It is well known that Chicago’s pension liabilities have completely decimated the city’s finances and currently stand at close to $20 billion. Faced with a significant challenge of meeting funding obligations as a result of a 2010 state law, Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently won a slight reprieve in the amount of money the city would have to contribute to fund the liabilities over the next few years, as recently Illinois lawmakers overrode Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto and will now change the legislation in order to allow the city to defer payments to fund pensions. Continue reading »
Less than a week ago, after reporting that shootings in Chicago were up an astonishing 50% from the same time in 2015, Chicago’s police superintendent Eddie Johnson proclaimed “as we look toward the summer months, violence will not be tolerated.” Johnson didn’t give any further details around what the plan was actually going to be to stem the violence other than volunteers would be asked to work overtime during the Memorial Day Weekend.
Sadly, as the Chicago Tribune reports, whatever plan Johnson had didn’t work and violence in Chicago has erupted once again. So far this Memorial Day weekend, there have been 40 people shot (4 killed, 36 wounded), and with two full days left, 2016 shootings are likely to far surpass last year’s total of 56 that were shot over this same weekend.
Nineteen of the shootings took place either in or within a half-mile of the Harrison District on the West Side police said. The district is one of the city’s most violent, despite having more officers assigned to it than almost any other district in the city. Continue reading »
New accounting rules show Chicago has understated its pension liabilities by $11.5 billion.
At the end of 2015 the stated liability was $7.1 billion. Today it’s $18.6 billion. That’s a jump in net liabilities of 168%.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has hopes pinned on union concessions and help from the state legislature. Neither is likely. Continue reading »
A 16-year old boy who was shot in the knee marked the 1,000th gunshot victim in Chicago this year, as the city returns to a level of shootings not seen since the 1990’s. This past Wednesday, Chicago reached 1,000 victims months earlier than the previous four years. The number of shooting victims year-to-date is up 66.7% from 2015, and 107% from 2014.
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The elite are fleeing major cities around the globe at a staggering rate. In fact, the Chicago Tribune is reporting that approximately 3,000 millionaires left the city of Chicago alone during 2015. The same study discussed in that Chicago Tribune article found that 7,000 millionaires left Paris, France last year. So why is this happening? Why are thousands of millionaires suddenly packing up and moving away from the big cities? Could it be possible that they have many of the same concerns that “preppers” do about what is coming?
For quite a while, I have been writing about how the elite have been preparing for the coming collapse. But I had no idea that literally thousands of them are packing up and permanently leaving our major cities. As I mentioned above, the Chicago Tribune is reporting that about 3,000 of them left the city of Chicago alone during the previous calendar year… Continue reading »
Those who pull the strings are apt to push racial division and general chaos, as the economic avalanche falls in on the population at large.
As SHTFPlan.com’s Mac Slavo notes, uncertain about why finances and money become so difficult, most will fall into the trap of faction-vs-faction on the streets, as the elite helicopter away on profits derived from our general demise.
Taxpayer bailouts, harsher regulations, and more and more policing of every aspect of life would soon follow. If Chicago goes the way of Detroit, it will be not only because of crime and racial tension, but because the jobs, the opportunity and the future have all been shipped overseas and sold off to the highest bidder.
As The Daily Sheeple’s Joshua Krause details, Millionaires fearing civil unrest are fleeing Chicago by the thousands…
According to CNN, 141 people were murdered in Chicago during the first three months of the year, which is 71.9% higher than the 82 people who were killed in the same time frame last year. Even more astonishing for a city that prides itself on tackling guns, is the fact that shootings during the first three months of the year have gone up 88.5%, from 359 in 2015, to 677 in 2016. In other words, gun violence has nearly doubled over the past year.
CNN interviewed several residents in Chicago about the explosion in violence, and they all seemed to blame it on the economy. “If you really want to stop this epidemic of violence, the best way to stop a bullet is with a job” explained one resident.
While there is certainly merit to that, the economy isn’t the sole contributing factor to violence. In fact, all crime rates declined in the United States following the crash of 2008. Maybe it’s time for the city to admit that making it easier to own and carry a weapon would also alleviate their horrendous crime rates.
The city is well on its way to joining the likes of Detroit, and there may be no escaping that eventuality. That’s why many of the city’s wealthy elites are getting the hell out of there.
The Chicago Tribune reports that roughly 3,000 millionaires have left the city over the past year alone, which amounts to about 2 percent of their wealthy population.
This is the largest exodus of wealthy people in the United States, and one of the largest in the world. Paris and Rome are the only cities that lost more millionaires than Chicago in the same time period.
According to research, many of these elites are relocating to other cities in the United States such as Seattle and San Francisco, which saw a net inflow of millionaires over the past year.
When asked about why they were leaving Chicago, most of these millionaires cited racial tension and rising crime rates.
If you happen to live in Chicago, take a hint from the people with insider knowledge and connections, and get out while you still can.
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Last July, Cook County judge Rita Novak dealt Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel a bitter blow in his efforts to cut pension expenses.
“A Cook County judge will rule on the legality of a 2014 pension law aimed at reforming two of Chicago’s underfunded city retirement systems,” the Illinois Policy Institute wrote, in the lead up to the crucial ruling. “While the pension law included some much-needed reforms, such as an increase in the retirement age, if upheld the law ultimately would put Chicago residents on the hook for millions of dollars of tax increases.” Continue reading »
Chicago had an abnormally violent January to kick off 2016, with 292 people shot and 51 people killed. It is being reported as the deadliest January in Chicago in 16 years, with a 75 percent increase in homicides compared to last January. Most of it is gang-related according to police.
Somehow even though it is the third largest city in the country, Chicago continues to be home to more violent crime than either New York or LA.
Now, when you consider the fact that Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, how does this bode for all those people including our president who are continuing to push for more and more gun control? (Yeah, that question was rhetorical.) Continue reading »
Residents of Chicago are being shot at a rate three times higher than they were at the start of 2015, and its interim police superintendent says social media is partly to blame.
From Jan. 1 through Jan. 13 of 2015, 37 people were shot within the city limits of Chicago, CBS News reports. In the same timespan this year, at least 110 people have been shot. Other sources peg the shooting count even higher, with DNAinfo reporting that 139 people were shot through Thursday morning.
At least 21 of these shootings have been fatal so far. Continue reading »
Even as Obama takes his anti-gun crusade to new highs with every passing week, having recently started dispensing executive orders, the president conveniently continues to ignore the state of affairs in his native Chicago – a city in which guns are banned – yet where the shooting epidemic has never been worse, and is truly emblematic of the “gun problem” America has.
Judging by the most recent developments, Obama will have nothing to say about Chicago gun violence either during tonight’s state of the union address, or ever for that matter, because recent developments are downright disastrous.
While the rest of the world has ISIS to contend with, the US has Chicago, a city where the number of annual homicides will easily outpace the death count of even the most gruesome terrorist incident – a sad reality which most of America, and certainly Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, has closed its eyes to.
But in the aftermath of the latest police shooting controversy involving the dashboard video documenting the shooting death Laquan McDonald, as well that following the gang execution of Tyshawn Lee, which stirred national tempers, there had to be a fall guy, and sure enough moments ago the Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy was fired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, according to the Chicago Sun Times. Continue reading »
Warning: this video is graphic (the confrontation begins around 5:00)
With the release of this video, we suggest anyone living in and around Chicago ‘brace’ for potential social unrest. The Chicago Police Department has released video footage of the officer-involved shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was struck 16 times during a confrontation with officers.
The dashcam video, described by Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez says that this video is “graphic, violent, and chilling,” is expected to provoke a very strong emotional reaction from Chicago’s very large African-American community.
As John Kass, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, said, the video “could tear Chicago apart,” which is why Mayor Emanuel has already urged Chicagoans, “it is fine to be passionate, but it is essential to remain peaceful.”
With as much as 17 inches of snow across Chicago’s northern suburbs and 11.2 inches at O’Hare International Airport, this became the largest November snowfall in 120 years.
This also makes it Chicago’s fourth snowiest November (the entire month) on record … with more than a week remaining in the month. The three snowiest Novembers were 1940 (14.8 inches), 1895 (14.5 inches) and 1951 (14.3 inches). Continue reading »
– “Desperate” Chicago Schools Need Half Billion To Avoid Mass Layoffs, Partial Shutdown (ZeroHedge, Sep 8, 2015):
Last month, we noted with some incredulity that Illinois is now paying lottery winners in IOUs. Long story short, the state’s inability to pass a budget means big winners will have to wait on their prize money, a ridiculous situation which prompted one Illinoisan to remind state officials that “if we owed the state money, they’d come take it and they don’t care whether we have a roof over our head; our budget wouldn’t be a factor.” State Rep. Jack Franks agreed, noting that the “government is committing fraud on the taxpayers.”
The lottery debacle is just the latest example of Illinois’ deepening fiscal crisis which was catapulted into the national spotlight in May when a state Supreme Court decision that struck down a pension reform bid prompted Moody’s to cut the city of Chicago into junk territory. Since then, the media has been awash with tales of the labyrinthine, incestuous character of the state’s various state and local governments and the deplorable condition of the state’s pension system.
The fallout from the budget crisis is far-reaching in the state with the latest example being Chicago’s public school system (the third-largest in the country), which opened this week with a budget shortfall of nearly a half billion dollars.
The city of Sao Paulo is home to 20 million Brazilians, making it the 12th largest mega-city on a planet dominated by shortsighted humans. Shockingly, it has only 60 days of water supply remaining. The city “has about two months of guaranteed water supply remaining as it taps into the second of three emergency reserves,” reports Reuters. 
Technical reserves have already been released, and as the city enters the heavy water use holiday season, its 20 million residents are riding on a fast-track collision course with severe water rationing and devastating disruptions.
There has been an accident at a nuclear plant in the southeast of Ukraine, Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk has revealed during the first session of his new Cabinet.
A minor accident occurred at Zaporozhskaya nuclear plant, the largest in Europe, last Friday, according to the facility’s website. A reactor was switched off and put to maintenance as a result.
CNN, Dec 3, 2014: URGENT – Ukraine Nuclear Plant Repairs — Emergency repairs began earlier this week… Details about what caused the problem, which the ministry first reported Tuesday, weren’t immediately available.
UPDATE: Charlie Rangel opines “This is not a black problem, this is a problem we have in our great country.”
Protests planned: 430, Grand Central; 7:00 Rockefeller Christmas Tree
A Staten Island grand jury has decided not to indict white NYPD officer Daniel Panateleo, according to NY1, who allegedly used a banned chokehold and killed Eric Garner, a 400lb black man, who was stopped on suspicion of selling loose cigarettes. Police in New York are preparing for potential protests, There are at least two different demonstrations planned in lower Manhattan Wednesday.
Two top guns came into very close contact when a Russian MiG-31 aircraft overtook a Norwegian F-16 fighter and cut practically in front of it, forcing the NATO pilot to veer away sharply.
The Russian jet passed the F-16 within a mere 20 meters, causing the Norwegian pilot to exclaim, “What the hell!” before darting away hastily.
As part of the final solution to inner city social unrest across America, President Obama has put forward recommendations that all police offers wear body cameras… this is what the ‘eyes-are-always-on-you’ NYPD police camera will look like. What ever happened to Google Glass privacy concerns?
Iran has launched airstrikes against Islamic State militants in eastern Iraq in recent days, the Pentagon confirms. According to spokesperson Rear Adm. John Kirby, the strikes were not co-ordinated with the US military and may be the first of their kind.
“We have indications that they did indeed fly airstrikes with F-4 Phantoms in the past several days,” Kirby told AFP.
It may be the first time Tehran has launched manned aircraft from inside Iran to strike Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) targets in Iraq, Kirby told AP.
The ink on Barack Obama’s Chuck Hagel termination letter hasn’t dried yet but already the US president’s new, and seemingly far more hawkish advisors, are having their warmongering presence felt. Case in point: the Eastern European theater of (Cold) war, where Military.com reports that the new Army commander in Europe plans to bolster the U.S. armored presence in Poland and the Baltic states and keep rotations of U.S. troops there through next year and possibly beyond to counter Russia. Lt. Gen. Frederick “Ben” Hodges, who replaced Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell earlier this month as commander of U.S. Army Europe, said the Army was looking to add about 100 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles to the forces in Eastern Europe.
An unprecedented ban on fracking went into effect Tuesday in Denton, Texas, a town of 123,000 located on top of the natural-gas goldmine that is the Barnett shale formation, the birthplace of the much-maligned oil and gas extraction method.
Denton voters approved the ban last month, making it the first city or county to do so in the energy-rich, fracking-heavy state of Texas.
Shortly after the Nov. 4 vote, the Texas Oil & Gas Association, an energy industry group, and the Texas General Land Office filed a lawsuit seeking to reverse the ban.
Once upon a time it was the Sicilian, or Russian, or Japanese, or Chinese mob that were some of the biggest sources of funding for corrupt government officials (incidentally, most of them). After all, the government is smart enough to realize that it is more lucrative to “cooperate” with the world’s biggest criminal syndicates than to wipe them out and cut off a major source of funding (of course, when it comes to populist optics and reelection, there is always an easy low-level perp walk every week or so to keep the peasants in place… and Diebold).
The hacktivist group Anonymous is no fan of Fort Lauderdale’s new laws targeting the Florida city’s homeless population, and they took down multiple city websites to prove it.
Many people have noted that the more insidious or corrupt a law or agency, the more positive sounding its name. The most egregious example during my lifetime, was naming legislation that stripped Americans of most of their civil liberties the “Patriot” Act.
In a similar vein, which red-blooded American could ever be opposed to something called the Small Business Administration (SBA). We all love small businesses and the entrepreneurial spirit, and even those who abhor big government have a hard time siding against an agency that supports the little guy. As such, the SBA is the perfect vehicle for cronyism, corruption and corporate welfare, which indeed appears to be its primary reason for existence.
My friends at Open the Books have published a key study on the SBA, and the results are ugly. The full report can be found here, but what follows is some analysis of the report by Stephen Moore at Investors Business Daily:
– Chicago – Coldest Year in 110 Years (Ice Age Now):
Not just the day, not just the week, not just the month, we’re talking the entire year.
An investigation into corruption in the Iraqi army has revealed that there were 50,000 false names on its payroll.
Known in the military as “ghost soldiers”, they either did not exist or no longer reported for duty, however their salaries were still paid
The Palestinian Authority lost at least $310 million in customs and sales tax in 2011 as a result of importing from or through Israeli-occupied territories, the UN said Wednesday, urging a radical change to the system.
The lost revenue, worth 250 million euros, was equivalent to 3.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and 18 percent of the tax revenue of the authority, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said.
– 100,000 Czech travelers stranded due to freezing arctic weather (Ice Age Now):
People forced to spend the night in cold trains and railway stations when temperatures dropped to minus 7.3 C (19.4 F).
Claims that the new government in Ukraine is nothing more than a Western puppet Parliament have been swirling around consistently since February. Nevertheless, I think it’s very significant that the takeover is now overt, undeniable and completely out in the open. Nothing proves this fact more clearly than the recent and sudden granting of citizenship to three foreigners so that they can take top posts in the government.
– Forget Stocks, This is the REAL Crisis That’s Coming (ZeroHedge):
The 2008 crash was a warm up.
Many investors think that we could never have a crash again. The 2008 melt-down was a one in 100 years episode, they think.
They are wrong.
The 2008 Crisis was a stock and investment bank crisis. But it was not THE Crisis.
THE Crisis concerns the biggest bubble in financial history: the epic Bond bubble… which as it stands is north of $100 trillion… although if you include the derivatives that trade based on bonds it’s more like $500 TRILLION.
The Fed likes to act as though it’s concerned about stocks… but the real story is in bonds. Indeed, when you look at the Fed’s actions from the perspective of the bond market, everything suddenly becomes clear.
– Budapest – Freezing rain leaves 40,000 homes powerless (Ice Age Now)
We have some bad news. According to a modification of the Central Bank Incentive Program, central bank rigging of, well, everything and certainly the E-mini S&P future, will go on for a much longer time, with the revised deadline now going through December 31, 2015.
– Romania – More than 1,000 people stuck in snow (Ice Age Now)
Could rapidly falling oil prices trigger a nightmare scenario for the commodity derivatives market? The big Wall Street banks did not expect plunging home prices to cause a mortgage-backed securities implosion back in 2008, and their models did not anticipate a decline in the price of oil by more than 40 dollars in less than six months this time either. If the price of oil stays at this level or goes down even more, someone out there is going to have to absorb some absolutely massive losses. In some cases, the losses will be absorbed by oil producers, but many of the big players in the industry have already locked in high prices for their oil next year through derivatives contracts. The companies enter into these derivatives contracts for a couple of reasons. Number one, many lenders do not want to give them any money unless they can show that they have locked in a price for their oil that is higher than the cost of production. Secondly, derivatives contracts protect the profits of oil producers from dramatic swings in the marketplace. These dramatic swings rarely happen, but when they do they can be absolutely crippling. So the oil companies that have locked in high prices for their oil in 2015 and 2016 are feeling pretty good right about now. But who is on the other end of those contracts? In many cases, it is the big Wall Street banks, and if the price of oil does not rebound substantially they could be facing absolutely colossal losses.
It has been estimated that the six largest “too big to fail” banks control $3.9 trillion in commodity derivatives contracts. And a very large chunk of that amount is made up of oil derivatives.
– Austria – Rare ice storm hits Waldviertel (Ice Age Now):
Some trees 3 ft (1 m) in diameter – Few in the fire service could recall so many ice-damaged trees. Trees breaking like matchsticks.
H/t reader squodgy:
H/t reader squodgy:
“WOW!!!….of course….the last resort measure to trigger the war they so desperately need to smokescreen their escape from blame for this entire BANK CREATED MESS.”
– Falling Oil Prices Could Cripple ‘Vulnerable’ Russia, Trigger World War III (The Daily Sheeple):
The Cold War 2.0 is going hot, and while it may someday be fought with planes, tanks, guns and bombs, the first front is being fought with oil and shale gas.
The U.S. and European sanctions against Russia will become more severe and crippling in the face of drastically falling oil prices – prices which are falling drastically because of the unprecedented boom of shale gas fracking both domestically in the U.S. and abroad in Ukraine and other locales. The oil & gas giants like Chevron and Exxon Mobil have created revolutionary conditions with now direct consequences on U.S. foreign policy and global war for dominance. Via Bloomberg:
Houston, we have a problem-er. With a third of S&P 500 capital expenditure due from the imploding energy sector (and with over 20% of the high-yield market dominated by these names), paying attention to any inflection point in the US oil-producers is critical as they have been gung-ho “unequivocally good” expanders even as oil prices began to fall. So, when Reuters reports a drop of almost 40 percent in new well permits issued across the United States in November, even The Fed’s Stan Fischer might start to question his lower oil prices are “a phenomenon that’s making everybody better off,” may warrant a rethink. New permits, which indicate what drilling rigs will be doing 60-90 days in the future, showed steep declines for the first time this year across the top three U.S. onshore fields: the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford in Texas and North Dakota’s Bakken shale.
“At this rate there won’t be any good ones left.”
How ironic can life be? Officer Jeremy Henwood survived several tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan as a US Marine only to be killed practically at his doorstep. McDonald’s security cameras caught his final act of kindness on tape, just moments before he was shot. Watch what he did when a small 10 year old boy couldn’t afford his meal.
As trivial as it may seem to some, it’s these little things that make a good man. It’s only appropriate that Officer Henwood’s final moments reflect the life he had, the one of a true American hero.
– How Did Christmas Become A Festival Of Greed? (Economic Collapse):
For most people, Christmas is all about the presents. But how did such a supposedly sacred holiday become a festival of greed? Not many people know the history behind Christmas gift giving, and it will probably shock you. This year, Americans will spend somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 billion dollars on Christmas, but most people have no coherent explanation for why they are buying all of these gifts. Those that are Christian will tell you that they are doing it to celebrate the birth of Christ, but as you will see below, gift giving on this holiday originated long before Christ was born. Others will tell you that they are just following tradition, but most of them have absolutely no idea where the tradition of Christmas gift giving originally came from. And the truth is that most people simply don’t care about the history. They are just excited about all of the stuff that they are going to get on December 25th. But if you are curious to learn how Christmas became a festival of greed, just keep reading…
The ongoing slump in oil prices looks set to take their toll on London’s “super prime” property markets with attendant consequences for the rest of the London property market. Foreign money that had been flooding into the UK from a whole array of international sources and parking in London real estate is drying up.
– Syria Goes Dark (Acting Man):
Syria Then and Now
“Arab Spring” situations have an inexorable tendency to go pear-shaped (Tunisia, the first country to experience one is the lone exception, but even there the “old guard” is reportedly making a comeback, so the whole thing was essentially for nothing in the end). In Egypt, the revolution went from bringing an Islamist to power whose economic policies were either useless or were sabotaged by the organization that actually owns Egypt (the army controls 40% of the economy), back to someone who suspiciously looks like the old boss, with the only difference that he’s even worse. Nothing about the situation even remotely resembles democracy at this juncture. Getting jailed and tortured in Egypt and getting sentenced to death in mass show trials is once again par for the course.
Tags: Banking, Barack Obama, Bonds, Chicago, Collapse, Debt, Economy, Environment, EU, Europe, Fed, Federal Reserve, Global News, Government, Iran, Meteorology, Military, Nuclear, Nuclear reactors, Obama administration, Oil Prices, Politics, Radiation, Russia, Society, Stock Market, Syria, Terrorism, U.S., Ukraine
– Record snowfall in Chicago – Happy Halloween! (Ice Age Now, Nov 1, 2014):
Halloween started with a record snowfall for many Chicago-area residents.
As of 8 a.m. Friday, O’Hare and Chicago Rockford International Airport had one-tenth of an inch of snow, the most on record for Oct. 31 for the city of Chicago, according to the weather service.
The snow and wind caused hundreds of flight cancellations and delays Friday at O’Hare International Airport, officials said.
And Chicago has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country.
– Chicago Gun Violence So Severe That State Lawmaker Requests National Guard Help (CBS News, July 10, 2013):
– 27 Shot in Chicago Since Friday (NBC News, June 29, 2014):
At least 27 people have been shot, one of them fatally, in Chicago since Friday.
Police said the weekend’s sole fatality, as of Sunday morning, occurred just before 9 a.m. Saturday when a 42-year-old man was fatally shot in the head while riding his bike.
The shooting took place in the 3600 block of West Chicago Avenue. Police said the man was taken to Mount Sinai hospital with wounds to the head and right arm and was later pronounced dead.
Ten others were shot Saturday afternoon into Sunday morning. Continue reading »
– Fabrice “Fabulous Fab” Tourre to Teach Economics Class at University of Chicago (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Feb 26, 2014):
Just in case you thought for a second that the sorry discipline we call economics couldn’t stoop any further into the gutter of academic idiocy and irrelevance, think again. It’s now being reported that ex-Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice “Fabulous Fab” Tourre (recently convicted on six counts of securities fraud) will be teaching an honors economics class at the “prestigious” University of Chicago.
There’s nothing like an esteemed University setting the already culturally accepted example that ethics are for suckers. Stealing, cheating and corruption are the values most exalted in today’s world. It doesn’t matter how you achieve your wealth, as long as you attain it. After all, it’s not as if you’ll ever get in trouble for it as long as you work for a “Too Big to Jail” bank.
From the UK’s Telegraph:
Fabrice Tourre, the former Goldman Sachs trader convicted on six counts of securities fraud six months ago, will teach an honours class in economics at the University of Chicago this spring.
“They want your fucking retirement money!”
– George Carlin (2005)
– Detroit bankruptcy ruling triggers calls for pension cuts across the US (WSWS, Dec 6, 2013):
Within days of a federal judge’s ruling in support of the Detroit bankruptcy, the devastating implications for the working class across the US are becoming apparent. States and cities throughout the country are citing the legal precedent of the Detroit ruling to attack public employee pensions, initiating a new stage in the assault on workers’ rights and living standards.
Politicians of both big business parties, media outlets and financial institutions have welcomed the decision by Judge Steven Rhodes, hailing its categorical assertion that federal courts can override state and local guarantees of public workers’ pensions.
The Michigan Constitution declares that accrued pension benefits are “contractual obligations” that “shall not be diminished or impaired.” Many other state constitutions have similar provisions. But Rhodes brushed aside the Michigan Constitution in order to open the door to the gutting of pensions.
On Thursday, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law a pension bill that slashes benefits for retired as well as active state employees, in violation of the Illinois Constitution’s prohibition of such pension cuts. Described as a “landmark” law, the Illinois measure will raise the retirement age for younger workers by eight years, slash cost-of-living adjustments for current pensioners, and transfer many workers from state-paid pension plans to employee-paid 401(k) plans.
Chicago has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country.
– 13 shot in park: ‘My younger brother was on the floor’ (Chicago Tribune, Sep 20, 2013):
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said a mass shooting at a South Side park shows why assault weapons should be banned, saying it was a “miracle” no one was killed when someone opened fire with a high-powered rifle at a pick-up basketball game.
“A military-grade weapon on the streets of Chicago is simply unacceptable,” McCarthy told a news conference this morning, 12 hours after a 3-year-old boy and 12 other people were shot during at Cornell Square Park. All are expected to survive.
“It’s a miracle there has been no fatality,” he said. “Illegal guns, illegal guns, illegal guns drive violence.”
– Chicago Next? Windy City Cash Balance Plummets To Only $33 Million As Debt Triples (ZeroHedge, July 28, 2013):
While everyone’s attention is focused on the Detroit bankruptcy, and just what assets the city will sell in lieu of raising a DIP loan, perhaps it is time to refocus attention to the city 300 miles west: Chicago. According to the Chicago Sun Times citing year-end audits, Obama’s former right hand man, Rahm Emanuel, closed the books on 2012 with $33.4 million in unallocated cash on hand — down from $167 million the year before — while adding to the mountain of debt piled on Chicago taxpayers. In addition to a liquidity problem, Chicago may also be quite insolvent as the city’s total long-term debt soared to nearly $29 billion. That’s $10,780 for every one of the city’s nearly 2.69 million residents. More than a decade ago, the debt load was $9.6 billion or $3,338 per resident. Of course, in a world in which debt is “wealth”, this is great news… at least until debt becomes “bankruptcy.”
Ironically last year, now-retiring City Comptroller Amer Ahmad argued that the city’s debt load was not “troubling” because, “We still have a very strong bond rating. Our fiscal position is getting better every year and we are aggressively managing our liabilities and obligations” (very much awhat the ECB’s Mario Draghi tells the world when he gives the periodic monthly update of European capital markets during the central bank’s press conference). It is ironic because last week, Moody’s downgraded Chicago from Aa3 to A3 in an unprecedented three notch cut in the city’s bond rating, citing Chicago’s “very large and growing” pension liabilities, “significant” debt service payments, “unrelenting public safety demands” and historic reluctance to raise local taxes that has continued under Emanuel.
Chicago has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country.
– Ill. Rep Requests National Guard Help Stop Chicago Violence (CBS News, July 10, 2013):
CHICAGO, Ill. (IRN) – Gun violence in Chicago is so severe that a state lawmaker wants state police and the National Guard to assist the local cops.
State Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) is making the request.
“I am requesting with this press conference that Gov. Patrick Quinn order the Illinois National Guard (and) the Illinois State Police (to) come to Chicago and work with our mayor Ron (sic) Emanuel to provide safety for the children, especially,” she said at a news conference in Springfield.
Other state lawmakers accompanied Davis to recognize the severity of the problem, and the extent to which it carries beyond Chicago’s troubled neighborhoods to the entire city and other parts of the state, but not necessarily to concur with her solution.
George Carlin sums it up best:
– Marching in Chicago: Resisting Rahm Emanuel’s Neoliberal Savagery (Truthout, May 24, 2013):
Across the globe, predatory capitalism spreads its gospel of power, greed, commodification, gentrification, and inequality. Through the combined forces of a market driven ideology, policy, and mode of governance, the apostles of free-market capitalism are doing their best to dismantle historically guaranteed social provisions provided by the welfare state, define the accumulation of capital as the only obligation of democracy, increase the role of corporate money in politics, wage an assault on unions, expand the military-security state, increase inequalities in wealth and income, foster the erosion of civil liberties, and undercut public faith in the defining institutions of democracy. As market mentalities and moralities tighten their grip on all aspects of society, democratic institutions and public spheres are being downsized, if not altogether disappearing. As these institutions vanish—from public schools to health care centers—there is also a serious erosion of the discourses of community, justice, equality, public values, and the common good. One does not have to look too far to see what happens in America’s neoliberal educational culture to see how ruthlessly the inequality of wealth, income, and power bears down on those young people and brave teachers who are struggling every day to save the schools, unions, and modes of pedagogy that offer hope at a time when schools have become just another commodity, students are reduced to clients or disposable populations, and teachers and their unions are demonized.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s current attempt to close down 54 public schools largely inhabited by poor minorities is one more example of a savage, racist neoliberal system at work that uses the politics of austerity and consolidation to further disenfranchise the unskilled young of the inner city. The hidden curriculum in this instance is not so invisible. Closing schools will result in massive layoffs, weakening the teachers unions. It will free up land that can be gentrified to attract middle class voters, and it will once again prove that poor minority students regardless of the hardships, if not danger, they will face as a result of such closings are viewed as disposable—human waste to be relegated to the zones of terminal exclusion. Not only are many teachers and parents concerned about displacing thousands of students to schools that do not offer any hope of educational improvement, but they are also concerned about the safety of the displaced children, many of whom “will have to walk through violent neighborhoods, and go to school with other students who are considered enemies.” Brian Sturgis, a Chicago high school senior and organizer with the group Chicago Students Organizing to Save our Schools declared in an op-ed that Chicago students are prepared to fight for their schools. He writes: Continue reading »
– ALERT! La Salle Nuclear Plant Nearly Took Out Chicago! (Pissin’ On The Roses, April 19, 2013):
Chicago almost became a glowing radioactive sister city to Fukushima.
Yesterday we broke the story of the La Salle Nuclear plant having to perform a Fukushima style direct-to-atmosphere venting of the primary nuclear containment due to a lightening strike. As we indicated at the time, the amount of radioactivity released is unknown because the radiation monitors were not on a backup power supply.
Today in a follow on NRC event report, we find out that failures in the emergency cooling system resulted in the last ditch cooling attempt of directly venting the radioactive drywell to the atmosphere. The severity of those failures are underreported in the NRC event report, because it reads no different than if it the failures had been discovered during testing instead of being found out in the midst of a real life emergency resulting in the last ditch cooling effort of venting.
We explain the situation in more detail in the video, but gist of the analysis is as follows: Continue reading »
From the article:
“I’m not going to let you do to me what you did to Stanley McChrystal,” Emanuel said in an allusion to the Rolling Stones profile of McChrystal that Hastings wrote which led to the general’s resignation over disparaging comments made about President Obama.
– Reporter: Mayor Emanuel threatened me with ‘physical violence’ (PressTV, Jan 18, 2013):
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel allegedly grabbed a reporter by the arm in order to communicate “a threat of physical violence” in the course of an interview that went south during the presidential campaign.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this in my career from an American public official,” Buzzfeed’s Michael Hastings, author of Panic 2012: The Sublime and Terrifying Inside Story of Barack Obama’s Final Campaign, said on Current TV.
– 500 Murders In Chicago Show Gun Bans Don’t Work (Investors, Dec 2, 2013):
Guns: The mayor of what is at once America’s most gun-controlled city and its murder capital wants an assault weapons ban like the one he pushed in 1994. Except it didn’t work then, and it won’t work now.
Nathaniel T. Jackson, 40, an alleged gang member with a long arrest record, was gunned down last week outside a store in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, becoming the Windy City’s 500th murder victim in 2012.
Up to 80% of Chicago’s murders and shootings are gang-related, according to police. By one estimate, the city has almost 70,000 gang members. A police audit last spring identified 59 gangs and 625 factions; most were on the South and West sides.
Yet, in the view of Chicago’s mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, the answer to violence by crazies and criminals in his city and nationally is more gun control, not more gang and goon control.
– These 12 Hellholes Are Examples Of What The Rest Of America Will Look Like Soon (The Economic Collapse, July 15, 2012):
Do you want to see where this country is headed? If so, don’t focus on the few areas that are still very prosperous. New York City has Wall Street, Washington D.C. has the federal government and Silicon Valley has Google and Facebook. Those are the exceptions. The reality is that most of the country has been experiencing a slow decline for a very long time and once thriving cities such as Gary, Indiana and Flint, Michigan have become absolute hellholes. They are examples of what the rest of America will look like soon. 60 years ago, most Americans were decent, hard working people and there were always good jobs available for anyone that was willing to roll up his or her sleeves and put in an honest day of work. But now all of that has changed. Over the past decade, tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities have shut down and millions of jobs have left the country. Cities such as Cleveland, Baltimore and Detroit were once shining examples of everything that was right about America, but now they stand out like festering sores. The “blue collar cities” have been hit the hardest by the gutting of our economic infrastructure. There are many communities in America today where it seems like all of the hope and all of the life have been sucked right out of them. You can see it in the eyes of the people. The good times are gone permanently and they know it. Unfortunately, the remainder of the country will soon be experiencing the despair that those communities are feeling.
The following are 12 hellholes that are examples of what the rest of America will look like soon…. Continue reading »
Tags: Baltimore, California, Camden, Chicago, Cleveland, Collapse, Detroit, Economy, Flint, Gary, Global News, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, NEW ORLEANS, Oakland, Ohio, Philadelphia, Society, St. Louis, Stockton, U.S.
– Cops over classrooms: Chicago uses teachers’ salaries to pay for school police (RT, July 10, 2012):
The union that represents public school teachers in Chicago, Illinois says that the city lied about around $70 million in finances to fund the police department with money already put aside for educators.
The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has uncovered an agreement signed by city officials through a Freedom of Information Act request that they say shows that millions of dollars meant to go towards contractually obligated raises for public school workers were instead funneled to the Chicago Police Department (CPD) to compensate law enforcement for patrolling the halls of those very schools.
According to a post published on the website for the CTU, the documents obtained in the recent FOIA request reveal that the city took $70 million set aside for teacher salaries and unemployment benefits and sent it to the Police Department to use for paying the cops that were dispatched across Chicago’s school system last year.