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SPRINGFIELD – THE CITY THAT BANNED CAPITALISM

By John F. Di Leo – 

Perhaps we should begin by acknowledging the fact that the headline isn’t exactly true.  Springfield is a reasonably normal small town in the American Heartland, with a normal enough distribution of conservatives, liberals and moderates.

But Springfield is ruled by Chicago, the King Kong of Illinois politics, which, for all its good points (and yes, there are many), simply can’t help being utterly destructive to everything within reach.  And because of its size, its reach is far-ranging indeed.

So, while Springfield, as the seat of Illinois government, theoretically rules Illinois, Chicago’s powerful and virtually unanimous Democratic legislative delegation rules Springfield.

And the more desperate Chicago gets, confronted with fleeing residents, disappearing employers, and an increasingly impatient and demanding grubber list, the more Chicago acts like King Kong in the movies, smashing everything in sight, a danger to friends and enemies alike.

Illinois’ Assets

A researcher, blissfully unaware of politics, would never believe that Illinois could ever be broke.  Blessed by a near-perfect geographical location, Illinois should be the financially strongest of American states.

A huge agricultural power, Illinois farmers produce soybeans, corn, and wheat… our ranchers produce hogs and cattle… and with terrific road and rail transportation, these products are shipped all over the world.

As a manufacturing powerhouse, Illinois has long been the home of so many businesses, it takes both the huge CTA and Metra rail lines just to bring the employees of Chicago’s business sector to and from work every day… and that’s not even counting the business activity in Illinois’ other employment hubs:  Peoria, the Quad Cities, Rockford, Aurora, Decatur… Companies as world-renowned as John Deere, ITW, ADM, Walgreens, and Caterpillar call Illinois home, as do hundreds of other giants.

And what entertainment this state can provide!  From theaters to museums, from restaurants to conference centers, golf courses and stadiums for every sport… and Illinois has international airports and a highway system designed to bring travelers and conventions to Chicagoland from around the Midwest or around the world, just to spend their money here.

There is simply no reason why Illinois should ever be broke.  It is blessed with so much activity, it is a virtual revenue machine, some $34 billion in annual state tax revenues alone, not counting counties, cities, and other tax bodies.

Yes, the state of Illinois’ state government takes in $34 billion a year – more in annual tax revenue than most countries do.  Certainly enough to fund whatever the state legitimately needs to do.

Illinois’ Deficits

But here we do have a problem.  Illinois has institutional problems that overwhelm even all these advantages.

  • Massive crime, which not only vastly increases needed spending on city, county and state law enforcement, courtroom, and prison resources, but also depresses property values, and increases auto and property insurance costs, driving residents and employers out of state, raising the cost of living for those who remain.
  • An unsustainably-generous public pension system, one that promises most state workers more than the state could ever afford, either wholly unfunded or barely funded for decades now, essentially at the point at which 100% of state revenues now go to paying current and future pensions. Yes, you read that right, one hundred percent of state revenues.
  • A failed K-12 education system in our biggest cities, especially Chicago, in which a small percentage of children from connected or lucky families can get a suburban-quality education, but the vast majority are stuck in buildings that function more as taxpayer-funded gang recruiting centers than as schools.
  • A welfare system that obligates the state to make welfare payments of every kind, from food and housing to medical care and transportation, for a simply unaffordable percentage of its population. In economics, we supply-siders like to say, “you can grow yourself out of any problem”… but the supply-siders never met Modern Illinois.
  • Worst of all is the state’s legislature. Despite a number of stellar individuals in both the state house and senate (full disclosure; this first group includes both this writer’s state rep and state senator, Tom Morrison and Tom Rooney!), both houses are unfortunately ruled by Democrat majorities, which are in the iron death-grip of Chicago’s most intractable powerbrokers.  Speaker of the House Mike Madigan has ruled over the majority in Springfield, with the exception of one brief two-year respite in the mid-1990s, since January, 1983.

With problems like these, it’s no wonder that they had to create a new rating for our bonds that’s lower than “junk”…

With problems like these, it’s no wonder that most politicians throw up their hands and ask “Why Bother?”… because as long as Mike Madigan’s in charge, nothing can change.

And with problems like these, it’s no wonder that Illinois is bleeding population and employment at a record rate… nearly 100,000 former residents left Illinois in 2016 alone.

But There Is A Solution!

As dismal as our situation is, there is a solution.

The supply-siders are NOT wrong.  If you lower tax rates and government regulations enough to invite new business startups, enough to encourage existing businesses to expand, and enough to invite outside businesses to invest here, the numbers start to reverse themselves.

In Illinois, the problem isn’t so much the state income tax as other taxes and fees; reductions in the workmen’s comp costs, property taxes, sales taxes, and state and local regulations would make the difference.  Illinois still has so many benefits, it could attract commerce again. We just need to correct the issues that scare employers away:

Driving down crime isn’t even hard; just have tougher sentencing on those who are caught, and stop inviting criminals in with Sanctuary City status!  Our police risk their lives every day, and catch virtually every criminal… but we let them go, much too soon.  A massive spike in mandatory sentencing, combined with cooperation with ICE to drive illegal aliens out of the state, would bring down Chicago’s crime levels, raising property values, cutting insurance costs, and making the state more welcoming to employers, residents, and tourists alike.

Cut the tax rates – especially the property tax.  This can be managed – in fact, must  be managed – by copying Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s successful public employee contracting reforms from 2011 (granted, they did it six years ago, as we should have, but there’s no time like the present!).

Politicians of the liberal stripe believe we cannot afford such things, certain that we need the revenue of high taxes to fund our obligations.  But if we do the above, our obligations will shrink along with the revenue growth!

You don’t need to pay for the housing, food, transportation and medical care of the employed, only the unemployed.  You don’t have unproductive city lots when taxpaying offices, stores, residents, and manufacturing plants move in.

The key problem with Speaker Madigan and his side of the aisle is they accept – even crave – the control of massive numbers of people.  They refuse to allow capitalism – the wonder of the free market – to solve our state’s problems, and they put every barrier they can in capitalism’s way, because the modern American Left likes having huge segments of the population utterly dependent on them.

The problem for Mike Madigan and his acolytes, as they are eventually going to have to admit, is that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was right:  “The problem with socialism is that, eventually, you run out of everybody else’s money.”

Illinois has hit that point that Lady Thatcher described, and the legislative majority is obligated by their fealty to Boss Madigan to refuse to acknowledge reality at all.

Copyright 2017 John F. Di Leo

John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based international trade compliance lecturer, actor and writer.  His columns are regularly found in Illinois Review.

Permission is hereby given to forward freely, provided it is uncut and the IR URL and byline are included.

U.S. GIVES MILLIONS TO DESTABILIZE MACEDONIA'S CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT

The U.S. government has quietly spent millions of taxpayer dollars to destabilize the democratically elected, center-right government in Macedonia by colluding with leftwing billionaire philanthropist George Soros, records obtained by Judicial Watch show. Barack Obama’s U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia, Jess L. Baily, has worked behind the scenes with Soros’ Open Society Foundation to funnel large sums of American dollars for the cause, constituting an interference of the U.S. Ambassador in domestic political affairs in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

The cash flows through the State Department and the famously corrupt U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID), which is charged with providing global economic, development and humanitarian assistance. USAID has allocated about $5 million to leftwing Soros groups in Macedonia since 2012, documents show, and at least $9.5 million has been earmarked by the agency to intervene in the Balkan nation’s governmental affairs for 2016-2011. State Department figures have been tougher to come by and Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the numbers. Judicial Watch also fired off a public records request to USAID because the preliminary figures, obtained through various sources in both the U.S. and Macedonia, appear to be incomplete.

Here’s how the clandestine operation functions, according to high-level sources in Macedonia and the U.S. that have provided Judicial Watch with records as part of an ongoing investigation. The Open Society Foundation has established and funded dozens of leftwing, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Macedonia to overthrow the conservative government. One Macedonian government official interviewed by Judicial Watch in Washington D.C. recently, calls it the “Soros infantry.” The groups organize youth movements, create influential media outlets and organize violent protests to undermine the institutions and policies implemented by the government. One of the Soros’ groups funded the translation and publication of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” into Macedonian. The book is a tactical manual of subversion, provides direct advice for radical street protests and proclaims Lucifer to be the first radical. Thanks to Obama’s ambassador, who has not been replaced by President Trump, Uncle Sam keeps the money flowing so the groups can continue operating and recruiting, sources in Macedonia and the U.S. confirm.

With a population of about 2 million, Macedonia has one of the more conservative governments in Europe. This includes the lowest flat tax in Europe, close ties with Israel and pro-life policies. The country recently built a border fence to crackdown on an illegal immigration crisis that overwhelmed law enforcement agencies. Between 10,000 and 12,000 illegal aliens were crossing the Greek-Macedonian border daily at the peak of the European migration crisis, a Macedonian official told Judicial Watch, and the impact was devastating. This is likely of big interest to Soros, a renowned open borders advocate who pushes international governance, diminished U.S. global power and an increase in Muslim immigration. Soros spent tens of millions of dollars to support Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Just this month Hungary’s prime minister lashed out against Soros for funding groups to secretly influence the country’s politics. “Large-bodied predators are swimming here in the waters,” said Viktor Orban in his annual state of the nation speech. “This is the trans-border empire of George Soros, with tons of money and international heavy artillery.”

This appears to be the case in Macedonia with the help of American financing. There have been a number of violent protests in recent months that have been coordinated by Soros’ Open Society Foundation through its U.S.-funded NGOs, sources tell Judicial Watch. Some U.S. members of Congress have expressed interest in the issue and have demanded answers from Ambassador Baily, USAID and the State Department. In typical fashion, the State Department has stonewalled the inquiries and USAID hasn’t been much more forthcoming. Last month Utah Senator Mike Lee sent Ambassador Baily a letter asking questions involving the U.S. Mission to Macedonia’s involvement in the political process and its connections to the Open Society Foundation. It’s unlikely that Americans will receive answers, especially since Baily is probably on his way out. The fact remains however, that millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars have already been spent on this illicit operation and the government agencies need to be held accountable.

Biased Media Trying to Hide the Truth of Town Hall Protests

As we’ve discussed here before, the line between liberal, biased media and fair, ethical journalism isn’t always as cut-and-dried as the phrase “fake news” makes it seem. While there are examples of journalists who twist the facts so egregiously that they wind up publishing fiction, the media’s tricks are usually much more subtle. They’ve let their hatred of Trump get the better of them in recent months, but they usually understand that they have to protect the illusion of objectivity if they want to maintain the trust of their readers.

So they play little games with the facts. You can’t necessarily accuse them of lying…but let’s just say, they know what they’re doing.

These town hall protests greeting Republicans all over the country last week are a prime example of “fake news” wrapped in a blanket of truth. It is a fact that these protests are happening. It is a viable news story, both locally and nationally. This is something that is shaking up the political world, and it would be journalistic malpractice not to cover it.

Here’s the problem, though. If you get all of your news from the usual mainstream media sources, you would have a very skewed idea about these chaotic scenes.

From USA Today: “Riled up by a Trump administration agenda targeting immigrants and Obamacare and concerned about Russian influence, voters have been trying to get their representatives’ attention in sometimes-rowdy town hall meetings this week.”

Later in the article: “In Arizona, Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, both Republicans, said they plan to meet with constituents.”

Later: “Sen. Chuck Grassley […] held a tumultuous town hall Monday in Iowa Falls with constituents shouting questions about Russia and health care.”

Do you see the trick?

We’re using USA Today as an example, but they stand for all the rest. In story after story, the news media is trying very hard to avoid telling their readers that these people are liberal activists. Whether they’re paid or unpaid, organized or organic, is beside the point. The point is that by using neutral terms like “constituents,” the media is trying to give you the illusion that these protest crowds are a healthy mix of Republicans and Democrats who are suddenly turning on the people they voted for. And if you don’t think that’s what they’re doing, just imagine how they would characterize these protests if Hillary Clinton had won and people stormed into Democrat town halls demanding answers. You would NEVER see them referred to as “voters” or “constituents.” They would exclusively use terms like “conservatives” or “Trump supporters” or “radical right-wing agitators.” If you doubt this, feel free to look back at the way the media covered the Tea Party.

Thankfully, there are still reporters out there with a sense of integrity. Even in the liberal swamp of MSNBC, we got to see Hallie Jackson pry the truth out of Ted Leiu, a Democratic congressman from California.

“These are organic, grassroots protests you see from across the country,” Leiu said.

“But congressman, there are groups though,” Jackson said. “I mean, you don’t deny that there are groups of more liberal activists who are helping to organize some of these protests at town halls?”

“Well, yes, there are groups that are organizing people to show up at town halls,” he admitted, “but these are people who are constituents of these members of Congress.”

That’s fine. No one’s trying to deny their personhood or their right to protest. But if we’re going to pretend they aren’t partisan – that they’re just politically-neutral “constituents” – then how about some balanced reporting? If 300 “constituents” show up to a town hall, that means thousands stayed home. That’s a pretty strong endorsement of the Republican agenda, no?

You’ve got to watch these folks in the media like a hawk. Their deceit is often beyond anything a simple “fact check” can find…and that’s what makes it so effective.

THE MAIN COURSE

FIRE HIM

What Shepard Smith Just Said About Trump Today Is Going To Get Him Fired! We Hope.

On Thursday, Fox News’ Shepard Smith proved once again that he should be fired. He went off on President Trump and defended CNN after Trump’s press conference.

From Liberty Writers News

He absolutely BASHED the fake news media. Watch him tear CNN apart.

 

According to TV Line:

“He’s an accomplished reporter — a guy I’ve never met, but a good reporter,” Smith said of Acosta. “[Trump was] treating him like … I’m not even going to use the word. I’m not going to give Twitter the love it needs. It’s crazy what we’re watching everyday, it’s absolutely crazy. He keeps repeating ridiculous throwaway lines that are not true at all and sort of avoiding this issue of Russia, as if we’re some kind of fools for asking the question.”

Why is he defending CNN though? It’s because he is a shill. Why does Fox News keep this guy? He’s like the new Megyn Kelly. Nobody watches him and he should go jump to NBC.

Liberal Pope Francis Makes One Of The Most DELUSIONAL VILE Statements Ever! Many Call For Him To Resign

In an impassioned address Friday, Pope Francis denied the existence of Islamic terrorism, while simultaneously asserting that “the ecological crisis is real.”
“Christian terrorism does not exist, Jewish terrorism does not exist, and Muslim terrorism does not exist. They do not exist,” Francis said in his speech to a world meeting of populist movements.

 

What he apparently meant is that not all Christians are terrorists and not all Muslims are terrorists—a fact evident to all—yet his words also seemed to suggest that no specifically Islamic form of terrorism exists in the world, an assertion that stands in stark contradiction to established fact.

“No people is criminal or drug-trafficking or violent,” Francis said, while also suggesting—as he has on other occasions—that terrorism is primarily a result of economic inequalities rather than religious beliefs. “The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence yet, without equal opportunities, the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and will eventually explode.”

The Pope also reiterated his conviction that all religions promote peace and that the danger of violent radicalization exists equally in all religions.

“There are fundamentalist and violent individuals in all peoples and religions—and with intolerant generalizations they become stronger because they feed on hate and xenophobia,” he said.
While denying the existence of Islamic terrorism, Francis also seemed to condemn the denial of global warming, asserting that “the ecological crisis is real.”

“A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system,” he said.

We know “what happens when we deny science and disregard the voice of Nature,” the Pope said. “Let us not fall into denial. Time is running out. Let us act. I ask you again—all of you, people of all backgrounds including native people, pastors, political leaders—to defend Creation.”

While acknowledging that science is not “the only form of knowledge,” and that “science is not necessarily ‘neutral’” and often “conceals ideological views or economic interests,” he still insisted that people of good will should not oppose “scientific consensus” regarding global warming.

Leftist media like the liberal Guardian in the U.K. immediately politicized the speech, predictably claiming that the Pope was backing “anti-Trump protests,” despite the fact that the Pope himself denied such a claim, explicitly declaring that “I am not speaking of anyone in particular.”

“I am not speaking of anyone in particular, I am speaking of a social and political process that flourishes in many parts of the world and poses a grave danger for humanity,” he said.

Moreover, although the Guardian claimed that the Pope was “condemning populism,” in point of fact, he was speaking to populist movements and praised their commitment to democracy.

“The direction taken beyond this historic turning-point,” Francis said, “will depend on people’s involvement and participation and, largely, on yourselves, the popular movements.”

Nevertheless, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said Monday that the Holy See is concerned over growing populist and nationalist movements, both in Europe and in the United States.

In an interview for the Italian evening news on the state-owned RAI network, the Cardinal was asked whether the Vatican is worried about what the interviewer called “the spread of nationalism and populism not only in Europe but also in the United States with Donald Trump.”

“I think so, I think so,” Parolin said. “Certainly these closings are not a good sign,” since many of them “are born of fear, which is not a good counselor.”

WOW, Look Who CNN May BAN From Their Network…Good Luck With That CNN [Video]

CNN is one of the top sources of news left-wing propaganda in the country, so it should come as no surprise that the network is doing everything it can to slander the Trump administration. However, what the network is considering now may actually be a shocking new low.

From US Uncut:

Top executives at the network told the New York Times that the network was considering never interviewing Kellyanne Conway again. When the Times‘ Joe Rutenberg asked an anonymous CNN executive about why they had reservations about booking Conway on the channel’s top shows, the executive alluded to “serious questions about her credibility.”

Conway, who was Trump’s former campaign manager, famously declared on NBC’s Meet the Press that Sean Spicer’s insistence that Trump had the largest-ever inauguration audience by any president — which was widely criticized as false — wasn’t a lie, but merely “alternative facts.”

From Allen B. West

Conway is one of President Trump’s most important spokespeople, and banning her from the network would give the administration little voice to defend itself from the onslaught of slanderous attacks. If CNN wanted to maintain an ounce of its journalistic integrity, they would not be considering this move. Sadly, CNN long ago decided that pushing an agenda was more important than fairly reporting the news.

Ironically, the liberal media has been accusing President Trump of similarities to a fascist dictator, all while defending rioters in California for violently suppressing free speech. Now, CNN wants to ban a dissenting voice from their network, allowing them to report propaganda unopposed. There’s a word for all of this…. it’s called fascism.

Thankfully, most Americans have caught on to the unfair main stream media. Despite the overwhelmingly negative coverage of President Trump’s campaign, voters sent him to the White House. Moreover, polls continue to show that the media establishment is one of the most distrusted institutions in the entire country.

The reality is that CNN senses it is losing its grip on the control of information, and the talk of banning Conway shows just how desperate the network is. CNN had a chance to reset after the election and recommit itself to true journalism. Sadly, the network is choosing to double down on its tactics. Just like the election, it is unlikely to work out for them.

FEAR NO EVIL

EAR

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