Tag: Chicago IL

Trump hints at declaring martial law in Illinois’s largest city, even though seven cities have higher murder rates

A few hours ago, President Donald Trump took to Twitter and hinted at possibly declaring martial law in Chicago over the city’s high murder rate:

I really don’t know of any presidential powers at Trump’s disposal that could be used in regards to a city having a high murder rate outside of two presidential powers: one would be to declare a state of emergency in Chicago, and the other would be declaring martial law in Chicago. Unlike a state National Guard or a state militia, the President cannot take over a city police force.

States United, part of the Mike Bloomberg-aligned pro-gun control political network that has been known to support far-right Republicans, has a couple of infographics about the actual state of the Chicago murder crisis:

As you can see, guns originally purchased in states like Indiana, and, to a lesser extent, Wisconsin and Mississippi, all three of which have weaker gun safety laws than Illinois does, have played a large role in Chicago’s murder crisis, and seven U.S. cities (St. Louis, Baltimore, Detroit, New Orleans, Cleveland, Newark, and Memphis) all have higher murder rates than Chicago does. Despite the facts, Trump and his Republican allies haven’t hinted at martial law in cities with a higher murder rate than that of Chicago, and Trump and his Republican allies want to make it easier, not harder, for people to take guns across state lines.

While murder is a serious problem in this country, declaring martial law is going to do absolutely nothing to solve the murder crisis of Chicago or any other city.

The women of America are leading the opposition to Donald Trump

madison-wi-women-march-1-21-2017
Sign carried by a participant in the Madison, Wisconsin Women’s March (Photo taken by Kari Nelson and provided by Sarah Lloyd)

Ladies and gentlemen, the opposition to President Donald Trump is officially here!

Earlier today, millions of people across the United States and on all seven continents around the world (including Antarctica!) participated in Women’s Marches in Washington, D.C. and numerous other locales. The Women’s Marches are the single largest action by the women’s rights movement that I have witnessed in my lifetime by far.

Although I was unable to attend any of the Women’s Marches, here are some observations from the Women’s Marches (all of these are courtesy of either social media of participants or news sources with an online operation of some kind):

The opposition to Donald Trump is not going to be led by a single person. It’s going to be led by a large segment of the American people.

Bernie is still fighting for public education in Chicago

Even though Illinois held its primaries over a month ago, Bernie is still fighting for public education here in Illinois.

Recently, the Rahm Emanuel-controlled Chicago School Board removed Troy LaRaviere from his post as principal of Blaine Elementary School in Chicago because he was a vocal critic of Rahm and his agenda to destroy public education in Chicago. Bernie is standing up for LaRivere:

Bernie has NEVER, in his entire lifetime, given up on progressives and progressive causes. Why should he give up his presidential campaign because because a bunch of party bosses don’t believe that states that haven’t yet voted in a Democratic presidential primary or caucus should be able to choose between multiple candidates who are actually campaigning for their votes?

Chicago teachers go on one-day strike against Rahm-Rauner austerity

K-12 school teachers represented by the Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) have gone on a one-day strike to protest budget cuts by Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and the Rahm Emanuel-appointed Chicago Public Schools (CPS) board (tweet from March 23, strike took place today):

Republicans like Bruce Rauner and his allies, as well as neoliberal corporate Democrats like Rahm Emanuel and his allies, have teamed up in an effort to destroy public education in Chicago, as well as the rest of Illinois. This is despite the fact that investing in public education, not charter schools, school vouchers, or other forms of education privatization, is one of the best investments that politicians can use the people’s taxpayer money for. The more money that government invests in public education at the elementary, secondary, and collegiate levels, the more likely students are able to go on to work in good-paying jobs, thus stimulating the economy when those who have good-paying jobs spend their hard-earned money on goods and services.

I stand with striking Chicago teachers!

Bernie Sanders tries to win Illinois with a Chuy-Downstate coalition

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post corrects a spelling error that I made in regards to the name of Former Illinois State Representative Naomi Jakobsson on Twitter earlier today.


While the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign is scheduled to file official paperwork to get Bernie and his slate of Illinois delegates on our state’s ballot tomorrow afternoon, the Chicago Sun-Times is already reporting the identities of many pro-Bernie delegates who are running for delegate slots at the Democratic National Convention later this year.

Some of the names are fairly obvious anti-establishment/anti-Rahm Emanuel figures in the Chicago area, such as State Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), who defeated a Mike Madigan-supported machine incumbent in a 2012 Democratic primary, State Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago), who is leading the effort to recall Rahm from office, and Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who ran against Rahm in last year’s Chicago mayoral race.

However, a couple of names are clearly indicative of Bernie’s effort to win support in downstate Illinois, something that is virtually unheard of in regards to high-profile Democratic campaigns in Illinois these days, which tend to focus almost exclusively on the Chicago metro area. These are Phil Hare, a two-term former U.S. Representative from Rock Island County, and Naomi Jakobsson, a former state representative from Champaign County. I am not standing for election as a delegate, as I would only do so if the Democratic National Convention were being held in a place like Champaign, Illinois, or Terre Haute, Indiana, which is not the case (it’s being held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this year).

For Bernie to win a majority of delegates out of Illinois, he’d need a coalition consisting of Chuy Garcia voters from the Chicago mayoral race last year and a large majority of Democratic voters downstate, and Bernie’s Illinois delegate slate is clearly reflective of his attempt to win with a Chuy-Downstate coalition.

(READER DISCRETION ADVISED) Dashcam video of Laquan McDonald shooting shows that McDonald did NOT lunge at officer

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post contains a tweet containing a graphic video depicting a person being shot and killed. Reader discretion is strongly advised.


Earlier today, the police car dashcam video of the shooting and killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald at the hands of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke clearly shows that McDonald did not lunge at Van Dyke or any other police officer. In fact, the video shows that, even if McDonald intended to lunge at Van Dyke or a different officer (which is not 100% clear, although McDonald did turn around to face the squad car that the dashcam footage was recorded from right before being shot), he didn’t have time to do so before Van Dyke repeatedly shot McDonald. Van Dyke was immediately behind a white police van when he opened fire on McDonald, and, from the perspective of the dashcam, Van Dyke was shooting from left to right at McDonald.

Here’s the dashcam video:

https://twitter.com/goldietaylor/status/669302334200160256

McDonald was shot a total of 16 times by Van Drew, and McDonald died as a result of the shooting. Van Drew has been officially charged with first-degree murder, which, in Illinois, is punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment (Illinois abolished the death penalty in 2011), although the case has not yet gone to trial.

Furthermore, Chicago Police have deleted security footage from a Burger King fast food restaurant near the site of the shooting, according to a report from Chicago NBC affiliate WMAQ-TV, citing a district manager for Burger King:

https://twitter.com/ShaunKing/status/669198386420170752

It’s clear to me that the Chicago Police Department tried to cover up evidence of one of their officers shooting and killing a black teenager. Whoever deleted the Burger King security camera footage should, if possible, be charged with destroying evidence or whatever applicable criminal charge would apply in this scenario.

My thoughts about Bruce Rauner’s plan to sell the Thompson Center

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner of Illinois has announced that he wants to sell off the Thompson Center, a large state government office building in Chicago.

As a downstater and an advocate for good government, I have mixed thoughts about this idea.

First off, I don’t think that any state government agencies should be headquartered in Chicago, as Chicago is not the Illinois state capital. Springfield, located in Sangamon County in the central part of the state, is the state capital, and all state government agencies should be headquartered there. Unless one can justify having numerous Chicago branch offices of state government agencies in one building, a building like the Thompson Center serves no valid purpose, in my opinion.

Secondly, I fear that Rauner will screw over Chicago, Cook County, and/or Illinois taxpayers by selling the Thompson Center to a political crony of his for considerably less than market value. Remember that Rauner received tons of campaign contributions from wealthy businesspeople, and they want their payoffs from the Rauner. Ideally, there should be a citizens’ buildings and grounds commission consisting of 4-6 members without any connections to elected officials and/or the business community in Illinois, which would be responsible for selling state property and approving any redevelopment of state property for public and/or private use. However, we currently don’t have anything like that in Illinois, which is a damn shame.

Chicago Tribune columnist Kristen McQueary wants a Hurricane Katrina-style event to rid Chicago of black people

Kristen McQueary, a far-right columnist for the Chicago Tribune, recently wrote a column calling for Chicago to be hit with a natural disaster on the level of Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed New Orleans, Louisiana and the surrounding area 10 years ago this month, in order to wipe out what she considers to be Chicago’s problems.

While McQueary, to my knowledge (I haven’t been able to read her column due to the Tribune’s website not working properly), didn’t explicitly call for cleansing of black people in Chicago, it’s evident from her mentality that she thinks that ethnic minorities, especially black people, are what she considers to be Chicago’s problems. In fact, when Katrina devastated New Orleans, it caused New Orleans’s black population to decline, caused New Orleans’s white population to increase in percentage, and made the black people who remained in New Orleans far worse off than they were prior to Katrina. These changes made New Orleans, as a whole, smaller, wealthier, and whiter, however, the people of New Orleans didn’t individually become wealthier because of Katrina, and many people in New Orleans live without running water and electricity nearly ten years after the storm passed. Natural disasters are something I’d never wish on anyone or any place.

McQueary has received a ton of criticism on Twitter over her column, and she deserves every bit of it. Her column is a textbook example of coded white supremacism. In fact, McQueary’s column is leaving me wishing that there was a Joe McCarthy-like figure on the left who’s willing to expose white supremacists in the far-right corporate media in this country.

Kirk the Jerk makes offensive remarks once again

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) is, once again, making some downright offensive statements. This time, he (figuratively) put his foot in his mouth while talking about the fact that fellow U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who is also a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, has no wife:

“I’ve been joking with Lindsey, cuz he doesn’t have—did you see that?—have a rotating first lady. He’s a bro with no ho. That’s what we’d say on the South Side.”

(emphasis mine)

Kirk the Jerk’s remarks were offensive for two reasons. First, he pandered to the black community. Secondly, he said something incredibly sexist about women.

Kirk the Jerk pandered to black Illinoisans in a absolutely ridiculous way. Not all black people in Illinois refer to men as “bros” and women as “hoes”. In fact, most black Illinoisans would find Kirk talking in that manner to be downright offensive. Additionally, Kirk the Jerk also implied that all women are prostitutes (“ho” is a slang term for a prostitute), which is flagrantly sexist.

Keep in mind that Kirk the Jerk is about as much of a South Sider as I am. (“South Side” refers to the predominantly-black South Side of the Chicago). Kirk is from Highland Park, a mostly upper middle class/wealthy suburban community in Lake County (I’m not sure where he currently lives), and I’m from Westville, a mostly poor/working class former coal mining town in Vermilion County, neither of which come even close to being like the South Side of Chicago.

Bruce Rauner crony Bill Daley wants his kind of Democrat in the Illinois U.S. Senate race

The conservative publication National Journal is reporting that Bill Daley, a member of Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s transition team prior to Rauner being sworn into office, is behind an effort to convince Andrea Zopp, an appointed member of the Chicago School Board who voted for a Rahm Emanuel-backed proposal to close dozens of Chicago Public Schools, to run for the Democratic nomination in next year’s U.S. Senate race here in Illinois:

Zopp is being recruited by African-American political leaders, as well as former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, to forge an uphill bid against (U.S. Representative Tammy) Duckworth, who already has raised more than $1.5 million for her campaign.

“My consideration isn’t about the turnout,” she said. “My consideration is that as an African-American woman I think I bring perspective that the African-American community and also other communities of color will respond to, and I think that perspective is not represented in the race.”

Duckworth, the only declared candidate in the race so far, was born in Thailand to an American father and Thai mother, and has some Chinese ancestry. Daley, who has been urging Zopp into the race, said Democrats would be “idiots” to not worry about a potential drop-off in black voters if there were no African-American candidate on the ballot in either of the top two slots.

The other two candidates who are considering bids that I’m aware of are U.S. Representative Robin Kelly and State Senator Napoleon Harris. Duckworth, Zopp, Kelly, and Harris are all ethnic minorities: the latter three are black and Duckworth has Thai and Chinese ancestry.

I’ll emphasize the last sentence that I quoted above, as it’s clear to me that Bill Daley is trying to recruit a candidate for public office primarily on the basis of the potential candidate’s skin color. Personally, I think that’s downright racist and no different than Republicans like Mark Kirk making racist remarks about black people. Also, Daley’s claim that black voters won’t turn out without a black candidate running in either the presidential or statewide races is absolutely absurd for multiple reasons. First, there hasn’t been a scenario in which there was no black candidate running on the Democratic ticket for president, vice president, or statewide office in Illinois since 2000, and Democrats won Illinois’s electoral votes for president and vice president, which was the only presidential or statewide contest that was on the ballot, that year. Second, Republicans have won statewide races in Illinois with black Democrats running in other statewide contests. Third, black voters here in Illinois will turn out to vote for any Democratic candidate who will fight to improve the lives of all Illinoisans, especially a candidate that makes a concerted effort to reach out to black voters in an attempt to earn their support. Most Illinois voters don’t care about the race or skin color of candidates, they’re more interested about what candidates stand for.

Remarks similar to what Bill Daley made have backfired on black Democrats in a neighboring state in the past. In a 2012 Milwaukee-area Wisconsin State Senate race, Elizabeth Coggs, a black Democrat who was running in a multi-way primary, told a mostly-black audience at a community conference of some kind to “vote for someone who looks like you”, an apparent reference to Millie Coby, a black Democrat who was running for the Wisconsin State Assembly seat that Coggs gave up to run for state senate against Sandy Pasch, a white Democrat. As a result of Coggs’s remarks, Coggs herself lost to another black Democrat, and Coby lost her race to Pasch.

Bill Daley owes the people of Illinois an apology for his racist remarks as part of his effort to divide Illinois Democrats and progressives against each other in order to promote his Bruce Rauner-style corporate agenda. More importantly, Illinois does not need a corporate hack like Andrea Zopp holding statewide elected office. If Robin Kelly runs for U.S. Senate, I will endorse her campaign. If Kelly does not run, I will endorse Tammy Duckworth.