Posts Tagged ‘Art Johnston Chicago
[ Click above to embiggen ]
Today, Congressman Darrell Issa’s subcommittee held testimony in the House investigation into the weaponization of the IRS as a means to intimidate, harass, and persecute Americans who were affiliated with the Tea Party, Christian groups, or had other conservative leanings. More hearings will come, but the clear pattern we’re seeing on a national level is that the Left uses federal government agencies as goon squads to target Americans on their enemies’ lists…and they believe they can get away with this because of who’s in the White House and who’s running the Justice Department.
On the micro-level of the City of Chicago, there’s a lawsuit currently in federal court in the District of Illinois Eastern Division that’s been filed against Art Johnston and Sidetrack the Video Bar which illustrates that the proclivity of using government agencies to harass “enemies” isn’t reserved for Democrats in Washington, but in fact is just normal operating procedure amongst Leftist “fellow travelers”.
Johnston, a devote Obama supporter and large fundraiser for his personality cult, is currently being sued by a former employee who was fired from his job as a doorman in Johnston’s bar because the employee complained about sexual harassment, religious discrimination, and retaliation (for his complaining to management about the harassment he received from coworkers, managers, and third party customers egged on to harass the Plaintiff by Sidetrack employees). Johnston fired this employee in August of 2011 after the employee hired a lawyer and prepared a complaint to the EEOC about the hostile working conditions that Johnston maintains in Sidetrack the Video Bar.
[ Entrance to Sidetrack the Video Bar in 2008, when Johnston heavily promoted the election of Barack Obama as a fellow traveler ]
Shortly after he fired the employee, Johnston had his accountant, Bryan Portman, file a false challenge to the employee’s unemployment benefits…alleging the employee was terminated for “insubordination”. This was a trumped-up charge because the employee never committed any act of “insubordination” (as a judge would later conclude) and was instead fired for filing an EEOC complaint (which is retaliation prohibited under the Civil Rights Act of 1964). The challenge to the employee’s unemployment benefits was made via the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), which is the government entity in Illinois that handles unemployment insurance (and employers’ challenges to these claims).
There’s no question in my mind that Johnston filed this challenge against the employee’s rightful benefits solely to harass and persecute this person, because Johnston was upset that this former employee was suing Sidetrack for five counts of harassment and retaliation in federal court. Johnston had available to him the IDES challenge and though he should have known that this challenge would fail, he pushed the button anyway just to cause the employee to sweat and worry if the benefits he depended on to survive after his firing would be taken away from him. It’s actually a separate and additional violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for an employer such as Johnston to file a meritless challenge to unemployment benefits just to harass a former employee….which is ironic because Johnston styles himself as a gay community “civil rights” leader who is constantly claiming that gays are persecuted by Christians. But, yet, here comes Johnston persecuting a Christian employee of his bar and violating this employee’s civil rights with this considered and determined harassment.
An IDES hearing at the local level immediately ruled in the employee’s favor, with the Adjudicator determining in less than a minute of interview with the employee that there was no act of insubordination involved in his firing and that the challenge to his benefits was thus meritless. Johnston then appealed the Adjudicator’s decision and decided to continue harassing the employee by challenging his benefits to the next level, which involved hearings before a Judge in IDES’ appeals division that required the employee to retain an attorney for the proceedings.
During these hearings, Sidetrack’s accountant Portman lied under oath multiple times to the Judge, in an attempt to have the employee’s unemployment benefits taken away from him. The employee suffered immense emotional distress during this process (which stretched on for months), because in this economy he was unable to find another job and still depended on his unemployment benefits. Johnston was clearly aware that Portman committed multiple acts of perjury in the IDES hearings…but gave his blessing to these actions because the goal was to harass and persecute the former employee as much as possible (as punishment for this guy suing Johnston and Sidetrack for the harassment he was subjected to there while he was an employee).
Ultimately, the IDES Judge ruled in the employee’s favor and stated that he did not believe Portman to be credible; the challenge to the benefits was completely meritless. Though the employee was vindicated, he was still forced to endure several months’ of worry and anxiety because Johnston decided to use a government agency to persecute him. This was very much the equivalent of the IRS auditing someone just because he was a Christian, conservative with Tea Party spirit.
Interestingly, this case proves that there’s really nothing an employer has to lose by lying during a challenge to unemployment benefits…because the Attorney General in Illinois will not pursue perjury charges against an employer for lying under oath during these hearings. After speaking to several people in IDES administration, I learned that no one working there could remember a time when an employer was prosecuted for perjury during an IDES hearing…because the prosecutors don’t have the financial resources to go after these people (supposedly). ”The judges know that the employer is lying, and then the judge rules that the employee keeps the benefits” was the general consensus of the IDES officials I spoke to. ”Their only punishment is that they had to pay a lawyer to be there when they lied, so it cost them money and then they didn’t succeed in taking a person’s benefits away in the end”. There is no mechanism available in Illinois law for an employer to be fined or punished in any way for filing a meritless challenge to an employee’s benefits. But, I believe there should be…since these challenges cause so much grief and stress for people whose energies should be focused solely on finding a new job.
Art Johnston is considered one of the “godfathers” of the gay community in Chicago, with his bar Sidetrack being “the heart of Boystown” (as it’s self-styled on its website). He’s extremely quick to point fingers and label all sorts of Christian, conservative figures “villains” for this, that or the other…especially by using the organization Equality Illinois (which he principally funds) as a proxy to scold his “enemies” as bigots if they oppose anything the Obama Regime does to this country. Simultaneously, Johnston chooses to knowingly file meritless challenges to an employee’s unemployment benefits (just because he can) and sends his accountant to perjure himself during hearings before IDES (because he knows that no one will prosecute him for it). This is very consistent with how the Left operates in general.
“Hypocrisy” is a term the Left seems woefully unacquainted with.
If you look carefully enough where you live, you will see that what’s happening in Washington DC with the IRS right now is just a larger and more high-profile example of what members of the Left do every single day in your community. This is the classic Alinsky Mindset of decimating your opponent (or, “enemy”, as the Left calls them) in any way possible…and specifically using arms of the government to do this wherever they can get away with it.
Whatever happens with the IRS scandal hearings won’t cure the cultural problem we have in this country, embodied in people like Boystown’s own Art Johnston, who are so steeped in the Alinsky Methods of the Left that they use harassment and personal destruction as standard operating procedures (all the while accusing Christians of being the REAL villains in our world!). If this is happening here in Chicago, I know it’s happening where you live…and it’s high time people started talking about all this and deciding as a nation that business-as-usual isn’t acceptable anymore.
QUESTION FOR COMMENTS: Have you seen members of the Left abuse a government agency to persecute or punish an individual where you live? Do you recognize this as a disturbing trend amongst Leftists and Obama’s fellow travelers?
[ Click above to embiggen: a clip from the latest Saturday Night Live sketch mocking our Lord and Savior, as broadcast on 2/16/2013. To watch the full clip for yourself, it's currently available on HULU.com for free, which you can watch HERE ]
Last Saturday (2/16/2013), NBC ran a parody of Quentin Tarantino films called “DJesus Uncrossed”, which was a bastardization of Django Unchained…with a lot of Inglorious Bastards thrown in for good measure (or, for bad taste, depending on your personal perspective). Saturday Night Live heavily employed a laugh track during this faux-movie trailer…so that as our Savior was mocked in various ways these disembodied voices were hysterically overcome with giggles. Such as, when it was implied by the trailer that Jesus Christ “used the N-word a lot” (and that Peter Travers, from (I believe) Rolling Stone, quipped about this).
I’m going out on a limb in noting that a similar sketch entitled DMuhahahammad Unturbaned would have never left the writers’ room at NBC…for fear of the physical consequences to Rockefeller Center and the bat-guano-crazy reaction of Muslims worldwide to a blasphemous depiction of the medieval pedophile they deem to be a “prophet”. Since “the religion of peace” is neither a religion nor peaceful, NBC endeavors never to insult or offend Muslims…because Muslims vociferously police depictions of Muhammad in all forms of media.
Christians, on the other hand, raise little outcry whenever Jesus is impugned or mocked by the likes of Saturday Night Live…and, as a result, that mockery becomes a frequent source of material for unimaginative and talentless writers on shows that were past their prime back when I was still in high school (20 years ago!). Networks like NBC won’t so much as show an actor playing Muhammad…PERIOD…but they have no problem at all running sketches that portray Jesus as a violent, racist, murderer.
This is all part of the Left’s endless war against and persecution of Christians…and it’s important that you understand the REAL role of Saturday Night Live in the Left’s greater propaganda machine within its Ministry of Truth. The reason conservatives have lost the Culture War is because too often they delude themselves into thinking, “That’s just stupid!” or “Saturday Night Live doesn’t matter!” or “The only people who watch that are crazed Lefties anyway so they are preaching to their own choir”.
In reality, Saturday Night Live’s anti-Christian propaganda doesn’t just air once and then disappear into the firmament…it’s actually picked up in lots of ways by the Left and rebroadcast in various venues where it becomes part of a bigger effort to indoctrinate the susceptible into a permanent anti-Christian mindset.
Here in Chicago, there is a textbook, classic example of this at work in Sidetrack the Video Bar…which is the largest and most prominent gay bar in the city, located on Halsted Street and owned by Art Johnston and Pepe Pena (who are essentially the “godfathers” or “Dons” of the Chicago gay community). The anti-Christian videos produced by the likes of Saturday Night Live are collected by Sidetrack’s video production team and then re-edited into smaller clips that pack the anti-Christian sentiment into smaller, more explosive bites.
Those clips are then aired repeatedly to the intoxicated customers of the bar — over and over again — so that it’s resoundingly clear to the gay community of Chicago that Christians are to be targeted, mocked, and persecuted wherever and whenever possible. Since Sidetrack is the biggest and most prominent bar…and its owners are viewed as the “Dons” of the Chicago gay community…there’s immense peer pressure for gays in Chicago to toe the line and behave in the way that Sidetrack seemingly wants them to behave (if they want to keep being welcome in the largest and most prominent gay bar in Chicago).
I’m never sure if straight people understand the importance of being socially accepted in a particular bar, especially the biggest and most prominent gay bar around. A stereotype of straight men is that they do all their business and conduct all their networking on the golf course…so in that sense belonging to the largest and most prominent country club would be the key to a successful life as a straight businessman. For straight women, success in the spheres they inhabit might involve belonging to the largest and most prominent gym or a prestigious social club like The Daughters of the American Revolution or the like.
For gay guys, if you aren’t regularly seen in the largest and most prominent gay bar and if you aren’t known widely as “a friend of the bar” then your social status in the gay community is adversely affected…and you forfeit the networking and status-enhancing opportunities afforded to regular patrons of that bar. If you’re someone who has been made to feel unwelcome in the largest and most prominent gay bar, you become a gay guy who has to miss out on all the big events in the community…and all the benefits that come with attending those events.
So, the pressure is high to be a “good guest” of an establishment and to go along with whatever trend its owners set…by behaving the way those “Dons” instruct you to behave via the videos they play in Orwellian fashion on massive screens throughout the bar.
If you’ve read 1984, you’ll remember the concept of a “Two Minutes Hate”…which is a propaganda tool used by the people in control to incite those watching a film to express hatred and rage at “the enemy” on a regular basis. Johnston and Pena orchestrate “Two Minute Hates” against Christians in the gay community on a regular basis, via the videos they regularly select for exhibition in Sidetrack…knowing that the net effect will be the strengthening of the Left’s propaganda that Christians are the “enemies of the gay community”.
Sidetrack, in fact, employs a Chicago Public School teacher named Bradley Thomas Balof as an MC and event host to really rev up the crowds against “the enemies of the gay communities”…which supplements the spirit of these videos with a live-on-stage maestro of hate who demands the crowd jeer at Christians and shout aloud how they’re going to “get them”, “stop them”, “hurt them”, or “destroy them”. Without fail, all the drunk gays in attendance raise their glasses in the air, their faces red with anger and booze, and follow Balof’s lead to scream out against the Christian “enemies”.
Can you only imagine the outrage in the national media if Muslims were the target of Sidetrack’s “Two Minutes Hate” instead of Christians. I even think that there’d be some pause if Jews were targeted, instead of followers of Christ.
I’ve tried repeatedly to interview Art Johnston to ask him why he needs to keep showing clips like “DJesus Uncrossed” in his bar, instead of just playing fun videos without any attacks made on Christians, but Johnston won’t sit down with me, answer my letters, or return my calls. I just can’t imagine doing the things he does to Christians in his bar unless he’s doing them on purpose…and that purpose is part of a larger strategy on the Left to keep this anti-Christian sentiment flowing in all the various ideological subgroups of the Left where it can take root.
What’s remarkable is the glaring hypocrisy of all of this, too, because gays are who the Left trots out to constantly claim they are persecuted by Christians…with plenty of banners reading “Christians hate gays!” at any Pride Parade event or “equality march” the gay community holds for the cameras. In another Orwellian twist, some people are more equal than others because gays actually accuse other people of doing the things they actually do to Christians themselves!
In the five years I have been running this site as an openly gay Catholic I have not even once had an experience where a Christian said anything evil at all to me for being gay…but on a sustained and regular basis I’ve had employees and customers of Sidetrack harass and malign me for being a “traitor” or “enemy of the gay community” for not renouncing my allegiance to the Church. Christians never attempt to make me choose between being gay and being Christian, but gay “Dons” like Art Johnston apply constant pressure to force gays to turn their back on Christ if they want to be accepted in the gay community.
I believe this is an orchestrated strategy on the Left, since it’s widely known that a gay man truly does need access to the largest and most prominent gay bar in a big city to thrive socially and professionally in gay circles…and the threat of cutting off access to those benefits is enough to force gay men to join the “Two Minutes Hate” that bars like Sidetrack incite against Christians with the videos they play and the speeches their staff members make.
Saturday Night Live and other entertainment arms of the Ministry of Truth provide the prepackaged material needed for the “Two Minutes Hate”…and Art Johnston serves up the venues for exhibition…and then his staff sees to it that the message is delivered to the desired targets for their anti-Christian conditioning.
This is happening where you live too, but if you aren’t a frequent visitor to or observer of the gay community you might not realize it.
But, this is how the Left won the Culture War…while Christians sat back and deluded themselves to believe “Oh, no one pays attention to that!” or “That show hasn’t been relevant in 20 years!” .
NOTE: Hulu.com has a tendency to take videos down after a while, so if you are reading this at some point in the future and the Hulu link at the top doesn’t work, I think the Amazon Instant Video link will work for as long as Amazon is around. You’d have to buy the episode of SNL to see the “DJesus Uncrossed” clip, though…and I’d advise never giving SNL or NBC any of your hard-earned money if you can avoid it. But, if you REALLY need to see the clip and Hulu is not playing it for free then I suppose this is an alternative (since NBC is very aggressive about removing its clips from YouTube):
UPDATE: For those unfamiliar with Sidetrack the Video Bar and how endemic the hypocrisy is there, I want to remind you that this is the very same bar that posted photos on its official website of a friend of the bar’s owners dressed up as Adolf Hitler for last year’s Halloween party.
So, the bar’s photographer specifically picked out those photos of Adolf Hitler to appear in the prominently-promoted galleries of photos on the website, when a great many other photos were not similarly chosen for inclusion in that gallery. And no one at Sidetrack had sense enough to appreciate that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis persecuted and then executed gays back in the 1930s and 1940s. You know, in the Holocaust…which wasn’t exclusively used against Jews, but also included the elimination of gays (branded with pink triangles), gypsies, the disabled, and other minorities in German-conquered territories.
But, in the year 2013…the largest and most prominent gay bar in Chicago specifically chose to celebrate dressing up as Adolf Hitler for Halloween, like it was a good thing.
For those of you who scratch your heads at the Gaystapo’s attacks on Christians while simultaneously showing fervent deference to Muslims, include Sidetrack’s promotion of Adolf Hitler Halloween costumes with that insanity.
More on the bizarre and hypocritical things Sidetrack and its owners do HERE.