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Property taxes mount on ‘Home Alone’ house

Illinois Policy 12/5/2016

Real reform to help overtaxed Illinoisans – such as a property-tax cap and aggressive government consolidation – would be the gift that keeps giving the whole year round.

2016 was a tough year for the owners of 671 Lincoln Ave. The red-brick, Georgian house in Winnetka, Ill., was made famous by the 1990 Christmas hit, “Home Alone,” but in real life, it’s not crowbar-wielding burglars coming for the family’s money, but the Cook County government.

In 2015, the owners of the “Home Alone” house paid over $35,700 in property taxes, and by 2016, the property taxes on the home had climbed to more than $36,500. And this was with a homeowners’ exemption, according to the Cook County Treasurer’s office.

A Freedom of Information Act inquiry made in November 2015 revealed that almost $750,000 in property taxes have been paid on the Lincoln Avenue home since the 1990 release of “Home Alone.” Adding the property taxes paid in 2016, the property taxes paid on the “Home Alone” house since 1990 total more than $782,000 when adjusted for inflation. This amounts to almost half the value of the home, which sold for $1.585 million in 2012, according to the Chicago Tribune, and is currently valued at about $1.54 million by the Cook County assessor’s office.

And the “Home Alone” house owners are not the only ones feeling the pinch.

Property taxes in Cook County and across the Land of Lincoln are among the highest in the nation and are causing many to pay what essentially amounts to a second mortgage. In the past 50 years, property taxes have grown 2.5 times faster than inflation, 14 times faster than the state’s population and 3.3 times faster than Illinoisans’ median household income.

It’s a cash grab the Wet Bandits could only dream of.

Although it would be a good start, property-tax caps are not enough to relieve overtaxed homeowners. If property taxes were capped now, it would take 28 years for the rates to return to 1990 levels.

Consolidate local governments to reduce the burden on taxpayers

One important factor that drives these increasing taxes is redundant and unnecessary levels of local government, which are paid for through property taxes. Illinois has the most units of local government in the country with nearly 7,000, dwarfing the nearest competitor by around 1,800 units.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

DuPage County has consolidated several units of local government and is projected to save $116 million by sharing services, $20 million in overhauling employee benefits and $6.9 million by closing its youth home and partnering with Kane County for youth detention services.

And residents of DuPage County have voiced strong approval of other consolidation measures, too. On Election Day, voters in eight DuPage County municipalities voted “yes” on several non-binding ballot questions on consolidating local units of government. For example, 78 percent of DuPage voters said they approved of abolishing townships if the services could be handled by another unit of government at lower cost, according to the Daily Herald.

DuPage County has been referred to as a model by the Lieutenant Governor’s Task Force on Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates, and legislation in the Illinois General Assembly would increase all Illinois counties’ ability to consolidate government. House Bill 4501 was sponsored by state Rep. Sam Yingling, D-Grayslake, and is largely seen as a bipartisan solution to some of the high costs of Illinois government. The bill passed the House in April, 93-19, and is currently in the Senate.

Real reform is imperative as Illinois residents face heavier tax burdens with each passing year. A property-tax cap combined with aggressive government consolidation and sharing services would make government leaner and less costly. For taxpayers, that would be the gift that keeps on giving the whole year round.

TAGS: property taxes

Source: Will County News

Indiana Approves Income Tax Reduction

Indiana Approves Income Tax Reduction

May 14, 2013

Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) last week signed into law the state’s 2014-15 two-year budget. The approved budget keeps spending increases below inflation and cuts the state’s single-rate income tax, the corporate income tax, and eliminates the inheritance tax:

 

Current

2014

2015

2016

2017

Individual Income Tax

3.4%

3.4%

3.3%

3.3%

3.23%

Corporate Income Tax

7.5%

7.0%

6.5%

6.5%

6.5%

Inheritance Tax

Repealed, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2013

Repealed

Repealed

Repealed

Repealed

The corporate tax reduction preserves one enacted in 2011, but the others are new. Indiana’s well-structured income tax – broad-based and low-rate – gets ever closer to Pennsylvania’s lowest-in-the-country rate of 3.07 percent. (Pence had initially sought a larger reduction but ultimately negotiated these rates with legislative leaders.) The inheritance tax was being phased out by 2022, and the budget accelerates that to, well, now.

Source: Will County News

Democrats — the party of liars and losers

President Obama appears at Miami-Dade College to talk about the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. (Pedro Portal/El Nuevo Herald/TNS)In blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for the ills of the world, swinging the election and causing the mayhem in Syria, President Barack Obama has collected the trifecta.

First, Obama’s loyal minions in the mainstream media continue to hammer home that President-elect Donald Trump is Obama’s illegitimate successor.

Second, Hillary Clinton and her cry baby Democrats only lost the presidency because of saboteurs.

Third, for the neoconservatives who are frothing from the mouth to get into another war, Obama can be expected to build a post-presidency consensus that America will have to go to war with Russia.

It all starts with the election, or rather the results of the election. Without so much as a shred of real evidence, Obama has lectured us that we can be certain of one thing, that Russian President Putin is an evil dictator with global ambitions. Never mind that Putin has offered Russia’s help in fighting ISIS, Obama insists this is only a ploy of Putin’s to weaken America. Obama would no doubt call Putin, Machiavelli but the nitwits in his base wouldn’t know who that was. Obama can’t call Putin Hitler because the progressives in his party have already set that name aside for Republican President-elect Donald Trump.

This is the truth:
1) Hillary Clinton lost the election because she was a terrible candidate.

2) The blood of Syria is on Obama’s hands.

3) Regardless of the military facts Russia is not a dangerous adversary that demands our armed forces have the latest in expensive weaponry.

Let’s focus on Hillary Clinton’s loss because it makes the Democrats look exactly as I said, the party of liars and losers.

It’s unacceptable, say the Democrats. It’s just won’t do. Like the kids I wrote about two weeks ago in Trophy-toting progressives who are destroying the very spirit that made America great, the situation is worse now than even I thought. We are not talking about little dears expecting to be told they are winners regardless of how well they do. We have a 69-year-old woman who was counting on a coronation next month. It didn’t happen, and there are many reasons why besides the Russians, WikiLeaks, FBI Director James Comey or a giant right-wing conspiracy that tried to sully her husband, President Bill Clinton. (As it turned out it was Bill who sullied the White House intern’s dress.) But he was the Teflon president. Hillary was the flypaper candidate, mostly because she couldn’t hide her bitchy attitude, vendetta instincts and habitual lying.

Take the story that she landed “under sniper fire” during a 1996 trip to Bosnia. She should have checked one of her many mobile devices to know that war ended in 1995.

What developed was lie upon lie, like it was a video that caused a spontaneous attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. Only God Almighty could have guessed that there were terrorists in Libya, a country of terrorists, and only He could have known that an attack might come, especially on that date. Never mind the murder of U.S. Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

We are supposed to forget the lies to Comey, including that Hillary didn’t send any classified emails. The truth: the FBI found at least 110 emails that were classified at the time Clinton sent or received them. And that’s just a start. The real indicator of criminal intent by Clinton was her installation of what Politico Magazine coined a “home brew” email server.

Clinton and her web of lies make former President Richard Nixon nothing more than a fibber. But I understand where the Democrats are coming from. All Hillary had was the laundry list of lies, the miserable personality, the lack of any message other than Donald Trump is a racist, a misogynist who doesn’t have the proper temperament to be president because he is likely to have a tiff and do a full scale nuclear launch on another nation. We never know what story is going to run the next day because we don’t know who is going to tell it.

But according to Princess Clinton, always a bridesmaid never a bride, most of the blame is on Putin because he ordered the cyber-attacks intended to give old pal Donald Trump the election.

On December 17 at a fund raising event that should have been titled — how Democrats need to pick better candidates Clinton said the Russians had undermined her candidacy because, and this is classic Clinton, Vladimir Putin’s “personal vendetta” against her.

“Putin publicly blamed me for the outpouring of outrage by his own people, and that is the direct line between what he said back then and what he did in this election.” These were her words as recorded by The New York Times.

Yes I can see it all; Putin is acting like Dr. Evil did from his secret volcano in the Urals where he was scheming to get revenge on Austin Powers. Substitute Putin for Evil and Powers for Clinton and you have an understanding of why a big mouthed upstart like Trump won the presidency. If you get caught up in another one of Clinton’s “stories” you may start to think Trump could be the Manchurian Candidate.

But that is not the whole story behind Clinton’s defeat. It took a troika of men to defeat her. She was not just going up against Trump and Putin to snap victory but also the Director of the FBI, Comey, who would risk his job, his reputation and even his freedom because what Clinton is saying is that Comey was involved in high treason. That only carries with it a possible death sentence.

Clinton and Obama’s evidence of their version of events that involves Trump wouldn’t hold up in court, kangaroo court. To think that Putin has the time, energy or inclination that might set Russia on a path towards a conflict or even a war because he likes Trump (a man he has never met) and dislikes Clinton is as ludicrous as believing that Comey would throw his life away and ruin his family all to see The Donald in the Oval Office.

Something else strange is that in September, when nobody gave Trump a chance at victory, Obama maintained that the electoral system was bulletproof and could not be hacked. Lo and behold, Clinton loses. Inside a couple of weeks the electoral process that Obama guaranteed was secure was then definitely hacked. From my reading of events nobody knows by whom exactly or for what reason. But as Obama has said, the reason it had to be the Russians was because this is the kind of thing the Russians have always done, which is a pretty lame excuse. The fact that it was undertaken because, as Clinton says, Vlad just doesn’t like her isn’t just lame, it’s a horse with no legs.

But this is the best, and something I am surprised not even conservatives who despise Clinton haven’t brought up. Do you remember throughout the election Clinton, her campaign staff and a multitude of influential Democrats said that Trump did not have the character or disposition to be president?

I have no idea where that came from, but some of the WikiLeaks I read said that her top staff knew she was a poor candidate.

In an intercepted email exchange in September 2015, John Podesta, then chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, warned that the campaign has, “taken on a lot of water that won’t be easy to pump out of the boat. Most of that has to do with terrible decisions made pre-campaign, but a lot has to do with her instincts. She’s nervous so prepping more and performing better. Got to do something to pump up excitement but not certain how to do that.”

It was the same John Podesta who looked like an idiot on election night when Clinton was too drunk, too depressed and too afraid to face the music and do what every losing president has faced since elections took place go out and calmly inform your supporters of the loss, but the principles they fought for, blah, blah, blah.

But Clinton couldn’t manage to pull herself together to do that. She had to ask Trump if he would announce that she had conceded the election to him. Then there was a recount for Clinton undertaken by her surrogate and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who spent $7.3 million dollars that wound up giving Trump an addition 131 votes in Wisconsin. Then there was the ballyhoo that surrounded the December 19 vote by the Electoral College, which will be remembered as Clinton’s last stand.

That is the kind of garbage that is carried around by losers. Hardly the right stuff to be president, but the stuff the losers and liars are made of but in the end cannot hide.

Yours in good times and bad,

— John Myers

Source: Will County News

Illinois’ corporate handout program halted temporarily

Illinois Policy 12/20/2016

The expiration of the state’s EDGE program – which has given large companies more than $1 billion in tax credits the last 15 years – is good news for taxpayers and should encourage lawmakers to pass real reforms.

Illinois has given companies more than $1 billion in tax credits in the last 15 years, but the state’s corporate handouts are about to end – at least temporarily.

This is a perfect opportunity to end the Economic Development for a Growing Economy, or EDGE, program altogether. Propping up politically favored companies with taxpayer dollars is wrong, but the problem is even worse with EDGE as the state isn’t getting a return on its investment. Though the program has doled out $1.3 billion since 2001, Illinois has lost 113,000 jobs over that time period.

The EDGE program is set to expire Dec. 31, as Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders haven’t agreed on a plan that would keep it in place. Tax credits will still be available to companies under existing agreements, but new tax credits cannot be issued under the program if it expires.

Todd Maisch, CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, told Greg Hinz at Crain’s Chicago Business that losing the EDGE program “is not a plus, there’s not a question about that.” But that perspective ignores taxpayers, who certainly should have questions about the program, starting with why the amount of tax credits has increased so drastically each year.

In 2001, the state gave out just $6.5 million in taxpayer handouts to companies. That number steadily increased over the years, before ballooning under former Gov. Pat Quinn. The state increased the EDGE credit program by nearly $140 million under Quinn, peaking at more than $206 million issued to companies in 2014 alone, the year he left office. In October 2014, a month before Quinn was up for re-election, he authorized $37.4 million in major grants to companies and even used those examples as part of campaign ads suggesting there was jobs growth under his administration.

But handouts to large companies do not equate to jobs growth. Since the EDGE program began in 2001, the state has lost 113,000 payroll jobs on net, despite the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, or DCEO, citing 34,000 jobs created and another 46,000 retained from the program. The statistic on retaining jobs is even legally suspect: The law that created the program specifically says the credits can only be used to create new jobs, and a lawsuit was filed against the DCEO in 2015. That lawsuit, filed by the Liberty Justice Center, claimed the EDGE program used as much as $500 million in tax credits to retain current jobs, a blatantly illegal practice.

And beyond illegal practices, DCEO, which runs the EDGE program, has cut more special deals for corporations over the years than just what the tax-credit program offers. Amazon – an internet, retail giant worth more than $250 billion – is receiving $2 million in annual tax breaks over the next decade because it added 2,000 full-time jobs to Joliet, Ill. That agreement – made under Quinn and expanded by Rauner – follows a 2014 agreement the state made with AAR Corp. for $15 million in tax credits in exchange for 500 jobs, and a 10-year, $12 million with eBay for 360 jobs.

More recently, the EDGE program was part of a major headline when the state used as much as $1.3 million to bribe ConAgra Foods to relocate to Chicago from Omaha, Neb.

The state shouldn’t shuffle taxpayer money to corporations and hope for jobs growth. Instead, it should create an environment that allows all companies to thrive.

That means reforming Illinois’ workers’ compensation system, which is uncompetitive with the rest of the Midwest; and freezing its highest-in-the-nation property taxes. Those two actions alone – as part of a responsible, balanced budget – would attract new businesses to the state and encourage those eyeing a move out of the state to remain.

Businesses like Hoist Liftruck, a forklift manufacturer that moved its operations out of Illinois and into Indiana in 2015, specifically cited both the state’s unfair workers’ compensation system and burdensome tax climate as reasons to ditch the Land of Lincoln.

“Forget incentive money,” Hoist Liftruck CEO Marty Flaska said at the time of the move, “when you look at the pure cost for me to do business in Illinois, the choice is clear.”

For every taxpayer-funded deal bringing handfuls of jobs from ConAgra, Amazon or eBay, there are several more stories like Hoist’s and others who are moving high-paying, blue-collar jobs across borders to more pro-growth states.

But even with mounting evidence of out-migration of jobs from Illinois, politicians in Springfield for too long have favored special deals instead of real economic reforms. Even now, upon the likely expiration of the EDGE program, state Sens. Pam Althoff, R-Crystal Lake, and Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, already moved to file a bill keeping the program, Crain’s Chicago Business reported. Meanwhile, legislative leaders refuse to budge on passing any sort of real, economic reform that could make the state more competitive with pro-growth neighbors like Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa.

The EDGE Program is unfair for taxpayers and small businesses, and does nothing to create a better business environment in the Land of Lincoln. Upon its expiration, lawmakers should get to work on pro-growth solutions that would make Illinois a truly competitive state.

TAGS: cronyism, DCEO, EDGE, jobs, tax credits

Source: Will County News

Cub Scouts Reject Girl Who Wishes She Were a Boy

Editor has one question: How does a very young child understand the concept of changing sex, for that matter identify or wish to be the opposite sex?

Young children may like playing with the opposite sex because of attraction that they don’t understand.

Cub Scouts Reject Girl Who Wishes She Were a Boy

Cub Scouts Reject Girl Who Wishes She Were a Boy
Written By Laurie Higgins  Illinois Family Institute“Progressives” and even some so-called “moderate” Republicans are trying to diminish the import of allowing biological males and females to access restrooms, locker rooms, and even private clubs reserved for the opposite sex. Those who promote practices and policies that mandate sexual integration of heretofore single-sex facilities hope to blind the fearful masses to the larger issues and devastating cultural implications of the ultimate goal of sexual subversives: the eradication of all public recognition and accommodation of sexual differentiation.

A recent USA Today article provides yet more evidence that we are hurtling pell-mell toward the culmination of the cultural revolt against nature, commonsense, and decency that the blind Left covets. The article reports on an 8-year-old girl who masquerades as boy and has been told she cannot remain in the Cub Scouts because, well, she’s objectively a girl:

From the moment he joined, 8-year-old Joe Maldonado eagerly looked forward to camping trips and science projects as a member of the Cub Scouts. But his expectations were dashed after his mother said she received a phone call from a scouting official who told her that Joe would no longer be allowed to participate because he was born a girl.

Kristie Maldonado said she was stunned because her son had been a member of Cub Scout Pack 87 in Secaucus for about a month, and his transgender status had not been a secret. But some parents complained…even though her son had been living as a boy for more than a year and was accepted as a boy at school.

The Boy Scouts did not respond to questions about whether they would accept a transgender girl whose birth certificate indicates she is male. They also did not respond when asked whether they would accept a transgender boy whose gender status on a birth certificate was changed from female to male.

Some people have questioned his gender identity before, [“Joes”] said, adding that it “got so annoying” having to tell people over and over that he is a boy. He said he was “disappointed” that he can no longer be a Cub Scout but would not want to go back without receiving an apology.

“How dare they judge me?” he said, adding of his gender identity: “I don’t have to explain it. It’s the way I’m born.”

First, a “transgender boy” is in reality a girl. “Joe” is not a “he.” Using incorrect pronouns is not a compassionate way to address this girl’s mistaken notion that she is boy trapped in a girl’s body or that she can become a boy through rhetoric, dress, and elaborate chemical and surgical interventions.

Second, birth certificates identify an objective condition—that is, sex—that stubbornly persists whether or not humans undergo chemical and surgical alterations. Birth certificates do not assign or determine “gender” as currently redefined. And birth certificates should be prohibited by law from being altered. The government has no business engaging in fraud.

It is Leftists who redefined “gender” to denote “socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women” rather than denote biological sex. In light of this Leftist redefinition, it makes no sense to have birth certificates identify the “socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women” of newborns.

Third, identifying someone’s sex does not constitute illicit judging. And holding the view that it is immoral and unhealthy to reject one’s sex does not constitute illicit judging (clearly “Joe” has been well-tutored in Leftist language and ideology). The Boys Scouts is a private club for boys. Therefore, requiring that those seeking membership in the Boy Scouts be, in reality, objectively male no more constitutes illicit judging than does requiring those seeking membership in the Mensa Society be, in reality, geniuses. Whether or not they “identify” as geniuses is irrelevant.

The USA Today article shared this troubling information from Justin Wilson, the executive director of Scouts for Equality, a homosexual advocacy organization:

[Wilson] knows of at least two transgender boys who are Cub Scouts about the same age as Joe, one in a southern state that he did not name and the other in New York. He said he did not want to be more specific because of concerns that the national organization might take steps against them. The use of birth certificates to determine gender identity, he said, would be “a new, unfair arbitrary standard” for membership.

Wilson is right that asking for birth certificates would be a new practice for membership in the Boy Scouts. Historically, there has never been a need to ask parents to provide birth certificates because parents weren’t disguising their children in order to help them pass as the opposite sex.

On everything else, Wilson was wrong:

  1. As mentioned earlier, no one uses birth certificates to “determine gender identity.” Birth certificates are used to identify sex.
  1. Enforcing policies that require Boy Scouts to be objectively male does not constitute taking steps “against” girls who are pretending to be boys.
  1. Concealing violations of Boy Scout practices that restrict membership to boys is a serious ethical violation of the trust of parents.
  1. It is neither “unfair” nor “arbitrary” to expect Boy Scouts to be boys. In fact, expecting all members of the Boy Scouts to be boys is the very antithesis of unfair and arbitrary. For the Left to assert that only some girls may become Boy Scouts—that is, those girls who wish they were boys—is unfair and arbitrary. Why restrict girls from joining the Boy Scouts just because they don’t experience gender dysphoria? After all, they didn’t choose to be “cisgender.” Wouldn’t limiting membership in the Boy Scouts to boys and girls with gender dysphoria thereby excluding “cisgender girls” constitute discrimination based on “gender identity”?

And this conundrum leads us to the place where sexual anarchists want society to go—the place where we, because of our shameful cowardice, are allowing ourselves to be led: the land of mandatory co-ed everything and language rules to efface sexual differentiation.

Inevitable end game of “trans”-activism

The Left claims that separations based on sex are equivalent to separations based on race, arguing that there is as little difference between biological males and females as there is between blacks and whites. Outgoing Attorney General Loretta Lynch described the practice of requiring separate facilities for blacks and whites as based on a “distinction without a difference,” implying that the difference between males and females is similarly insubstantial. This statement reveals a profound ignorance.

Blacks and whites are distinct by virtue of their skin color, which is, indeed, a distinction without a difference. But men and women are substantively and significantly different. Even homosexuals implicitly admit this truism when they claim they are romantically and erotically attracted only to persons of their same sex. Males and females are so different in fact that a gender-dysphoric girl is insisting that she join the Boy Scouts instead of the Girl Scouts. If the difference between boys and girls constitutes a “distinction without a difference”—like the difference between blacks and whites—then why must a gender-dysphoric girl join a club for boys only? Why isn’t her refusal to join the Girl Scouts tantamount to a white person refusing to share a restrooms with blacks?

If we accept the fanciful Leftist ides that there is no more difference between girls and boys than there is between blacks and whites, then how can we maintain any single-sex restrooms, locker rooms, and private clubs? Logically must we not allow all men, boys, girls, and women to use the same showers and join the same clubs? After all, blacks and whites do.

And this is where accepting science-denying Leftist assumptions about biological sex, “gender,” “gender identity,” and gender dysphoria buttressed by pseudo-science research will lead.

Dubious social science

Before everyone succumbs to the 21st Century certitude of professional mental health alchemists, wizards, and shamans, let’s not forget how often once influential ideas in the field of psychology have been debunked (e.g., Freudian theories, “recovered memory syndrome”).

A study appearing in Science Magazine in August, 2015 reveals how woefully unreliable psychological research is. The authors of the study titled “Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science” explained that “We conducted replications of 100 experimental and correlational studies published in three psychology journals using high-powered designs and original materials when available,” and found that only “39% of effects were subjectively rated to have replicated the original result.”

Liberal Slate Magazine recently exposed just one study  in which researchers tried to replicate an influential earlier study on what is called “ego depletion”—a study on human willpower that has been cited over 3,000 times:

A paper now in press, and due to publish next month in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, describes a massive effort to reproduce the main effect that underlies this work [on ego depletion]. Comprising more than 2,000 subjects tested at two-dozen different labs on several continents, the study found exactly nothing. A zero-effect for ego depletion: No sign that the human will works as it’s been described, or that these hundreds of studies amount to very much at all.

Michael Inzlicht, researcher at the University of Toronto and co-author of the study that attempted to replicate the ego-depletion study, writes on his blog about the dire implications for social psychology (and I would add for culture) that result from bad research:

Our problems are not small and they will not be remedied by small fixes. Our problems are systemic and they are at the core of how we conduct our science….I’m in a dark place. I feel like the ground is moving from underneath me and I no longer know what is real and what is not….During my dark moments, I feel like social psychology needs a redo, a fresh start….Our problems are real and they run deep….What is not helping is the lack of acknowledgement about the severity of our problems. What is not helping is a reluctance to dig into our past and ask what needs revisiting.

Time is nigh to reckon with our past. Our future just might depend on it.

One final note about the relationship of science, social science, or pseudo-science as it pertains to volitional human behavior: Though science may be able to provide some information about the cause of feelings or desires, it can tell us nothing about the morality of actions that may be motivated by such feelings or desires. For example, science may be able to demonstrate that biological factors contribute to aggressive feelings, but such information tells us nothing about the morality of aggressive acts.

Similarly, science may one day demonstrate that biochemical factors contribute to the desire to be the opposite sex or the delusion that one is the opposite sex, but such research would tell us precisely nothing about the morality of cross-dressing, administering puberty-blockers and cross-sex hormones, or surgically mutilating healthy body parts. We already know that the fall has affected not only our hearts, minds, and wills but also our bodies, which explains the presence of, for example, brain and endocrine disorders. It is no more moral for those with Gender Identity Disorder to have healthy breasts or testes amputated in the service of a futile quest to become the opposite sex than it is for “amputee-wannabes” (i.e., those with Body Integrity Identity Disorder) to have healthy arms or legs amputated. The causes of their disordered desires do not render their bodily mutilations moral.

Conclusion

It is not bigoted or hateful to recognize that sex is different from “gender identity” (i.e., subjective feelings about one’s sex). Even Leftists agree with that. It is not bigoted or hateful to say that biological sex is profoundly meaningful and is, in fact, the source of feelings of modesty and the desire for privacy when engaged in intimate activities. It is not bigoted or hateful to assert that in private spaces feelings about one’s sex should be subordinated to objective biological sex. Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts are for boys—not for girls who feel like boys, or girls who wish they were boys, or girls who falsely believe they are boys.

Practices and policies that permit biological females to use facilities or participate in activities limited to biological males teach all children the lie that physical embodiment as male or female is of less significance than feelings about one’s sex. It also teaches all children that in order to be compassionate, inclusive, and just, they must relinquish their privacy.

If biological sex is, in reality, more important than one’s feelings about one’s sex and is essential to what it means to be human, facilitating sex-rejection is deeply destructive.

Listen to this article HERE.


Year-End Challenge

As you may know, IFI has a year-end matching challenge to raise $110,000. That’s right, a small group of IFI supporters are providing a $55,000 matching challenge to help support IFI’s ongoing work to educate, motivate and activate Illinois’ Christian community.

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Source: Will County News

Donald Trump Announces 8,000 New Jobs for the United States

On Vacation, Donald Trump Announces 8,000 New Jobs for the United States

CHARLIE SPIERING  28 Dec 2016  Breitbarth

Trump Mar-a-Largo AP

President-elect Donald Trump personally announced this evening that he had just heard from Sprint and OneWeb that they had plans to bring more jobs back to the United States.

“Hello everybody, we just had some very good news, because of what is happening and the spirit and the hope, I was just called by the head people at Sprint and they are going to be bringing 5,000 jobs back to the United States,” he told reporters at Mar-a-Lago on Wednesday evening. “They have taken them from other countries. They are bringing them back to the United States.”

Trump also confirmed that OneWeb would be hiring more workers as well. He reached the deal after working with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, a billionaire investor in technology who currently owns 80 percent of Sprint and has invested $1 billion in OneWeb.

“OneWeb, a new company is going to be hiring 3,000 people so that is very exciting,” Trump told reporters.

Source: Will County News

Amazon adds 1,000 subsidized jobs to Aurora

After receiving incentives and abatements guaranteed by state and local taxpayer dollars, Amazon announces two new facilities in Aurora.

Amazon, the internet retail goliath valued at $250 billion, is about to get to get a big Christmas present from Illinois taxpayers in the form of millions of dollars’ worth of state incentives and local abatements. Amazon announced its intention to open two new sorting and shipping facilities along Route 59 in Aurora, Crain’s Chicago Business reported.

Known as “fulfillment centers,” the two facilities will handle and ship small and large consumer good items. Most of the 1,000 jobs will go to the small consumer good item fulfillment center, planned to be nearly 1 million square feet. The other jobs will go to the smaller 400,000 square-foot facility that will specialize in processing larger goods.

The state’s economic development corporation, Intersect Illinois and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, or DCEO, brokered the deal.

“Today’s announcement further strengthens Illinois’ position as one of the nation’s top states for logistics and distribution,” said DCEO Director Sean McCarthy in a press release. “This has been a team effort, with DCEO and Intersect Illinois working together to make possible Amazon’s continued growth in Illinois. We are excited to see Amazon expand and create thousands of good-paying jobs.”

The jobs came with a hefty price tag.

Amazon is set to receive a tax credit under the Economic Development for a Growing Economy, or EDGE, program. Though the value of this particular EDGE tax credit has not been made publicly known, past deals with Amazon under the Rauner Administration have come to $1,000 per job, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. In one deal, Amazon agreed to build a facility in Joliet, staffed with 2,000 employees. The cost to taxpayers was $2 million. Using this same rate, Amazon could get $1 million or even more from state government.

And while the EDGE tax credit program is set to run out Jan. 1, due to budget gridlock, the latest deal with Amazon will be formalized Dec. 31, just in the nick of time.

However, state government was not the only one involved in the deal.

“Amazon’s investment in Aurora is a testament to our growing economy, streamlined business process and dedicated workforce,” said Aurora Mayor Robert J. O’Connor in a press release. “To bring 1,000 new jobs to Aurora at one location is unprecedented and to do so via Amazon, one of the most recognized brands in the world, is monumental. It’s just as exciting to know Amazon’s commitment and care for the communities where they have offices and the potential partnerships that will be developed throughout our city.”

Amazon’s care and commitment wasn’t free.

The City of Aurora is giving Amazon a property tax abatement valued at $400,000, Crain’s Chicago Business reported. Early reports on the negotiations did not mention Amazon’s name, only that a deal between the Aurora city government and an unnamed company was being struck. The codenames “Project Bubba” and “Project Bubba Jr.” were used for the two planned fulfillment centers, according to the Chicago Tribune. The deal was speculated to bring as much as 1,400 jobs to Aurora, but it looks as if Amazon has already shortchanged Aurora taxpayers, giving them 1,000 jobs instead of 1,400.

But this is just business as usual for Amazon and its partners in local and state government.

The latest announcement brings the total amount of jobs Amazon has said it will add in the past two years to 7,000. The internet juggernaut has been quite busy in Illinois over the past year, announcing its intention to build new facilities in Edwardsville, Joliet, Romeoville and Monee.

“In just over two years, Illinois has proven itself to be an ideal location from which Amazon can continue offering customers our vast selection and superfast shipping speeds,” said Amazon’s vice president of North American operations Akash Chauhan in a press release.

The harsh reality is that Amazon is getting bribed by state and local government in order to bring jobs to Illinoisans, who have seen manufacturing leave the state in droves. High property taxes, costly workers’ compensation laws and the lack of a balanced budget have caused companies to pack up and leave Illinois. State and local government need to enact real reforms in order to create sustained job growth, not by simply offering bribes to multi-billion dollar companies. This corrupt system not only distracts from the real problems, but also forces other taxpayers to pick up Amazon’s share of the tax burden.

Instead of giving taxpayer-funded handouts to multi-billion dollar companies like Amazon, government officials at the state and local level should focus on acting in taxpayers’ interests and making Illinois truly competitive with other Midwestern states.

TAGS: jobs, manufacturing, tax credits

Source: Will County News

National Defense Authorization Act gives the federal government its own Ministry of Truth.

american flag with the word news

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Buried in the latest iteration of the National Defense Authorization Act is a provision that gives the federal government its very own Ministry of Truth.

The annual legislation to fund the nation’s military operations signed by the president at the end of last week includes provisions which mirror the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act introduced in Congress earlier this year.

The provision, which was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) has two stated goals, outlined thusly by the lawmakers:

The first priority is developing a whole-of-government strategy for countering … foreign propaganda and disinformation being wages [SIC] against us and our allies by our enemies. The bill would increase the authority, resources, and mandate of the Global Engagement Center to include state actors like Russia and China as well as non-state actors. The Center will be led by the State Department, but with the active senior level participation of the Department of Defense, USAID, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the Intelligence Community, and other relevant agencies. The Center will develop, integrate, and synchronize whole-of-government initiatives to expose and counter foreign disinformation operations by our enemies and proactively advance fact-based narratives that support U.S. allies and interests.

Second, the legislation seeks to leverage expertise from outside government to create more adaptive and responsive U.S. strategy options. The legislation establishes a fund to help train local journalists and provide grants and contracts to NGOs, civil society organizations, think tanks, private sector companies, media organizations, and other experts outside the U.S. government with experience in identifying and analyzing the latest trends in foreign government disinformation techniques. This fund will complement and support the Center’s role by integrating capabilities and expertise available outside the U.S. government into the strategy-making process. It will also empower a decentralized network of private sector experts and integrate their expertise into the strategy-making process.

 

The legislation, in other words, will establish a partnership between federal agencies and major media outlets to ensure that federal messages are hammered into the minds of media consumers throughout the world via a new Global Engagement Center.

Despite the federal promise that the legislation will only be used to “proactively advance fact-based narratives that support U.S. allies and interests,” language within the NDAA makes pretty clear that the goal is a full-fledged government propaganda machine.

And though the language supporters of the efforts have used to describe the effort makes it seem that the propaganda efforts will be aimed outside the U.S., language within the NDAA suggests U.S. citizens will be the target of some of the activity.

For example, one stated goal calls on officials to “identify  the  countries  and  populations  most  susceptible to propaganda  and  disinformation  based  on  information  provided by appropriate interagency entities.”

That could include the millions of Americans who voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election based on information the federal government and the Clinton campaign insist came from Russian hackers and digital media manipulators.

The NDAA provisions also open the door for the federal officials to crack down on alternative media out of step with the government’s official message by simply declaring that their information was sourced from foreign propagandists.

All the while, the legislation allows for the federal government to proactively manipulate mainstream media reporting to support its desired outcomes.

Another of the legislation goals: “As  needed,  support  the  development  and  dissemination  of  fact-based  narratives  and  analysis  to  counter  propaganda  and  disinformation  directed  at  the  United  States  and  United States allies and partner nations.”

Relevant information about the government’s propaganda efforts can be found on page 547 of the NDAA.

Source: Will County News

Leave your 13-year-old home alone?

Common sense tells us most 13-year olds are perfectly capable of staying home alone after school while their parent is at work, but in Illinois, common sense isn’t the law.

Any parents who leave their children age 13 or younger home alone may be guilty of neglect under Illinois state law.

That’s because Illinois law states that “any minor under the age of 14 years whose parent or other person responsible for the minor’s welfare leaves the minor without supervision for an unreasonable period of time without regard for the mental or physical health, safety, or welfare of that minor” is neglected.

It’s the strictest law of its kind in the nation. Only a handful of other states have a minimum age for leaving children home alone. For example, three states list 12 as the minimum age for leaving children home alone, while three states set the minimum age at 8. Kansas lists the minimum age at 6. At least 30 states have no minimum age for when a child can be left home alone.

While the law in Illinois defines neglect only where the child under 14 years old is left without supervision for an unreasonable period of time without regard for his or her mental or physical, health, safety or welfare, it does not define “unreasonable period of time” or “regard for the mental or physical health, safety or welfare.” Rather, it provides a non-exhaustive list of 15 factors for a court to determine. But that provides practically no guidance to a parent trying to decide when they can or can’t leave their 13-year-old without supervision.

Furthermore, those 15 factors are only considered by a court or government official after the child has been taken into custody away from his or her parent, which can be done without a warrant. Even if the child is released back to his or her parent and the court finds no neglect under the factors, having the government take your child away from you for a period of time and being accused of neglecting your child is traumatic. Having to justify to the government that you have not neglected your child can be humiliating and intrusive.

This process is also traumatic to the child. Being taken into custody could lead the child to believe that he or she has done something wrong. It also communicates to the child the message that their parents are somehow parenting poorly, even if parents are not at fault. It also can signal to the child that his or her independence is disfavored.

Common sense tells us most 13-year olds are perfectly capable of staying home alone after school while their parent is at work, but that’s no guarantee that an overzealous police officer or government official won’t take that child into custody, requiring the government to make that determination.

This law disproportionally affects single-parent, lower-income households, where paying for child care after school is cost-prohibitive. The law essentially targets parents who have no other choice but to have their children stay home alone after school while they are at work.

Parents make decisions about whether to leave their children alone based on a number of different factors, including their values, their needs and their child’s ability and maturity. Hardworking single parents should not have to be concerned about the government taking their child into custody because they leave them home alone after school. Parents are the best people to determine their child’s ability to be left unsupervised, not the state.

Illinois lawmakers should act to revise the law to make clear what is and what is not considered neglect and to provide assurance to parents that leaving their responsible children home alone after school will not result in the state taking those kids into custody.

TAGS: criminal justice reform, DCFS: Department of Children and Family Services

Source: Will County News

Demand That Congress Preserve the Electoral College

Demand That Congress Preserve the Electoral College
Demand That Congress Preserve the Electoral College
Written By John Biver   |   12.27.16

The men and women that you elect to the U.S. Congress in both chambers need to hear from you regularly on the important issues, and they need to hear from you today regarding the latest actions of Illinois’ own U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.

U.S. Senator Durbin along with radical Leftists such as Bernie Sanders aim to undermine the brilliant Electoral College established by our Founding Fathers. Durbin and Sanders and others are ignorant of the purpose and importance of the Electoral College. They argue that it’s a “relic” and “racist” in its design.

Electoral College opponents could all benefit from the teachings of Tara Ross, author of Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College. In two Prager University 5-minute videos (watch them here and here), Ross provides an excellent short civics lesson:

Why didn’t the Founders just make it easy, and let the presidential candidate with the most votes claim victory? Why did they create and why do we continue to need, this Electoral College?

The answer is critical to understanding not only the Electoral College but also America.

The Founders had no intention of creating a pure majority-rule democracy. They knew from careful study of history what most have forgotten today or never learned: pure democracies do not work.

They implode.

Democracy has been colorfully described as two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for dinner. In a pure democracy, bare majorities can easily tyrannize the rest of a country. The Founders wanted to avoid this at all costs.

Both videos lay out the basics in an easy to understand fashion:

Our Founders so deeply feared a tyranny of the majority that they rejected the idea of a direct vote for President. That’s why they created the Electoral College. For more than two centuries it has encouraged coalition building and national campaigning, given a voice to both big and small states, and discouraged voter fraud.

In this video, Ross addresses a “well-financed, below-the-radar effort to do away with the Electoral College” that wants to do “exactly what the Founders rejected: award the job of president to the person who gets the most votes nationally.” Ross explains that the effort’s goal is to ask states to “sign a contract to give their presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote instead of the winner of the state’s popular vote.”

Ross gives an example of how this would have worked had it been in place in 2004:

[W]hen George W. Bush won the national vote, California’s electoral votes would have gone to Bush, even though John Kerry won that state by 1.2 million votes!

Can you imagine strongly Democratic California calmly awarding its electors to a Republican?

Our U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives need to hear from us on this important issue.

Take ACTION:  Click HERE to send a message to U.S. Senators Dick Durbin, Mark Kirk, and your local U.S. Representative asking them to defend the Electoral College and to vigorously oppose the efforts to undermine the remarkable electoral system that has served our nation so very well. Speak up for the vision of the Founders by telling your lawmakers you want the Electoral College preserved.

Source: Will County News