In Illinois, Substitute Teaching For One Day Reaped Nearly $1 Million in Taxpayer-Funded Pension Money (!!!!) By Adam Andrzejewski

Adam Andrzejewski is the founder of a project of American Transparency 501(c)3.

In 2011, the Chicago Tribune exposed a pair of Illinois teacher union lobbyists, Stephen Preckwinkle and David Piccioli, who substitute taught for one day and stood to collect nearly $1 million in state teacher retirement pensions from a severely underfunded system. The five Illinois pension systems have a $100 billion liability and the teachers fund may run out of money as early as 2029. Newspaper editorials, elected officials, the governor and citizens cried foul. Legislation was quickly passed to stop the abuse.

When Gov. Pat Quinn signed the pension “reform” legislation into law on January 5, 2012, he said. “The pension abuses unearthed were flagrant. They needed to be stopped immediately and prevented from ever happening in the future.”

Mission accomplished, or so it seemed.

Even though all Illinois citizens were led to believe that the pension abusers had been stopped, within twenty-four months after the “reform” legislation passed, the union lobbyists retired and received their lifetime Illinois state teacher pensions.

Even in Illinois, how this could have happened? The governor and the entire statewide media and political class took credit for stopping these abuses in late 2011 through January 2012.

A couple of weeks ago, we spotted Preckwinkle and Piccioli within a long list of 30 state retirees from the Illinois Federation of Teachers (private sector teachers union). Sure enough, in 2014, Piccioli is receiving $30,564 and Preckwinkle $37,416 pensions (click here for their life expectancy pension payouts of nearly $1 million each). The experience was a bit overwhelming, even for our seasoned team of forensic investigators.

In order to understand this massive pension “reform misunderstanding,” we questioned the Public Relations Spokesman for the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) David Urbanek, who explained:


In Vegas, at least, there are rules and there are limits.

Yes, I am a sinner and occasionally I like to put two dollars on a horse. I know the people and have even written books on gambling. In a recent novel I touched on addicts. I offer these credentials to warn future players that there is no sorrier longshot than Gaza. This is a hopeless bet so long as the same Hamas and Palestinian Authority goons run the show.

Alas, too late.

Last week the world’s leading compulsives met in Cairo and, without checking the Past Performance chart, they put down $5.4 billion to rebuild (rearm) the joint. They can’t kick the habit, these guys and dolls – and these include Qatar, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and all of the rest of them who would have been safer in Vegas.

John Kerry offered $212 million dollars. That, plus another $200 million…Your tax dollars at work, Mr. and Mrs. America.
In Vegas there are rules and there are limits. They show you the door if you bet like a drunken sailor.

Israelis Barred From New York Times-Hosted Iran Tour; Rep Says Advisable to Hide Jewish or Gay Identity: David Bender

The New York Times is offering a pricey, 13-day excursion to the “once-forbidden land of Iran,” one of a series of its Times Journeys tours. However, if you’re an Israeli, joining the “Tales of Persia,” trip, “once-forbidden,” is still forbidden, and letting anyone know you’re Jewish, or gay, isn’t particularly recommended, either, a representative told The Algemeiner on Monday.

When this reporter called the number provided on their website to ask about details of the trip – specifically for Israeli passport-holders – a representative who gave her name as Megan hurriedly turned the call over to Kevin, who stated definitively that “…anyone with a page in their passport with an Israeli visa will be declined.”

The nearly $7,000 junket, organized by the newspaper that claims to publish “All The News That’s Fit To Print,” is led by journalist Elaine Sciolino, and promises a “Journey with on-the-ground experts who will help untangle this nation’s complicated timeline.”

That timeline, however, skips over the regime’s decades-long cat-and-mouse game with the west and the United Nations over nuclear weapons development, its avid support for international terrorism, its hosting of antisemitic international conferences and boosting of raw Jew hatred, its sworn desire to eradicate the Jewish State, its public lashings and flogging of women, hangings of gays from construction cranes, and persecution of Bahais and opponents of the regime.

“You will travel with Elaine Sciolino, she was the Paris bureau chief for the New York Times, and has been traveling to Iran since 1979,” the representative noted, adding that “She’s been writing about the history and the revolution…

“She’d be a great person to talk about contemporary Iran while you’re traveling there,” Kevin added, helpfully.


Portrait of a Psychopath
Review: It’s All About Muhammad: A Biography of the World’s Most Notorious Prophet, by F.W. Burleigh. Portland, OR: Zenga Books, 2014. 555 pp. Illustrated.

Cover illustration: Artist’s rendering of Muhammad entering either Medina after his flight from Mecca in 622, or entering Mecca on his return in 630 on a pilgrimage prior to his compelling its surrender and conversion to Islam. Illustrator unknown.

As a “prophet,” Muhammad was a late bloomer. He didn’t begin hearing voices or having hallucinations about Allah’s prescription for living and dying until 610 A.D., when he was forty years old. Twelve years later he and a handful of his converts and followers took an urgent powder from Mecca, populated by the Quraysh, who were hostile to his blasphemy against their numerous pagan gods, and fled to Medina (then called Yathrib), populated by the Khazraj tribe. It was in Medina that he developed Islam by having numerous personal sessions with Allah through the medium of an angel, Gabriel (aka, Jibreel). Or so he would claim at the drop of a turban, which was often.

Islam, after closer examination, was and still is all about Muhammad. And about nothing else. You had to take his word for everything he said had happened or will happen. He insisted on it, forcefully. Like a berserker. There isn’t a single totalitarian regime that wasn’t also a personality cult. Islam fits that description. Muhammad is its personality, and Islam is his cult.

He was the Billy Sunday of his time in that region, or if you like, a supreme showman in the way of P.T. Barnum. By the time of his death in July 632 at the age of sixty-two, Muhammad had converted all of the Arabian Peninsula to Islam, by hook, crook, military conquest, banditry, torture, extortion, genocide, terror, and murder. He was born in 570, the “Year of the Elephant,” but very likely had never seen or heard of an elephant. But Islam, especially after his demise and because of the missionary efforts of his successors, spread through the Peninsula and all compass points like scalding coffee through a cheap paper towel.

Another appropriate comparison would be that Muhammad was the Jim Jones of his time, skillful in manipulating the gullible, but his Kool-Aid was Islam, which didn’t poison men, but instead their minds, and turned them into “Walking Dead” zombies.

Or, picture Muhammad as a kind of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, ranting to his congregation about hell and damnation and God-damning the Jews and Christians and all unbelievers, his Koran-thumping eliciting vocal expressions of spontaneous fervor among the flock. That was, more or less, Muhammad’s preaching style. He was a master of working his credulous converts into near hysterics, if not into a revival tent, rolling-on-the-ground lather and foaming at the mouth for salvation.


The Drudge Report is filled these days with alarming stories about the Ebola epidemic. A recent banner headline read: “Most Severe Health Emergency in Modern Times.” On Monday, a Hazmat crew boarded an Emirates plane from Dubai that landed at Boston’s Logan Airport, after a few passengers were isolated with flu-like symptoms.

After the first Ebola death in America, the debate about allowing flights from the most afflicted countries in Africa into America, or whether to allow anyone who has been in these countries recently to enter the United States, has picked up in intensity. There are loud voices on cable news programs claiming the country is unprepared to deal with the disease if it appears in multiple locations. A group that supports Democrats is running an ad in several battleground states where the midterm races are close, arguing that Republicans are responsible for pretty much anything bad that comes from the Ebola outbreak now, since their call for cuts in federal spending led to reductions in appropriations at the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health. Of course, the ad conveniently neglects to mention the role of the White House and Democratic leaders in Congress in negotiating the terms of sequestration that created many of the alleged cuts.

The Sunday TV news programs this week addressed the Ebola story, and also the apparent failure of U.S. airstrikes to in any way change the dynamic of the advances by the Islamic State group in Iraq, now threatening the capitalBaghdad as well as in Kurdish towns in Syria, borderingTurkey.

In the only debate held between then-U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his opponent, former California Governor Ronald Reagan in 1980, Reagan asked the American voters whether they were better off than they were four years ago. Some analysts think the question, mishandled of course by the unusually inept Carter, led to Reagan pulling away in the contest. In a nasty black humor attempt to address the current political climate, one tweet on Twitter asks: “Are we more likely to be beheaded or infected than we were 6 years ago??”

Added to the mix is the potentially most volatile issue that could impact many American cities. A grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri will decide whether there is enough evidence to indict Darrin Wilson, the policeman who shot and killed 18-year-old Mike Brown, a black resident of the city. Last week another black resident of St. Louis was shot and killed by a St. Louis policeman in what the police claim was an exchange of gunfire. Civil rights leaders are picking up the pace of demonstrations in the area, and already there have been confrontations at the city’s symphony orchestra and an uglier one outside the Cardinals’ baseballstadium. There are fears in the St. Louis area about rioting and violence if the policeman from the Ferguson shooting isnot indicted. Clearly, this could spread to other cities with large black populations.


About a dozen news cycles ago, Americans seemed horrified by the border crisis – horrified by the tens of thousands of illegal aliens, many of them minors, crashing across the southern border.

These aliens were heading not into no man’s land and then deportation, but straight into the United States of Obamaland, an awaiting federal superstructure where travel, housing, health care, education, legal aid and even “amnesty” were promised for all, probably forever, and gratis. It’s hard not to see this ongoing episode as a federally organized invasion of the nation paid for by the U.S. taxpayer.

And now? The focus has weakened since the feds and their federally financed “religious charities” dispersed many thousands of border-crashers across the country. The “national crisis” story has fractured into innumerable local stories about classroom chaos as teachers grapple with as many as 20 Spanish dialects per school, or outbreaks of dangerous “mystery” viruses (common to Central America, but don’t mention it). The national crisis, however, still exists. Our national border is no barrier between the United States and Mexico.

This is not solely due to having insufficient numbers of border agents and other defenders. More would help, of course, and I believe the military should be deployed along our southern border. The main problem, though, is that deep in the minds of our elected officials and entrenched bureaucracies, the concept of a border doesn’t exist.

A crisis of ideology is the real crisis, not the illegal masses, not even the transnational drug cartels and terrorists among them. All such threats are beatable or deportable, and thus surmountable – if, that is, there was sufficient political will to defend the border that defines the nation. But, the magnificent exception of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and a few other stalwarts aside, there isn’t such will.

Our political elites display the globalist’s contempt for the national border – for boundaries in general – and that’s what puts the American people in peril. It is this same zealotry that sees no reason to prevent travelers from Ebola-stricken countries from deplaning into the nation’s airports and cities – and no reason not to deploy U.S. troops on possible suicide missions to Ebola hot spots.

Such attitudes, though, are also reflected in the wider culture. In fact, one outlook can’t exist without the other. Americans would never tolerate, let alone elect, officials who didn’t defend our borders unless they, too, believed in, or had been conditioned to acquiesce to highly complementary ideologies.


RoseAnn DeMoro, head of National Nurses United, is warning that hospitals in the U.S. “are not ready to confront” Ebola. But Thomas Frieden, MD, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention insists they are. The string of errors in Dallas shows that the neither the CDC nor the local hospital was ready for the first American case of Ebola. New York and other cities can learn from what went wrong.

On September 25, Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian with an undiagnosed case of Ebola, went to the emergency room at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. The medical team overlooked his recent arrival from Ebola-infested West Africa and discharged him with antibiotics. That was the first of several mistakes that have put at least 48 Dallas-area residents at enough risk of contracting Ebola that they’re being monitored twice daily, and in some cases quarantined.

Hospital officials initially blamed the electronic medical records system, instead of admitting staff had made an error. That allows deadly mistakes to be repeated.

After Duncan was discharged, his condition worsened, and two days later, as he huddled in a blanket, with vomiting, diarrhea, and reddened eyes, his girlfriend’s daughter called 911. But Dallas wasn’t screening 911 calls for Ebola, something that New York City is already doing.

When the ambulance arrived, paramedics got their first warning, thanks to the daughter, that Duncan had arrived from West Africa and could have a virus. So they grabbed masks and gloves before helping Duncan, who was vomiting profusely, into the ambulance.

Those paramedics are now being monitored for symptoms.


Western media, President Obama, all Muslim countries, and myriad groups and individuals have been telling us that ISIS does not represent Islam. Muslims, especially in the West, insist that their beloved faith has nothing to do with the terrorists who are embarrassing the good and peaceful Muslims and who are giving Islam a bad name and dishonoring the real Islam.

It is a fact that Arab/Islamic culture highly values honor and pride and has little tolerance for those who dishonor Islam and Islamic “family values.” Because honor is so vital in Islamic culture, a whole section in Islamic law is dedicated to forgiving and not prosecuting certain murders when they are linked to honor, such as the killing of adulterers and apostates. Sharia has harsh punishment for those who dishonor Islam or deviate from its values and commandments.

Because of Muslim sensitivity to dishonor one would think that the majority of moderate Muslims, especially after 9/11, would mobilize their armies, police and legal resources to arrest, punish, imprison or execute those who kill, behead and terrorize in the name of the religion of peace.

Muslim legal systems in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan and Yemen, do not hesitate to whip, amputate, stone and behead those who violate Islamic sexual taboos, but never behead, amputate or whip jihadists who terrorize in the name of Islam. Almost all Muslim governments claim to be moderate, but none have apologized for 9/11. They have no interest in rounding up terror groups except those who point their guns at Muslim governments. Why is that? Why is it that many Muslim governments allow the financial support and accommodation of terror groups as long as terrorists do their business elsewhere? Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf countries financed the radical resistance against Bashar Assad for one reason: he is not Sunni. And now when the radical resistance turned into ISIS, these same nations are asking the US to do something.

There are approximately 1.5 billion Muslims divided among 49 majority Muslim nations around the world and all claim to be peace-loving and “moderate.” Many of these Islamic nations have some of the largest and well-equipped armies in the Middle East and Africa. Pakistan possesses nuclear weapons. Egypt’s military has approximately 468,500 active personnel, in addition 1 million reservists. Turkey has 662,719 active personnel. Saudi Arabia’s military is estimated to have 150,000 active personnel and Pakistan has 550,000 active troops, 500,000 reserves.

Yet the huge armies of the above four Muslim nations are watching the ISIS slaughter and refuse to end it. Has anyone asked why? Where are the 1.5 billion moderate Muslims to save the reputation of Islam and fellow Muslims? Is there even a moderate Muslim army that will not hesitate to kill ISIS beheading their way from city to city? Will Muslim armies fight the alleged bad Muslims?

John Kerry’s Goreonic Warning: Global Warming World’s ‘Most Fearsome’ Threat By Joseph Klein

Speaking at the Wind Technology Testing Center in Boston Massachusetts on October 9th, the windsurfer and windbag-in-chief himself, Secretary of State John Kerry, pronounced that climate change, if left unaddressed, will result in the end of times: “Life as you know it on Earth ends,” Kerry said. Last February, Kerry claimed that climate change was the world’s “most fearsome” weapon of mass destruction. Not nuclear arms in the hands of the terrorist sponsoring regime of Iran or in the hands of ISIS or al Qaeda. Climate change is the real number #1 national security threat, according to Kerry.

Perhaps Kerry should take his head out of the clouds and take a hard look at the stark reality on earth that we are facing today. Think Ebola and global jihad for starts.

The World Health Organization called the Ebola outbreak “the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times.” The Ebola epidemic has already killed more than 4,000 people, mostly in the West Africa. But the Ebola virus has spread to other parts of the world, including the United States. A Liberian man who had traveled to the U.S. has already died of Ebola in a Texas hospital. Now we learn that a nurse who treated him at the hospital is infected herself with the virus.

As usual, the Obama administration is scrambling to deal with the crisis by holding lots of meetings and taking half-hearted measures. It has refused to heed calls by an increasing number of people, including a leading epidemiologist, David Dausey, who works on controlling pandemics and said that we must do “whatever it takes to keep infected people from coming here.” This should include an immediate ban on travel from the countries with the largest rates of infection to the United States. A majority of Americans agree, according to an NBC News online survey. Instead, the Obama administration is more worried about such bans being seen as racist and disrupting the economies of the affected countries in West Africa than protecting the American people and easing their fears.

“We don’t want to isolate parts of the world,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, earlier this month. John Kerry said that “we need borders to remain open,” while calling as usual for multilateral action by African nations to deal with the crisis. They are wrong. Except for vital medical supplies transported on military aircraft to help stem the further spread of the disease in West Africa, the borders should be closed. The breeding ground in West Africa for Ebola must be fully isolated lest the deadly disease turn into a global pandemic. To paraphrase John Kerry, an unchecked Ebola contagion will bring an end to many lives including possibly in the United States – a lot sooner than climate change.


President Obama’s recent claim that Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam was nothing new. Since 9/11, we have heard from both ends of the political spectrum that jihadist terror has material causes and psychological conditions created by social, political, or economic dysfunctions. This argument is an old one, and was common in the aftermath of 9/11. Typical of such thinking was Bill Clinton’s claim that “these forces of reaction [al Qaeda] feed on disillusionment, poverty, and despair.” Left unexplained is the fact that billions of other people around the world even more impoverished and hopeless have not created a multi-continental network of groups dedicated to inflicting brutal violence and mayhem on those who do not share their faith or who block their visions of global domination.

Such materialist analyses ignore or rationalize the historical and theological context of modern Islamic violence. As a result, well into the second decade of our war against jihad we are still misdiagnosing the problem and hamstringing ourselves by resorting to democracy-promotion or economic development, solutions that have nothing to do with the root of the problem––the theologically sanctioned violence, intolerance, and totalitarian universalism that define traditional Islam.

A recent example of this failure of imagination appeared in The Wall Street Journal in an essay by Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto. De Soto is one of Latin America’s most eloquent champions of free-market economies and the prosperity, freedom, and opportunity they create. Referencing the success of some Latin American countries in throwing off dirigiste or socialist economies, de Soto claims that in the Muslim world as well, “Economic hope is the only way to win the battle of the constituencies on which terrorist groups feed.”

To buttress this claim, de Soto uses an analogy between Islamic jihadists and the radical Marxist-Leninist terrorist group “Shining Path” that troubled Peru in the 90s. Just as economic and legal reforms created opportunity and wider prosperity, and thus drained support for Shining Path, de Soto argues, so too in the Middle East similar attention to encouraging entrepreneurship and laws favorable to business could neutralize the numerous jihadist outfits. This analogy, however, ignores crucial differences between a faith-based movement and one like communism predicated on a secular, materialist ideology.