By John Ruberry

I hate to interrupt your day by veering away from such issues, well, issues to some, such as the Donald Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia or that nation’s reputed hacking of the 2016 presidential election, but there is something more important that the mainstream media is only nibbling at the edges of: the Great American Pension Swindle.

What is it?

Underfunded pension plans in blue states, well mostly blue states.

Here are some media headlines from just this month:

I could go on and on.

As for that last one, many bond firms rate Chicago Public Schools’ bonds as junk. The collateral for its latest loan, and that’s a generous use of the term, is money owed to CPS by the state of Illinois, the Puerto Rico of the Midwest. Illinois’ public-worker pension plans are just 29 percent funded. Chicago’s pensions are worse–at 25 percent funded, the worst among 15 large cities surveyed.

I don’t have Schadenfreude over this situation. On a personal level the spouse of a friend of mine and one of my cousins are collecting Illinois State Police pensions. They were promised these retirement plans and they didn’t pay into Social Security when they worked for the state. There was no opt-out option for them in regards to these pensions. And their union, unlike AFSCME, wasn’t showering Illinois politicians, mostly Democrats, with copious campaign contributions while the state was shortchanging and even skipping payments into pension funds.

Now what?

John “Lee” Ruberry of Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent Seven

I suspect bankruptcies in all but name, which I wrote about earlier this month in this space, are coming to Illinois and other states who see pensions as a reward system for political sponsors such as AFSCME. Here’s another possibility: run-of-the-mill taxpayers, many of whom are just getting by financially and have no pensions of their own, nor the ability to retire in their 50s, will have to cough up even more in taxes to bail out public worker retirement funds.

This tragedy is not the fault of the Russians. Vladimir Putin didn’t hack the pension funds.  But too bad that’s not what happened. Then perhaps MSNBC, CNN, the Washington Post, and the New York Times might devote more time to the Great American Pension Swindle.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

There is a breathless headline from an NBC Poll just out:

NBC/WSJ Poll: Just 29 Percent Approve of Trump’s Firing of James Comey

Now reading that headline you would think that 71 percent disapprove, and I’m sure that’s what NBC wants you to think, however if you actually read the story you find out…

Just 29 percent of Americans say they approve of President Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, while 38 percent disapprove, according to results from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Another 32 percent of respondents don’t have enough to say on the matter.

Don’t know enough to say?  Actually the poll says “No opinion” in the graphic but it’s another attempt to make the Comey firing a problem when it isn’t, particularly when you discover that the 38 percent that is angry is driven by Democrats (2 of 3 polled) who are likely outraged about Trump getting that 2nd scoop of Ice cream.

So in the interest of showing what media spin is I’ve taken the liberty of rephrasing the headline to reflect the actual reality which is this:

The US public doesn’t give a damn that Trump fired Comey, but the media wants them to.

Exit question, if after a week of pushing this story the united and concerted MSM media efforts can’t even get 40% of the public riled up about Comey what does that say about their power to actually influence the public these days?

That’s the real story here.

Update:  powerline discovers another headline to rephrase


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Olimometer 2.52

If you are not in the position to kick in your funds we’ll always accept your prayers.

By John Ruberry

Liberals and members of the mainstream media–okay, other than how they earn their paychecks there isn’t much difference between the two–have many intellectual flaws. But I’m going to zero in on just one here–their predilection to view all events through the sphere of the ’60s. For this discussion I’m going to bend time a bit–and call the ’60s as the years of 1964-1974, the period that covers Vietnam and the anti-war protests, the Civil Rights movement, and the Watergate Scandal. Richard M. Nixon, by the way, was elected to the presidency in 1968.

Older journalists looked back at the first and second Gulf Wars with nostalgia, especially when the anti-war protests broke out and during the pre-surge quagmire of 2005-2007. Younger journalists felt cheated by their absence from that first quagmire, Vietnam, and they didn’t want to miss out on what they saw as a second one.

Very few reporters who were on the job during Watergate are still working in journalism, the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward. who is 74, is a notable exception, so those in the biz now are hoping that President Donald Trump’s firing of embattled (yes, embattled) FBI Director James Comey is their Watergate, which of course crescendoed with Nixon’s resignation before his almost certain removal from office by the Senate.

Watergate was of course much more than the break-in at the Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate Hotel, it was the cover up as well as the side scandals, such as the White House Plumbers, the dirty tricks, and the slush funds that made it America’s gravest political scandal.

Trump’s firing of Comey was ham-handed. If he had canned Comey shortly after being sworn-in, there would have been muted criticism from the left, as many Hillary Clinton supporters blamed Comey for her defeat last fall. Comey of course, in 2016’s October Surprise, reopened the investigation of Clinton’s reckless and illegal use of a home-brewed email server while she was Barack Obama’s secretary of state. Many prominent Democrats called for Comey’s resignation. When Trump did fire Comey last week, the White House didn’t know where to find him–Comey was in Los Angeles. And he learned of his dismissal from a television news report. And Trump, in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, contradicted the explanation from his deputy press secretary as to why he fired Comey. Finally, Trump’s hint that he may have taped one of his conversations with Comey doesn’t help the president’s case the public.

The media of course is drawing parallels to Comey’s firing to that of Richard Nixon forcing the dismissal of Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox in the “Saturday Night Massacre.” Yes, Trump cited “this Russia thing” as one of the reasons for getting rid of Comey, but what is this “Russian thing?” Collusion? Meanwhile James Clapper, Barack Obama’s director of national intelligence said only a few hours ago that there is no evidence of any Trump campaign collusion with Russia.

And who seriously believes that Russia hacked the presidential election?

Rather it appears “this Russia thing” was invented by sore losers within the Hillary Clinton campaign.

So repeat after me. “Russian collusion” is not Watergate. James Comey is not Archibald Cox. Donald Trump is not Richard Nixon. While we’re at it, Black Lives Matter is not the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and the regular anti-conservative riots at Berkeley are not the Free Speech Movement.

So what does Woodward, who along with Carl Bernstein broke the Watergate scandal for the Washington Post, think about the Comey controversy? While conceding on Fox News Sunday this morning that there are some questions on Russia that he wants answered, he also told host Chris Wallace, “This is not yet Watergate. Not a clear crime.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Blogger at the home of a Forgotten Man

By John Ruberry

Donald J. Trump’s presidential honeymoon with the media lasted sixteen minutes, which was, not coincidentally, the length of his inauguration address.

Since then, the media, with a few exceptions, has been relentlessly attacking the president, and by media, I’ll use the definition Rush Limbaugh gave this morning to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, which is ABC, CBS, NBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post and USA Today.

I’ll add one more–a big one, CNN, sometimes called the Clinton News Network.

The media is striking back with an assault on the presidency not seen since the height of the Watergate scandal.

And Donald Trump is fighting them–and the media can’t ascertain why much of the public, their public, is siding with the president.

Because conservatives don’t like cheaters.

Among the damning revelations from the John Podesta emails hacked by WikiLeaks was clear evidence of collusion by some of these allegedly neutral outlets during the 2016 presidential campaign, most notoriously when CNN analyst Donna Brazile twice supplied a planned question to the Hillary Clinton campaign prior to a CNN-hosted debate with Bernie Sanders.

Viewers of those two CNN debates were cheated by CNN, which employed Brazile, as they rightly expected the Clinton-Sanders matchups to be, let’s use a popular term from the time when several Chicago White Sox players conspired to throw the 1919 World Series, “on the square.” Sure, Brazile, was fired, but only after she was caught the second time feeding a debate question to the Clinton machine. That says a lot. Oh, where did Brazile learn of these questions? Did they come from a low-level CNN staffer?

Liberals, with the possible exception of the most ardent members of the growing socialist wing of the Democratic Party, dismissed Brazile’s cheating as just the way the game is played, which is not how White Sox fans greeted news of the 1919 fix broke a year later.

Before there was fake news there was a fake World Series.

Here is my conservative-or-liberal litmus test: If you were angry–or still are angry–about media collusion with the Democratic Party during the 2016 campaign, they you are a conservative. If you are not, they you’re a liberal. It’s that easy.

Which explains why the media, again using the definition I gave earlier, is astounded that Trump not only attacks them millions of Americans are cheering him on.

After dutifully reporting on media collusion immediately after it was revealed, the media promptly ignored the scandal–their scandal–which is not the case with Russian interference, and yes, alleged hacking of the election by Russia of the presidential election, whatever that entails. It probably entails nothing. WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange, repeatedly insists that Russia was not the source of the hacked Podesta emails.

Okay, you skeptics out there, you are probably thinking to yourselves that I am citing only two examples of CNN collusion, and that done by an analyst, not a reporter.

Still still for a moment. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper, both of them anchors, the latter is the network’s Washington correspondent, were caught colluding by WikiLeaks. Other colluders captured in the WikiLeaks net were the New York Times and CNBC’s John Harwood, the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, Glenn Thrush, then of Politico and now of the New York Times, and Brent Budowsky of The Hill.

When Trump said on the stump “the system is rigged,” the colluders proved him right.

The Forgotten Man and the Forgotten Woman, that is, the people who play by the rules and try to make an honest living under increasingly daunting odds, elected Trump, despite the rigging.

John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

And the cheating media still can’t figure out why most Americans despise them.

You Democratic cynics are probably still thinking, “Everyone does it.” No they don’t. Very few media outlets are conservative ones, so the opportunity simply isn’t there for Republicans to collude. The only instance of GOP collusion in a presidential campaign I can recall is George Will’s vague self-described “inappropriate” role in the 1980 Debategate micro-scandal.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Chicago’s South Side last autumn

By John Ruberry

Position wanted: Starting quarterback.

A dismal National Football League season will end tonight when between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots meet in the Super Bowl in Houston, after of course our national anthem is performed.

Oh, Da Tech Guy himself, a Patriots fan, may not agree of my “dismal” assessment. His team is in the Super Bowl, not mine, the Chicago Bears.

The Star Spangled Banner has been one of the major NFL stories this season, much to the chagrin to league brass because San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the anthem, which of course is performed before every game. A few members from roughly one-third of the other NFL teams followed his unpatriotic lead, along with some college and high school athletes. Kaepernick’s beef with the anthem is that he believes America stands for racial prejudice and police brutality, which are ideas you’ll find in the playbook of Black Lives Matters radicals, not the 49ers. Kaepernick, who is black but was raised by white parents, is a millionaire. Although NFL rules prohibit him from making it official until next month, Kaepernick will be a free agent next month, an ESPN reporter reported Friday. The timing is curious–I suspect that two days before the Super Bowl was chosen because of hyping of the game itself, and the revealing of the new NFL Hall of Fame inductees on Saturday, would bury the Kaepernick self-firing, as his anti-anthem, and yes, anti-America protests have been an embarrassment to the league.

TV ratings were down eight percent for the 2016 season, more so earlier on as the Kaepernick story was festering. While some liberal journalists chose to ignore the Kaepernick factor when reporting the ratings decline, pointing out that concerns over concussions, the lack of NFL star power, particularly in the first four weeks of the season when Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady was under suspension because of Deflategate, and viewers being more interested in the raucous presidential election were the real cause, an early October poll by Rasmussen found that nearly one-third of Americans said they’d be less likely to watch an NFL contest because of the anthem protests.

Soon the bidding war will begin for Kaepernick. Or maybe not. While he did take the 49ers to the Super Bowl four years ago, he performed poorly during his last two seasons; in 2016 Kaepernick was 1-10 as starter. I only watched him play once on television in ’16, on a snowy day against another rotten team, the Chicago Bears, Kaepernick completed just one pass out of five attempts with four yards gained. He was sacked five times.

The 49ers signed Kaepernick to win football games–not to be a radical.  The other 31 NFL teams will be looking to sign a winner as quarterback, not someone who gets sacked more times than the yards he passed for. Oh, some team will sign him, only because of his Super Bowl pedigree. But can Kaepernick survive training camp roster cuts?

NFL: Your long Colin Kaepernick nightmare may soon be over.

On a personal note, I will be rooting for the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. I usually line up behind the NFC champion, but because Tom Brady is under attack by leftists for not backing out of his friendship with President Donald Trump, I am part of the Patriots Nation today. Go Pats!

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Col Potter:  Pierce? Hunnicutt? What’s going on here?
Korean Lt Park: Your doctors attempted to sneak my prisoner out of here. Fortunately, I stopped them. [ Speaking In Korean to his men]
Capt Hunnicutt: Are we just gonna let them take her?
Potter: There’s nothing I can do.
Capt Pierce: You’re ripping her stitches!
Wounded NK Guerilla: – [ Shouts In Korean at Pierce & Hunnicutt]
Korean Lt Park: She says you’re a fool, and she curses you.
Capt Hunnicutt: Oh, she does, huh?
Korean Lt Park: I’m not lying, Captain. Look at her face.
Wounded NK Guerilla: – [ Shouting In Korean at Pierce & Hunnicutt]
Korean Lt Park: She says, ”You save lives of those who kill my people and rape my land.”
Wounded NK Guerilla: – [ Shouting In Korean at Pierce & Hunnicutt]
Korean Lt Park: ”I would kill you as I tried to kill my enemy in your hospital. As I would kill this murderer, I would gladly die if I could kill but one of you.” Now, if you have heard enough, Captain.

MASH Guerilla of my Dreams 1979

Like the NK Guerilla quoted in the MASH episode above, the followers of Isis and Radical Islamists consider all you liberal anti-Trump folks just as much an infidel as they do a Conservative Catholic Trump voter like me.

Furthermore given the chance to kill you as an individual, enslave you for sex as they do the Yadzi woman, or launch either a small scale or large scale attack on the people of San Francisco they would not only one do so but consider a successful attack against the city and it’s people killing dozens or thousands a great triumph even if every single one of the dead marched against Milo or had a #resistance hashtag on their twitter account.

That is all.

I was working into the wee hours of the morning when I saw this at the Huffington Post

Southwest Plane Turns Pink Lights On For Women’s March Participants

The story said the following

Things got lit on a Southwest Airlines plane carrying men and women to the Women’s March on Washington.

Two women shared pictures of their Thursday flight, which turned on pink lights apparently in support of its passengers to mark Saturday’s special occasion.

“When your Southwest flight crew celebrate a plane full of kickass women and men going to the Women’s March by lighting it up #lit #womensmarchonwashington #lovetrumpshate,” Instagram user @kpmagnolia wrote in the caption of her photo of the colorful pink lights.

Now this would seem a bad idea as Southwest Airlines is not a niche market that caters exclusively to pro-abortion anti-trump people who think believing Catholics are Nazis so I wrote the following email to Southwest to clarify their position.

Hello:

I will be writing a story concerning the decision of a southwest crew to honor the so called “women’s march” on Washington DC as reported by the Huffington Post here

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/southwest-plane-carrying-womens-march-participants-turns-pink_us_58822e01e4b0e3a735687c05?ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067

I have several questions:

1. The so called “Woman’s march” specifically excluded pro-life women, does this mean that southwest Airlines embraces the Agenda of Planned Parenthood and those who oppose this administration and reject the hundreds of millions of pro-life people such as the hundreds of thousands who will be going to Washington for the march for life later this month?

2. The so called “Woman’s march” was explicitly anti-trump. does this mean that South West Airlines endorses the anti-trump message of the so called “Woman’s march” and embraces the designation of President Trump and his supporters as “anti-woman” and “nazis” by the marchers?

3. According to the Huffington post a statement by Southwest on the matter said this:

While we’re unaware of details surrounding a specific flight, our flight crews celebrate, commemorate, acknowledge and share in special moments with our customers all the time,

That being the case, given the fact that the March for life brings 100,000+ people to DC each year and the inauguration of Donald Trump brought 500,000 supporters to the capital can you cite a single instance of a southwest crew celebrating, commemorating or acknowledging these pro-life or pro-trump flyers?

4. Tens of millions of supporters of Americans voted for Donald Trump and he won the popular vote in 30 US states, what assurance can you give votes like myself who voted Trump that this is not a signal by Southwest that it will treat those who oppose the president in a more favorable manor that those who supported him, and given this public support of those who oppose the president that is now being reported nationwide what tangible proof of support will you give voters Trump voters who like all Americans have many choices when it’s time to fly, that flying southwest airlines does not constitute financial and moral support for those who oppose this administration and those who voted for it? [note the “and” in that last sentence should have been vs]

I intend to publish my piece by Monday 5 AM EST Said piece will include this email and the questions within. I will be glad to publish your response to these questions with them if I received them by 5 PM EST Sunday. If I receive them at any later time I will publish their response the following day.

Peter “DaTechGuy” Ingemi
Datechguyblog.com
Featuring DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Seven
Have Fedora Will Travel

P.S. As both a journalist who has often used Southwest airlines to go to events I am covering and as a voter who voted for Mr. Trump this time around your responses will be instrumental to my choice of airlines in the future.

Sunday morning Southwest replied with the following email:

Hi, Peter,

Here’s our statement in its entirety; we don’t have additional details to share at this time:

While we’re unaware of details surrounding specific flights, our Flight Crews celebrate, commemorate, acknowledge and share in special moments with our Customers all the time.  Some of our aircraft are equipped with mood lighting and while this was not a companywide initiative, at times, our Flight Crews will adjust the lighting for a Customer or group of Customers traveling on their flight.  For example, in October, one of our Flight Crews changed the lighting to honor a breast cancer survivor onboard their flight.

Emily

This is pretty much a reiteration of the statement already given.

Now I’ve flown Southwest & I like them and it’s not out of character for them to accommodate a particular batch of passengers, so to me vital question of this batch actually is #3  If Southwest can produce examples of their aircrews acting to support a group of pro-life or pro-trump flyers in a public way like this one I and I suspect others will be satisfied that this was the attempt of a particular crew attempting to inspire a particular group of passengers and give this a pass, but to do so risks the wrath of folks who have already demonstrated a willingness to retaliate with violence.

So how do we of he right respond?

Do we follow  the example described by Shelby Foote of Robert E. Lee who in late 1863 when an angry southern woman brought a group of young southern ladies before him who had attended a concert given by Union General John Sedgwick while occupying their area responded to both the indignant woman and the embarrassed girls thus:

I know General Sedgwick very well.  It is  just like him to be so kindly and considerate, and to have his band there to entertain them.  So, young ladies, if the music is good, go and hear it as often as you can, and enjoy yourselves.  You will fin that General Sedgwick will have none but agreeable gentlemen about him.

This is the line of Becca Lower a person not unfamiliar with the wrath of the left who reacted saying

In other words emulating General Lee, this is just a Southwest crew being nice so she’ll it go. This is certainly a Christian approach and consistent with American Values as they once were in our culture.

Alas another Lee from our modern era named Spike has, this very week, given us an example that is much less forgiving on accommodating those who encourage the political enemies of the left:

One singer, however, has learned the hard way that you don’t cross the elite in the entertainment world without paying a price. Grammy winning artist Chrisette Michele performed at one of the balls last night, reportedly receiving $250K for her efforts and an international audience. But that’s not all she got. She also received what amounted to a pink slip from Spike Lee who was reportedly “considering” using her music in an upcoming project.

Director Spike Lee has revealed he was considering using a song by Grammy winner Chrisette Michele in an upcoming project but has decided not to following her decision to perform at the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.

Thus following Spike’s example the response would be:  “If Southwest wants to accommodate the anti-trump left and doesn’t do the same for us they can join join the list of companies who have decided to take sides in the culture wars and can pay the price as pro-life people and Trump supporters have plenty of other airlines to choose from.”

This would also be consistant with what Jazz Shaw calls the new rules of engagment in political warfare:

But as far as I can tell, the gloves are now fully off and there are no longer any rules on the political battlefield. Democrats and liberals in vast numbers are trying to destroy the Trump presidency before it’s even begun and the silence of the Fourth Estate has placed the media seal of approval on the effort. They are hoping to shut down the executive branch and are clearly willing to engage in a scorched earth policy to achieve that goal. So the next time a Democrat winds up winning the White House, you can expect the same in return. I don’t care if they elect a white man, a black woman or a transgender Latino pirate. I don’t want to hear any kvetching from MSNBC about racism, sexism or any other isms. Everyone is free to simply swamp the public square and reject the election results if they don’t like them, no matter what the next president has done or, more likely, not even had time to do.

Progressives started this phase of the war

Perhaps almost as important, we must remember that if we emulate Robert E Lee’s forgiving and understanding response, no matter how proper it might sound to us as Christians, we are by emulating a Confederate General which by our current media template would make us all slavery supporting racists.

While if instead we emulate Spike Lee and retaliate against Southwest and any other company that serves the general public giving notice from this point on if they aid the enemies of this administration they are our enemies and we will no longer patronize them, we are emulating a person who is considered a black pioneer for equality in culture by that same media template.

So if the end result is that employees of business all over the nation are terrified of saying or doing anything that could be construed as being supportive of one side vs the other, (Can you imagine the result if President Trump tweets on this to his 20 million followers?) I’m sure our media and cultural better will tell us that’s certainly a small price to pay to avoid emulating a rebel general suggesting reconciliation even if it means that the right now has the same power to intimidate business that the left enjoyed in the past.

Isn’t it?


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Chicago’s Grant Park, where Obama gave his victory speech

By John Ruberry

On the Sunday after the 9/11 attacks, Jeremiah Wright, then Obama’s pastor, bellowed, “God d–n America” and “America’s chickens are coming home to roost” from the pulpit of his Chicago church.

Two nights from now President Barack Obama will give his farewell address in Chicago, his adopted hometown. The Hawaii-born 44th president moved to Chicago a year after graduating from college where he worked, with at best mixed success, as a community organizer on the Far South Side. It’s an area still beset by violence and poverty with no hope of a turnaround thirty years after Obama left that post so he could attend Harvard law school.

Ayers and Dohrn Chicago home

It was in 1996 Chicago where Obama launched his political career. One of his first campaign stops–perhaps his first–was at the home of his friends, unrepentant Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. Eight years later another Chicagoan, state Senate President Emil Jones Jr, put Obama’s name on some key bills that bolstered his liberal credentials. Obama scored a surprise win in the Democratic US Senate primary, and after the Republican nominee imploded, he easily won in the general election.

You know the rest of the story.

However, Obama was not a slam-dunk in the 2008 presidential election against John McCain–what we now call the Great Recession sealed the deal–and America elected its first black president.

Chicago is still recovering from the ’08 economic collapse. Of the nation’s 35-largest cities, Chicago has the largest percentage of underwater home mortgages.Two years ago Chicago enacted its largest property tax hike in history, the impetus for it was to pay for underfunded municipal pension funds. What does this have to do with Obama? Chicago hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1931, Obama is the most hyper-partisan president in memory. Along the White House ride for Obama was Valerie Jarrett, his senior advisor and “Berlin Wall,” the former slumlord was a deputy chief of staff for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. It’s Daley, not his successor, former Obama White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who bears the responsibility for the Chicago pension debacle. But Chicago’s generous municipal pensions are political payback for public-sector unions, who’ve been an arm of the Democratic Party in all but name for decades.

Obama has always been very cozy government labor unions. 

Two years ago–under Emanuel’s watch–Moody’s downgraded Chicago’s bonds, and those of Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Park District to junk. Other rating services haven’t followed suit yet, but they absolutely don’t view Chicago favorably.

Chicago’s population is at it lowest level in 100 years.

Chicagoans pay the nation’s highest sales tax rate.

Chickens.

Last year at least 762 people were murdered in Chicago–an appalling 57 percent increase over the year before. Chicago suffered more killings than New York City and Los Angeles–combined. One of the reasons cited for the soaring murder rate was Rahm Emanuel’s inept handling of the shooting of unarmed black teen Laquan McDonald–with sixteen bullets–by a white cop, all of which has compelled Chicago Police officers to use less aggressive law enforcement tactics. Chicago is a hotbed for Black Lives Matter activists. The outgoing president has been supportive of this radical group, which deems racist the statement All Lives Matter.

Near where the Facebook attack occurred

That leads to last week’s racist atrocity in Chicago, the torturing of a white special needs man–thirty minutes of which was streamed live on Facebook–by four blacks in the East Garfield Park neighborhood on the West Side. The victim was bound, gagged, beaten, slashed, forced to drink toilet water, and coerced to say “F–k Donald Trump” and “F–k white people.”

Two months earlier in another West Side neighborhood a white man was pulled from his car and brutally beaten by four blacks. That attack was captured on video, the assailants screamed, “You voted Trump” and “Beat his a–.” While the victim was indeed a Trump voter–yes, there are a few in Illinois besides me–he told authorities that there was no way the thugs could have known that. There was no Trump bumper sticker on his car–he was white and that was enough provocation for these creeps.

Obama’s chickens–and those of Chicago Democrats–have come home to roost.

Our collectivist president has practiced identity politics for his entire adult life. which for the most part means race politics. Us versus them. And as a collectivist Obama has appointed himself as the savior to put the pieces back together.

Chicago’s Northwest Side

But breaking things is much easier than putting them back together.

Some final thoughts.

As a public service I am recommending that if you are planning to attend Chicago’s McCormick Place address, please use public transportation. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit 45 of our 50 states. With the exception of Detroit, the worst-maintained streets and roads I’ve encountered are in Chicago. And while you’re driving around potholes and crevices, please beware of Chicago’s ubiquitous red light and speeding cameras. An astounding 1.9 million traffic camera tickets were issued between 2010 and 2015. Chicago has 2.7 million or so residents. Most of those tickets were written while Emanuel was mayor.

The former administrator of Chicago’s traffic camera program is serving a ten-year prison sentence for accepting bribes.

Someone needs to come up with a misery index for big cities like Chicago, which should include such items as corruption, low high school graduation rates, unfunded pension obligations, red light cameras, crumbling infrastructure, population loss, taxes, and yes of course, crime.

John “Lee” Ruberry

Perhaps Austan Goolsbee, Obama’s amiable pal who is an economics professor at the University of Chicago, can absolve himself of leftism and get to work on this much-needed project.

Thank God I left Chicago for the suburbs nearly two decades ago.

And Obama, at least for now, won’t live in Chicago after he moves out of White House next week. He’ll probably only return to visit his presidential library.

John Ruberry is a fifth-generation Chicago area resident who writes the Marathon Pundit blog. The Chicago Convention and Tourism Board had no input in composing this blog entry.

By John Ruberry

“So listen, there’s still a little bit of it to go,” the host of NPR’s witty Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, Peter Sagal said as he opened his New Year’s Eve show, “but all the pundits and the pollsters have already called it: 2016 will go down as the worst year ever.” Which led moderator Bill Kurtis, the longtime journalist and Chicago news anchor to reply, “Sure, 1346 had the plague, but at least Black Death was a cool name.”

I’m here to explain, at least for me and people who visit Da Tech Guy and my own blog, Marathon Pundit, that 2016 was a darn good year, and absolutely a better one than 1346.

Defying the “pundits and pollsters,” but perhaps not the same ones Sagal was talking about yesterday, Donald J. Trump was elected president–he’ll be sworn into office in nineteen days. Although not as historic as being the first African-American elected to America’s highest office, Trump will be the first president who was not a prior public office holder or a general. That’s yuge.

Like Bob Dylan in 1964 keeping his love for the Beatles to himself and not, initially, telling his folk-music pals, I secretly hopped on the Trump Train in the autumn of 2015, but I was a vocal passenger well before the Iowa Caucuses. Like Sean Hannity, I saw Trump’s, yes, historic candidacy as the last chance to save America from collectivism and socialism, mediocrity, malaise, globalism, cronyism; and in what would have sealed the unpleasant deal, a runaway leftist Supreme Court. I am not an aberration, there are tens-of-millions of Americans who look at the rise of Trump in a similar manner.

A Hillary Clinton victory could have possibly hobbled America as much as the 19th century Opium Wars did to China. A large and populous nation does not necessarily mean that it will be a prosperous and powerful one, as India and Indonesia show us. And Russia is not prosperous.

I look at Trump’s win as the best news of the decade. But even as blogs and new media continue to prosper–my blog’s readership soared last year–the old guard media, which is dominated by leftists, for the most part despises Trump. Their bad news needs to be your bad news.

My daughter at the old
M*A*S*H set

The old year of course will forever be remembered as the year of so many celebrity deaths, which included Leonard Nimoy, B.B. King, Ben E. King, Dick Van Patten, Omar Sharif, Yogi Berra, and in one last cruel harvest by the Grim Reaper, a beloved actor from the television show MASH, Wayne Rogers, passed away on New Year’s Eve.

Wait…wait…don’t tell me! Yes, those are deaths from 2015. Celebrities die every year. Trust me, they really do.

Okay, second verse almost as same as the first: In 2016 the celebrity departures included David Bowie, Prince, Florence Henderson, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and in one last cruel harvest by the Grim Reaper, a beloved actor from the television show MASH, William Christopher, passed away on New Year’s Eve.

[Editorial note: The WordPress blogging platform does not like words with asterisks within them.]

Admittedly, some of these celebs are a bit different from the Class of 2015. Although enigmatic, Bowie, Prince and Michael meticulously cultivated their public images, they became familiar presences on MTV; so people, even if they weren’t fans, believed they “knew” these performers, and their 1980s videos enjoy eternal life on VH1 and on YouTube.

Fisher played Princess Leia in Star Wars, which was arguably the most influential movie, both artistically and in the business-sense, since The Jazz Singer. If you haven’t seen Star Wars, then you probably haven’t seen many films. Florence Henderson’s TV show, The Brady Bunch, was not a first-run success, but it achieved legendary status on the re-run circuit. Like Bowie’s “Modern Love” video on MTV, sometimes you need to watch something every day instead of once-a-week for it to be properly digested.

Oh, I mentioned earlier that Dick Van Patten of Eight Is Enough died in 2015. And few cared because I’m pretty sure you have to buy DVDs of his show to watch it.

As members of the Greatest Generation and the Silent Generation pass on, there are proportionately more self-absorbed people remaining, those of course being the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the Snowflake Generation, many of whom view every event, whether it is a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, an election, and of course, a celebrity death, as being about themselves. When Ish Kabibble, a kind of proto-Jerry Lewis, died in 1994, my parents didn’t take it as a personal loss.

John “Lee” Ruberry of
the Magnificent Seven

Here is some more good news from 2016: Third quarter growth in the United States was a robust 3.5 percent, perhaps because the end of the Obama era was in sight. And since Trump’s win, the stock market has been soaring, clearly many people, smart ones, are confident that 2017 will be a year of strong economic growth.

Now if we can only convince the self-absorbed ones to stop thinking about themselves so much, then 2017 will certainly be a great year.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Judge: “Mr. Larch you are accused of invoking your Catholic faith in refusing to bake a cake for this gay couple’s wedding and instead referring them to a rival bakery. As a broad open minded liberal judge I must ask this question, aren’t you ashamed of yourself?”

Mr. Larch: “Your honor I think one of them voted for Donald Trump in the last election.”

Judge: [Banging gavel] “Case dismissed!”