Evanston, Illinois’ use of weed taxes for reparations won’t solve deeper problems

By John Ruberry

If you want to immerse yourself with sanctimonious leftists then I suggest you drop everything you’re doing and head to Evanston, Illinois, which borders Chicago and is the home of Northwestern University. It’s located two towns from the suburb I live in.

I did so once at a meeting of the Evanston Democrats.

In 2016 Donald Trump gained just seven percent of the vote in Evanston.

Despite being run by liberals for decades, Evanston, the onetime home of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, will divert all of the sales tax revenue from soon-to-be-open legal marijuana shops for slavery and discrimination reparations.

Illinois of course was not a slave state. Ironically, one of my great grandfathers, Joseph Ruberry, a Civil War veteran who served on the Union side, is buried in Evanston. Also located six-feet under in Evanston is common sense.

In 2000, the African American population was 22 percent, now it’s about 17 percent. One goal of these reparation payments is to address this decline. About $500,000 to $750,000 is expected to be collected each year, which won’t be enough to pay for a stately home on Evanston’s lakefront.

In short, these reparation payments won’t make much of a difference.

As for the decline in Evanston’s black population, that’s in line with a similar fall off in Chicago. Other things are at work. While not as severe as its much larger neighbor, Evanston has a gang problem. Statewide, Illinois is becoming a difficult place to earn a living. Corruption, government incompetence, and unfunded public worker pension obligations are a millstone fighting prosperity.

While not as high as Chicago’s, suburban Cook County, where Evanston sits, has one of the steepest sales tax rates in the nation. Illinois just increased its income tax rate–many states have no state income tax. The Prairie State’s gasoline tax is the third-highest in America.

But liberal politicians love taxes–it gives them more power.

Here’s my prediction: In spite of these upcoming reparations payments, the black population of Evanston will continue to fall.

Of course leftists in Evanston a decade or so from now will argue they have another solution. And whatever that will be–it will involve more taxpayer money.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Welcome to the Age of Criminals

By John Ruberry

“Just as every cop is a criminal and all the sinners saints,” Mick Jagger first sang in 1968. The late 1960s were a period when many people believed that society, not individuals, was responsbible for crimes. There was a predictable backlash which led to the “Get Tough on Crime” movement that benefitted the political careers of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and countless other politicians. In 2016, Donald Trump once referred to himself as “the law and order candidate.” He should have stayed with that meme, in my opinion.

Clearly, at least in America’s big cities, the law enforcement philosophic pendulum is swinging back to the liberals. A big part of the reason is the left-wing political monoculture in cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, and San Francisco. The Democrats are the only effective political force in these places, and the two-party structure, such as it is, consists of the left and the far-left. It was the far-left, aided by the uninformed who only vote for candidates with “D” next to their names, who elected Kim Foxx the state’s attorney in Cook County, Illinois, where I live, as well as Larry Krasner as district attorney of Philadelphia, Rachael Rollins as district attorney in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, which is dominated by Boston, and earlier this month, Chesa Boudin as San Francisco’s district attorney.

Boudin takes us back to the 1960s. You probably haven’t heard of his parents, David Gilbert and Kathy Boudin. Both were members of the terrorist group the Weather Underground, which was founded in 1969. Dad is serving what is effectively a life sentence for murder for his role in a deadly 1981 suburban New York Brinks truck robbery, done in conjunction with the Black Liberation Army, one that saw a security guard and two Nyack police officers shot to death. One of those slain cops was the only African-American on the Nyack force. Mom was released from prison in 2003, she is now an adjunct professor at Columbia University. Getaway cars for the heist were rented using personal information taken from customers who shopped at a New York boutique, Broadway Baby. The manager of that store, using a phony name, was Bernardine Dorhn. She was also a member of the Weather Underground but was never charged in Brinks case.

Since Gilbert and Kathy Boudin were unable to raise Chesa, who was a toddler at the time of the heist, they chose their radical pals, Dohrn and her partner, Bill Ayers, who of course was another Weather Underground member, as his guardians. Dohrn and Ayers’ home in Chicago is where Barack Obama began his political career in 1995. Ayers and Dorhn, now retired professors, are rarely mentioned in the generally sympathetic mainstream media reports about Chesa. As for that younger Boudin, he did well by attending an elite private school, then Yale, then Oxford. Prior to becoming a public defender in San Francisco, Boudin worked as a translator for the Venezuelan government at the time Hugo Chavez was running that once-prosperous nation into the ground.

Next year voters in California will vote on an initiative to eliminate cash bail there. Boudin doesn’t want to wait that long. The district attorney-elect told NPR last week that his first act in office will be to tell his prosecutors never to ask for cash bail, “Because we shouldn’t be putting a price tag on freedom, because we shouldn’t be determining incarceration based on wealth, and it’s what I intend to implement as policy on day one.” In place of prison time, Boudin, with victims’ consent, supports something called “restorative justice,” even in cases involving murder, kidnapping, and rape.

Not surprisingly, the local police union opposed Boudin in the election, spending $700,000 and calling him “the No. 1 choice of criminals and gang members.” Boudin has called for the prosecution of cops and ICE officials for, wait for it, doing their jobs. 

Bernie Sanders endorsed Boudin in the DA race.

Back in Cook County, Illinois, where Boudin was raised, Kim Foxx is the top law enforcement official. She endorsed Chesa, as did those leftist district attorneys in Philadelphia and Boston. Nationally Foxx is best known for her bizarre–unless you are a leftist–decision to drop all of Jussie Smollett’s charges involving staging the phony “racist” attack on him in Chicago earlier this year. But there is more to dislike. The Illinois threshold for charging shoplifters with a felony is stealing items worth $300. Foxx, with the snap of her fingers, raised it to $1,000. Not surprisingly, retail theft is on the rise in Chicago. Who pays? The store owners? Not exactly. To recoup their losses, prices for their unstolen merchandise goes up. So honest people suffer. Now there are reports of roving bands of shoplifters in Chicago. Retail theft can be a career choice, it seems. Presumably the swiped goods are resold by these bandits on the black market, at a cheap price, undercutting the sales of legitimate merchants. And Chicago doesn’t collect its whopping 10 percent sales tax on these transactions. Crime is indeed expensive. Yet for some people it pays.

When Foxx took office three years ago, shoplifting was the second-most prosecuted crime in Cook County. Now it’s the eighth-most prosecuted one. The long term implications for society are dire as shoplifting is viewed by some as a gateway crime to more serious offenses.

In her video regarding announcing her run for reelection in 2020, Foxx admitted she botched the Smollett case, but she also attacked Chicago’s police union, the Fraternal Order of Police, which in a spring protest outside of her office called on her to resign. In a July letter to Foxx, the FOP cited that a “deep mistrust now exists between your office and ours. We no longer believe that your office will treat our members fairly either in the arrests they make or when they are victims of crimes.”

It appears that the Age of Criminals, at least in some big cities and their inner suburbs, is upon us. Supporting law abiding folks are the cops. Leftist prosecutors are on the other side.

The crime gateway is open.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Tlaib makes a bigoted statement and gets a pass, Blackhawks announcer gets pilloried for innocent remark

Blogger on the left, as broadcast on WGN-TV Chicago during a Blackhawks game in Nashville in 2018

By John Ruberry

Oh, the things the left gets away with…

Unless you are consumer of conservative media, or news sources from Detroit–I’m both of those things—you probably missed a piece of awful offal from US Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), a member of “the Squad.”

If you live in the Chicago area, as I do, you probably heard about the “racially insensitive” comments made by longtime Chicago Blackhawks announcer Pat Foley during a preseason game against a German team.

Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress, was touring Detroit’s Real Time Crime center, which utilizes facial recognition technology to identify criminal suspects. Tlaib has her issues with facial recognition forensics, She Tweeted in August, “@detroitpolice You should probably rethink this whole facial recognition bulls**t.”

In a tour last Tuesday of the center with Detroit’s police chief, James Craig, one that the Detroit News described as “tense,” the freshman congresswoman told Craig that only blacks should be employed as facial recognition analysists at the center. Yep. She said that. Her actual comments were, “Analysts need to be African Americans, not people that are not. I think non-African Americans think African Americans all look the same.”

Wow.

Craig, who is black, took the high ground by replying, “I trust people who are trained, regardless of race; regardless of gender. It’s about the training.”

Of course it is.

Craig later condemned Tlaib’s remarks. “If I had made a similar comment people would be outraged,” he told Detroit’s ABC affiliate, “they would be calling for my resignation.”

CNN.com covered the Tlaib facial recognition comments, as did Fox News, but the national media otherwise ignored her obnoxious remarks, although a Washington Post technology writer covered some practical issues with facial recognition in response to what she said.

In short, Tlaib got a pass because she is woke. She’s also a Democratic Socialist.

Not so Pat Foley, the television voice of the Chicago Blackhawks. I don’t know Foley’s politics. Perhaps he’s apolitical. But Foley, who is white, is not woke. He has not spoken of the glories of Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. He does not make large contributions to left-wing organizations. He has not apologized for his “white privilege.”

Oh, what did Foley say that got the left so upset? During that ‘Hawks preseason game against Eisbären Berlin, while opposing forward Austin Ortega handled the puck, Foley said, “Ortega, who sounds like he ought to be a shortstop.”

Yep, that’s it. A Chicago Tribune writer deemed Foley’s quip “racially insensitive.” The Blackhawks, in their apology stopped short of that, calling what he said only “insensitive.” Sports Illustrated covered the kerfuffle.

The Blackhawks in that statement noted that Foley, a recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award by the Hockey Hall of Fame, apologized to the Berlin team.

What appears to have ignited the controversy was a Tweet from an Hispanic hockey fan, Ghostchant, who distorted Foley’s words. “‘Ortega, sounds like he should be a shortstop’ instead of hockey.” Yep, “instead of hockey.”

But there is something else. Foley didn’t say “instead of hockey.” The Tweeter, who, if he has a sense of honor would place himself into his personal penalty box for a spell, added those words.

Here’s the entire Tweet along that “insensitive” comment from Foley.

In this split-second-glance-at-my-smartphone world, it’s easy to see why Ghostchant’s dishonest Tweet went viral. Many people look, get outraged, then re-Tweet or post on Facebook, without digging into the veracity of information on that puny screen, or, as I suspect in this instance, bothering to play the accompanying video clip.

Foley’s reputation has taken an undeserved dirty hit.

Tlaib, on the other hand, just keeps going.

What happened to Foley reminds me of a comment made by Nixon White House thug, Charles Colson, who later redeemed himself post-prison. “Anyone who opposes us, we’ll destroy,” he said, “as a matter of fact, anyone who doesn’t support us, we’ll destroy.”

That’s today’s left. Destroy first. Ask questions later. If at all.

There’s a lesson here. If you are a prominent person, unless you are deemed woke, you cannot comment on race or ethnicity, according to the rules of the high priests of the left.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.