Sunday, February 20, 2011

Endorsements for 2011 municipal elections.
Bring this into your local polling place and give me a few more votes.

Chicago has become a kingdom or, more like one of those Caribbean kleptocracies maybe. Mayor Daley has privatized important institutions left and right that were meant for the public good. He did so with no explanation and with the consent of a city council under his political thumb. He just mumbled and stuttered to reporters as his associates one after another took the fall for him and landed themselves in prison. He learned it from his father. He proved the angry, impulsive, privileged brat Harold Washington said he would be and we pay for it in Chicago. We literally pay for it.
What an opportunity for democracy in Chicago since our benevolent dictator decided to bail out just before his numerous mistakes hit the fan. It clearly is time for change in Chicago. Chicago needs candidates with common sense, an ability to make wise decisions and lead, and someone willing to share the decision-making process with the people of Chicago and the City Council they elect. In the end, it is time to remove the bullies from city government and give government back to the people. The bullies are there with their money and muscle, and Chicago has to block them out and force run-offs to increase democracy in a town where democracy is our only solution.
For Mayor Miguel DelValle

Miguel DelValle is like Mayor Daley in only two ways. He is a veteran of city politics. He is a loyal Democrat. He is unlike Daley in every other way imaginable. He is even-tempered (unlike Braun), open (unlike Emanuel), democratic (unlike Chico), and from the people (unlike all of the above). When it all hits the fan, DelValle is the best candidate to be sitting in the driver's seat of City Hall, mostly because he will not do everything himself.
DelValle will work with the City Council instead of forcing it to do his will. He will put cops in charge of the police department, professional educators in charge of CPS, and so on. He is the only candidate running who will not sell the City of Chicago to big business and political cronies. Rahm Emanuel and Gery Chico, the front-runners are ready to do both.
Emanuel, not even legally allowed to run for the mayor's office according to a literal interpretation of state law, managed to bully the courts through the party. He is from the very banks that precipitated our current financial crisis. Most of his millions in campaign cash comes straight from those banks and from out of town. Where one's money is, one's heart is and Rahm's heart is on Wall Street.
When he is elected, in the name of balancing the budget, Rahm will sell Chicago to the highest bidder. Public schools will be closed and corporations will be invited to build new "charter schools" that foster failed corporate mentalities. Rahm has floated the idea of putting advertising on required city stickers and on garbage trucks. Daley's parking meter deal, sale of bus stops, and leasing on the Skyway will look tame compared to whatever Rahm has planned. (It is hard to know what Emanuel wants, since he avoids the press, which, for some reason fawns over him.)The idea of public trust is foreign to Emanuel and the other front-runner Gery Chico, but the public trust is a central theme of DelValle's campaign.
See for DelValle's official message.
For 45th Ward Alderman John Garrido

The 45th Ward race has become a classic in local politics. Words and lawsuits, and even bullets now are flying. Ward politics is tough, gritty, and the 45th Ward has been represented by an imperially-minded bully made for such nasty games, Pat Levar, for almost two decades.

Levar barrels through his ward like a medieval baron, physically picking on his serfs and eating everything in sight. He has made a a habit of using TIF funds set aside for schools and police protection to see to it that shady massage parlors, tattoo shops, pawn shops, and abortion clinics can go up in his working class ward. He sent his kids to private schools while the neighborhood schools starved for help. He rubber stamped everything the mayor sent him in City Council. He was a failure at keeping the streets up, but a master at selling zoning ordinances.

Levar's support was waning and so he decided to get out of the race due to health reasons. This left an open seat in the City Council and sent his opponents into overdrive. Most of these opponents were active community organizers and many had an open ear to the community's needs. Two in particular, John Garrido and John Arena promised increased democracy for a ward starving for it. Fearing the loss of their gravy train, the Democratic Machine set up an obscure union worker Marina Faz-Huppert to run in the ward. Her signatures were gathered at the last minute and many were signatures that appeared on the petitions of other candidates.

Faz-Huppert, however, has voted as recently as 2009 from a residence in Riverside. Her campaign literature until the last days of the campaign were mailed from a downtown office. Her ties to Saint Cornelius Church, a cornerstone in the community, were recent and fleeting. People saw right through this and, despite her concerted efforts to "reach out", she is seen as the machine candidate. She has spent almost a quarter million dollars of party money to send vacuous mailings daily to the voters of the ward and has been an expert at plopping signs throughout the ward. She will probably be in a run-off with one of the other candidates simply because of her machine ties and machine endorsements, but she will sink fast in the final round of voting.

John Garrido, an active Chicago Policeman and lawyer, has come out ahead as the best choice for change. He was a big vote-getter in the race for Cook County president and is a steady voice for democracy and debate in the community. Garrido is no rubber stamp for the machine or mayor and has an open ear to the community.

He has lived and worked in the 45th Ward for many years and has run a grass roots campaign that managed to find great traction despite the ward's many many years of corrupt autocracy by Levar. Garrido has fought the resulting cynicism and delivered a message of hope for the future of the 45th. He would see TIF finds go where they were intended. He will make sure the community is not left to crime by reassessing the organization of the police. He has promised a transparent aldermanic office and I can personally attest that he has the integrity and humility to see this through.

If what the news says comes down and Rahm Emanuel wins in the first round, it will be even more crucial to send an independent voice like Garrido's to City Hall.

See to read up on the issues and see him in action around Jefferson Park.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Madison, Tea Party? No difference.
Reflections on Madison from a lazy parasitic civics teacher.
I am a professional liar. Everyday I walk into my classes and for hours tell lies to my students. I tell them about the revolutionary vision of the founding fathers. I show them that we are a democratic republic, a country in which the will of the masses is carried out by elected representatives. I tell them the story of how democracy has expanded. I tell them that the U.S. inspired the world. I teach my students about the rights they have, rights guaranteed by the blood of thousands of people just like them. I once felt honored to be the tribune of democracy for the small handful of kids the city threw into my classroom, but more and more I feel like a vile liar.
This is a note to you, slimy politicians. This is a note to you, empty suits. This is a note to you, in Washington and Springfield and to you on Wall Street. If I am a liar, it is not because of me. If I am a liar it is because YOU made me a liar. America is not so foolish as you presume.
Don't think I haven't noticed it. You have been on my t.v. and radio trying desperately to portray teachers like me as money-grubbing, greedy, lazy pigs. According to some of you, we have destroyed the economy by sucking at the trough of the state. You tell America that we are vile creatures. We are, as the influential Rush Limbaugh said this week, "parasites." It is quite low to speak like this of such a noble profession. Few contribute more to what makes America great as much as a teacher and people are not fooled by such silly rhetoric.
Money-grubbing and greedy? Hardly. People in my line of work make less than those with similar education. Was it greedy for me to choose to spend time teaching kids? Should I have chosen the field of law or politics or banking? Maybe my mistake was that I chose a job in which I am paid for six hours of work when I probably do about ten hours a day. I should not have been so greedy. I should have gone into the derivative trade or maybe sold faulty mortgages like fine upstanding people like you, people like you who truly pull your weight. I am a burden on society, what with the homework I assign. I should have stuck to
selling mortgages to people who couldn't afford them like my banker critics or maybe I should be like my political critics and contribute to society by looking the other way as lobbyists pour money into my campaign coffers.
I am a parasite, eh? I suckk and suck and provide nothing. This is something I have seen lately in education. Many who come to guide school districts with backgrounds in business do not know what to make of us. What is the widget of a school teacher? What do we make? What do we provide? And more importantly, how can one measure what we produce, so as to apply business management strategies? They have tried to use the ACT to measure it, but, alas, there is no test on the ACT to measure how well a student knows their rights or understands the position history has put them in. Some of these managers in education have concluded throwing things like poetry and civics and music right out of the curriculum of schools since there is no way to measure its worth. It is a sad day we are approaching when everything that makes someone educated and worthwhile must have a price tag attached to it. So I guess, I contribute nothing and so, am a parasite.
The thousands protesting in Madison this week are alarmed that you have made us liars. We told our students that their government had their best in mind, and you gave us lies and more lies and kicked the can down the road. You told me I could retire after a career of training active civic-minded American voters. And then what is most appalling is the assault on the very democracy we are obliged to herald in our classrooms by banning through state law the right of people to peaceably redress their government for grievances, the right to strike and collective bargaining.
Thousands of regular people sacrificed for that right. Many even gave their lives like the workers in the Homestead Strike who picketed, but were met with bullets. Collective bargaining and the strike has become a cornerstone of American democracy and Governor Walker of Wisconsin and Rep. Michael Madigan of Illinois have proposed cutting off democracy at the knees. These politicians tell us to trust them. They ask us to give up our hard-earned rights and to trust them after they've delivered nothing but decades of lies. When the unions came to compromise with Walker so long as he did not sacrifice the rights of working men, but he refused; revealing a truly sinister motive.
Regular, hard-working everyday Americans are not fooled. We refuse to give up our American dreams to the rich and powerful and to the liars on Wall Street. We demand freedom and we demand the voice that was promised to us by our social studies teachers in our own youths. That is why there are thousands protesting in Madison and it is why the Tea Party made the dent it did in November's election. The people want control of their government. They want fairness. I am surprised at how dense the powers that be are to fail to see this.
We do not want to be talked down to. We are not chattel. We are the rulers of this nation because, unfortunately for the CEOs and big wigs, we outnumber them and our vote counts. I always voted with the idea of underwear in mind: One should change their politicians like they change their underwear. After a short while, both tend to stink.
Who are the parasites? When major corporations and banks broke the law and went against common sense to make a quick buck on the backs of everyday men and women, the government failed to stop them. It was not out of ignorance that our esteemed government did not stop it, they just hoped it would go away and a few bucks made waiting for it to go away easier. They played a game of hot potato while I told my class that they were lucky to be Americans. And then it hit the fan and the banks were "bailed out" with the tax money of hard-working America because they were "too big to fail." Well, they did fail. And so did the people who were foreclosed on. Those people were left homeless, but the banks were given a check signed by our elected representatives. Who are the parasites?
So, here it is.... here are the people in the streets you must have thought would never come. Here they are with their signs and placards, acting like "animals" by demanding their basic democratic rights. Here they are yelling and screaming at you. The Republicans defy them and the Democrats run and hide, but both tactics are foolish. Americans are finished with the games and want their democracy back. We want our jobs back from China. We want an end to all the deals. We want all that was promised to us by our parasite, lazy, do-nothing social studies teachers who reminded us of Lincoln's words that the American government is "of the people, by the people, and for the people."
So go ahead and keep calling us communists or racists because we oppose the plutocracy. We will not race to the bottom and compete with your Chinese and Indian slaves. This is the Tea Party. This is the union protest in Madison. It comes from the Left and the Right and is one and the same.
See where will your closed ears get you next time you want our votes. This is not a Democrat or Republican thing. This is an American thing and in America, majority rules.

Monday, October 18, 2010

My reluctant endorsements for the 2010 elections.
Bring this into your local polling place and give me a few more votes. Enjoy the informative links.

Amending the Illinois Constitution No
We already have a method to remove a governor who is no longer fit to serve. We used it to remove the indicted Rod Blagojevich successfully. Why change the Constitution to iunclude California-style recall? This measure gives Michael Madigan and the state legislature more power and takes power from the governor's office, upsetting horizontal balance of power within the state. The measure will create a horrible political environment in which governors are under the gun and will have to make popular decisions instead of correct decisions. While it seems to be a very democratic change to the Constitution, this measure will actually create quite a mess.

For Senate Mark Steven Kirk (R)
This race is easy and should have been an open and shut one for the Republicans, but Kirk has proven to have many flaws. He tries to please every segment of the electorate and has painted himself into corners. He says he supports this and then ends of voting for that. He tries to make everyone happy. This just doesnt work in a high-profile Senate race. I hope he realizes soon that we can all hear him now and maybe he should not streth the truth. His fibs, though, are nothing compared to the lies of his pathetic opponent, Alexi Giannoulias.

For me it comes down to Giannoulias' connections with Syndicate figures in Chicago and Miami. His dealings with mafia types while an executive at his family bank stink to high heaven. He has no answer for his shady past and cannot be trusted. Outside of the mafia, he has connections to future cellmates Rod Blagojevich and Tony Rezko. I think Illinois has had enough of politicians like Giannoulias who buy and sell influence. It is time for a public servant, even a flawed one like Kirk.

Giannoulias has tried to paint Kirk as an arch-conservative, which is far from the truth. He is one of the most liberal Republicans in the House. While he is no conservative, he will vote the party line and a vote for Kirk is a vote for a new party in the very Illinois Senate seat marred by the Blagojevich scandal.

And to call Kirk a liar over and over again when you are Alexi Giannoulias is the height of hypocrisy. Aren't there enough hypocrites in DC?

For Governor Bill Brady, er....maybe Quinn, naw Cohen.

This race is so full of buffoonery this year that I am seriously considering a vote for a steroid-abusing, wife-beating, prostitute-having, pawn shop owner. Why not just skip the formalities and just elect a criminal like Scott Lee Cohen? I suppose, it would be too cynical.

Does it even matter who the governor of the state of Illinois is when Michael Madigan rules from the Legislature with an iron fist? After all, Blagojevich was not removed until Madigan decided it would be so. So I will probably vote for Brady simply because our last indicted governor was a Democrat. I do not think he will have enough power to do much damage to education and hope that he will come to his senses and realize that eventually taxes will have to go up a bit. In the last debate, when asked what he would cut, he said he wouldn't know for sure because he does not trust Quinn's numbers.... and neither do I.

It is too bad Illinois cannot have a decent candidate for governor like Kirk Dillard or Jesse White. Maybe, on second thought, I will just write-in Dillard's name and cleanse myself of having to vote for such a doofus as Brady. Brady's promises in his recent ads that he will personally protect me from all harm are as laughable as his weak attempt at smiling. No one who passes bills aiming to gas puppies can smile, and Brady probably already knows this.

For U.S. House 5th IL David Ratowitz (R)
This is another negative vote. Mike Quigley is so focused on Mike Quigley that he forgets to represent the hard-working people of the Northwest Side. He decided to vote for Obama's unpopular "health insurance reform" that will bankrupt the American people at the worst time. The law is simply a corporate bailout for insurance companies and banks and might even be a political ploy, but Quigley did not care. So I am going to vote for his Republican opponent who will lose by 70 points. At least my conscience is clear.

For Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle (D)
Preckwinkle will probably win with 80% of the vote. She is a far cry from the selfish criminal, Todd Stroger, who has held this office for the past few years. She is a former educator and understands public service. She is a proven leader in the Kenwood community and has a spotless record. Her opponent is anti-union just for the principle of it. He wants to go at the budget with a cleaver and is a real danger to the functionality of the county. I got to say that I really like Toni. Maybe it's just because we are both history teachers.

For Cook County Comissioner 9th District Brock Merck (G)
I usually vote for Republicans, and Merck is a conservative in many ways. His Green Party affiliation is simply a matter of necessity to get on the ballot. Merck is a real neighborhood guy who ran a great campaign. He is a former cop and the owner of a local store. He probably will not beat the connected Republican incumbent, but voting for Merck is like a voting for your neighbor. He is the only candidate who feels the pain of tax increases, poor management, and corruption. He will not represent any entity, but his fellow voters.

For State Senate 10th District Brian Doherty (R)
I was highly offended by John Mulroe's ads accusing Doherty of being the spearhead for the sale of parking meters when the sale was pushed by the Democratic party. I have zero tolerance for hypocrisy. The connected and scandal-ridden incumbent, the retiring James DeLeo, made a mockery of this post and now the state Democratic party is pouring millions of dollars to prevent the popular alderman Brian Doherty from taking the seat for the Republicans. I feel a vote for the Democrat, Mulroe, is a vote for the same party and policies that bankrupted Illinois.

Other endorsements:
For Secretary of State Jesse White (D)
Let's see if he gets over 95% this year. I don't just love him for being a Chicago Cub and a great educator, I also love him for this moment last year.

For Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D)
I don't like that she is the daughter of the anti-democratic czar of Illinois, but I do like that she isn't trying to be governor or Senator so she can keep her job. And, byt he way, she is pretty good at it too.
For Comptroller Judy Baar-Topinka (R)
What's she thinking? She's thinking about fiscal conservatism and experience... and pant suits.

For State Treasurer Dan Rutherford (R)
A solid candidate (who could be a future governor of Illinois) for an important position stained by its current, inept occupant Alexi Giannoulias.

For State Rep 19th Distrct David Anderson (R)
Lyons needs to be fired for helping to bankrupt Illinois.

For Cook County Clerk Angel Garcia (R)
His opponent has held the post forever and forgot to send ballots to servicemen overseas fighting for our democracy. Oops.

For Cook Couny Assessor Forrest Claypool (I)
He is reform-minded and NOT his fat, scandalous opponent, Joe Berrios.

For Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart (D)
Our future mayor and a great public servant.

Monday, September 28, 2009

We are still a city on a hill
Thoughts on Obama's apologetic speech before the UN

I have been teaching my students about the Pilgrims. I have been imagining their rolling ride across the sea and their windswept, icy first days in the dangerous forest. I hear the ghostly voice of their pastor and leader, calling on his teeny tiny congregation on the edge of a vast wild to fulfill the gospels and stand as Zion, the "city upon a hill." What an opportunity! What an audacious plan! What fantastic conceit!

It is amazing to consider that these few people barely able to feed themselves in, what to them, was a wild land, would lay the cornerstone for what would become history's greatest experiment: America. And it is even more astounding when you consider the lowliness of their position and weigh it against the cockiness of their agenda for us. And we have been debating their "city on a hill' concept ever since. It is so tough a thing to do. Perhaps, it is simply too noble a goal. Perhaps, it is quite the opposite and is proof of a dangerous arrogance.

But while we were debating the issue, there we were being a "city on a hill," an example to the world. The very fact we were arguing the issue proved a point of inspiration to those millions living in oppression around the world. Here was a place where democracy was the rule. We printed our newspapers, and formed political parties, and lobbied our representatives and the world took notice. In 1776, when we declared our place in the world, and took up arms against those who limited our freedom in London, we inspired and changed the world. We became that example the Pilgrims dreamed of, whether we wanted to or not.

Freedom and democracy are our lights. It is said in the Gospels held so dear to the Pilgrims that one does not cover a lamp with a bushel, but lets its light shine so that the whole room is filled with light. Perhaps, it is corny now or unfashionable to say things like "freedom is a light." But it is so passe because it is so true and so often said. We, as Americans, have trouble imagining what it is like to live in subjugation. We cannot comprehend a place where our opinion not only doesn't count, but also can lead to our arrest and death. We think the whole world is like ours.

The world is not like us, though. We are an abberation. We are freaks of history. History and geography and nature have come together to create a perfect and unique crucible for true freedom. America is still a place where one can reach his full potential as intended by the Creator. Our vast continent aches for freedom and heaves with it. I have seen it myself and the whole world sees it. You cannot hide it. It is a sin to try to cover this light for the oppressed.

Whether we like it or not, we are, as our president says so often, "citizens of the world." Our reaction to this should be to cry louder to the sleeping world to wake up and embrace freedom. We have a responsibility. We are linked with every nation on the planet. We proved this at Normandy and alongside the Berlin Wall.
We should not be ashamed of freedom and democracy. We should be sure in our steps to bring these blessings to the world and the best way is to be that example, that "city upon a hill." We should continue to welcome the oppressed and those hungry for justice into our country. We should continue to chide and bring an end to dictators and autocrats and genocidal regimes. We should renounce phony elections like those in Ukraine and Iran. We should reject non-capitalistic economic theories. We should stand up, as if it is a life and death matter, when people are denied the right to decide their own destinies. And we should not be bashful or apologetic about it. We should temper our pride, to be sure, but we should not apologize for our place in history.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Problems with Obama's Prescription for America
Democracy and freedom win the battle on Obamacare, not the war

I was very proud this week to watch President Obama stopped dead in his tracks as he tried to bully through his healthcare agenda as the next step in the "change" that he promised in 2008. What made me so proud was that he was stopped by democracy. The process actually worked. The collective voice of Americans saying "NOT SO FAST" was heard in D.C. loud and clear.
What made it even better was that I was in Canada when it happened. The patriotic music played in my head as Canadians worried that their American option to avoid their own government-run healthcare was about to no longer be an option.
Even though Obama in his weekly address blamed Republicans for preventing this legislation, it should be noted that the Democrats have majorities in both houses of Congress. It is his own party that has put on the brakes and forced an uncareful president to stick his foot in his mouth when calling for passage of the healthcare bill by the August recess. Perhaps they remember the disaster Democrats faced when they last tried this in the 1990's and the G.O.P. swept the 1994 election.
Obama continued filled his mouth with foot the next day by jumping to conclusions on the Professor Gates situation. I agree that Gates should have been let off the hook (I think "disorderly conduct" is a phony crime), but feel that the president of the free world should probably be worrying about something else. Oh, well.... I will not let him successfully distract me from his first major political failure since running against Bobby Rush for a House seat.

So without further ado, here is a list of problems a simple working-class Northwest side Chicagoan has with the Obama-care initiative:

1.) It has been rushed through in a roughshod Daley-style fashion. It is no surprise that he tried to do it this way. It is best to rush through things that you know ahead of time will be unpopular and he learned it from the king of this, Richard Daley. Daley rushed through a parking meter reform bill without public debate. It is a undemocratic maneuver and it will not work in Washington the same way it works over here in Chicago's City Hall. Could we at least have real public debate on this, before we fundamentally change America? Obama says no.
2.) It takes away freedom. Americans are free and this is what makes us so unique in history. We are not a bastion for tyrants. The power truly does belong to the many in our country. And freedom is the cornerstone. We are free in America. We are allowed to take risks and this is why we we so often succeed. The other side of freedom is failure. How many businesses must fail before a Microsoft or Apple come along? We are allowed to fail so that we can succeed. Government healthcare will eliminate freedom to some degree. We are not allowed to choose for ourselves. Obama claims that there will be a choice, but the government program will leave little option in the end. When one of your choices is half paid for by taxpayers, it will be so much cheaper than the other programs that to not choose it would be lunacy. After all, whether you are in the government program or not, you are going to still be paying for it. Why not pay for healthcare once. So there is no choice really.
For government employees like myself, there will be even less choice. I will not be able to choose my plan and once in the government plan, I cannot choose what to do with my own body and for my own health as I see fit. A government bureaucrat, even if he has an M.D. after his name, is still a government bureaucrat.
3.) Speaking of choice, I will not have the choice to be pro-Life. The new program already has words in the bill that refer to government sponsorship and payment for abortions as a health procedure. I am not one to march up and down the streets in the 35 year-long abortion debate America has been having. Even so, I am upset when my tax money will be used to fund abortions, which I do not agree with for religious reasons. Abortion clinics, which have seen a sharp decrease in business lately, will be bailed out by Obamacare.... and with my hard-earned money. It is cute to hear reps talk of this plan creating a budget surplus over time... proof that we will be taxed into ruin.
4.) Taxes. This is going to be expensive... very expensive. Our government is in debt, owes trillions in bonds to Chinese banks, and is running with a serious budget deficit in a bad economy. Why would this new burden be placed on us at this time? Why not wait until the health of our economy improves? Taxes have gone up all over the place and at every level of government. Americans are really beginning to feel the squeeze and we have a proud history of throwing bums out of office who raise our taxes.
5.) Fat taxes? Will I pay a penalty for being overweight and for being a burden on the struggling government? Will we be paying fat taxes soon? Who will decide what is the correct weight for me? Will smokers have to pay higher taxes than they already do? Will drivers pay more for their insurance? These questions have not been answered by our representatives because...
6.) The Senators and Reps voting on this bill have not read it and they admit it. They simply vote the way they are told by their caucus leaders. Well, usually when we regular people do not do our jobs, we are fired.
7.) It takes away incentives. Any government-run healthcare system is going to come with a pricing structure that dissuades incentives to create cutting edge medical procedures and medical research by doctors and big pharmaceutical companies. Obama seems to think that making profits is a sin of some sort, but really profits and riches are the goals that keep the big American medical industry moving forward. Capitalism is what cured polio. Capitalism is looking for a cure for AIDS. And since we are one of the last countries on earth where this kind of research is rewarding, Obamacare could spell the end of our innovative medical research, research that has improved the quality of life for billions of humans around the world.
8.) Poor people can get healthcare already. Capitalism, which has so many benefits, does have some drawbacks. No system of man is perfect. Under capitalism there are HAVES and HAVE NOTs and we need to be careful as individuals to take responsibility for those less fortunate than us. People receive care in our country even if they cannot afford it. Many hospitals and doctors will give discounts to people based on their ability to pay. Some state-run programs like Medicaid go a long way to helping individuals who cannot afford healthcare in the most innovative health system in the world. Big pharm has drug programs for those based on their ability to pay. If worse comes to worse, people are protected by bankruptcy laws in our country. Luckily, health is not something that can be repossessed. Not only can poor people access healthcare, they have access to the best, and most innovative healthcare system in the world.
9.) Problems with our system are overstated and based on class envy. We hate those damned docs and those damned pharmaceutical executives and those damned insurance companies with their swimmin' pools and limos. Class envy is not a just political tool and Obama should figure that out soon enough. America is not Nazi Germany where such arguments can meet much success. In America, we have hope that we can rise up and move up the chain. This is why class envy is short-lived political trick and not a sound basis for policy-making.
The American healthcare system has problems, but it is not bad enough to knock it down and start from square one. The system is fat, bloated, and needs to be stream-lined. We need to find out what makes it so pricey. We need to look at malpractice lawsuits. We need to cap awards or, perhaps, institute loser-pays laws to discourage frivolous lawsuits. Under the current system, a doctor has to rule out every possible diagnosis, even if he or she is sure about what they are seeing. Docs have to run every single test and the prices go up, up, up.
10.) It is about Obama, not America. This is Obama's baby. This bill signifies his political might and will be his mark on history. He will be the brave president who made America look more like the rest of the world. He will be our hero. Why don't we Americans just shut up and let him do what he needs to do and FAST?
11.) It eliminates jobs. There are real problems in this country with unemployment and Obama said he would help alleviate unemployment somehow. The Dems have dreams of a New Deal era wherein Americans will work on public works projects and money will be controlled by the Democratic majority in Congress. They are acting like solutions to economic problems from 80 years ago will work in a hyper, globalized economy of today.
That is beside the point, Obamacare will eliminate jobs that only Americans can do. Jobs will be cut in hospitals. Medical coders, medical billers, insurance reps, pharmacists, and technicians will be out of work. Doctors will be forced to take drastic pay cuts. A huge and profitable American industry will be gutted at a time when unemployment is out of control. I worked for a time in the industry and I am sure in this new era, my job following insurance claims would become obsolete.
12.) It hurts small businesses. Wal-mart puts Ma and Pa businesses out of business. It is what they do. If Ma and Pa sell shampoo for $2.00 a bottle, Wal-mart ships production overseas to China where they pay workers 20 cents a day to produce the same shampoo (hopefully) at $1.85 a bottle. (It really costs a few cents a bottle, but the difference is hidden profit.) This plan has been paid for and pushed by outsourcers like Wal-mart. Big companies can make even more profit if they shift payment for their workers' healthcare to the workers themselves (i.e. taxpayers). This is why Wal-mart has paid for air time urging the public to support Obamacare.
13.) It solves for a symptom and not the cause. Obamacare puts a band-aid on a massive wound. We need to solve the real problems affecting this country. Why can so many not afford healthcare? Because they have no jobs. Many people, especially those with high school or trade school level educations, have seen their jobs go south to Mexico with the passage of NAFTA. In Mexico you pay someone 55 cents an hour for the same work it costs $7 an hour to do in America. Then the jobs went across the ocean to China where the government allows people to make about 20 cents a day. Even cheaper labor is available in places like Haiti and Indonesia.
Americans love the low, low prices and cheer on the Wal-mart happy face as he jumps around the ads rolling back prices, but then we are unemployed. We get what we pay for. And then we are out of work, cutting pills, and unable to purchase our own insurance or healthcare. The money we would have made is put into Chinese banks, which buy American government-issued bonds, and we are no longer in control of our own destiny.
This is a problem. But Congressmen won't touch it because it benefits big stock-holders who need profits and perceived growth and who pay for lobbyists to make sure the gravy train never leaves town.
14.) Who will decide if I live or die? Under Obamacare, my opinion is not worth a dime. If I am in my eighties and need a pacemaker to live, will I be an investment that the government will consider worth making? Maybe this is why part of the bill expands funding to hospices. Maybe it is already presumed by the bill's writers that many Americans will be denied the right to decide whether they should live or die. I would love to know this for sure, but Obama wants it passed right away without delay or discussion (unless he is leading it.)
15.) Government-run business is not efficient business. The government has proven its efficiency in dealing with problems. It is a slow-moving giant. I do not need a slow-moving giant when I am having a heart attack or need a life-saving surgery. I am already disgusted that Obama felt it was his place to step in and take over General Motors, but taking over healthcare is going too far. Now my life is at stake. I know the lines I wait in for my driver's license and do not look forward to those lines in the ER.
Okay, so there it is. I just want to debate this a bit more and I have already urged my Senators and Congressman Mike Quigley to do so. I also acted by sending a small check to Mark Steven Kirk for the Senate. The past few months have proven that it is already time to throw the bums out of office.
P.S. I was right about a few things in my last post. It seems Giannoulias wants to be Senator. He and his criminal ties will fit right in at the Capitol. Look forward to my support for Kirk, who just came back froma tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Giannoulias is knee deep in slime
Can Illinois set a new record? 5 governors in 40 years to prison.

The people of Illinois are proud to be first among the states. No second city for us! We have the nation's tallest buildings and most storied architecture. We are home to the largest commodity market in the world. Our universities produce record numbers of Nobel laureates. Our state also is first and foremost in political corruption. In the last 35 years, Illinois has seen four of its governors in handcuffs. You would think that the people would learn, but they keep doing the same thing. With the announcement that popular Attorney General Lisa Madigan will not run for governor (perhaps eyeing an Obama-supported run at the Senate), the stars have aligned for the possibility that we may have a fifth incarcerated governor on the way.

In 2003, a little-known, young Chicago politician, with a hard-to-pronounce last name captured the governorship of Illinois. His rise to the top, it has been discovered, rested on bullying and questionable associations. The Blagojevich story is set to happen all over again in 2010. Since Madigan stepped down, a front-runner among the few Democratic candidates set to challenge Pat Quinn for re-election, is a little-known, young Chicago politician, with a hard-to-pronounce last name and questionable ties that fueled his rise. Alexi Giannoulias, who was careful to associate himself with Obama and his promise of "change," was invited by Obama's people to speak at the Democratic Convention. Giannoulias, though, is not "change," but is more of the usual for Illinois.

Giannoulias will be dogged by his associates. They will take him down like they took down Blago. He is standing on a pedestal of stink and corruption. He has no foundation. Giannoulias is simply an inlet of money and is set to buy any seat he can. He does not hide his ambition. Dems in Illinois know this, but the money talks. This is why Senator Durbin has called Giannoulias a "formidable candidate."

Another politician who will listen to the money and not the people. The problem is money stinks. Giannoulias' rise began when he was made president of the family business, Broadway Bank in Chicago. It just happens to the bank where Tony Rezko, the infamous convicted fund-raiser for Obama and Blagojevich wrote his checks from. When Rezko was on top, he recommended his banker Demetrius Giannoulias, Alexi's brother, to an influential state position. The bank, meanwhile, backed some Rezko real estate deals. Support from the Giannoulias family was rewarded on more than one occasion by indicted governor Rod Blagojevich, maybe due to the intercession of Rezko.

Broadway Bank, of which Giannoulias was president, also has interesting business with known figures in the mafia. Convicted bookie, boxing promoter, pimp, and mafia dupe Michael "Jaws" Giorango was able to secure a $11.8 million loan to build a casino. Alexi has changed his story often about this deal. Sometimes he blames his brother for the deal, other times he has called Giorango a "very nice person." In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, he admitted that he helped service the deal and that he spoke with Giorango about his criminal history. Money speaks and doing business with people entangles you in their business. Maybe it was Giannoulias money that Giroango used to fuel the prostitution ring he ran in Miami until he was convicted in 2004? Who knows?

An associate of Michael "Jaws" Giorango also did business with the Giannoulias family. Millions of dollars in loans were extended to Spiros Naos and Giorango, who was working on a big floating casino deal. (Naos is the nephew of slain casino owner Gus Boulis. After selling his floating casino operation to convicted influence-peddler Jack Abramoff, Boulis was gunned down. Gambino family associates have been convicted of the Boulis murder.) Naos, in turn, donated thousands to the Giannoulias campaign. When news of the Naos-Giannoulias connection broke, Giannoulias returned the contributions.

Giannoulias knows money. And he knows it talks in Chicago. That is why he hitched his wagon to star and became one of Barack Obama's top contributors in 2004. Obama kept his campaign funds in the Giannoulias family bank and has since paid for the support. Giannoulias was invited to speak at Obama's Democratic Convention and was allowed to act as a voice from the victorious Illinois Democratic party on the national stage. Giannoulias held fund-raisers for Obama and has called Obama his "political mentor."
While Obama and Giannoulias do run with the same crowds, Giannoulias is more Chicago, I must admit, than Obama. Giannoulias' rise was fueled by his family, his connections, and money from dark places. He is Chicago, though and through. His short career has been built on shady promises and backroom deals. It is the kind of stuff Illinois governors of late have been made of.

The opinion of Illinoisans have no place in the political world of Giannoulias. He knows power does not come from the democratic process, but from money. How else can a 30 year-old nobody become a viable candidate? He will grandstand. He will call his opponents out of touch. He will act as if he is the voice of change, but he is more of the same.

And his chances are good. The Democratic primary will probably be between him and Pat Quinn. Quinn has proven unable to govern or solve any problems. Instead of using sound politics and working on relationships with state legislators, Quinn has focused on silly scare tactics. It will be all too easy to point out his failure to lead. The Republicans so far have no big name candidates and seem as if they will face an expensive slug-fest of a primary. The GOP candidate will probably emerge to the general election politically damaged and financially broke. This is where Giannoulias will outspend his opponent and saturate the airwaves.

Soon Giannoulias could be sitting in the same seat as Rod Blagojevich. And he will probably learn the same lesson: when you surround yourself with slime, you tend to get dirty.

My predictions: (1) Roland Burris will announce he will not run for the Senate. Lisa Madigan will beat out Kennedy for the Democratic candidacy for the Burris Senate seat. I wish Mark Kirk would run for the GOP, but he may not want to lose his seat in Congress. (2) Giannoulias will beat out Quinn and will be the next governor and U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald will run him out of office and into prison. (3) Sarah Palin did something wrong that she is trying to hide.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Profile in Cowardice
Dems have foot right up in mouths

A coward is someone with no principles. A coward bends this way and that and always checks to see which way the wind is blowing. Many Illinois and a few national stars of the Democratic party fit that definition and many are finding themselves in the position that cowards often find themselves: with foot in mouth. Much light has been shed because of the recent release of tapes in which Senator Roland Burris offers to indirectly buy his Senate seat.

The biggest coward of all is Senate majority leader Harry Reid. Reid, at first, utterly refused to seat anyone selected by scandal-ridden Governor Rod Blagojevich to fill Barak Obama's vacated Senate seat. It made sense to take this position. Blagojevich was, after all, under investigation by federal authorities for many crimes, including his offering of that very Senate seat to the highest bidder. Reid called Blagojevich's eventual selection as "unfair" and "regrettable."
What is truly regrettable, though, was Reid's cowardice when Burris pushed his way into the Senate, backed by former Black Panther and current Democratic Congressman Bobby Rush. Rush, who once vehemently opposed the idea of the governor making any appointment, had a change of heart and wanted to make it clear that the Congressional Black Caucus was very interested in having African-American representation in the Senate. Rush threatened Harry Reid and chided Reid and Senate Dems not to "hang or lynch" Burris because of Blagojevich's scandals. Burris and Blago, it seemed, were not above playing the race card.
This pressure, history will write, is the reason Illinois Senator Dick Durbin who once also promised to deny Burris the seat, turned around and saw it Burris' way. It is the reason, history will note, that Reid followed suit. It is the reason Burris was allowed to take his seat in the Senate. History, as usual, is forgetful...
History forgot that the people of Illinois were overwhelmingly demanding an election to fill the Senate vacancy. It has been all but forgotten that there was a strong movement to petition the people. It would have been only a fitting gesture and a rightful bow to democracy, since the people of Illinois had taken a backseat to the power politics and games of Governor Blagojevich and the ruling Democratic party in Springfield. The people wanted democracy, but the Democrats couldn't bare the thought of bringing democracy into the process. After all, "the people" do not matter to Illinois Dems.
The Senate, at Burris' election, was split in such a way that Senate Republicans would be able to hamper Obama's initiatives by enacting filibusters. With one more Democratic vote, the Dems would be able to stop any filibuster and continue with the institution of Obama's "changes." If the seat were left to an election, there was a chance, a slight chance albeit, that the scandal-wary people of Illinois, might elect a Republican. It was petty politics, not race, that led to Reid's decision to seat Burris. Consideration for the electorate was not a priority. So democracy took a back seat and Dems hoped Burris wouldn't be too big a disappointment.
They questioned him in Springfield to be sure of it. The state impeachment committee, headed by State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, questioned Burris on the relationship he had with Blagojevich. They did not question his run for governor a decade back, which assured Blago the victory over rival Paul Vallas. When Republican rep Jim Durkin decided to get specific, Burris refused to answer and was defended by fellow Dems on the committee. Burris sat in front of the state legislature an lied and lied and lied.
After taking his Senate seat he "adjusted" his testimony to avoid perjury charges. Questions resurfaced and then slowly the matter was buried in the fantastic story of the impeachment, removal, and indictment of Governor Blagojevich.
Only yesterday, it resurfaced after the feds released several minutes of recorded phone conversations between Burris and the governor's brother. In the tapes Burris is asked for financial support and he insists that he wants the Senate seat. When the governor's brother asked for a "donation" and upped the ante by explaining that there were other buyers in the market, Burris explained that he did not want his donation to appear as payment for the Senate seat. Then his ego got to him. Burris, who's self-styled mausoleum heralds him as an Illinois "trailblazer," could not refuse the bait any longer. He finally concocts a plan to send money to the governor through his lawyer.
Disgusting. The Democrats sold the Senate seat to the highest bidder, denied the democratic process, knew about pay-to-play corruption, worked to sweep it under the rug of time, and now they want us to forget their involvement in the whole sordid affair. I remember though.
The good, hard-working people of Illinois were denied by Dick Durbin. We were rejected by Harry Reid. Our voice was silenced by Currie and Madigan. We were ignored and laughed at by Bobby Rush. We were kicked to the curb by Roland Burris. And we were bent over backward by Rod Blagojevich.
So why do we keep voting for these people? I do not understand this madness. Are we happy now that we have a scandal-ridden Senator to add to our long list of indicted governors and jailed politicians in Illinois?
And how are we thanked? We are thanked by people like Currie, who in an intense talk with my students this week, asked where she was supposed to get the $12 billion needed to correct the out-of-control Illinois budget if not from further taxation of the people. While she conceded that times were tough, she insisted that taxes were going to be raised this week to meet state "obligations." Many of my students asked me why she was blaming the deficit on them. They felt personally upset that Currie's lack of sound decision-making and inability to control spending was being blamed on them.
The unelected governor, Pat Quinn, meanwhile lobbied Springfield to accept a huge 50% increase in the state income tax. He and Currie point out that Illinois, among states that tax income, has very low taxes. They would have us believe that we need to pay our fair share. They want this to be our fault.
Well, it isn't. It is their fault for not governing and we should on the whole reject them and vote in a new legislature. Democracy, I do believe, is the only way for Illinoisans to defend themselves from these criminals. (And when I say criminals, I am not blowing anything out of proportion.) As Currie herself told my students: "Show me the votes. Show me the votes and things will get done."
So let's show these cowards the votes. Let's reclaim Illinois.
The only legislator who met with my students and who talked of cutting spending in these tough times was Republican Michael McAuliffe. The only state rep interested in asking tough questions to Burris was Republican Jim Durkin. The only people worth their salt in Springfield right now are the endangered Republicans.
P.S. Just a little story. When a fellow teacher brought some students to Washington to meet our new Senator he posed for a group shot with them. He directed the students to smile and then said, "MONEY!" (Instead of "cheese.") He chided the students for not following suit and it was done again until the bewildered kids followed him in his mantra.