Illinois state workers, are the highest paid in the nation.
Yet, despite the fact that Illinois is for all practical purposes insolvent, the AFSCME union demands four-year raises ranging from 11.5 to 29 percent, overtime after 37.5 hours of work per week, five weeks of vacation and enhanced health care coverage.
AFSCME workers already get platinum healthcare benefits that would make nearly everyone in the country green with envy.
* * *
As Illinois struggles to get its fiscal house in order (good luck with that), it has devolved into funding key programs with one-off stopgap measures rather than approving an overall comprehensive budget. The state remains the only remaining state without a 2016 plan.
Most recently, lawmakers overwhelmingly approved $700 million to fund social service programs, however, as the Chicago Sun Times reports, the bill is likely to sit on Governor Bruce Rauner’s desk as he tries to push lawmakers to come to an agreement on a balanced budget instead of one-off solutions. Continue reading »
By now, Illinois’ budget problems are no secret.
Back in May, after the State Supreme Court struck down a pension reform bid, Moody’s move to downgrade the city of Chicago thrust the state’s financial woes into the national spotlight.
Since then, the situation hasn’t gotten any better and despite hiring an “all star” budget guru (for $30,000 a month no less), Bruce Rauner was unable to pass a budget in a timely fashion leading directly to all types of absurdities including everything from the possibility of shortened school years to lottery winners being paid in IOUs.
Now, as Bloomberg reports, pension payments are set to be delayed. Bond payments, apparently, will still be made.
Illinois will delay pension payments as a prolonged budget impasse causes a cash shortage, Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger said. 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.
Added: Apr 8, 2011
The substance in the report is concentrated hydrofluorosilicic acid, a pollution by product of the phosphate fertilizer industry that is trucked around the country and placed in your drinking water. The chemical is so caustic, the transport tankers must be coated inside with rubber to protect the metal. As mentioned in the video, the chemical is strong enough to melt concrete and many other substances. Fluorosilicic acid is so dangerous, cleanups must be done by qualified hazmat crews that are properly protected in hazardous material suits. It is completely illegal to dump this toxic substance in any natural body of water anywhere in the country. However, if it is placed in a container, in either powdered or liquid form, and sold to water utilities, it magically becomes a product that can then be placed in municipal drinking water anywhere in the United States. Despite being used as a drug, the substance has never been approved for that use by the FDA.
This video is presented under the fair use copyright law as an example of how hazardous fluorosilicic acid is. The source and producer is WQAD News 8 of Moline, Illinois – FAN would like to thank WQAD and Kristy Mergenthal for their excellent report.
– Hyper-Sensitive Illinois Mayor Orders Police Raid Over Parody Twitter Account (Liberty Blitzkrieg, April 19, 2014):
Just yesterday, I wrote a post about how a South Carolina construction worker was fined $525 and lost his job for not paying $0.89 for a drink refill while working at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in downtown Charleston. The point was to emphasize how the law comes down with a devastating vengeance when an average citizen commits a minor crime, yet allows the super rich to loot and pillage with zero repercussions. There is now a systemic two-tier justice system operating in these United States, and the result will unquestionably be tyranny if the trend continues unabated.
The latest example of a lowly citizen being subject to a disproportionate use of the law, is Jon Daniel of Peoria, Illinois. Jon was behind a parody Twitter account that mocked Peoria mayor Jim Ardis, and his biggest mistake was not making it clear that it was a parody. As a result, Twitter had already suspended the account weeks ago. Problem solved, right? Wrong.
The tough guy mayor was so offended that a plebe would dare criticize his royal highness that he ordered a police raid on the home of Jon Daniel and his roommates. Peoria native, Justin Glawe wrote an excellent article on the subject for Vice. He writes:
Jon Daniel woke up on Thursday morning to a news crew in his living room, which was a welcome change from the company he had on Tuesday night, when the Peoria, Illinois, police came crashing through the door. The officers tore the 28-year-old’s home apart, seizing electronics and taking several of his roommates in for questioning; one woman who lived there spent three hours in an interrogation room. All for a parody Twitter account.
“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.
– 95-Year Old Man Tasered to Death by Police in Illinois Nursing Home (Liberty Blitzkrieg, July 29, 2013):
It appears that the militarized police force running rampant on the streets of America just can’t handle the threats of a 95-year old man in a nursing home armed with a cane. Although it appears the officers are attempting to justify their violent and aggressive behavior by claiming he was wielding a “12 inch knife,” I would’ve thought the police are supposed to know how to deal with such situations, particularly when their assailant is basically a centenarian. This seems to be societal blowback from the Rise of the Warrior Cop, a subject I highlighted recently.
Now from UPI:
PARK FOREST, Ill., July 28 (UPI) – A 95-year-old Illinois man who allegedly confronted police officers with a knife and cane died after they shot him with a stun gun and bean bag rounds.
– Illinois illegally seizes Bees Resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup; Kills remaining Queens (Global Research, May 24, 2013):
The Illinois Ag Dept. illegally seized privately owned bees from renowned naturalist, Terrence Ingram, without providing him with a search warrant and before the court hearing on the matter, reports Prairie Advocate News.
Behind the obvious violations of his Constitutional rights is Monsanto. Ingram was researching Roundup’s effects on bees, which he’s raised for 58 years. “They ruined 15 years of my research,” he told Prairie Advocate, by stealing most of his stock.
A certified letter from the Ag Dept.’s Apiary Inspection Supervisor, Steven D. Chard, stated: Continue reading »
– High School Teacher Faces Disciplinary Action for Informing Students of Their Rights (Liberty, Blitzkrieg, May 28, 2013):
Rather than being reprimanded, Illinois high school teacher John Dryden, should be held up as an example of what it truly means to be a teacher. When confronted with a situation where he knew his students might be giving up their Fifth Amendment rights, the social studies teacher did what he believed was the right and moral thing to do. For that action, he may be disciplined.
A high school social studies teacher in Batavia, Illinois, faces disciplinary action for informing students of their Fifth Amendment rights in connection with a survey asking about illegal drug use. The survey, ostensibly aimed at assessing the needs of students at Batavia High School, was distributed on April 18. After picking up the survey forms from his mailbox about 10 minutes before his first class of the day, John Dryden noticed that they had students’ names on them and that they asked about drinking and drug use, among other subjects. Dryden, who had just finished teaching a unit on the Bill of Rights, worried that students might feel obliged to incriminate themselves—an especially ticklish situation given the police officer stationed at the school. Since there was no time to confer with administrators, he says, he decided to tell his students that they did not have to complete the forms if doing so involved admitting illegal behavior. Tomorrow the school board will consider whether and how to punish Dryden for taking advantage of this teachable moment.
I suppose it makes sense. In the gulag, ghetto of injustice America has become only crooked IRS agents should be able to plead the 5th.
The petition to support John Dryden has well over 5,000 signatures, with the most recent recent one being mine. It can be found here.
– Is Gold and Silver Registration Coming to Illinois? (Liberty Blitzkrieg Blog, Jan 10, 2013):
So let me get this straight. First they want gun registration and now precious metal registration? I’m sure the government would only use such information in our best interests, because as we all know: Your Government Loves You. Sounds reasonable, after all, only “terrorists” buy guns and gold anyway.
Meet the ” Precious Metal Purchasing Act” or SB3341, brought to you by the lovely folks at the Illinois 97th General Assembly: Continue reading »
– Gun control legislation advances in Illinois state Senate (RT, Jan 3, 2013):
A state Senate panel in Illinois has approved bans on both assault weapons and high capacity clips. A floor vote on the measures, which come in the wake of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting massacre, is expected on Thursday.
The two initiatives were backed by the historically Democrat-dominated Senate Public Health Committee. Continue reading »
– What Does It Mean that Residents in All 50 States Have Filed Petitions to Secede? (ZeroHedge, Nov 16, 2012):
A lot of attention is being given to the fact that residents in all 50 states have filed petitions to secede from the United States.
Daily Caller reports:
By 6:00 a.m. EST Wednesday, more than 675,000 digital signatures appeared on 69 separate secession petitions covering all 50 states, according to a Daily Caller analysis of requests lodged with the White House’s “We the People” online petition system.
Petitions from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas residents have accrued at least 25,000 signatures, the number the Obama administration says it will reward with a staff review of online proposals. (RELATED: Will Texas secede? Petition triggers White House review)
The Texas petition leads all others by a wide margin.
States whose active petitions have not yet reached the 25,000 signature threshold include Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Fourteen states are represented by at least two competing petitions. The extra efforts from two states — Missouri and South Carolina — would add enough petitions to warrant reviews by the Obama administration if they were combined into petitions launched earlier.
Tags: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Barack Obama, California, Collapse, Colorado, Connecticut, Debt, Delaware, Dollar, Economy, Global News, Government, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Obama administration, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Politics, Rhode Island, Ron Paul, Society, South Carolina, South Dakota, U.S., Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
– 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.
YouTube Added: 20.03.2012
– ELECTION Fraud? Why Did ABC-TV Post Illinois GOP Primary “Vote Count” 24 Hours Early?! A “Test”? (SGT Report, Mar 20, 2012):
On the eve before the GOP Illinois primary, one might ask:
How the hell does SGTreport have election “results” for a Republican primary in Illinois which has yet to take place?
We have long argued that the fix is in, but this… um… leaves us speechless. We don’t believe these numbers will represent the “actual” results of Tuesday’s Primary, the question is, why are ANY results, and a clear winner shown here? And why is Ron Paul shown with only 3% of the vote?
Posted on – MONDAY NIGHT, March 19th – on the web site of Chicago ABC News Affiliate WLS-TV are the following election results, clearly labeled as “Illinois Races, Federal Offices”. If we have this wrong, please let us know why this information exists in ANY form. Or, if we are indeed living in a banana republic, copy that. You now have our blessing to move out of the country.
The time stamped screen shot from my computer, on Monday, March 19, 2012 at 11:29 p.m. CST is posted below.
**UPDATE: Some time around 12:40 a.m. CST on Tuesday morning the web page (original link below) with the election data you see here was removed from the WLS-TV website.
Just DON’T eat ANY kind of seaweed!
Even before the Gulf of Mexico disaster and Fukushima I advised people NOT to eat any kind of seafood.
YouTube Added: 05.02.2012
YouTube Added: 05.02.2012
– Bill Status of HB1294 (Illinois General Assembly):
Short Description: CRIM CD-ASSAULT WEAPON-PROHIB
Date Chamber Action 1/25/2012 House Placed on Calendar Order of 3rd Reading – Standard Debate
Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Criminal Code of 1961. Provides that 90 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act, it is unlawful for any person within this State to knowingly manufacture, deliver, sell, purchase, or possess or cause to be manufactured, delivered, sold, purchased, or possessed a semi-automatic assault weapon, an assault weapon attachment, any .50 caliber rifle, or .50 caliber cartridge. Provides that beginning 90 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act, it is unlawful for any person within this State to knowingly manufacture, deliver, sell, purchase, or possess or cause to be manufactured, delivered, sold, purchased, or possessed a large capacity ammunition feeding device. Provides that these provisions do not apply to a person who possessed a prohibited weapon, device, or attachment before the effective date of this amendatory Act if the person has provided proof of ownership to the Department of State Police within 90 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act. Provides that on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act, such person may transfer such device only to an heir, an individual residing in another state maintaining that device in another state, or a dealer licensed as a federal firearms dealer. Specifies penalties for violations. Provides exemptions. Provides that the provisions of the Act are severable. Effective immediately.
– 6-year-old kids handcuffed in class (RT, Sep. 2, 2011):
A lawsuit out of Chicago, Illinois alleges that several 6- and 7-year-old students at a city public school were handcuffed and threatened for hours all for talking during their first grade class.
LaShanda Smith, one of the student’s mothers, is seeking $100,000 from the city for damages both “permanent” and “personal” that she says her son suffered as a result of the incident, which allegedly occurred in 2010 at a school in the south side of the city. Smith’s attorney Michael Carin tells the Chicago Tribune that he has attempted to resolve the issue without bringing the battle into the courtroom, but the school Board officials have ignored his attempts at reaching a settlement.
“Unfortunately, we had to file a lawsuit because the Chicago Board of Education ignored my client on the day of the imprisonment and every day thereafter,” Carin writes in an email to the Tribune. “We hope the Chicago Board of Education acknowledges its responsibility and resolves the matter quickly.”
Obesity levels have risen sharply in the past 20 years in the U.S. and one Illinois lawmaker thinks he has the solution – force parents of chunky children to lose their tax breaks.
One in four people in a staggering 33 states are obese and State Senator Shane Cultra says that hitting people in their pockets is the way to slim-down the country.
‘It’s the parents responsibility that have obese kids,’ he said yesterday. ‘Take the tax deduction away for parents that have obese kids.’
Here is the forecast video from 2 days ago (2:33am CST April 29/30 2011″..
This forecast : ‘HAARP Rings And Scalar Squares = Very Severe Weather (Incl. Tornadoes) In St Louis, Springfield, Omaha, Chicago In The Next 24-48 Hours‘ calling for Saint Louis Missouri, Springfield illinois, Chicago illinois, and Des Moines Iowa to receive the strongest center portion of the coming (not yet formed at the time) storms. Up to and including tornadoes.
View the ring effected areas from 2 days ago right now on intellicast.. look at Saint Louis Missouri, Springfield Illinois, and Chicago … all in line for the large portion of the coming storm.
HAARP is real:
HAARP is real:
In the towns of Saint Louis Missouri, Springfield Illinois, Omaha Nebraska, Lacrosse Wisconsin, and Dixon to Chicago Illinois, and Milwaukee… expect severe weather up to and including tornadoes in the next 24-48 hours from now .. 300am CST 4/30/2011 .
Based upon the “HAARP VLF UHF” radar rings showing up around each effected area.
Added: 26. January 2011
– New video game teaches children about preparedness, earthquake safety (Ready.Illinois.Gov)
A new video game offers a fun way for young people to learn about emergency preparedness and earthquake safety. The video game, entitled “The Day the Earth Shook,” helps players learn about items needed for a disaster preparedness kit, as well as safe and dangerous locations in a home when an earthquake occurs. Once players successfully complete the game for the first time, they can replay it for scores that would land them on the leader board. The video game can be downloaded here.
The game was developed by the Electronic Visualization Lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and the Center for Public Safety and Justice, which is within the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois lawmakers have approved a politically risky 66 percent income tax increase in an effort to solve a historic budget crisis.
The bill now goes to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who supports the plan.
It would temporarily set the personal tax rate at 5 percent, up from 3 percent now. Corporate taxes would climb, too.
Quinn’s office says the tax increase would generate about $6.8 billion annually, helping close a budget hole that could hit $15 billion this year.
This is outrageous! This is education!
Bombard the government with emails and protest, so that these kids can eat what they have grown for lunch.
Those kids developed a connection with nature and that is priceless. Now let them also have the benefit from it. This is so important. There are already enough zombies out there.
The only good thing about this article is that some schools give the food to the kids to take it home with them.
Most school garden produce is forbidden fruit in CPS lunchrooms
It’s harvest time in Chicago Public School gardens full of chubby tomatoes, heavy squash and fragrant basil.
These urban oases, carefully tended by teachers, students and volunteers, range from several square feet to several acres of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers, and some schools even grow plants year-round in school greenhouses.
But one thing the more than 40 gardens have in common is that none of the produce ever finds its way into CPS lunchrooms. Instead, because of rules set by the district and its meal provider, the food is sold or given away.
The policies are in place despite the high obesity rate among Illinois children and experts’ concerns that young people are eating few fresh vegetables. Meanwhile, a studies suggest children eat and accept vegetables much more readily when they have helped grow them.
But in a district that touts its use of some local produce in the lunchroom, the most local of all remains forbidden fruit.
Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary of agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recently toured a CPS school garden at the Academy for Global Citizenship on the Southwest Side. There, two second-grade girls showed her the eggplant, squash and tomatoes they grew, along with the chickens they kept for eggs.
“Ideally, all of those products would make it from the garden to the lunchroom,” Merrigan said.
But rules created by CPS and its meals supplier, Chartwells-Thompson, prevent that from happening.
“In order to use food in the school food program, it would need to meet specific/certified growing practices,” CPS spokeswoman Monique Bond said.
These requirements would include eliminating all “pesticides and insecticide” applications and using only “commercially prepared organic compost and fertilizers,” said Bob Bloomer, regional vice president of Chartwells-Thompson.
Commercial vendors, though, don’t have to abide by these rules. They can sell the district produce treated with several pesticides and grown in nonorganic fertilizer.
But produce grown by the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences on its 25-acre farm wouldn’t make the grade because, for example, it treats its corn with a single pesticide.
Instead, the high school ends up selling most of the bounty — including pumpkins, tomatoes, squash, greenhouse basil, farm-raised tilapia, fresh eggs and blueberries. Other schools give away the produce or send it home with kids.
This is the Greatest Depression.
The US workforce shrank by 652,000 in June, one of the sharpest contractions ever. The rate of hourly earnings fell 0.1pc. Wages are flirting with deflation.
“The economy is still in the gravitational pull of the Great Recession,” said Robert Reich, former US labour secretary. “All the booster rockets for getting us beyond it are failing.”
“Home sales are down. Retail sales are down. Factory orders in May suffered their biggest tumble since March of last year. So what are we doing about it? Less than nothing,” he said.
California is tightening faster than Greece. State workers have seen a 14pc fall in earnings this year due to forced furloughs. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is cutting pay for 200,000 state workers to the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to cover his $19bn (£15bn) deficit.
Can Illinois be far behind? The state has a deficit of $12bn and is $5bn in arrears to schools, nursing homes, child care centres, and prisons. “It is getting worse every single day,” said state comptroller Daniel Hynes. “We are not paying bills for absolutely essential services. That is obscene.”
Roughly a million Americans have dropped out of the jobs market altogether over the past two months. That is the only reason why the headline unemployment rate is not exploding to a post-war high.
Let us be honest. The US is still trapped in depression a full 18 months into zero interest rates, quantitative easing (QE), and fiscal stimulus that has pushed the budget deficit above 10pc of GDP.
The share of the US working-age population with jobs in June actually fell from 58.7pc to 58.5pc. This is the real stress indicator. The ratio was 63pc three years ago. Eight million jobs have been lost.
The average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks. Nothing like this has been seen before in the post-war era. Jeff Weninger, of Harris Private Bank, said this compares with a peak of 21.2 weeks in the Volcker recession of the early 1980s.
“Legions of individuals have been left with stale skills, and little prospect of finding meaningful work, and benefits that are being exhausted. By our math the crop of people who are unemployed but not receiving a check amounts to 9.2m.”
Republicans on Capitol Hill are filibustering a bill to extend the dole for up to 1.2m jobless facing an imminent cut-off. Dean Heller from Vermont called them “hobos”. This really is starting to feel like 1932.
Washington’s fiscal stimulus is draining away. It peaked in the first quarter, yet even then the economy eked out a growth rate of just 2.7pc. This compares with 5.1pc, 9.3pc, 8.1pc and 8.5pc in the four quarters coming off recession in the early 1980s.
The housing market is already crumbling as government props are pulled away. The expiry of homebuyers’ tax credit led to a 30pc fall in the number of buyers signing contracts in May. “It is cataclysmic,” said David Bloom from HSBC. Continue reading »
Obama’s action in trying to ease his friend Valerie Jarrett into his old Senate seat will fuel cynicism about politics.
In a year when Americans are arguably more cynical and disillusioned about politics than at any time since Watergate, the corruption trial of Rod Blagojevich is a sobering reminder of how its practitioners operate.
Although “Blago”, the foul-mouthed bouffant buffoon, is the main attraction of the Chicago production, the former Illinois governor’s reluctant co-star is Barack Obama. The President forms part of the proceedings each day even though the judge has spared him a personal experience.
Reports of the Blago trial cannot make comfortable reading for the White House for they provide what Mary Mitchell, the Chicago Sun-Times columnist, described as “an unfiltered look at how the sausage is made in Illinois”
Illinois, of course, is the state that gave us President Obama. It is where he cut his teeth as a community organiser and where he first began to ascend the greasy pole of politics by taking his seat in the state senate.
At issue in the Blago trial is whether the then governor was trying to sell the United States Senate seat that Obama ascended to in 2004 after his initial Republican opponent imploded.
Blago had the power to appoint a new Senator when the seat was vacated because of Obama’s presidential election victory in November 2008. Clearly, he thought the seat was a valuable prize.
“I got this thing and it’s f—— golden and I’m not just giving it up for f—— nothing,” he said in a conversation recorded by a federal wiretap. Blago’s instinct was that Obama – who he mockingly described as “this historic, f—— demi-god” – would be willing to pay to have his preferred choice be duly appointed.
That choice, the trial has confirmed, was Valerie Jarrett, who now rejoices in the title of senior White House adviser and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.
Her qualification to be a Senator? Jarrett had worked for Mayor Richard Daley and chaired the Chicago Transit Board. She had been a successful businesswoman in Chicago. But she had never held elected office and her name would not even have been mentioned had it not been for her closeness to the President-elect.
Jarrett was a long-time personal friend of Obama and his wife Michelle and that seemed to be qualification enough for the man about to enter the White House.
Tom Balanoff, president of the Service Employees International Union’s powerful Local 1 branch, took on the role as “emissary” for Jarrett, who initially wanted the Senate seat, and testified that Obama telephoned him personally to speak about it.
Next, Obama’s incoming chief of staff Rahm Emanuel spoke to John Wyma, a lobbyist, who then telephoned Blago’s right-hand man John Harris to communicate that “the president-elect would be very pleased if you appointed Valerie and he would be, uh, thankful and appreciative”.
Blago’s problem seems to have been that he wanted something a little bit more concrete than appreciation. To be precise, his response was: “F— them.”
Cruel and Unusual Punishment: Soy Diet for Illinois Prisoners
When Rod Blagojevich was elected governor of Illinois in 2002, he immediately made a change in the prison diets. Beginning in January 2003, inmates began receiving a diet largely based on processed soy protein, with very little meat. In most meals, small amounts of meat or meat by-products are mixed with 60-70 percent soy protein; fake soy cheese has replaced real cheese; and soy flour or soy protein is now added to most of the baked goods.
The governor’s justification for replacing nutritious meat and cheese with toxic soy protein was financial-to lower the enormous costs of running the Illinois Department of Corrections. However, the likely reason is payback for campaign contributions from Archer Daniels Midland, the main supplier of soy products to the Illinois prisons.
Suffering of Inmates
Early in 2007, the Weston A. Price Foundation began hearing from inmates who were suffering from a myriad of serious health problems due to the large amounts of soy in the diet. These prisoners had found us through the Soy Alert! section of our website. Complaints include chronic and painful constipation alternating with debilitating diarrhea, vomiting after eating, sharp pains in the digestive tract, especially after consuming soy, passing out, heart palpitations, rashes, acne, insomnia, panic attacks, insomnia, depression and symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as low body temperature (feeling cold all the time), brain fog, fatigue, weight gain, frequent infections and enlarged thyroid gland. Since soy contains anti-fertility compounds, many young prisoners may be unable to father children after their release.
The suffering of these men is intense and medical care is palliative at best. Many have had sections of their digestive tract removed, but all requests for a soy-free diet are denied. The men are told, “If you don’t like the food, don’t eat it.” That means that unless they can afford to purchase commissary food, they must eat the soy food or starve.
The Weston A. Price Foundation has hired an attorney to represent several inmates incarcerated in the Illinois Department of Corrections system. The Foundation’s attorney has entered his appearance on behalf of three inmates, has had contacts with several other inmates, has served several subpoenas upon the wardens of several facilities for documents and other information, and has informed the Court that additional inmates will soon be named in an amended complaint. Continue reading »
Two lawmakers who believe violence has become so rampant in Chicago that the Illinois National Guard must be called in to help made a public plea to Gov. Pat Quinn to deploy troops.
April 14: Chicago Police and investigators are seen following a shooting that left four people dead, including two children.
CHICAGO (AP) — Two lawmakers who believe violence has become so rampant in Chicago that the Illinois National Guard must be called in to help made a public plea to Gov. Pat Quinn on Sunday to deploy troops.
A recent surge in violent crime, including a night last week that saw seven people killed and 18 wounded — mostly by gunfire — prompted the request from Chicago Democratic Reps. John Fritchey and LaShawn Ford. They were joined by Willie Williams, whose son was shot and killed in 2006.
Chicago has had 113 homicide victims so far this year, Fritchey said.
“As we speak, National Guard members are working side-by-side with our troops to fight a war halfway around the world,” he said during a news conference in downtown Chicago. “The unfortunate reality is that we have another war that is just as deadly that is taking place right in our backyard.”
Fritchey said later that the proposal wasn’t a “no confidence” vote toward police.
“I think the police have done a commendable job in fighting this surge in violence, but I also think they could use some well-trained help,” he said. “The reality is that (police) department resources are stretched thin.” Continue reading »
The US is broke.
As Illinois’ fiscal crisis deepens, the word “bankruptcy” is creeping more and more into the public discourse.
“We would like all the stakeholders of Illinois to recognize how close the state is to bankruptcy or insolvency,” says Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, a fiscal watchdog in Chicago.
“Bankruptcy is the reality that looms out there,” Republican gubernatorial candidate Andrew McKenna Jr. says.
While it appears unlikely or even impossible for a state to hide out from creditors in Bankruptcy Court, Illinois appears to meet classic definitions of insolvency: Its liabilities far exceed its assets, and it’s not generating enough cash to pay its bills. Private companies in similar circumstances often shut down or file for bankruptcy protection.
“I would describe bankruptcy as the inability to pay one’s bills,” says Jim Nowlan, senior fellow at the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs. “We’re close to de facto bankruptcy, if not de jure bankruptcy.”
Legal experts say the protections of the federal bankruptcy code are available to cities and counties but not states. Continue reading »
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota is deep in the hole financially, but the state still owns a premier golf resort, a sprawling amateur sports complex, a big airport, a major zoo and land holdings the size of the Central American country of Belize.
Valuables like these are in for a closer look as 44 states cope with deficits.
Like families pawning the silver to get through a tight spot, states such as Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts and Illinois are thinking of selling or leasing toll roads, parks, lotteries and other assets to raise desperately needed cash.
The patient (U.S.) is dying because of poisonous and deadly medication administered by the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Government:
– Lindsey Williams: The Dollar And The US Will Collapse; Saudi Arabia And Dubai Will Fall; US Will Be Third World Country; The Greatest Depression Is Coming
– Gerald Celente: The Greatest Depression
– Analyst: One Third Of Banks Could Collapse In 2009
– Peter Schiff: “There is going to be an inflationary depression in the US”
– Marc Faber: “2009 is going to be a catastrophe”
– Ron Paul – TRUTH on Government Fraud funds (12/22/08)
– Economic Collapse of 2009 – Greater than Great Depression of 1929
– U.S. Economy: Housing Prices Collapse at Near-Depression Pace
– Official says California could be broke in 2 months
– World faces “total” financial meltdown: Bank of Spain chief
– The Neo-Alchemy of the Federal Reserve by Ron Paul
– Jim Rogers: If Obamanomics happens it’s all over
– Jim Rogers: “America is out of control”
– Jim Rogers: The Larger US Banks Are Bankrupt, Totally Bankrupt
– Interview with Peter Schiff (12/13/08)
– Interview: Peter Schiff still grim on future
– Peter Schiff Was Right 2006 – 2007 (2nd Edition)
– Peter Schiff: Low Rates, Big Problems
– Peter Schiff: The Economic Crisis Is Only Just Beginning (Nov. 24, 2008)
– Federal Reserve Refuses to Disclose Recipients of $2 Trillion
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has hinted that his January budget proposal will include proposals to privatize some of what the state owns or does. The Republican is looking for cash to help close a $5.27 billion deficit without raising taxes.
GOP lawmakers are pushing to privatize the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the state lottery. Both steps require a higher authority – federal legislation in the case of the airport, a voter-approved constitutional amendment for the lottery. But one lawmaker estimated an airport deal could bring in at least $2.5 billion, and the lottery $500 million.
At least 29 states plus the District of Columbia, including several of the nation’s largest states, faced an estimated $48 billion in combined shortfalls in their budgets for fiscal year 2009 (which began July 1, 2008 in most states.) At least three other states expect budget problems in fiscal year 2010.
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