Illinois red-light camera probe provides convincing evidence why they should be banned

Chicago’s Northwest Side

By John Ruberry

There is a lot of red-light camera news in Illinois. As part of an overall corruption investigation in the state, federal authorities are into looking into the activities of Chicago firm, SafeSpeed, LLC, which installs red-light cameras in some Chicago suburbs.

Last week the mayor of west suburban Oakbrook Terrace, Tony Ragucci, resigned. He is part of that SafeSpeed probe. Federal agents have also have raided the municipal offices of the villages of McCook, Summit, and Lyons in conjunction with this investigation. A state senator who is part of the red-light camera probe, Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) has since resigned.

Last year federal authorities seized $60,000 from Ragucci’s home, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, and $51,000 from a safe from Cook County Commissioner Jeffrey Tobolski’s residence. Tobolski is also the mayor of McCook.

SafeSpeed’s CEO denies any wrongdoing and no charges have been filed regarding the firm.

In 2017, the Forest Park Review called SafeSpeed a “clouted company.”

Something stinks in Illinois. Actually, something new stinks in the state.

Red-light cameras are a cruel cash cow. At best their record in preventing accidents, the prima facie for them, is mixed as evidence shows out of fear of a $100 ticket–the charge in Illinois–motorists often abruptly slam on the brakes but then end up getting rear-ended.

As the nation’s most corrupt city, it shouldn’t be surprising that Chicago has more red-light cameras than any other municipality. Nor should it be surprising that it has endured a bribery scandal involving red-light cameras. John Bills, a former precinct captain in Michael Madigan’s political organization, is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for accepting $2 million in bribes and gifts from a different red-light camera company, Redflex.

Madigan has been speaker of the Illinois House for thirty-five of the last thirty-seven years and he’s been the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party since 1998.

Three paragraphs ago I called red light cameras a cruel cash cow. How much cash? From 2008 through 2018, drivers forked over $1 billion to municipalities. Not a major reason, but I suspect the proliferation of red-light cameras, most of which are concentrated in the Chicago area, as among the causes of Illinois’ six-years-and-counting population decline.

Here’s a personal take on red-light cameras. Thursday night Mrs. Marathon Pundit, who is a limousine driver, called me. “You have to pick me up at O’Hare Airport.” I replied, “Why?” She answered, “There is a boot on my limo.” Yes, one of those wheel boots. When I picked her up at O’Hare she supplied more details. “The city says there are four unpaid red-light tickets, two of them are from 2018, but the office says they were never told about them.”

Okay, you may answer that one of her co-workers could be covering up inaction at the office. But in order for her employer to receive a city vehicle sticker for the limo she drives, all red-light camera tickets must be paid off. But the limo she drives has the latest Chicago vehicle sticker.

Those four tickets cost her employer $988, which included late charges and sending someone out to the car to remove the boot. Not knowing what was coming next, Mrs. Marathon Pundit parked her limo in a short-term lot, so her fee–which we have to pay–was a staggering $77. As it took all day Friday to sort out this debacle, my wife missed a day of work. She’s not on salary.

I’m certain hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans have similar stories.

There is some good news regarding red-light cameras. Last year Texas became the eighth state to abolish them. And in a rare bipartisan push, there is a movement in Illinois to ban them. And Illinois drivers now have a new friend, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza. The Chicago Democrat says she’ll no longer assist municipalities in collecting red-light camera tickets. “As a matter of public policy, this system is clearly broken,” Mendoza said in a statement, “I am exercising the moral authority to prevent state resources from being used to assist a shady process that victimizes taxpayers.”

Good for her. 

Red-light cameras should be banned. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Cindy McCain Explains why she (and other elites) don’t deserve our respect (and an interesting coincidence)

Cindy McCain the widow of Senator John McCain confirms something that all of us have already known:

note that she says that a girl from her daughter’s high school was a victim of him and she hopes he’s in hell but consider, it didn’t outrage her enough to speak out aloud and make a fuss about it, five years, or ten years ago back when it might have made a difference when the odd blogger or two was writing about it.

Remember this is the wife of a US Senator, a Former Presidential Candidate supposedly one of the most respected people in the political world, a “Maverick”.

Nope not a word.

When it comes to Jeffrey Epstien or Harvey Weinstein, or Matt Lauer et/al as far as our elite betters in cultural or political world the actions of these men were not a crisis in their eyes until the general public found out what all of them already knew.


Closing thought. Something hit me when I was writing this piece. I went back and checked the historical stats for my site.

From 2010 to 2013 My site was on a roll, I was growing in traffic, I was being credentialed for national campaigns covering Presidential, Senatorial, Congressional and other campaigns all over the country and able to do it via Datipjar. I had an oped run in the NY Post and even had an appearance on Boston’s fox station (I brought cannoli naturally). In late 2013 I brought on the first batch of my Magnificent Seven added several popular nationally known bloggers as paid members of my team. My Radio show was going strong and was expanding. I attended CPAC in 2014 confident that this was going to be my future.

On April 14 2014 I wrote an article titled

Private Islands, Orgies, Bill Clinton? Nothing to see here

The kicker was this:

What could the media do if this story involving the former father of the year? They would call it old news, not relevant, dirty tricks from a salacious lawsuit that doesn’t even involve him and an attack on Hillary that crosses the line. In fact the left will deploy a plethora of adjectives to discourage further discussion of this story from antiquated to zany, but there is one adjective that could not come out of their mouth to dismiss this story:

Unbelievable

The last few years have proven that the left can convince a low information voter of a lot of things, but even the full power of the mainstream media and the strongest zealots from the War on Women® brigade would not be able to convince the American public that Bill Clinton would have no interest or business on a private island where orgies took place.

2014 ended as my worst year in the Blogs history until last year’s technical issues kept us from posting and updating. Despite the addition of popular well known writers my traffic crashed over 67% in one year. The Tip Jar revenues likewise dropped. My radio show which had been adding stations never grew further and ended. By 2015 I had picked up an overnight temp job to pay the bills which eventually became a full time job in 2018. I dropped the podcast and I resigned myself to the fact that where I am in the blogging/writing/reporting world would never be more than what it was.

I never noticed the timing until today.

House Democrats are Trying to Californicate the Country

Cassandras and Dead Canaries. You figure it out.

by baldilocks

As I indicated here, I had been lazy about the leftward descent of California and it took the outrage of California Assembly Bill 5 to get me up off my duff, so to speak.

It began yesterday when I attended a rally in West LA to repeal the bill. It was sparsely attended but the two hours went by very quickly due to several eloquent, fiery and informative speakers like Kira Davis and freelance writer and novelist Kirsten Mortenson. Kira says that the rally had only been planned a few days before it happened.

And, in addition to advising us to contact Gavin Newsom’s office, along with our state senators and assembly critters, one of the speakers provided us with some hair-raising information, which Kira talked about a week ago at Red State:

By now you’ve probably heard at least a little something about California’s shocking new “freelancer” bill that went into effect January 1, 2020. Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) is sweeping and vague but basically it redefines the relationship between employers and employees, effectively ending independent contract work and killing the “gig economy”.  The bill – sponsored by a defiant Lorena Gonzalez (D-80) – was aimed at getting to Uber and Lyft, essentially forcing them to unionize. It is no accident well over 35% of Gonzalez’ (reported) campaign donations come from California unions. With a Democrat supermajority in Sacramento and a feckless state GOP, there was almost no opposition. The bill sailed through and against the hopes of independent workers across the state Governor Newsom signed it into law. (…)

Independent contractors across the nation could soon be suffering the same fate as their California counterparts. A federal version has passed through committee and now sits in the House of Representatives waiting for a floor vote. This is not a drill. This is real. (…)

Somewhere between September of 2019 and December of 2019 someone added an amendment to [H.R. 2474] that was a simple copy and paste of California’s AB5. In fact, it is so awkwardly jammed into the text that it can be nothing other than a literal copy and paste.

We should have known that the U.S. House of Representatives wasn’t just playing Impeachment Inquiry Games during the time in question.

Interesting thing about the rally: there were several entertainment freelancers there who I am almost certain are not conservatives and are definitely not fans of the president.

Did that matter? Of course not. And if there’s anything that can bring left, right and middle together, it’s politicians overreaching directly into pockets. But they are doing more than that.

They aim to hinder free and lawful capitalism. Think about what that will do for the economy should H.R. 2474 see daylight.

Kira:

SURPRISE!

A letter from sponsoring Democrats has already been signed and is sitting on Nancy Pelosi’s desk right now. The date? January 9, 2020. This bill is on your doorstep and no one has said a word. [JAO: See letter at link above.]

If they can cripple the Trump economy, they will do so by any means necessary and as fast as they can.

People from other states heap a lot of scorn on us California conservatives for what we let happen to our state over the decades. But this – and Virginia, and, no doubt, countless other forms of tyranny are happening in your state and our country while you laugh at us.

You better wake up and smell the tyranny. We here in California will fight our version of it; yes, belatedly. But what good will our push-back do if the whole flocking country is AB5’d?

Yeah, the U.S Senate will probably kick it down, but the question remains …

What are your sweet and pristine state legislators up to?

If I were you, I’d find out. Don’t wait around like we did.

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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The Pro-Life movement needs to expand

President Trump at the 2020 March for Life. From denvercatholic.org

The March for Life, despite featuring President Trump as the main speaker, was nearly buried in the Google News Feed this morning. While I was digging details out of the different articles, it became very obvious that different language was used by different sides to describe each other.

For example, NPR’s headline reads:

Trump Speaks At March For Life, An Anti-Abortion Rights Demonstration

A local ABC station out of Pennsylvania had:

Locals Head to Historic March for Life in Washington D.C.

It wasn’t hard to see why. The NPR article linked Trump and being “anti-abortion.” Its deliberately linking him to opposing something, which is a negative. We are hard wired to have issues with negative people. If you sit around someone who is whining a lot, you get tired of it. The ABC station has a positive link, with people headed to something “historic” that features “life.”

It’s not just these two headlines. A search of CNN revealed the top headline as:

At March for Life, Trump shows he gets the power of abortion issue

…focused here on Trump wanting power. And Huffpost, never dissapointing me, posted this:

Trump To Attend Anti-Abortion March For Life In Person, Group Says

…insisting on inserting the “anti” portion, removing the President’s title and only saying he’s “attending,” a passive action.

This sounds like semantics. And who cares what others say? But its important, because it frames discussions we have with people. I see it when my kids tell me what their teachers push at their classrooms. I hear it when people bring up different subjects. Every conversation starts from a person’s level of understanding, and that, too often, comes from how they read an article. The article’s title often primes a reader to read it in a certain way. And if the person simply browses the title, even worse.

Although pro-life movements have made a lot of ground, they have an uphill battle against the media. They will have to change to continue to expand, especially when President Trump eventually leaves. Conveniently, Democrats have made abortion a binary issue to be in the party, and essentially no Democrat can openly support the pro-life movement. But abortion, which is a key issue for many conservatives, isn’t so for many liberal voters.

To change that, the pro-life movement should frame its movement as a scientific one, add adoption reform and also push for expanded maternity leave.

Any browsing of pro-life pictures will inevitably feature a christian cross, and likely reference the Catholic Church. That’s not a bad thing, but with so many young people not identifying with a religion, it will only serve to put the movement in a corner. Pro-life organizations should focus on adding lots of scientists to their numbers. Focus on how advances in science enable us to save babies when they are tiny. The fact that babies at the 22-24 week point can live outside the womb is a powerful scientific advancement that nobody can argue with. Seeing pictures of these children in the NICU is powerful imagery. An ultrasound picture can never compare to this. Doing this begins to make the pro-life movement the movement best linked to science, and adds further legitimacy.

Adoption reform would be an easy add to the pro-life movement. I know several people that have navigated the adoption process, and it is sad when its easier to adopt a baby from Africa than from the US. How can we call ourselves a modern society when we run good families through the ringer, especially financially, to adopt a child that needs a good home? Making adoption easier complements the pro-life movement, removing one more reason to kill a growing child. This is an easy vilification of an antiquated process, a reform that is needed, and a chance to add people who are on the fence about abortion into the pro-life movement.

While the media continues to paint pro-life as the “anti-woman” movement, the last easy win for the pro-life movement would be to advocate for maternity leave reform. More women are working outside the home, but struggle to balance having a family with a career. Children should be breast feeding for at least six months and require a lot of attention during that time. Giving women that opportunity, and finding a way to not punish businesses for that (perhaps some tax incentives?) is another great way to both remove pro-life opposition and bring more people to the pro-life side.

It’s sad when our modern society has to fight for basics like the right to live, but its a fight that should be fought.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Saturday Geeking Picard, Sinking Who, Batwoman Crisis, Where’s the Orville? John Wayne vs Baldrick and Two Down Four to Go

I haven’t taken the time to watch Picard because I refuse to sign up for CBS all access and it seems to be the general consensus is that Patrick Stewart is excellent and while it’s a tad woke it could have been a lot worse.

I really get the feeling that there are a lot of Stewart fans who really WANT to like the series because they want to like him, combine that with the fact that he’s a generally good actor playing an iconic character the he originated and you get fans almost desperate to cheer it.

What does it say about what the woke have done to a series when “Couda been a lot worse” sounds like a victory lap?


Meanwhile Doctor Who continues to crash and burn with rating sinking to McCoy era numbers and worse. The fact that rotten tomatoes keeps clearing out bad reviews makes it even worse in terms of appearance that they have somehow decided to sign for yet another series after this one.

It seems the woke folks at the BBC are determined to purge the last of the old fan base to leave the series pure without it to the point where we are actually seeing people say it’s beyond redemption at this point and better off cancelled.

I have a feeling all of his was avoidable but you get a real feeling that these guys hated their customer base more than the liked the franchise, and frankly the didn’t like the franchise all that much.


The same crashing and burning is taking place in Batwoman. The rating weren’t all that good to start and Crisis on Infinite Earth’s Crossover managed to eat up a lot of oxygen (the whole multiverse idea which now allows the possibility of every single person who ever played any DC character to cross over is big, particularly when you consider that there is at least one comic “universe” where the DC & Marvel heroes co-exist) but once it had to stand on it’s own woke feet the burn began again and the rating are finding new frontiers of holes.

Now it’s possible that even the lousy ratings it has generates enough funds to pay for the series and if it does then they can continue to play the woke game as long as they want (sort of like Doctor Who) where it continues to be a niche show for a niche market, but if that’s not the case and it remains the CW version of the WNBA only surviving because the larger franchise is willing to take a hit to prove its woke credentials it remains to be seen how long it can go on.


With so many longtime franchises committing woke Seppuku the wait for the 3rd season of The Orville has been excruciating. You would not think that one of the wokest lights in Hollywood would be producing practically the last show that can be enjoyed just for being good but McFarline has done it not allowing his woke message (yeah it’s there we all see it just like we did in every series of Doctor Who Pre-Whitaker ) to overwhelm actual storytelling.

The wait is harder because I’ve actually reached the point where we don’t know if the temptation to go full woke is there. He’s reached a point of wealth and celebrity where it doesn’t really matter but I get the feeling he hold just enough of the geek/fanboy inside of him that he doesn’t want to screw over others the way the other franchises have.

Hope I’m right.


Was looking for a free movie on Amazon Prime and settled on Brannigan one of the last pictures John Wayne made where he plays a Chicago Cop to travels to England to pick up a fugitive, John Vernon of Dean Wormer fame.

There is one scene particularly made for comedy geeks where Wayne the acting icon meets encounters someone you would not expect to see in a John Wayne Movie

Yes that’s a very young Tony Robinson before he became a comic icon as Baldrick in the Black Adder series doing a comic pratfall for Wayne. You never see him asked about it in interviews which I find rather strange, but just seeing the two of them together given their histories is enough to make me laugh


Finally with Terry Jones dead the Pythons now have two down and four to go. Combined with Neil Innes recent death it’s a big blow to fans however given their ages not all that surprising.

I suspect it will cause a lot more interest in John Cleese’s visit to Worcester in a few weeks as the realization that the number of chances to actually see these guys in person is dropping exponentially.

I must confess that when I heard he had Alzheimer and Dementia all I could think of was him in the fourth series of Python in drag with a weird umbrella like hood over his head doing an odd dance in the street and ask “given the characters he has played over the years how can anyone tell the difference?”

It’s Time to Play “Name that Speaker”

Yes it’s time once again to play Name that Speaker where you the reader are given a quote by us the bloggers and invite you to Name that Speaker:

Our quote today comes via former Newspaperman Don Surber quoting a Washington Examiner Piece and is from a person whose face most Americans would recognize instantly but it’s now ifor YOU to read a quote from that person and without any other clue, NAME THAT SPEAKER:

Today’s quote:

I think the Democrats make a mistake when they cry outrage time and time again. If everything is an outrage, then nothing is an outrage.”

Who could that speaker be? Is it Lindsay Graham? It it Donald Trump Jr. Is it Rush Limbaugh? Well all you have to do is click on the More button and you can find out if your guess is correct:

Continue reading “It’s Time to Play “Name that Speaker””

Hey Hey Ho Ho this Cultural Marxism has got to go

Political correctness and social justice are both designed by the political left to dismantle all of the institutions that built the United States into the freest and most prosperous nation that ever existed.  Both of these darlings of the left, which have been embraced by the modern Democrat Party, are based on the philosophies of Karl Marx.  His philosophies have now been applied to all aspects of culture rather than economics.  The Marxist roots of these leftist philosophies is explained in great detail in this American Thinker article Economic vs. Cultural Marxism: The Most Important Distinction

In this quote the author explains the roots of economic Marxism. 

As Marx phrased it in Das Kapital, “[i]n order to establish equality, we must first establish inequality” (1).  By finding the inequalities of the world, the Marxist can then begin eliminating the obstacles that impede equality.  The more of these sources of inequality the Marxist eliminates, the closer we move to an equitable socialist utopia.  This is why Marx was so adamant about abolishing certain fixtures of society.

Among the ills of society perpetuating inequality that need abolition, according to Marx, were history, private property, the family, eternal truths, nations and borders, and religion (2).  By destroying these sources of inequality, the Marxist is one step closer to the equitable world the Marxist knows is possible.  Marx believed that economic issues are the driving force of conflict in the world (3).  Eliminating class structure was the central goal of Marx’s Communist Manifesto.

It is obvious if you’ve studied the cultural wars that have been raging in the United States over the past few decades, which are all about implementing political correctness and social justice, the goals of Cultural Marxism are the same as Economic Marxism.

One person was most responsible for the transition from Economic Marxism to Cultural Marxism.  That person was at the Frankurt School.

György Lukács, is credited as the first person to advocate for the application of Marx’s economic principles to cultural struggles: “he justified culture to the Marxists by showing how to condemn it in Marxist terms.

Like Economic Marxism, Cultural Marxism is all about the destruction of the individual

The modern social justice advocate uses the abolition of individuality as a tool to strip human beings of their individuality and bifurcate society.  A bifurcation is a logical fallacy where a person makes things one or another, with no area in between.  For example, a bifurcation would be the faulty assumption of saying a person is either a Trump-supporter or a Hillary-supporter.  What about those who like Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz?  What about those who like both Trump and Hillary?  What about those who like neither?

For Marx, his bifurcation was the bourgeois versus the proletariat.  You were either a rich person or a working stiff.  There was no in between.  For the social justice warrior, you are either privileged or oppressed. 

This bifurcation fallacy has been spread by our education system, Hollywood, and news media.  It now effects all aspects of our culture.  I have encountered this many times when I debate liberals on social media.  It is not much fun to be accused of supporting child molestation because I don’t embrace transgenderism, or being accused of supporting slavery because I embrace the Constitution.

You can see from this next quote why abolishing individualism is so important to Cultural Marxism.

Social justice is not just about living individuals involved in the current world; rather, it is about abstractions, generalizations, and the past.  Sowell explained that “cosmic justice must be hand-made by holders of power who impose their own decision on how these flesh-and-blood individuals should be categorized into abstraction, and how these abstractions should then be forcibly configured to fit the vision of the power-holders”

The social justice–Marxist strips the individual of individuality and then turns the person into an abstraction.  If a human being is an individual, then we can be held accountable only for our own actions; we cannot be held accountable for the actions of another person, let alone the actions of a group of people who lived and died long before our time.  If we are not individuals, then we can be turned into abstractions.  As abstractions, we can then be blamed for the actions of others who classify as members of these abstractions.  Those in power are the ones dictating the terms of these abstractions.

For an example of this, take race relations.  If I am an individual, I had nothing to do with slavery, Jim Crow, waging war with the American Indians, or anyone who did anything hundreds of years before I was born.  However, if my individuality is abolished, I am not a unique individual with specific characteristics.  I can be broken down into an abstraction designated by those in power. Individualism is something I embrace with every fiber of my being. 

I rage at the destruction of individualism that is at the heart of political correctness, social justice, and all other leftist philosophies.  Writing articles such as this is my way of fighting back

Answer: Greta’s not in China For the Same Reason Human Shields Aren’t in Israel or Hong Kong

At Summit News (via insty) Paul Joseph Watson notes an interesting question being asked by Niall Ferguson about St. Greta of the Climate.

“60% of CO2 emissions since Greta Thunberg was born is attributable to China… but nobody talks about that. They talk as if its somehow Europeans and Americans who are going to fix this problem… which is frustrating because it doesn’t get to the heart of the matter,” said Ferguson.

“If you’re serious about slowing CO2 emissions and temperatures rising it has to be China and India you constrain,” he added, noting that while Greta travels to New York and Davos, “I don’t see her in Beijing or Delhi.”

Particularly since the West has actually done a pretty good job in this department.

“Britain’s CO2 emissions peaked in 1973 and are now at their lowest level since Victorian times,” reports the Spectator. “Air pollution has plummeted since then, with sulphur dioxide levels down 95 per cent. Britain’s population is rising but our energy consumption peaked in 2001 and has since fallen by 19 per cent.”

The answer as to why Greta is not in China or India is the same as the answer as to why “anti-war” human shield never deploy in Israel when terrorists are targeting it or never deploy in Hong Kong when China is targeting it.

The target isn’t the health of the planet, the target is the west and Greta is just another inexpensive investment in asymmetric warfare against said west.

Compared to traditional methods of warfare, reporters, bureaucrats and ignorant teenagers are are really cost effective.

And anyways even if Greta’s just an ignorant teen being used as a pawn rather than just anti west, if the NBA is too afraid to stand up to China why would one expect a 17 year old Swede?

Funeral Lines, Jimmy G Speculation, Schilling waits, Impeachment yawn and Optimistic Trump vs Greta prophet of doom Under the Fedora

Yesterday I went to the wake for Mike Romano the Butcher that I wrote about here.

Mike ran the last butcher shop in Fitchburg, he wasn’t a big pol, a famous celeb or anything else but even with an empty church across the street the parking was impossible, the lines were impossible and from end of the line to the recieving line was over an hour.

Just because a man cuts meat for a living doesn’t mean he didn’t make a difference.


Speaking of making a difference we are now hearing all kinds of “Should the Patriots have traded Brady” talk now that the 49ers are going to the Superbowl to face Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

This is how spoiled people Brady has made people. You have a guy who made it to the superbowl in consecutive years and was one defensive stop by his team from winning two rather than one and people are assuming it would have automatically have happened if someone else was at the helm. To those folks I ask this: How many times has Aaron Rogers gone to the Superbowl? Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger? The lot of them combined have neither played in as many Superbowls as Brady nor won as many yet are all clearly HOF QB’s.

That’s how hard it is to get to the Superbowl so if you thing that you could just plug in anyone and win ask Andy Reid and Pat Mahomes if they are happy they didn’t have to go through Brady to get to where they are today.


Curt Schilling missed the HOF again this time getting 70% of the vote 5% shy finishing third behind Larry Walker and Jeter who both made it in.

Sports writers are notoriously liberal and they will never forgive Curt Schilling for being an unabashed conservative, particularly in an age of Trump. Next year will be the real test with the weakest HOF lineup in a long time. I have a feeling given the choice between voting in Clemens and Bonds (who finished 4th and 5th & both deserve elevation) or Schilling, the sportswriters will either forgive the steroids users rather than give Schilling the nod, particularly if (ok when) Trump wins re-election.


You’ll not I didn’t write or tweet word on the impeachment trial. Since the ending is a foregone conclusion and the only question is if we will hear from Joe Biden’s son or not I don’t see how it’s worth my time or yours.


Finally Yesterday the President during his speech at Davos noted a long list of doomsday predictions that failed to come true over the last fifty years and also talked about the success of America and his optimism and put it all in perspective:

“This is not a time for pessimism, this is a time for optimism,” Trump said as Thunberg watched from the audience. “We must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse. They are the heirs of yesterday’s foolish fortune tellers.”

Greta of course game another speech of doom

“Our house is still on fire.” “Your inaction is fueling the flames by the hour.”

Outside the conference center, five helicopters circled like petroleum-hungry vultures.

She chided the jewelry-rattling audience. “You say children shouldn’t worry. You say, ‘Just leave this to us. We will fix this, we promise we won’t let you down.’ ” She paused. “And then, nothing. Silence. Or something worse than silence. Empty words and promises, which give the impression that sufficient action is being taken.”

“Let’s be clear,” Thunberg said. “We don’t need a ‘low-carbon economy.’ We don’t need to ‘lower emissions.’ Our emissions have to stop. And, until we have the technologies that at scale can put our emissions to minus, then we must forget about net zero. We need real zero.”

. I suspect she will still be given plenty of lip service and those trying to retard US energy production will continue to help finance her but in the end people follow leaders, particularly optimistic ones with a record of success so it’s not going to be a surprise on whose message is going to win.

China’s economic troubles

By Christopher Harper

As business and political leaders descend on Davos, Switzerland, for the four-day World Economic Summit, Chinese President Xi faces a variety of problems.

Although the press has questioned the gains made by the United States in the first round of a trade deal with China, it’s clear that President Trump made significant inroads.

Under the deal, China agreed to buy an additional $200 billion in American goods over the next two years. The agreement protects U.S. intellectual property, addresses technology transfers, and ends currency manipulation by the Chinese.

It would be premature to applaud the deal UNTIL the Chinese meet these goals, but these steps are the most significant in the history of trade between the two countries.

Noted Chinese expert and author Michael Pillsbury dismissed the attacks on the deal, calling it a “historic agreement.”

He criticized the Democrats. “They said all the things that President Trump said today, but they couldn’t get it done. They didn’t have a strategy on how to bring the Chinese leadership around. Now I’m afraid they’re a little bitter and even embarrassed. Their own ideas have been implemented by Donald Trump, and they can’t stand it.”

Although the deal may help Xi and the economy, the Chinese president faces other financial issues. 

As The Wall Street Journal notes, Xi’s domestic economic policies have stumbled. “He has appeared to choose political reliability over profits and efficiency as he throws his support behind government-owned businesses in the form of subsidies, financing, licenses, and pressure on competitors. Bankruptcies are running higher than ever in China among private companies, which suddenly have less scope to expand,” James T. Areddy writes from Shanghai.

During my travels throughout China during the past five years, I have noticed a growing disparity between the growing middle and upper classes in the cities and the crushing poverty of the countryside, particularly in minority areas. It’s true that the countryside has made gains in the past 20 years, but these are far less dramatic than among the urban elites. 

Furthermore, the much-touted Belt and Road Initiative has hit some significant resistance aboard. One of the features of the initiative was to provide jobs to the Chinese building sector, which faced fewer projects inside the country. Now the international building program faces growing concerns that the developing countries where projects are centered will see mounting debt to finance the programs. That means fewer jobs for Chinese workers outside the country. 

President Xi isn’t likely to face any serious challenges from inside the Communist Party. Still, the international community will note how his once-gleaming economic acumen has lost much of its luster.