Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
Chicago is on fire. It’s America’s mass shooting capital. Its deadliest neighborhoods are gang territories prowled by thousands of killers with some of the highest murder rates in the world.
So far, 442 people have been shot and killed in Chicago this year. 2,540 were shot and wounded. 2,982 were shot. Fewer Americans died fighting Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War than in a year in Chicago.
On Christmas Day, two people were killed and 10 wounded. Chicago has tens of thousands of gang members and someone usually gets shot every 3 hours.
Or at least beaten up.
On Sunday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s African-American Deputy Chief of Staff was assaulted at a prayer vigil for a police shooting by an attacker shouting anti-Semitic slurs. Rapper King Louie, who coined “Chiraq” was released from the hospital after being shot seven times.
He blamed the devil. “The devil’s working overtime. That’s what’s going on in Chicago.”
But in Chiraq, the devil is a Democrat. Chicago Democrats are closely entangled with its 68,000 gang members who deliver the votes and the money. There are more gang members in Chicago than people of English ancestry. That makes them a powerful voting bloc. And Democrats bow to their wishes.
A Latin Kings member described how the vote organizing worked. “Every chapter had to vote for that guy… That was a direct order. That means you can’t say no.” Under the Dems, that’s Chicago democracy.
Chicago Democrats ritualistically demand gun control, but carefully avoid cracking down on their own political base. Obama calls for “common sense solutions” after every shooting, but like a good Chicago Democrat he voted against a 1999 bill to try anyone carrying out a shooting in school as an adult. Under Obama, Federal gun-crime prosecutions in Chicago have became as rare as honest Chicago Democrats.
His former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, whose only qualifications for the job were his ties to the Democratic political machine, has failed in every possible way. In his second year in office, the murder rate had climbed to levels it hadn’t seen in a decade and a thousand more people were robbed.
This year the murder rate will probably hit 500 again. And Emanuel is just 69 corpses short of racking up 2,000 kills on his watch. But he’ll never top the Daley clan who boast a combined total of 25,000.
Rahm Emanuel has rolled out a plan for handing out tasers to cops after rushing back from his Cuba vacation. That probably won’t help any of the 67 people who were shot in the face this year.
The only good news for Chicago is that it’s aging fast. The number of children and even young people has been dropping sharply. In forty years, the gang bangers may be too old to shoot each other.
Chicago is a dead city. It was shot and killed generations ago. Now it’s just lying in a gutter and waiting to die. As in Detroit, Baltimore and so many other once promising cities, the killers were Democrats.
Rahm’s public school chief, whom he called “the best and the brightest”, pleaded guilty in a corruption scheme for accepting kickbacks while writing in an email that she needed money because she had “casinos to visit”. That was convenient because Rahm had been pushing for a city-owned casino to fund schools. But under Democratic Party corruption, school corruption funds casinos instead.
Rahm Emanuel had a simple job. In true Chicago style, his job was a con job.
The con was attracting enough prosperous young people to slow down the rate at which Chicago will go bankrupt. Chicago has a $63 billion debt. It will be paying off bonds from 1993 in 2039 for public housing that was already torn down. It’s no wonder that its bonds were downgraded to junk this year.
But the rich, young people who were supposed to bail out Chicago didn’t show up. Instead they left. Their top reasons for getting the hell out of Chicago included high taxes and lots of shootings.
So Rahm Emanuel piled on even more taxes on top of taxes. He taxed cable, hotels, cigarettes, parking in garages (it’s 22 percent on weekdays) cloud-computing services and Netflix. Water and sewer rates nearly doubled. And more companies left. Many of them blamed the rising taxes.
The latest Democrat to run Chicago into the ground is out of tricks and out of options. Rahm was unable to fix Chicago’s finances. His tax hikes gave the left what it wanted in the short term while destroying the city’s future in the long term. Chicagoans are fleeing the city as if it had come down with Ebola.
But his attempts at technocratic progressive tinkering with school reform at the expense of the powerful and greedy Chicago Teachers Union (the organization called a strike demanding a 30% raise) made the organization and its crazed head, Karen Lewis, into his enemies. Rahm Emanuel had also done such politically incorrect things as trying to lure companies to move to Chicago which earned him a 1% label.
Rahm barely survived the last election even before the latest wave of anti-police protests. He had controversially mentioned the Ferguson Effect under which police officers stop fighting crime to avoid being put on trial, a reality that #BlackLivesMatter supporters from the White House on down respond to like vampires to sunlight. And so his time has come.
Firing his police chief, another best and brightest hire, hasn’t brought Rahm any time. And yet the one thing that everyone knows is that his replacement will be even worse.
Rahm’s last opponent, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, was caught posing with Latin Kings gang leaders who had been arrested after working on a political campaign. His son was arrested for threatening police officers as a member of the Two Six gang. Garcia’s protégé, Ricardo Muñoz, benefited from an election in which the Latin Kings turned out to vote for him on pain of being beaten up by other gang members.
Garcia was the “progressive” choice in that election. His plan was to raise more taxes including income taxes and sales taxes, along with a mysterious proposal for “something bold, something that we’ve never considered before in terms of figuring out the revenue side of things.”
Considering that he was running against a man who had tried to tax Netflix, there was no telling what unexplored taxation territory he wanted to exploit. And Garcia won 34 percent of the vote.
No matter what happens, Chicago is screwed.
The last Republican mayor of Chicago was born shortly after the Civil War. In his last year in office, the population of Chicago stood at around 3.4 million. A few years ago, the population fell to levels not seen in a century as the escape from Chicago continued.
Chicago’s population has been falling since the 50s. 200,000 fled between 2000 and 2010. Tens of thousands of homes stand vacant. In some neighborhoods 1 in 6 homes are empty. And with an underwater mortgage rate that hovers around 20 percent, they’ll soon have plenty of company.
Democrats killed Chicago’s future. All that’s left is a skeleton for the aldermen to pick apart, for the political machine to bankrupt and for activists to run against. It’s the same familiar cycle of Democratic rule that shrank the city, destroyed its economy, stole its jobs and drove away its families.
Chicago Democrats have two visions for the city’s future. The Rahm Emanuel vision is to try and lure new companies and workers to rob. The Lewis/Garcia vision is to double down on taxes for the political machine without even bothering to figure out who is going to pay for them.
Chicago’s bonds are already junk. If the radical wing of the welfare party gets its way, they’ll be toilet paper. If the moderate wing stays in power, they’ll still be toilet paper, but it’ll take longer.
If Rahm loses, he’ll join the flood of emigrants from Chicago. And if he needs a farewell speech, he can always borrow one from a more famous Chicago boss.
“I’m sick of the job. It’s a thankless one and full of grief. I’ve been spending the best years of my life as a public benefactor,” Al Capone complained. “Public service is my motto.”
Capone’s public service is also the motto of Chicago Democrats. That’s why Chicago is the way it is.