaign funding from the party will evaporate and they’ll be removed from meaningful committee assignments. If those rebels somehow survive, their political careers will be gerrymandered out of existence. Yes, Madigan controls redistricting.

And now for the exclamation point: Madigan’s daughter has been Illinois’ attorney general since 2003.

Illinois Policy Institute caricature of Madigan

Let’s put things another way. Imagine Illinois as a hockey game–with Mike Madigan as the puck and the goaltender on both ends of the rink. And in Madigan’s Illinois, which is not a fantasy version of the state, the players don’t move the puck around, the puck moves the players around. Watching the matchup is a declining base of fans–Illinois is one of the few states that is losing residents. With Madigan–the most powerful politician in Illinois even when there is a Democratic governor–in charge of the state, Illinois has the worst-funded public-public pension system and the lowest credit rating of the fifty states. And it has accumulated $11 billion in unpaid bills, despite the state constitutional requirements that all Illinois budgets be balanced.

But as Kennedy likes to remind people, Illinois hasn’t had a budget passed in two years–which he blames solely on Rauner—Kennedy just can’t find a way to criticize Madigan or even comment on him. In one of those telephone interviews, this one was a Quad Cities NPR affiliate, when he was asked about Madigan, Kennedy replied, “I have a good relationship with much of the leadership in the state–and I think it’s important to be able to work with others.”

Blogger outside of the Merchandise Mart a few years ago.

Snowflake Kennedy offers no solid answers as to how he’ll balance Illinois’ budget, fix the pension bomb, or stem the state’s population exodus.

But he’s a Kennedy. And he thinks it’s important to be able work with others.

Why is Chris Kennedy running for governor?

John Ruberry, a fifth-generation Illinoisan, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit. Both of his parents voted for John F. Kennedy for president in 1960.