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More war drums, and a big Russian threat

More war drums, and a big Russian threat

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Defense Secretary James Mattis vowed on Monday that the U.S. would “confront” Russia for providing weapons and material support to Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

The top official’s remarks came during a press conference in Kabul.

“We’re going to have to confront Russia where what they’re doing is contrary to international law or denying the sovereignty of other countries,” Mattis said. “For example, any weapons being funneled here from a foreign country would be a violation of international law.”

Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top American commander in Afghanistan, told a Senate panel last year that the Russians had increased support for Taliban in the Afghan region in an effort to undermine U.S. and NATO efforts.

Russia, the Associated Press reported, denies the allegations, saying that its limited contact with warring factions in Afghanistan is focused only on eliminating Islamic hardliners in the region and bringing fundamentalists in line with the nation’s government.

Still, U.S. officials are making clear that they’re willing to challenge Russia directly over the matter.

“We’ll engage with Russia diplomatically,” Mattis said. “We’ll do so where we can, but we’re going to have to confront Russia where what they’re doing is contrary to international law or denying the sovereignty of other countries.”

Amid continued U.S. demonization of Russia, top officials in the country are signaling that plans could be underway to attack the U.S. economy in an effort to weaken its international influence.

Russian politician and economist Sergey Glazyev told state TV in the country that Russian and Chinese officials are working on a plan to ditch the U.S. dollar, which would severely weaken the country’s economy.

He said: “The more aggressive the Americans are, the sooner they will see the final collapse of the dollar and by getting rid of the dollar this would be the only way for victims of American aggression to stop this onslaught.

“As soon as we and China dump the dolar, it will be the end of the US’ military might.”

Glazyev wagers that the U.S. is currently conducting “a hybrid war with the entire world to shift their debt burden on to other countries, to confine everyone to the dollar and weaken territories they cannot control.”

He added: “In this context, the anti-Russian hysteria and growing Russophobia can be seen as a long-term factor linked with the specific interests of the United States’ ruling elite.”

Source: Will County News

College campuses are the least diverse place in America

 April 2017
College campuses are the least diverse place in America. Colleges and universities claim to want diversity, but what they really want is for everyone to look different, but think the same.

A few weeks ago I filmed a video for Prager University on this topic.

 

Turning Point USA is leading the charge to restore freedom of thought in higher education.

Our activists and student leaders are out on their campuses every single day organizing groups, challenging the status quo, and promoting our message to an audience that desperately needs to hear it.

It takes so much bravery and boldness to do this.





Our chapter at East Carolina University brought Tomi Lahren to campus on Monday. Over 700 students came out to see her speak. 

Today our Southern Regional Director, Joanna Rodriguez, was on FOX Business talking about the impact of socialism in Venezuela.

In just a few weeks, TPUSA will host the nation’s largest gathering of young, conservative women in Dallas, TX. 

Confirmed Speakers
If you know someone who would like to attend, please encourage them to apply TODAY at www.tpusa.com/YWLS. Spots are filling fast!

Our college campuses need more strong, courageous student leaders. Can you help us equip our students with the tools, training, and support they need to bring our principles and values to their campuses?

All donations to Turning Point USA are tax-deductible. Gifts of all size are appreciated. Secure online donations can be made below. Checks made payable to Turning Point USA can be mailed to 217 1/2 Illinois St., Lemont, IL 60439.

Thank you for your support of Turning Point USA! Without you, none of this would be possible.

Best,


Charlie Kirk
Founder & Executive Director
Turning Point USA

Source: Will County News

Illinois lost 8,900 jobs in March and still has fewer jobs than in the year 2000

Illinois lost 8,900 jobs in March and still has fewer jobs than in the year 2000, while businesses are creating more opportunities in neighboring states. A new economic release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that surrounding states continue to outpace Illinois on the road to economic recovery and prosperity.

Illinois’ economic weakness is a long-term problem that exacerbates the state’s near-term financial crisis. The Land of Lincoln is increasingly falling behind, as neighboring states have less debt, lower taxes, smarter regulations and pro-growth approaches that allow their economies to prosper and residents to find rewarding jobs.

Employers created 14,000 jobs in Illinois in the first quarter of 2017. This jobs count compares well with those in neighboring states, but it doesn’t compare well when adjusted for the size of each state’s economy. For example, Illinois’ labor force is twice the size of Indiana’s, and therefore requires twice as many jobs just to keep up in terms of relative employment opportunities. That means it’s more important to measure Illinois’ performance in terms of percentages, as opposed to the total number of jobs created.

To measure the percentage growth, Illinois’ gain of 14,000 jobs should be considered in proportion to Illinois’ total workforce size. For example, Illinois’ 14,000-job increase represents a 0.23 percent gain, while Indiana’s 10,700 jobs gain is a 0.34 percent increase for the Hoosier State. Relative to the size of its economy, Indiana’s jobs creation was better than Illinois’ in the first quarter of 2017, and has been for a long time.

Illinois has gained more jobs than most nearby states so far in 2017. But Illinois is the third-worst among states in the region in terms of percentage growth for the first quarter of 2017, outperforming only Michigan and Missouri.

Manufacturing woes continue: Illinois down 800 manufacturing jobs in first 3 months of 2017

Manufacturing has been a persistent sore spot in Illinois’ labor market, with the state losing 5,000 manufacturing jobs in 2015 and 7,700 manufacturing jobs in 2016. Illinois is down 800 manufacturing jobs in the first three months of 2017, with Michigan as the only nearby state to have losses so far in 2017.

It’s important to point out, however, that while Illinois lost manufacturing jobs over the last two years, Michigan gained 17,200.

Illinois’ economic weakness creates an opportunity deficit for Illinoisans. For example, while manufacturing jobs have recovered elsewhere in the region, Illinois has lagged behind due in part to the anti-growth, anti-jobs taxes and regulations Illinois heaps on manufacturers. Illinois has experienced only 2.8 percent growth in manufacturing jobs since the bottom of the Great Recession. Nearby states have left Illinois behind and have seen tens of thousands more manufacturing jobs created than Illinois has.
Illinoisans are fleeing to states with more opportunity

Illinois also has fewer people working compared with before the Great Recession, further revealing Illinois’ opportunity deficit. Illinois’ unemployment rate is the same as it was before the Great Recession. However, Illinois has 144,000 fewer people working compared with its pre-recession peak, and a smaller labor force. One of the major drivers of Illinois’ shrinking labor force is working-age Illinoisans moving to other states.

Illinois’ neighbors have turned Illinois’ opportunity deficit into their own opportunity gains. Over the Great Recession timeline, all of Illinois’ neighbors have more people working, while Illinois has fewer people working. This is not only because surrounding states have experienced a broader economic recovery, but also because working-age Illinoisans have flooded into those states over the last decade.
Illinois’ bordering states have benefited from Illinois’ dysfunction, adding Illinois expatriates to their tax bases while avoiding the policies that are leading Illinois into bankruptcy.

Illinois and its local governments are approaching insolvency in financial terms. However, the deeper bankruptcy is a moral one – a political system that drives away economic production and punishes home ownership while rewarding political clout and cronyism.

State government needs an overhaul before Illinois’ machine politics finally breaks the state’s finances. State taxpayers and homeowners need a balanced budget that reins in government worker unions, reforms pensions and includes legislation that fosters economic growth.


Michael Lucci
Vice President of Policy

Source: Will County News

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan reportedly uses his large quantity of Cubs and White Sox tickets as gifts for his political volunteers

Madigan has spent nearly $170,000 in campaign funds on baseball tickets in 2017

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan reportedly uses his large quantity of Cubs and White Sox tickets as gifts for his political volunteers, but his history with professional sports teams in Chicago isn’t so generous.

From Illinois Policy April 2017

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan reportedly uses his large quantity of Cubs and White Sox tickets as gifts for his political volunteers, but his history with professional sports teams in Chicago isn’t so generous.

The Major League Baseball season is still young, but that hasn’t stopped one powerful Illinois politician from already spending thousands of dollars on tickets to games.

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan has spent nearly $170,000 of campaign funds on tickets for the Chicago Cubs and White Sox in the first quarter this year, with $122,869 on Cubs tickets and $46,245 on White Sox tickets, according to new campaign disclosure reports reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Madigan’s spokesman Steve Brown says the speaker doesn’t use the tickets himself but uses them as “thank you” gifts to volunteers and supporters. Not only is that a large quantity of tickets – the Cubs tickets were the biggest itemized expenditure Madigan reported for this first quarter – but the large payments to Chicago’s baseball teams are a far departure from his attitude historically toward the city’s sports teams.

While he may be dishing out thousands to the Cubs now, Madigan stood in the way when the Cubs were trying to acquire lights at Wrigley Field in the 1980s, eventually becoming the last Major League team to install lights at their home ballpark. Madigan teamed up with then-Chicago Alderman Ed Vrdolyak in fierce opposition to allowing the Tribune Company, who then owned the Cubs, from getting its lights.

The crux of the opposition was Vrdolyak’s desire for more favorable coverage from the Tribune. Both Madigan and Vrdolyak were Democratic Party bosses and Madigan made sure to help lead the fight in Springfield. Vrdolyak was successful, getting a 42-2 vote in Chicago City Council to ban lights at Wrigley in 1983. The Tribune Company then proceeded to try to get the General Assembly in Springfield to override Chicago’s ordinance, which is where Madigan stepped in and blocked the company again.

The battle with the city and state for lights almost proved costly for the north side ball club, as the Cubs came just one win away from the 1984 World Series – in which they would have had to sacrifice home field advantage to comply with a national television schedule that needed night games.

In a blistering 1985 editorial, the Tribune wrote:

“Mr. Madigan made sure the Cubs weren`t successful in getting the state legislature to override the city ordinance preventing the Cubs from installing lights and playing some night baseball in Wrigley Field during the regular season.

“Mr. Madigan and his law firm represent a lot of people who end up doing business with state government. Largely because of the vacuum of leadership in Springfield, Mr. Madigan has obtained a position of extraordinary power in the legislature. You come by him or you don’t get by. And if your cause happens to conflict with that of someone closer to him that you are, forget it …

“To handle Mr. Madigan, you have to make some kind of deal. Take him some incense, myrrh, maybe some silk from the East and kneel when you go before his throne. Then maybe, just maybe, you`ll get lucky and he’ll throw you some scraps from his legislative table. That`s what everyone else has to do.”

But things changed when Vrdolyak, who formerly led the Cook County Democratic Party, became a Republican in 1987 and led criticism against then-Mayor Harold Washington’s $79.9 million dollar property tax hike. Madigan, who runs a law firm specializing in property-tax appeals in Cook County, stopped assisting Vrdolyak in his lights crusade. Political motivation gone, Madigan didn’t speak up once the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance allowing lights in 1988.

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The lights fiasco shows how far Madigan’s iron grip over the state extends – from the state’s legislative rules and political mapmaking, all the way to professional sports. But other sports owners have been able to avoid the stranglehold by playing ball with the longtime House speaker. Chicago White Sox and Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf has made large donations to powerful politicians in the city and the state over the years, including Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton, Attorney General Lisa Madigan and both former Gov. Pat Quinn and Gov. Bruce Rauner. When Reinsdorf threatened to move the White Sox to Florida in the ‘80s unless he received taxpayer funding for a new stadium, then-Gov. Jim Thompson balked and, with Madigan and the General Assembly, created a politically stacked board to make sure the White Sox remained in Chicago.

The General Assembly created the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, or ISFA in 1987 to provide taxpayer funding for the construction and renovation of stadiums for professional sports teams. The ISFA owns Guaranteed Rate Field, formerly U.S. Cellular Field, and is the party benefitting from the new money in the Guaranteed Rate naming deal. The ISFA also oversaw the renovations to Soldier Field in the early 2000s, and is still handing out taxpayer money to the Chicago Bears for that deal to the tune of $36 million just this year.

Former ISFA Chairwoman Perri Irmer, who served from 2004-2011, claimed in a 2013 lawsuit the ISFA exists as “nothing more than a cash cow puppet for Reinsdorf,” not to serve its intended purpose of economic development through sports stadiums. But with its potential influence over professional sports teams in the state – which are large, wealthy private businesses – there isn’t much likelihood for reform or elimination of the IFSA.

Madigan – and other state and city politicians – have made clear they view sports organizations in Illinois as tools for political ends. If Madigan’s volunteers are attending Cubs games under the lights at Wrigley or White Sox games at the taxpayer funded Guaranteed Rate Field as “thank-you’s” for their political work, the historical evidence is right in front of them.

TAGS: Chicago Cubs, Mike Madigan

Source: Will County News

Fr. Paul Scalia talks with Dan and Amy AM560 morning drive

Father Scalia On His Dad And His Faith
Watch now.

 
Dan & Amy are joined by Father Paul Scalia, the son of former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to discuss the importance of faith and family in his dad’s life.

Father Scalia discusses his dad’s legacy and shares his thoughts on the search for truth, as well as his new book “That Nothing May Be Lost: Reflections on Catholic Doctrine and Devotion.” And they dismantle the myth that just because something is legal, it is good.

Watch the interview now and share your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter using #UpstreamIdeas.

 

Source: Will County News