Category Archives: Society


By Melissa Earnest, Contributor

Do you see this CHILD? This child’s life was changed forever when his Father was sworn in as President of The United States of America yesterday.

Long before his Father, President Donald J. Trump, was sworn in- this child became the center of hateful online attacks. From a certain celebrity attempting to diagnose him with a neurological disorder with her degree from “The University of Google” to now, when a writer from Saturday Night Live decided to make a tweet saying that he would be the “first homeschool shooter”. Which she must not do any research because he does attend an actual school.

Some of you liberals (that are celebrity status) go on and on about peace, hope and love, and yet you spew hatred out the other side of your hypocritical mouth. Tonight, when you tuck your children into bed, look them in the eyes and ask yourself, “could I say these things to my baby?”

Whether you like or dislike the Trumps- this is their ten year old son. He is still growing and words hurt. Words have the potential to form a person while they are growing into their adult years. Would you say these things to your own child? NO child deserves to be talked to in such a manner. Don’t be a hypocrite. His name is Barron Trump. He is a child. He is to be respected and he is off limits!


Tourists Flee ‘Nightmare’ Paris Amidst Rising Theft, Assaults


by Virginia Hale18 Jan 2017

18 Jan, 201718 Jan, 2017 Tourists from China are avoiding France amid surging violence and crime, a Chinese tourism expert has said, reporting that customers are turning to Russia as a safer destination.

President of the Chinese Association of Travel Agencies in France, Jean-François Zhou, said “increasingly violent” thefts and assaults are turning France into “one of the worst destinations for foreign tourists”.

Mr. Zhou, a representative for major Chinese travel agency Utour in France, reported a steep decline in visitor numbers from Asia, and said many tourists are now looking to Russia as a less dangerous holiday destination.

“In 2016, there were 1.6 million Chinese tourists compared to 2.2 million in 2015. The  number of Japanese tourists dropped 39 per cent, and Koreans 27 per cent. Our tourists have turned to Russia, which is less attractive but at least it is a safe country. For Putin, it is an economic windfall”, he told Le Parisien.

Rising violence and aggression account for the drop, according to Mr. Zhou, who said: “For a number of Chinese tourists, the dream of visiting France and Paris has turned into a nightmare.

“[Chinese tourists] are robbed in the palace of Versailles, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, in front of their hotel, as they leave the coaches … In high season, not a day goes by without tourists being assaulted.”

Violent incidents in France have “sparked panic” on social media in Chinese, Mr. Zhou said, recalling one in which an 80-year-old man was seriously injured as he tried to resist thieves, and he reported how female tourists have been pushed to the ground while criminals steal bags containing all their papers.

Having lived in France for 25 years, Mr. Zhou said he has borne witness to the country’s deteriorating security situation over the decades, which has resulted in Paris ranking “number one in Europe in terms of the upsurge in delinquency”.

While so far there are no organised campaigns calling on Chinese tourists to avoid visiting France, the experienced travel agent said that a boycott “has already begun”, with “several Asian operators preferring to divert Asian tourists to Italy, Spain, and Russia”.

Paris’s regional tourism office last year reported a slump in visitor numbers to the city, and attributed some of the decline to terror fears, as more than 200 people have been killed in Islamic terror in France since 2015.

Millennials Are Deficient

New Study Shows Exactly Why Millennials Are F*cked Compared to Their Parents


January 14, 2017  


Over the past few years, as the Millennial generation has grown into its own, in 2016 surpassing Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation according to the Census (Americans aged 18-34 in 2015 now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers aged 51-69), in the process becoming the fulcrum support of the US economy, it has also prompted many questions: why aren’t Millennials investing in the stock market? Why aren’t they starting families and buying houses? Why are they living in their parents’ basements well into their thirties? Why don’t they just… spend?

The latest answer to all these questions came yesterday following a new analysis of Fed data by the Young Invincibles group, according to which with a median household income of $40,581, despite being better educated, millennials now earn 20% less than boomers did at the same stage of life in 1989, who earned $50,910 some 25 years ago.

The analysis released on Friday shows other disturbing trends, which confirm that America’s troubling generational divide is all too real and helps explain much of the anxiety that defined the 2016 election. Some examples: millennials have half the net worth of boomers; their home ownership rate is lower, while their student debt is drastically higher.


The generational gap is a central dilemma for the incoming presidency of Donald Trump, who pledged a return to the prosperity of post-World War II America. The analysis also hints at the issues of culture and identity that divided many voters, showing that white millennials — who still earn much more than their blacks and Latino peers — have seen their incomes plummet the most relative to boomers.

Andrea Ledesma, 28, says her parents owned a house and were raising kids by her age. Not so for her.

Ledesma graduated from college four years ago. After moving through a series of jobs, she now earns $18,000 making pizza at Classic Slice in Milwaukee, shares a two-bedroom apartment with her boyfriend and has $33,000 in student debt.

“That’s not at all how life is now, that’s not something that people strive for and it’s not something that is even attainable, and I thought it would be at this point,” Ledesma said.

Her mother Cheryl Romanowski, 55, was making about $10,000 a year at her age working at a bank without a college education. In today’s dollars, that income would be equal to roughly $19,500. Romanowski said she envies the choices that her daughter has in life, but she acknowledged that her daughter has it harder than her. “I think the opportunities have just been fading away,” she said.

The Fed data shows the extent of the decline. It compared 25 to 34 year-olds in 2013, the most recent year available, to the same age group in 1989 after adjusting for inflation. Education does help boost incomes. But the median college-educated millennial with student debt is only earning slightly more than a baby boomer without a degree did in 1989.

The home ownership rate for this age group dipped to 43 percent from 46 percent in 1989, although the rate has improved for millennials with a college degree relative to boomers. The median net worth of millennials is $10,090, 56 percent less than it was for boomers.Millennials

While whites still earn dramatically more than Blacks and Latinos, reflecting the legacy of discrimination for jobs, education and housing. Yet compared to white baby boomers, some white millennials appear stuck in a pattern of downward mobility. This group has seen their median income tumble more than 21% to $47,688. Median income for black millennials has fallen just 1.4 percent to $27,892. Latino millennials earn nearly 29 percent more than their boomer predecessors to $30,436.


The analysis fits into a broader pattern of diminished opportunity. Research last year by economists led by Stanford University’s Raj Chetty found that people born in 1950 had a 79 percent chance of making more money than their parents. That figure steadily slipped over the past several decades, such that those born in 1980 had just a 50 percent chance of out-earning their parents.


This decline has occurred even though younger Americans are increasingly college-educated. The proportion of 25 to 29 year-olds with a college degree has risen to 35.6 percent in 2015 from 23.2 percent in 1990, a report this month by the Brookings Institution noted.

The declining fortunes of millennials could impact boomers who are retired or on the cusp of retirement. Payroll taxes from millennials helps to finance the Social Security and Medicare benefits that many boomers receive, programs that Trump has said won’t be subject to spending cuts. And those same boomers will need younger generations to buy their homes and invest in the financial markets to protect their own savings.

“The challenges that young adults face today could forecast the challenges that we see down the road,” said Tom Allison, deputy policy and research director at Young Invincibles.

For now, despite Obama’s recurring narrative of an economic “recovery” which unfortunately skipped some 75.4 million Americans, and despite Trump’s promises that he will somehow make it batter, it remains unclear just how this most important US generation will emerge from its demographic and economic doldrums.






Study: Economy Was Top Issue Among Millennial Voters

A new study conducted after the election shows that the economy mattered most to millennial voters.

The study by the Millennial Impact Report surveyed 350 young voters they had surveyed in different waves throughout the election.

The organization found that millennials had considered education to be the most important topic during the election through each of three waves of surveying.

However, this changed when respondents were surveyed between Nov. 9 and Nov. 14. The survey showed employment and wages were the primary concern for millennial voters.

The study also showed roughly 80 percent of all millennials surveyed said they voted in the election.

In addition, the survey showed that the number of millennial voters who said they voted for Republican candidate Donald Trump nearly doubled postelection compared to those who said they were voting for him before the election.

Most millennials who gave their rationale for voting for Trump said he had the highest possibility of improving the economy since he was a businessman.

Many who did not choose between Trump or Hillary Clinton said it wouldn’t have made a difference due to the Electoral College and because “the lesser of two evils is still evil.”


Pew Report: Religion Plummets in America During Obama Era

In a new study of President Obama’s legacy, the Pew Research Center found that religious affiliation and practice dropped off dramatically during his two terms in the White House.
“When it comes to the nation’s religious identity, the biggest trend during Obama’s presidency is the rise of those who claim no religion at all,” Pew notes in a report released this week titled “How America Changed During Barack Obama’s Presidency.”

When Barack Obama took office, those who identified as atheists or agnostics along with those who said their religion was “nothing in particular” totaled only 16 percent of the U.S. adult population. On leaving office 8 years later, the non-religious in America now make up nearly a quarter of the population.

On the contrary, the percentage of Americans who say they believe in God, consider religion to be very important in their lives, pray daily and attend religious services at least monthly have all dropped during the Obama years, Pew found.

America’s largest religious demographic, those who self-identify as Christians, plunged from 78 percent of the U.S. adult population to 71 percent 8 years later, and the majority of these losses taken place among adults who identify with mainline Protestantism and Catholicism. Evangelical Protestantism along with historically black Christian denominations have remained comparably stable.

During his 8 years as president, Obama nettled religious conservatives over and over with moves that seemed calculated to undermine religious liberty.

According to Tim Schultz, the president of the 1st Amendment Partnership, the Obama administration often viewed religion as an enemy standing in the way of their policy objectives.

“They view religious freedom as a kind of inconvenient speed bump on the way to those objectives in some way,” Schultz said.

Last spring, the Obama administration angered many conservatives with a “Dear Colleague” letter from the Department of Justice and Department of Education mandating that public schools had to allow students to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity rather than their biological sex.

The most egregious example of the Obama administration’s hostility to religion was what has been called “Obama’s War Against Little Sisters of the Poor.” The Obama administration claimed it had the power to compel church groups to provide abortion-related products and services, and tried to bully the Little Sisters—an order of Catholic nuns—into offering these services against their beliefs.

But the administration’s antipathy toward religious freedom became more explicit still in a 2016 report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) attacking religious liberty as a guise for discrimination.

In the rollout of the report, Obama-appointed chairman, Martin R. Castro, stated that religious liberty was simply a justification for bigotry, prejudice and discrimination.

Castro claimed that the phrases “religious liberty” and “religious freedom” were “code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia or any form of intolerance.”

The Chairman further declared that “today, as in past, religion is being used as both a weapon and a shield by those seeking to deny others equality.”

“We now see ‘religious liberty’ arguments sneaking their way back into our political and constitutional discourse,” Castro said, “in an effort to undermine the rights of some Americans.”

The USCCR’s report “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties” proposed to examine the various legal and constitutional issues that arise when anti-discrimination laws and religious liberty come into conflict.

In its “Findings and Recommendations,” the report sided firmly with anti-discrimination laws over religious liberty, declaring that civil rights protections ensuring nondiscrimination are of “preeminent importance” in American jurisprudence, whereas religious exemptions “significantly infringe upon these civil rights.”

The Commission also stated that religious exemptions from nondiscrimination laws and policies must be “defined narrowly.”

In its majority statement, the Commissioners warned that threats to civil liberties, “cloaked as ‘religious freedom’ protection bills, are emerging in dozens of states and localities across the nation.”

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter  Follow @tdwilliamsrome


Good Samaritan shoots, kills man who wounded Arizona DPS trooper in struggle
DPS TROOPER SHOT ON I-10 NEAR TONOPAHDPS spokesman discusses shooting of trooper near Tonopah | 1:13
Arizona Department of Public Safety PIO Capt. Damon Cecil answers questions about a trooper being shot Jan. 12, 2017, at the scene of a rollover accident on Interstate 10 near Tonopah. Mark Henle/

DPS TROOPER SHOT ON I-10 NEAR TONOPAHDPS trooper injured in shooting on I-10 | 0:49
A DPS trooper was injured in a shooting on I-10 near Tonopah on Jan. 12, 2016 Yihyun Jeong/The Republic

DPS TROOPER SHOT ON I-10 NEAR TONOPAHArizona Department of Public Safety trooper shot on I-10 | 0:44
I-10 was closed off near exit 94 where a DPS trooper was shot Thursday. Officials instructed semi truck drivers to back out as investigators gathered evidence. Yihyun Jeong/

Last VideoNext Video
DPS spokesman discusses shooting of trooper near Tonopah
DPS trooper injured in shooting on I-10
Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper shot on I-10
Woman ejected from vehicle also dead at scene west of Tonopah
An Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper was shot, Jan. 12, 2017, at the scene of a rollover accident on Interstate 10 near Tonopah.(Photo: Mark Henle / The Republic)

A man traveling to California came to the rescue of a wounded state trooper who was struggling with the gunman who had shot him on an isolated stretch of Interstate 10, authorities said.

The man, who was with his wife, stopped his car when he came upon a rollover accident and saw the struggle, according to Col. Frank Milstead, Arizona Department of Public Safety director.

The trooper told the man he needed help, and the man returned to his car, got his gun and fired at the assailant when he refused to listen to orders to stop and back away, Milstead said.

The man who shot the trooper was dead, as was a woman who had been ejected from the vehicle, Milstead said.

Milstead said the trooper, a 27-year veteran, was in stable condition after being shot in the right shoulder and chest. His wife and other troopers were with him at the hospital where he was scheduled to undergo surgery. The trooper’s name was not immediately released.

He was going to be “OK after some recovery,” Milstead tweeted earlier Thursday.

Roberts: This is a gun story to celebrate on Interstate 10

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Milstead spoke at a Goodyear hospital where the trooper was taken, and DPS Capt. Damon Cecil provided details from the scene of the shooting, west of Tonopah and about 40 miles west of downtown Phoenix.

Milstead said the trooper was responding to a shots-fired call at milepost 81 about 4 a.m. after a caller said a car in the freeway median had fired a shot at his vehicle.

As the trooper was heading west, he came across a rollover accident at milepost 89. The car involved was registered in Arizona.

“We believe the suspect was in the rolled-over car, but it hasn’t been confirmed,” Cecil said.

The trooper was settling down flares in the pitch dark when a gunman “ambushed” the trooper at the scene, shooting him. The wound affected the trooper’s gun hand, but the trooper continued to physically fight the man, Cecil said.

Milstead said the civilian saw a man on top of the trooper, pounding his head in the pavement, and asked if the trooper needed help.

The civilian, who also was not identified, shot the man and then used the trooper’s radio to call for help, Milstead said.

Medical helicopters flew the trooper, the gunman and the woman ejected in the rollover to the Abrazo West Campus in Goodyear.

The Buckeye Police Department also posted their wishes for the trooper’s speedy recovery on a department social-media account.

Thanks for the thoughts and prayers this morning for our Trooper that was shot. Looks like he will be okay after some recovery @Arizona_DPS

— Col. Frank Milstead (@frank_milstead) January 12, 2017
@Arizona_DPS the @BuckeyePolice wishes your Trooper a speedy recovery. We are thinking of your Troopers and family’s today.

— Buckeye Police Dept (@BuckeyePolice) January 12, 2017I-10 to remain closed as investigation continues
Law enforcement vehicles were parked outside the Abrazo West Campus in Goodyear on Jan. 12, 2017. (Photo: Alessandra Luckey/The Republic)

Officials said that nearly 100 semitrucks had to be backed out of the area as the investigation expanded.

A detour for local traffic was set up using 411th Avenue. ADOT suggested State Route 85 and Interstate 8 as alternate routes for travelers passing through the area.

Truck driver Kenny Dunn said he was driving westbound on the Interstate 10 when the traffic came to a standstill.

Dunn said an official came by his window and said, “Hang tight, it’s going to be awhile.”

He said he saw smoke coming from a rolled-over vehicle and a maroon unmarked DPS car in the middle of the freeway.

He said he learned that a DPS trooper might have been injured and shortly afterward saw a helicopter swoop in and take off. Another helicopter came and took off after 10 minutes, he said.

During this time, his truck partner, Lawrence Weakley, 40, was asleep, but Weakley was awakened by Dunn and told what had happened.

“It sounds tragic,” he said. “Officers flew by (Dunn) to respond. Everyone responded immediately. It’s overwhelming.”

Their truck was the last of nearly 100 trucks that had to be backed out of the area as investigators worked to expand the scene.

Gov. Doug Ducey issued a statement Thursday morning.

“We are so relieved to hear this brave officer is safe, and will recover,” Ducey said. “This incident is another reminder of the risks that the men and women who wake up each morning and put on the badge take for our state. A courageous officer who puts his life on the line to protect our communities — and the fast-acting first-responders whose efforts were responsible for getting him to safety, doing for this officer what our cops do for our state every day. “I urge Arizonans to join me in praying for a quick recovery for this brave officer and thanking everyone who, through their actions in real time, showed our officers exactly what Arizona means when we say: ‘You have our backs — and we will always have yours.’”
Return to for additional details. Includes information from Arizona Republic reporter Logan Newman.

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Guns Save Lives: Armed Passerby Saves Police Officer From Being Beaten to Death
Leah Barkoukis  | November 15, 2016
Guns Save Lives: Armed Passerby Saves Police Officer From Being Beaten to Death

Usually it’s police who come to the rescue, but for one sheriff’s deputy in Florida, it was a man with a concealed carry permit who saved his life.

The deputy tried to make a traffic stop Monday morning but instead of stopping, the driver took off, driving more than 100 miles per hour. After following the suspect onto an exit ramp, the driver got out of his car and started assaulting the deputy, identified as Dean Bardes.

Fortunately, an armed passerby came to Bardes’ rescue.

Shanta Holditch told WZVN that the suspect pulled the deputy out of his car and “just kept beating him and beating him … throwing him to the ground and punching him in all different directions.”

At that point, WINK reported, another driver got out of his car and ran to the scene. He told the suspect that he’d shoot him if he didn’t stop beating the deputy.

“[He] refused to get off the officer and the officer kept yelling, ‘shoot him, shoot him, shoot him,’ Holditch said.

When the suspect didn’t stop his attack, the third man shot him three times. The deputy was not hit. The suspect later died.

“I heard like three shots. He fell down on top of the police officer,” said a witness who would only give his last name, Smith.  “After a moment, the police officer rolled him back over, got on his mic, then rolled over back on the ground besides the guy.”

Bardes, a 12-year veteran of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, suffered only minor injuries and was released from the hospital the same day.

If the ‘good guy’ didn’t have his gun, this story could’ve ended very differently for the deputy.


Protests in Mexico Push Country to Brink of Revolution and Nobody’s Talking About It

January 10, 2017   |   Nick Bernabe

(ANTIMEDIA) San Diego, CA — Long-simmering social tensions in Mexico are threatening to boil over as failing neoliberal reforms to the country’s formerly nationalized gas sector are compounded by open corruption, stagnant standards of living, and rampant inflation.

The U.S. media has remained mostly mute on the situation in Mexico, even as the unfolding civil unrest has closed the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego, California,several times in the past week. Ongoing “gasolinazo” protests in Mexico over a 20 percent rise in gas prices have led to over 400 arrests, 250 looted stores, and six deaths. Roads are being blockaded, borders closed, and government buildings are being sacked. Protests have remained relatively peaceful overall, except for several isolated violent acts, which activists have blamed on government infiltrators.

The few mainstream news reports that have covered the situation blame rising gas prices but fail to examine several other factors that are pushing Mexico to the brink of revolution.‘Narco-state’ corruption

The narco-state, or as Mexican activists say, “el narco-gobierno,” is a term used to describe the open corruption between the Mexican government and drug cartels. The narco-state has been in the headlines lately over the kidnapping and presumed murder of 43 Ayotzinapa students in Iguala, Guerrero, in 2014. This has been a source of continuous anti-government protests ever since.

Though the kidnappings remain officially unsolved, members of the Guerrero Unidos drug cartel have admitted to colluding with local police forces to silence the student activists. Twenty police officers have been arrested in association with the kidnapping. Former Iguala police chief Felipe Flores has been arrested and“accused of offenses including organized crime and kidnapping the students,” the AP reports. The corruption apparently goes all the way to the top, as federal authorities say former Iguala mayor José Luis Abarca personally ordered the kidnappings.

One Mexican activist who wished to remain anonymous told Anti-Media that “a lot of people think it’s only the gasoline prices, but the price of gas is just the straw that broke the camel’s back. It all started with Ayotzinapa.”

Much like the U.S., the Mexican government is susceptible to corporate influence. It just so happens that the most influential corporate entities in Mexico are drug cartels — and it’s hard for the government to reign in entities that fund and infiltrate it. Similar to the phenomenon of “regulatory capture,” the Mexican government is at least partially funded and co-opted by drug cartels. This festering problem is an underlying factor in the current civil unrest in Mexico.

Neoliberal policies left the working class behind

NAFTA was a contentious issue in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, but it’s just as controversial in Mexico, if not more so. The grand 1994 “free trade” scheme, signed into law by Bill Clinton, saw a dramatic redesign of both the U.S. and Mexican economic landscapes. Corn farmers, long a vital factor in Mexico’s peasant farming economy, were wiped out by low-priced corn subsidized by the U.S. government, which immediately flooded Mexican markets after NAFTA was passed. The Mexicanimmigration crisis at the U.S.’ southern border soon followed.

Meanwhile, manufacturing plants soon began moving into Mexico from the U.S. to take advantage of extremely cheap labor — leaving many workers in the U.S. out of a job. American agricultural corporations like Driscoll’s have recently come under fire foremploying slave-like laborconditions to produce boutique organic fruit for U.S. consumers. Protests for workers rights in Mexico, which recently raised its minimum wage to 80 pesos (~$4)per day, are often met with heavy-handed police crackdowns.

Incoming President Trump has capitalized on two issues caused by NAFTA — the immigration crisis and outsourcing of U.S. jobs — and his reactionary protectionist economic policies will undoubtedly make Mexico’s predicament even worse.

Mexico’s nationalized oil conglomerate, Pemex, has been plagued by falling production for years. Corruption, which is inherent to state-run institutions, has condemned Mexico’s gas industry to inefficiency and stalled innovation. Theft has become awidespread issue, and oil workers were recently caught red-handed siphoning gas directly out of pipelines.

Supposedly to ramp up production and lower prices, the Mexican government pushed through neoliberal privatization schemes in 2013 and 2014, which were backed by U.S. oil interests and incubated by the Hillary Clinton-run State Department. President Enrique Peña Nieto promised the reforms would result in increased production and lower fuel prices, though production has fallen and prices spiked 20 percent on January 1st. Prices are expected to rise even further, as fuel subsidies will be completely phased out by March 2017. Peña Nieto claims the prices must go up to match international prices, though consumers in the U.S. currently pay less for gas than Mexicans.

Peña Nieto’s neoliberal reforms have fallen flat as economic growth has been anemic for years and wealth inequality has grown out of control.

Rampant inflation in Mexico

Perhaps the biggest driver of the current civil upheaval in Mexico isout of control inflation coupled with the value of the peso reaching record lows. Mexican workers are already stretched thin financially as minimum wage hovers at four U.S. dollars per day. Food prices, which were on the rise before the gas price increases, are set to climb 20 percent or more as they correlate closely with prices at the pump.

According to Zero Hedge, in Mexico, it currently takes “the equivalent of 12 days of a minimum wage to fill a tank of gas — compared to the U.S.’ seven hours.”People who don’t drive will also feel the pain, as public transportation costs are likely to rise with fuel prices. Rising gas prices also put downward pressure on the rest of the Mexican economy as workers spend more money on gas and less on consumer goods.

The Mexican government’s deficit spending and Trump’s tough talkon trade have been factors in devaluing the peso, making everything in Mexico more expensive for the working class and driving the general discontent that makes the country a hotbed of unrest.


Overall, no one factor can be blamed for causing extreme levels of unrest in Mexico. Before the Ayotzinapa student kidnappings, Mexico was already seeing widespread protests, marches, and strikes. The last several presidential elections have been contested, and the current administration of Enrique Peña Nieto has only a 22 percentapproval rating. The general feeling of helplessness in the face of narco-state corruption and economic insecurity is not going away with the next election or protest, and wealth inequality in the country is beyond remedy. Mexico is ripe for revolution. Whether it’s triggered now by the gas gouging and subsequent inflation or in the near future, it’s coming — and we should be talking about it.

This article (Protests in Mexico Push Country to Brink of Revolution and Nobody’s Talking About It) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Nick Bernabe Anti-Media Radioairs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email

Author: Nick Bernabe

Nick Bernabe founded Anti-Media in May of 2012. His topics of interest include civil liberties, the drug war, economic justice, foreign policy, geopolitics, government corruption, the police state, politics, propaganda, and social justice. He currently resides in Chula Vista, California, where he was born and raised.





EXCLUSIVE: Chicago, New York in Worst Financial Shape Among Large US Cities

Chicago and New York rank at the bottom of a new analysis of fiscal strength based primarily on data from 2015 financial reports issued by the cities themselves. The analysis includes 116 U.S. cities with populations greater than 200,000. See the full rankings here.

Chicago’s position at the bottom of the ranking is no surprise to anyone who follows municipal finance. The Windy City has become a poster child for financial mismanagement, having suffered a series of ratings downgrades in recent years. Aside from having thin reserves and large volumes of outstanding debt, Chicago is notorious for its underfunded pension plans.

For example, the city’s Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund (MEABF) reported $4.7 billion in assets and $14.7 billion of actuarially accrued liabilities at the end of 2015, representing a funded ratio of just 33 percent. The actuarial calculations rely on a controversial practice of discounting future benefits at a rate of 7.5 percent, which is the assumed return on the fund’s portfolio return. If a more conservative assumption was employed, MEABF’s liabilities would be higher and its funded ratio lower.

Related: See the Full 2017 Fiscal Strength Index Ranking of 116 US Cities

Because the ranking is based on 2015 financial audits — you can see the full data behind the scores here — it does not take into account more recent news. Last summer, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel announced a plan to resolve MEABF underfunding by raising water and sewer rates and increasing employee contributions to the system. Because these changes don’t take effect until this year, it will take some time for them to impact Chicago’s audited financial statements and their fiscal health scores.

While Chicago’s place at the bottom of the list is unsurprising, New York City’s position — just one step above — was unexpected. An extended bull market and soaring real estate prices have pumped money into the Big Apple’s coffers. Total municipal revenues rose from $60 billion in 2009 to $81 billion in 2015. But the city has been spending the money almost as quickly as it has been coming in.

At the end of its 2015 fiscal year, the city’s general fund reserves amounted to just 0.67 percent of expenditures — well below the Government Finance Officers Association recommendation of 16.67 percent (equivalent to two months of spending). A city’s general fund is roughly analogous to an individual’s checking account.

Related: The Financial Health of All 50 States, Ranked

New York City also carries a very heavy debt burden. According to a report issued by City Comptroller Scott Stringer, New York’s per capita debt greatly exceeds that of all other large U.S. cities, and is even 50 percent higher than that of Chicago. But the comptroller’s report only focuses on bonded debt. Government financial accounting standards require cities to report other long-term obligations such as pensions, compensated absences for municipal employees (accrued sick and vacation leave payable at retirement) and “other post-employment benefits” (or OPEB).

It is New York’s OPEB obligation that really sets the Big Apple apart. In 2015, the city’s OPEB liability was $85 billion — roughly equivalent to its bonded debt.

The large OPEB liability is driven by the size of the city’s workforce and the relatively high cost of health care in New York. According to its most recent OPEB Actuarial Report, the city is providing retiree health benefits to 222,000 retirees, while another 315,000 current and separated employees are potentially eligible for future benefits. In 2015, benefits per retiree ranged as high as $17,000 a year (for workers who were not yet Medicare-eligible and who had eligible dependents).

High debt burdens and insufficient general fund reserves are associated with episodes of fiscal distress, which are marked by employee furloughs, layoffs and, in extreme cases, bond defaults and bankruptcy filings. Still, if New York City continues to record strong revenue growth, it can shoulder its sizeable obligations. With the stock market perking up in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election victory, the odds of a fiscal crisis in the near term appear long — but a bear market could place the city in jeopardy.

Related: Is Your State the Next Puerto Rico?

Such was the case back in 1933, when New York City briefly defaulted on its municipal bond debt. In the aftermath of the stock market crash and the Great Depression, city revenues declined amidst a rash of property tax delinquencies. The city faced a second fiscal meltdown in 1975, when the federal government refused to provide a bailout and the state declared a moratorium on certain city bond payments. Although the default occurred during another bear market, the proximate cause of the crisis was rising interest rates. At the time, the city relied heavily on short-term debt, which became more difficult and expensive to roll over as inflation spiked in the early 1970s.

Aside from New York and Chicago, three other cities received scores below 40:  Reno, St. Louis and Toledo. All three of these cities had relatively small general fund balances and high debt burdens.

One Perfect ScoreAt the other end of the spectrum, with a perfect score of 100, is Irvine, California — a rapidly growing “edge city” south of Los Angeles. Rising revenues have resulted in a series of budget surpluses that have bulked up the city’s reserves. In 2015, the city reported over $700 million of cash and investments on its balance sheet, more than enough to fund two years of government spending. Irvine is also unique among large American cities in that it has no outstanding bond obligations. All municipal borrowing in Irvine is done by special districts, which levy supplemental taxes to service their debt.

Two cities in California’s Inland Empire, Fontana and Moreno Valley, took the second and third spots. Both cities have modest debt loads and large general fund reserves.

Related: The Worst States for Retirement 2016​​​

These high-ranking cities are both located within a short drive from San Bernardino, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012. Their presence near the top of the list is testimony to California’s economic recovery, but it also suggests that sound financial management practices make a difference. Although Fontana and Moreno Valley faced similar challenges to San Bernardino during the Great Recession, both of these cities avoided a fiscal crisis – apparently because officials showed greater discipline with respect to spending and borrowing.

Keep in mind, though, that it is not necessary for a city to have a near-perfect score to be regarded as a good fiscal steward. Any score higher than 70 could reasonably be interpreted as a level of fiscal health sufficient to justify a triple-A credit rating.

Bankruptcies and DelinquenciesThe universe of cities we analyzed includes three that filed for bankruptcy since the Great Recession: Stockton and San Bernardino, which filed in 2012, and Detroit which filed in 2013. Both Stockton and Detroit have emerged from bankruptcy, while San Bernardino is close to doing so. All three cities have scores in the middle of the pack. Detroit and Stockton benefited from court-mandated reductions in their debt, while San Bernardino has been running general fund surpluses during its extended time in bankruptcy.

Of the 116 cities we analyzed, three had not published 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports by the end of 2016. One of them, Baltimore, will publish its 2015 CAFR in early 2017, which is quite late. Federal regulations require state and local governments that receive over $750,000 in federal funds to file audited financial statements no later than nine months after their fiscal year end. Since Baltimore’s fiscal year ends on June 30, it should have filed its 2015 CAFR no later than March 31, 2016.

See the full ranking of 116 cities here. To see the data behind the scores, please visit the new Center for Municipal Finance website.




Home / News / A Female Doctor Working in Germany Warns the World

A Female Doctor Working in Germany Warns the World

“Yesterday, at the hospital in Germany where I work,we had a meeting about how the influx of muslim immigrants from the middle east is simply unsustainable. Walk in Health Clinics cannot handle emergencies, being overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of serious health emergencies, they are starting to send everything to the hospitals.

Many muslims are refusing treatment by female staff here in Germany.  The muslim men make sick, crude comments and overtures to the female staff members, because to them any non-muslim woman is a whore or a future slave.  After brief exposure to these cruel, sadistic, female hating beats, we, women, are refusing to go among those animals, especially the muslim men from Africa.

Relations between the female hospital staff and muslim immigrants are going from bad to worse. Since, the assault and unreported rapes of German women last weekend migrants going to the hospitals must be accompanied by police with K-9 units.

Very high numbers of migrants have AIDS, syphilis, open TB and many exotic diseases that we, in Europe, do not know how to treat them.

If they receive a prescription in the pharmacy, when they learn they have to pay cash they become violent. They were told in the middle east that everything in Germany would be free. Everything would be handed to them on a silver platter.

Finding out that they MUST pay for certain things leads to loud, violent, outbursts, especially when it is about drugs for the children.   Many of these muslim immigrants kidnapped children, so that, their social benefits would be higher once they landed in Germany.

Finding that they would have to pay for the children’s drugs, they gave up the ruse and abandoned the children with pharmacy staff with the words: “So, cure them here yourselves!”

Now, the police are not just guarding the clinics and hospitals, but also large pharmacies.

Truly we said openly: Where are all those who had welcomed in front of TV cameras, with signs at train stations?! Yes, for now, the border has been closed, but a million of them are already here and we will definitely not be able to get rid of them.

Until now, the number of unemployed in Germany was 2.2 million. Now it will be at least 3.5 million or higher. Most of these people are completely unemployable. A infinitesimal bare minimum of them have any education. What is more, their women usually do not work at all. I estimate that one in ten is pregnant with many children in tow

Hundreds of thousands of them have brought along infants and little kids under six, many emaciated and neglected.  If this continues and German re-opens its borders, I’m going home to the Czech Republic. Nobody can keep me here in this situation, not even double the salary than at home. I went to Germany, not to Africa or the Middle East.

Even the professor who heads our department told us how sad it makes him to see the cleaning woman, who for 800 Euros a month cleans every day for years.  She has to pick up the refuse the muslim men discard every where they go.   She has to serve the young muslim men in the hallways who stand there with their hand outstretched, demanding everything for free, and when they don’t get it they throw a fit.


They know Germany and her citizens are very civilized.  Add to that the world is watching, so these vicious, lazy, muslim youths know if they scream shout, and threaten violence, the German people will cave in.

I tell you, no one who has not come in contact with them has any idea what kind of animals they are, especially the ones from Africa, and how the muslim men and women act superior to our staff who are Christian.  They look down upon us, verbally deride our Christian values and then demand that their every wish be granted immediately.

If, Germans with our generous nature cannot handle this, then the rest of Europe will be total chaos.

For now, the local hospital staff has not come down with the diseases they brought here, but, with so many hundreds of patients every day – this is just a question of time.

In a hospital near the Rhine, migrants attacked the staff with knives after they had handed over an 8-month-old on the brink of death, which they had dragged across half of Europe for three months before seeking medical attention. The child died in two days, despite having received top care at one of the best pediatric clinics in Germany.  The physician had to undergo surgery and two nurses are in the ICU. Nobody has been, and no one will be punished.

The local press is forbidden to write about it!