What the hell is “cancel culture”? Poor John Kass.

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Nobody forced John Kass, formerly the Chicago Tribune’s page 2 columnist (the “Mike Royko spot”) to run a column about his anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about George Soros.

Certainly even Kass is aware that the billionaire progressive Soros is used by the far-right and anti-Semites as a code for Jew.

The reaction was swift.

The Tribune Newspaper Guild issued a letter of condemnation.

The editors took away his page 2 spot.

He still has his job, however.

Kass is technically management and not a member of the Guild.

Poor John Kass now cries that he is a victim of Cancel Culture.

Cancel Culture a new term for me.

In checking on it I learned that a bunch of liberal intellectuals signed a letter a few weeks ago condemning Cancel Culture and had it published in Harper’s magazine.

Although some of those who signed the letter now claim they didn’t mean to.

To me it seems that the term Cancel Culture has replaced the pejorative use of  the term, Political Correctness as cover for defending bigoted speech.

Someone uses sexist language in my presence and I object.

“You’re just being politically correct.”

A racist joke?

Object to that and your objection is dismissed as being politically correct.

So, now it’s Cancel Culture.

Gregory Pratt is a great reporter for the Trib and a leader in the Guild.

The real problem is Kass wasn’t cancelled.






Teacher union presidents Weingarten and Eskelsen-Garcia vote no to Medicare for All in Dem platform.

AFT’s Weingarten and NEA’s Esekelsen-Garcia.

Here’s a good wrap-up of the results of the Democratic Party’s platform committee meeting.

I want to briefly point out that representatives of the two national teacher unions, AFT President Randi Weingarten and NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia voted against including Medicare for All in the Party platform.

No surprise.

While there has been talk about the need for the Biden camp and the progressives to make compromises in order to create a common front against Trump, health care was apparently a line in the sand.

Weingarten has been an outspoken opponent of national health care for a while. Like other national union leaders she says she wants to protect the health care her AFT and other union locals have bargained.

Now that 30 million newly unemployed workers are without employer provided health insurance, this defense rings hollow.

Weingarten got some attention this week in threatening a national strike if teachers can’t be assured of safe working conditions because of COVID19.

But the only safe working conditions for millions of teachers is remote instruction.

Many teachers are now being forced to think about the the start of school and having to choose between their family’s safety and their jobs.

The platform committee repeatedly voted on Monday not to modify language that would push the party closer to embracing Sanders’ “Medicare for All” health insurance model, sticking with Biden’s preferred language promising to build on the 2010 healthcare law signed by President Barack Obama.

Abdul El-Sayed, an epidemiologist and former health commissioner for the city of Detroit, argued that the coronavirus outbreak demonstrates why the country needs a single-payer system like Medicare for All rather than just an expansion of the Affordable Care Act.

“We have an opportunity to go bigger because this moment demands it,” El-Sayed said, arguing for an amendment that was eventually defeated.

What a time to vote against national healthcare.

So out of touch.




John Kass needs to go and he should take Kristen McQueary with him.

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My pic of the day John Kass found his way into Logan Square.

Chicago media reporter and blogger @RobertFeder posts today three things about the Tribune’s over-rated (former) page two columnist, John Kass.

Trib reporters signed a letter criticizing Kass for belittling the work street reporters do.

So did their union, the Guild.

And Tribune editors have removed him from the page two “Mike Royko spot.”

The latest story begins a few days ago when Kass wrote a column repeating the anti-Semitic trope about a Jewish conspiracy headed by George Soros to control, well, everything.

I was not surprised by Kass’ anti-Semitism, but I needed to respond.

My friends, who often and for good reason, get mad at the Tribune sometimes miss that there is class struggle there like everywhere.

The Trib has great reporters and union activists like Gregory Pratt who was a guest on our radio show and podcast Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers.

Then there are the owners and non-union editorial and management people, those like Kristen McQueary and Kass.

McQueary is the house union and public education hater, famous for writing a column where she dreams of a hurricane Katrina hitting Chicago, destroying all of our public schools.

That’s why I find myself praying for a storm. OK, a figurative storm, something that will prompt a rebirth in Chicago. I can relate, metaphorically, to the residents of New Orleans climbing onto their rooftops and begging for help and waving their arms and lurching toward rescue helicopters.

And Kass, whose not so hidden hatred of anyone non-white, non-Christian and non-male, got un-masked in his Thursday column.

Back in 2017, when Tribune management was planning to fire staff in their march to destroy one of the last two newspapers in the city, I tweeted, “God. Make it Kristen McQueary.

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This apparently outraged Kass, who tweeted back.

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Unfortunately McQueary and Kass still have desks at the paper while the Trib’s great reporters face continuing furloughs and job losses.

Keeping socially distant from the “million unmasked march.”

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“Million” unmasked in Springfield this morning.

Organizers were calling it the “million unmasked march.”

These are folks who want to make wearing a mask a political issue and who want public schools open for in-person instruction.

It was scheduled today for 10am at the Illinois Capitol in Sangamon, County.

In a photo posted on Twitter by capital reporter @MikeMiletichTV, it seems the crowd size has fallen short of their goals.

State Journal Republican:

Sangamon County public health officials reported 22 additional positive cases of COVID-19 on Friday.

It marks the fifth consecutive day more than 20 COVID-19 cases were reported across the county and brings its overall count to 783 cases, including 34 deaths.

Also located in Sangamon County is New Berlin Consolidated School District #16.

In spite of the spike in C19 cases, the New Berlin school district plans to open with some in-person instruction.

While the New Berlin school board will be bringing children into an unsafe environment, they will not be inviting back former local union president, teacher and coach Joe Kindred.

Joe Kindred was terminated after the members of the union local voted no confidence in the now-departed superintendent Adam Ehrman in October.

Ehrman has sinced moved on to become superintendent of the Bourbonnais Elementary School District.

Also disciplined by the New Berlin board is current NBEA president Tonya Delaney. She received a one-day suspension.

“The IEA believes this is a clear case of union retaliation,” said IEA President Kathi Griffin. “Joe has the full power of the IEA behind him.”

From my experience, that’s not real encouraging.

But I wish Adam and Tonya the best of luck.

And I worry about the teachers and students in New Berlin as they return to school.


What makes AOC so good? She takes us all with her.


Nobody I know who watched Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shred Republican Ted Yoho live , or in a later clip on social media, was anything but thrilled.

There is no need here to go over the famous story of her being accosted by Yoho on the steps on the Capitol  and called a “fucking bitch.”

As she recounted in her point of personal privilege yesterday on the House floor, this was not her first rodeo.

After all, she is a working class woman of color in America. As she pointed out, this was not the first time she or any woman has been assaulted by men like Yoho.

And so she said she was just going to do what women often do and just walk on by.

But then Yoho went to the floor and lied about what he had said and done.

Ocasio said she could not let that go by.

AOC is the most progressive member of Congress and a charismatic leader of epic proportions.

She knows how to fight within the Democratic Party for our progressive agenda.

After all, it was by challenging a Democratic incumbent that she won her seat in the first place, running as a democratic socialist.

But she knows how to build a broader coalition when that is what is called for.

Like yesterday.

Coming to her defense was everyone from Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer to members of the Squad – Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.

We have seen for a while how AOC has made the progressive agenda a central conversation, even as a first-term congresswoman from the Bronx and Queens.

But my take-away yesterday was how she can also build broader unity even among those who differ with her when that is what is needed.

She is a model that many on the Left can learn from.



The Trib’s John Kass is not just a joke. He’s a racist and anti-Semite and should go away.

The Trib’s John Kass uses the anti-Semitic code of “George Soros”.

As professional reporters for the Chicago Tribune get regularly furloughed, Trib columnist John Kass gets to keep his regular hate space on page 2.

If there was ever a reason for letting somebody go from what is left of the paper, Kass’ regular blast of racism and Trump talking points certainly provide it.

This week he actually used the anti-Semitic code of blaming George Soros for fomenting protests demanding social justice in the wake of the George Floyd murder by Minneapolis police. And claiming Soros (read Jew) is the real power behind what goes on in this and other cities.

George Soros and the secret Jewish cabal.

Wrote Kass.

But these Democratic cities are also where left-wing billionaire George Soros has spent millions of dollars to help elect liberal social justice warriors as prosecutors. He remakes the justice system in urban America, flying under the radar.

The Soros-funded prosecutors, not the mayors, are the ones who help release the violent on little or no bond.

The use of George Soros as code for Jew has become so common that The Anti-Defamation League has felt the need to issue a public warning.

Although the vast majority of Soros-related conspiracy theories do not mention his Jewish heritage, the concern remains that they can serve as a gateway to the antisemitic subculture that blames Jews for the riots. This type of content can be found on mainstream platforms; a Twitter user wrote, “George Soros is paying for this he is a Jew America bows to the Jew [sic],” while another tweeted, “Antifa are on the payroll of the Jewish financier George Soros who often uses these paid thugs to intimidate any opposition towards the status quo that he and his Zionist allies have set up to control us.” Yet another claimed, “Soros is every bit the subversive, parasitic conspirator these people make him out to be. The problem they always neglect to mention is the fact that he’s a Jew.”

I don’t know what Kass makes, but his salary could certainly pay to bring back at least some of the professional Tribune reporters to full-time professional journalistic work.



America’s lullaby. Portland mothers sing, “Hands up. Please don’t shoot me.”

Black mothers have been demanding justice for years as they have lost so many sons and daughters at the hands of police.

The group, Mothers of the Movement, have toured around the United States to protests and conferences.

Now they have been joined by white mothers and fathers in Portland, responding to Trump’s dispatching of federal agents to grab peaceful protesters off the streets and hold them incommunicado.

Trump has called the protests in Portland “worse than Afghanistan.”

The Wall of Mothers.

Their lullaby: “Hands up. Please don’t shoot me.”

Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf calls it “proactive arrests.”

Men in fatigues, without name tags or other identification, approach someone on the street and drag them into the open door of a waiting, unmarked minivan.

It has been disclosed that these guys are part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The CBP was previously occupied with building cages for children at the Mexican border.



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Trump says he’s sending his federal troops to Chicago.

He’s already sent them to Portland where the anonymous members of his Schutzstaffel have been grabbing citizens off the street and holding them incommunicado.

Now Chicago?

Mayor Lightfoot has warned him not to even think about it.

All Chicago must speak as one about this.

The New York Times’ Michelle Goldberg asks, “Can we call it fascism yet?”

The “Schutzstaffel,” (the SS) was founded in 1925 and initially served as Adolf Hitler’s  personal bodyguards.

Later the SS became one of the most powerful and feared organizations in all of Nazi Germany. Heinrich Himmler, a fervent anti-Semite like Hitler, became head of the Schutzstaffel in 1929 and expanded the group’s role and size.

Writes Goldberg, The month after Donald Trump’s inauguration, the Yale historian Timothy Snyder published the best-selling book “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century.” It was part of a small flood of titles meant to help Americans find their bearings as the new president laid siege to liberal democracy.

One of Snyder’s lessons was, “Be wary of paramilitaries.” He wrote, “When the pro-leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the end has come.” In 2017, the idea of unidentified agents in camouflage snatching leftists off the streets without warrants might have seemed like a febrile Resistance fantasy. Now it’s happening.

Note that it was Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara that opened the door for Trump’s fascist threat to send his SS to Chicago.

This week, Catanzara send this letter to Trump.


How this gang gets to sit down and bargain with our Mayor is a mystery to me.

Update: I have been told by a reader that I published the first draft of the letter to Trump from Catanzara. She included the final draft that was sent.


Is Madigan guilty? Of course he’s guilty.


Exelon/ComEd makes $2 billion a year.

So the $200 million fine levied against the company by the feds in the bribery scandal involving Speaker Mike Madigan is nothing.

Exelon’s stock climbed 3 percent Friday. The DPA holds only the corporate entity accountable. The ComEd bosses who bribed Madigan and his cohorts face no criminal charges.

A clean get-away.

Can the feds eventually get a conviction?

Who knows?

The one time I saw Madigan in Springfield he was eating dinner at Saputo’s with his chair backed to the wall. Big guys with pinkie rings kept coming by and whispering in his ear. Does a guy like this make sure there’s no wire?

You would think.

He’s 78 and the longest serving politician in the state. I guess he’s careful.

But if you’re innocent you don’t have to be careful.

So, the good news today is that Governor Pritzker, Mayor Lightfoot and 12 members of the Democratic legislative caucus: Carol Ammons, Will Guzzardi, Theresa Mah, Delia Ramirez, Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz;, Kelly Cassidy, Robyn Gabel, Lindsey LaPointe, Anna Moeller, Anne Stava-Murray, Ann Williams and Yoni Pizer all said that if these allegations are true, “Speaker Madigan and any other elected official involved in this scheme must resign from public service.”

By Illinois standards that kind of talk is a profile in courage, even with the modifying clause, “if these charges are true.”

Madigan’s a crook. Of course the charges are true.

Everyone knows he’s a crook. His political action fund has more money (lots coming from teacher unions including the IEA, IFT and the CTU) than the Illinois Democratic Party PAC and most gets spent on lawyers.

Innocent guys don’t need to spend so much on lawyers.