Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Citizen-Funded vs. Insider-Funded

This is the latest campaign fundraising report from Christine Cegelis.

    The average donation to the Cegelis campaign in the last fundraising quarter was $72. That's a citizen funded campaign. PACs don't make $72 donations. Corporate interests don't make $72 donations. Citizens do.

    We're asking you to do it now - to donate to Christine's campaign before the fundraising quarter ends on September 30. Christine's fundraising happens in coffee shops, local restaurants, and the homes of District 6 citizens. Her opponent's fundraising is happening in Washington DC.

      Majority Leader Tom DeLay
      Majority Whip Roy Blunt
      Republican Conference Chair Deborah Pryce
      NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds
      Chief Deputy Whip Eric Cantor
      Congressman Henry Hyde
      Cordially Invite you to a Lunch Benefiting Peter Roskam
      Contribution Levels - $1,000 PAC / $500 Personal
      For more information, please contact the Townsend Group

    Roskam is raising money in Washington DC with PACs and party leaders lining up to anoint him as Henry Hyde's heir apparent. They don't live in District 6, but they want to choose who will represent the people who do live there.

    Who Will Your Candidate Represent?

    A campaign is often judged by the source of its funding. When you look at the source of the Roskam funding, it's clear that his campaign is focused on the needs of his party and its deep-pocketed cronies. The Cegelis campaign is different, and the judgment is clear - this is a campaign focused on the concerns of real people.

    A citizen funded campaign gives a candidate the freedom to truly represent the interests of the people in her district. She is free from the pressure to conform her vision to deep-pocketed special interests. That's the freedom that Christine has.

    With that freedom comes the added pressure of criticism from the insiders who judge the strength of a campaign on the size of its war chest. When citizens build a candidate's war chest large enough to silence the criticism of the insiders, to turn criticism into contributions, there's no pressure to change the vision when
    insider support is given.

    The support of the insiders can help Christine build a better campaign and penetrate deeper into a "red" district where not one democrat holds office. Insider support is dependent on fundraising numbers. As a citizen-funded candidate, Christine needs your help to get the resources that can make a difference in retaking Henry Hyde's seat.

    Please give today.

    The fundraising quarter ends on Friday. Your donation in this quarter makes a difference.

    Energize Yourself - Attend the Solargenix Reception

    Join Christine at Solargenix and hear her thoughts on our country’s energy policy and our environment.

    Solargenix designs, builds and installs solar energy systems – a fitting venue for a candidate who believes in renewable fuels.

    The reception begins at 5:30 p.m. at 3622 S. Morgan Street in Chicago. You can attend with a $50 base donation or as a Green Host for $250 or an Emerald Host for $500.

    To RSVP, or for more information, contact please call our campaign Finance Director at 630-693-0500 or email her at

      What: Campaign Kick-Off and Petition Drive
      When: Sep 28 2005 - 5:30pm
      Where: Solargenix - Solar Panel Manufacturing Plant
      Address: 3622 S. Morgan Street, Chicago

    Christine Cegelis officially announced her candidacy on Sunday at a yard party in Lombard. You can watch a video clip of her announcement speech or listen to an audio clip by visiting this blog post on her web site.

    The event was an exciting time to kick-off the campaign petition drive. Christine launched the drive early Monday morning asking for supporter's signatures at district train stations.

    You can do your part to collect the signatures Christine needs. Whether it's ten signatures or one hundred, we need your help. Join us at 1920 S. Highland, Lombard 60148 in the lobby this Saturday, Oct 1. We'll be working together from 10:00am to 3:00pm to collect signatures to get Christine's name on the ballot. Collect 45 signatures and come back for a free pizza party afterwards. If you want to circulate petitions in your precinct, or if you want to help oordinate campaign efforts in your neighborhood, please email Max at by Friday morning.

September was also a busy RNC fundraising month for John Shimkus. He proves that he is quite active -- OFF the Hill, never ON the Hill.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Real Leadership vs. Monumental Mediocrity

Sometimes the tension between challenger Democratic congressional candidates and the Democratic Congressional Candidate Committee (DCCC) is strained at best. This was not noticeable 5 minutes into the meeting at 9 a.m., Thursday September 15, 2005. Tim Bagwell’s Illinois-based Democratic Commitment Conference Political Action Committee (DCCPAC) led a delegation of committed Democratic candidates in meetings with the DCCC and D.C. political action committees (PACs). Staff members of PACs know only too well that a meeting with Rep. Rahm Emanuel's entire staff in a room and having his undivided attention for more than 10 minutes just does not happen. To have that kind of meeting for 45 minutes is an unprecedented event.

Dr. Bagwell’s unconventional wisdom got the job done and made history at the same time. He unified Democratic challengers. He realized that as a unified group, it would be possible to meet with the Washington Democratic leadership. No one had ever traveled to DC representing a group of challengers before. Why not?

The Democratic congressional candidates completed three days of Washington, D.C., meetings between September 13 and 15. The candidate delegation consisted of 11 candidates from 8 states. As a delegation, the group represented 35 candidates in 20 states. The candidates also met with the leadership of the following PACs:

  • International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
  • Communication Workers of America
  • United Electricians
  • 21st Century Democrats
The combined efforts of Dr. Bagwell’s DCCPAC, the NovemberVictory online discussion group, and the candidate leadership formed the delegation. The candidate leadership included Steve Porter, David Gill, and Tim Bagwell.

Dr. Bagwell and his delegation completed an unprecedented agenda with a meeting with the DCCC leadership on Thursday morning. The candidates in attendance is below. Most of them also ran in 2004:
Dr. Bagwell ( created the DCCPAC in Illinois in March 2005 to support Democratic congressional challenger candidates. Dr. Bagwell began working with the NovemberVictory online discussion group in April and organizing the meetings in June. His PAC achieves its goals through an integrated network of state chapters. Dr. Tim Bagwell chairs the DCCPAC. Dr. Bagwell ran against Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) in the 2004 Election. Richard Morrison, Rep. Tom DeLay’s 2004 opponent, is the DCCPAC Vice-Chairperson. The current chapters are Illinois, Texas, and New York with more to follow soon.

According to Dr. Bagwell, the candidates sat side by side with the DCCC and PAC leadership in open discussions on re-taking the U.S. House in 2006. At the DCCC, the candidates met with Rep. Rahm Emanuel (IL-05). The congressman spoke of the challenges facing the party and the candidates. Each candidate’s has a role as an ‘agent of change’ within the Party’s ‘campaign for change’,” said Rep. Emanuel. He also promised support for all candidates.

Rep. Emanuel took questions and comments from the delegation of mostly second attempt candidates from the 8 states. The DCCC’s key management staff also participated in the meeting:
  1. Executive Director
  2. Political Director
  3. 3 Regional Political Directors
  4. Public Relations Manager
  5. Internet Manager
Having that much of the DCCC present for candidates at this stage is unprecedented – yet it was not that hard. Dr. Bagwell knew there was strength in numbers and followed through. He led the candidates as they took full advantage asking the hard questions of the DCCC leadership. Their concerns included incumbent Democrat support within their states, support for second time around candidates, and low or no-cost support of candidates. They also explored Initiatives toward veterans including requests for veteran demographics for their individual congressional districts.

The DCCC accepted a draft of a proposed party platform from the candidates. In a breakout meeting with DCCC staff, candidates established channels for that support with the DCCC staff.

The Labor Union meetings were also receptive and supportive of the candidates’ efforts. The 21st Century Democrats have invited the candidates to a retreat to help them continue forging ahead in a new direction. They are looking toward serious progressive goals by the year 2024.

If Dr. Bagwell’s delegation of committed Democratic candidates had not made the trip to DC, no one would know their thoughts and heard their voices. Therefore, no one would include candidate input in an ongoing dialogue for change. The real change will come from the grassroots that requires nurturing before the DCCC will truly listen and change.

For now, Dr. Bagwell’s delegation of committed candidates has proven themselves to be a force to be reckoned with. Hopefully, the candidates that could not attend realize this and know that someone proudly gave them their voices. Like all Democrats, they are members of Thomas Jefferson's political party. They believe in the underpinnings, the true spirit of the Party. They will work to benefit the public trust.

As for the IL-19 CD’s abnegating incumbent GOP representative, John Shimkus (aka “Shamkus”), leadership is a foreign concept. The public trust has done nothing to deserve the current Republican incumbents. The public trust absolutely deserve better people than duplicitous representatives who do nothing more than kiss their reflection in the mirror while hugging themselves during a mantra of “You love me! You really love me!” The public trust deserves better than monumental mediocrity.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

DFA Online Vote

DFA has an online vote to determine which congressional candidate will receive our first DFA-List endorsement of 2006. The vote is open to all challengers and open seat candidates. The candidate with the most votes at the end of balloting will receive a DFA-List endorsement and a national e-mail from DFA's Chair Jim Dean.

The bad news is that the list is not complete. This is all the challengers they have listed for IL:

IL-06: Christine Cegelis (she has a DailyKos diary)
IL-14: John Laesch
IL-15: David Gill

My list is a little more complete although we still need challengers. The list is in the right sidebar. Anyone can recommend candidates. on this site:

This is important. We can't wait until 2008. Next year is the key. If a duplicitous, hypocritical GOP incumbent remains in office after 2006, it'll send a message that they're not accountable. I've been posting about the Democrats’ indifference and the in-state gerrymandering.

To support this Martin Frost has an article posted to Fox News:

MEMO TO: Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Sen. Chuck Schumer, Howard Dean

I am writing you in your capacities as chairman of the Democratic Party’s top three national political committees: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

It’s time to throw out the traditional playbook and be bold as you plan for the 2006 elections. There is a real possibility that next year’s contest will be a landslide for Democrats and you need to be prepared to win.

Specifically, Emanuel and Schumer should file candidates for every single Congressional seat and ever single Senatorial seat in the country, even those that have traditionally been Republican. And the DNC should be encouraging state legislative leaders throughout the country to take similar action on the state house and senate levels.

In 1964, Democrats picked up 37 House seats. Republicans picked up 54 House seats, in 1994. At the depths of the Great Depression in 1932, Democrats picked up 90 House seats. History could repeat itself in 2006, but only if Democrats expand the playing field.

Why do I think big Democratic gains loom? The public is rapidly coming around to the view that Republicans lack the ability to handle the big issues facing our country. It’s one thing to be right-wing ideologues, but it's quite another to not be able to put one foot in front of another.

First, you have the Iraq War, which was undertaken on the false premise of weapons of mass destruction and then conducted in a shabby way after the initial successful phase of fighting. Troops were not sent in adequate numbers and were not given adequate body armor or sufficiently armored vehicles. In short, there was no coherent plan for how to occupy the country and rebuild the nation.

Then, the Bush administration undertook an ill-conceived plan to privatize Social Security — something the public didn’t support and something that would have done nothing to help the long-term solvency of system.

And now, the administration has demonstrated significant incompetence in the handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It was slow off the mark and placed FEMA in the hands of political cronies rather than experienced veterans of disaster relief.

Now back to the strategy of the 2006 election. Ever since losing the House and Senate in 1994, Democrats have narrowed rather than expanded the playing field. The theory was to concentrate resources in those races where we had the best chance to win. That strategy was successful for House Democrats in 1996 and 1998 when we picked up a total of 14 seats despite being badly outspent by Republicans. But it didn’t get us back into the majority and it led to a stalemate in the next three elections. Senate Democrats picked up a few seats last time around, but ultimately were dealt a significant loss in 2004.

It’s now time to shoot the moon. Recruit and file everywhere and then late in the cycle decide which races present the best opportunities. Be prepared to win some seats that you don’t deserve because the “force is with you.”

If necessary, the Party should pay the filing fees to encourage some candidates to enter the fray. Remember that the Republicans elected some “accidental Congressmen” in 1994 that only lasted one term — like those who defeated Dan Rostenkowski and Jack Brooks — but were there when they took control.

It is important to step up recruiting now because some states like Illinois, Texas and California have early filing deadlines in December and January

It would be great poetic justice to make the Republicans defend everywhere rather than just concentrating their resources in certain races. Even if Republicans have more money, they won’t have enough to fund candidates everywhere and may leave some races short.
The 2006 Election is very important. We have some candidates. The public needs more - especially in IL-19. Once constituents loudly request a change in Party attitude, the choices for Democratic candidates are clear.

Monday, September 12, 2005

IL GOP Incumbent/Dem Challenger Comparative Analysis

Some of the Illinois CDs that have Republican incumbents also have Democrat candidates actively challenging them for their Congressional seats. A little comparative analysis is all it takes anyone to realize that the choice is obvious.

CD 06

  • There is every reason to vote for Christine Cegelis (D) (and no reason not to). Even as a freshman congresswoman, her election would signal a transformation in legislative practices and help reclaim the American dream for the public trust and not multi-million dollar corporations.

  • Peter Roskam (R) is an ambulance-chasing attorney. He converted to professional politician while perfecting his skills as a young Tom DeLay. He was the unethical man's congressional aide and learned well:

    Roskam: You know I worked for Congressman Delay 20 years ago almost [as a legislative correspondent and a legislative assistant]when he was a freshman member of Congress and I think everybody agrees he is one of the most effective legislators in Washington, DC. I would defer to Congresswoman Biggert, my former colleague in the House. I know that she is on that House Ethics Committee and [I] have a lot of respect for her decision making. But knowing what I know now of what Tom Delay has been accused of, my attitude would be to support him.

    Roskam said that he "has not had any contact with [Tom DeLay] essentially for 20 years." He must have a short memory, or desperately trying to distance himself: "Roskam has benefited from the help of his former employer, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas), who reportedly has steered conservative donors to Roskam's cause." - Roll Call, February 5, 1998 "Ideological conservative state Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Naperville) is getting behind-the-scenes help in his six-way Republican congressional primary battle from GOP House Whip Tom DeLay of Texas. A top aide to DeLay has been calling around to some big conservative backers suggesting they "take a look at" (i.e., send money to) Roskam, said a congressional source. DeLay's sympathy for Roskam surely also is enhanced by the candidate's past service as a member of DeLay's congressional staff." - Chicago Tribune, January 18, 1998.

    Remember that Grover Norquist, a well-known fascist, has already held a fundraiser for Mr. Roskam. He is also in violation of McCain-Feingold. Mr. Roskam, guilty by association, would be a congressman that only his sycophants could love.

CD 10
  • Zane Smith (D) listens to the people and will work for them. He would never betray the trust of his constituency and vote for CAFTA. He would also work with countries like China regarding human rights violations and natural resource conservation. He has already shown his constituents that he is progressive and rather than reactionary.

  • Rep. Mark Kirk (R) is a complete reactionary and usually a day late and a dollar short at that. He is in his third term and has yet to get it right for his constituents. His record speaks for itself. He always votes with the GOP agenda. It is always against the people. He is proficient at making himself look good (albeit, with very little to work with) and patting himself on the back later. His constituents deserve better. His suburban agenda is pro-war, pro-personal irresponsibility, pro-environmental degradation, and pro-big business.
CD 11
  • John Pavich (D) already knows more about terrorism than many incumbents on The Hill. His experience along with his legal work at the criminal tribunal in The Hague, The Netherlands, gives him a unique perspective on the nation’s security needs. He opposes privatizing Social Security and CAFTA. He is willing to represent the public trust and take responsibility for his actions.

  • Rep. Jerry Weller (R), married to a member of the Guatemalan congress who will never be a U. S. citizen, fully supports and voted for CAFTA – albeit an obvious conflict of interest. He is good at avoiding responsibility and nothing more.
CD 14
  • Ruben Zamora (D) believes in individual rights for everyone putting them first and not big corporations. He would work for the family farmer instead of agribusiness. He would place greater emphasis on renewable energy sources. To him, the oil and gas industry are rich enough.

  • Speaker Dennis Hastert (R) is a high school wrestling coach who was in the right place at the right time. According to the Chicago Tribune Business News (Washington: Jun 16, 2005. pg. 1), he now lives very well. His latest financial disclosure form put the current value of his home in rural Plano at between $1 million and $5 million. Speaker Hastert also owns a quarter interest in 69 acres of farmland in Plano, with his share valued at between $250,000 and $500,000. He also owns a townhouse in Washington, also valued at between $250,000 and $500,000 (It is a far cry from the barefoot farm boy that helped his father care for the livestock a few years back.). It helps that he is and will remain a close friend of Tom DeLay. As such, he will never allow the House Ethics Committee to act against the unethical man no matter how guilty he is. As a seventeen-year veteran of Washington politics, Speaker Hastert has become Tom DeLay’s No. One puppet. He keeps The Hill all in the family, too. His younger son, Ethan, has worked for Vice-President Dick Cheney. His older son, Joshua, is a K Street defense and technology consultant. He and his wife have logged many overseas trips compliments of taxpayers. Lately, there seems to be nothing more than two-degrees of separation between Denny Boy and al-Qaeda.
CD 15
  • Dr. David Gill (D) knows emergency procedures. His hospital ER experience would help the Executive Branch better prepare since the current National Security procedures are lacking. Personal freedoms, the family farmer, a healthy environment, and the availability of the best educational opportunities for everyone are all part of his platform.

  • Rep. Tim Johnson (R), a professional politician and in his third term, promised to limit his time in office near the end of his first term. He has already decided to remain in office until his constituents remove him. Like Rep. Shimkus and the rest of the IL Republican promises, he is nothing more than a follower of the Tom DeLay agenda and bupkis personified. He has promised his constituents everything they want to hear and has delivered nothing but professional political excuses. Also from the Chicago Tribune Business News (Washington: Jun 16, 2005. pg. 1), his financial disclosure forms provide a peak at a few personal quirks. An interesting one is his practice of using personal bank deposits as a form of political patronage - spreading his personal wealth around small-town banks throughout his largely rural district. His disclosure form shows deposits of between $1,000 and $50,000 each in 20 banks within his district, as well as larger deposits in five out-of- state banks.
CD 18
  • Steve Waterworth is the Democrat candidate and a retired veteran (active duty and Air Guard). He knows NAFTA and CAFTA have nothing to do with “free” trade and wants U.S. jobs to stay in the U. S. Unsubsidizing farmers will strengthen the agriculture economy. After seeing so much of the environment destroyed in Vietnam, Steve is s strong proponent of protecting those valuable resources.

  • Rep. Ray LaHood has never been a weekend warrior let alone active duty military. He is more chicken hawk than anything else. He is another one of Tom DeLay's IL followers. According to Time (New York: Jun 28, 2004. Vol. 163, Iss. 26; pg. 18, 1 pgs), he wanted to attach an amendment to a 2004 funding bill that would retroactively prohibit any departing House member from filing an ethics complaint. Obviously, he remains loyal to his unethical friend and would do anything to protect him. Rep. LaHood is a career politician (unless someone wants to count his 6 years as a junior high school social studies teacher 20 years ago) currently in his 6th Term in Congress. There is no reason to reelect him. It is time for him to “involuntarily retire”.
When the Republicans promised to limit their time in Congress as the Tenth Bill of the Republican Contract With America, they vilified the Democrats for refusing to promise. Now the Republican incumbents not only refuse to leave office (unless they lose an election), they also refuse to hold themselves accountable – and voters allow this and make excuses for their behavior. They have found that staying in office is money in their bank accounts.

There is also a pattern, and it all seems to lead back to Tom DeLay and his “priorities” and lack of ethics. With the help of Speaker Hastert and John Shimkus (IL-19), So. IL already feels like a colony of TX. Central IL is getting there fast.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Democrats' Ho-Hum Attitude

When the endorsing print media is more concerned about the GOP lies than the Democrat Party, Democrat voters know that they need to concern themselves.

Members of the GOP Congress are famous for their broken promises – now more than ever. The GOP’s controlled response to the Gulf Coast hurricane disaster is the latest result of that trail of broken promises. Americans with Republican representatives who, as the freshman of 1996, promised to adhere to limit their time in Congress to 12 years believed that they would not run in 2008. For their trust – the investment of their vote – they are now reaping the "rewards" of betrayal.

What a surprise! The freshman have a little seniority now, are a little afraid of losing their prized offices, and have reneged on their promise! After only 9 years, they are willing to remain in office indefinitely or until voters force them out on Election Day in November 2006.

Waiting until 2008 is pure folly. By then, this issue will be water under the bridge. Voters will have known about the broken promises for 3 years at least and done nothing about it. Therefore, they will have shifted responsibility from backpedaling Republican incumbents and provided them with the excuse they need and the carte blanche they covet to remain in office indefinitely.

In addition, the news media share some of the responsibility for the Republicans winning re-election in 2004. The Springfield State Journal-Register and the Decatur Harold-Review have consistently endorsed the incumbents – whether they deserve it or not. They played into the empty promises. They were more than willing to sign on. It is time to get a clue. Less than one year later, they seem to have gotten a clue and changed their minds.

The Democrats STILL refuse to get a clue. The official Party response is nothing more than HO-HUM (e.g., no big deal). The Party is not recruiting – period. In Illinois, the Party is not supporting – period. The current challengers know this only too well:

What about the 13th, 16th, and 19th CDs? Residents deserve to have a choice on Election Day. Americans in CDs with Republican incumbents deserve better than duplicitous representatives who do nothing more than kiss their reflection in the mirror while hugging themselves during a mantra of “You love me! You really love me!” The people should hold the abnegating Republicans accountable. Vote them out of office and Democrats into office.

In IL-19, they deserve more than bupkis personified in John Shimkus promises. Like the rest of Illinois and the entire country, they deserve committed Democrat challengers who will think outside the box and work in the best interests of the public trust.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

450 People a Majority Does Not Make

Bernie Schoenburg, Springfield, Illinois, wrote an article about the official announcement of Rep. John Shimkus (IL-19) to dishonor his constituents and stay in Congress as long as possible. He will be on the ballot in 2006. If his enlightened and embittered constituents of any political party allow him to remain in office, he now promises to break his term-limit pledge and be on the ballot for a seventh term in 2008.

He made his announcement quietly at a Republican Party $30-per-person fundraiser event in deep southern Illinois last weekend. It was Friday night. The typical choice when a cowardly politician wants to announce his hypocrisy and have the news media lose it in the shuffle of Friday night publishing trash. Last Friday was even better since it was the long Labor Day weekend. Journalists will only receive any announcements after business hours when they return to work the following Tuesday. It was even better when the congressman’s staff avoided notifying interested media throughout the 19th CD to expect an imminent announcement. The media would have expected something in the aftermath of recent high-profile articles of personal lobbying from Pres. Bush and Speaker Hastert (IL-14). The arm-twisting from those two must have been incredibly severe.

Obviously, the only way for a former plebe to break a solemn promise and pretend he is saving face is to quietly announce on the Friday night of a holiday weekend. That way it takes several days for any word of the decision to reach the rest of the 19th CD. In addition, Rep. Shimkus, coward- extraordinaire, avoided all questions from major media reporters. Interviews were out of the question – unless someone chooses to discuss other issues that will make him look good. He does not need reasons to hug himself, but they are always welcome.

The Pre-World Trotting Derby Banquet at the Williamson County Pavilion had 450 attendees that choose to believe a lackluster congressman pretending to work hard for his constituents should remain in office indefinitely. Misguided Republicans making excuses for the congressman are not a majority.

The real 19th CD majority is disappointed in a man that chooses to represent them only when that representation benefits his true constituency: the insurance, health care, and pharmaceutical companies -- in addition to the oil and gas industry, the energy companies, and communication technologies. He welcomed PAC money from Enron (and TRMPAC and Westar and more than the legal limit from Wal-Mart) and reciprocated by voting in favor of a $250 million tax break for the now-defunct company. His excuse was the usual: The tax break would have benefited “many companies in Illinois that provide local jobs”.

This is typical rhetoric from the man. So. IL's economic health is worse than ever. The counties of the 19th CD suffer some of the highest unemployment numbers in the state. All legislation that benefits labor is a guaranteed Role Call NO vote from John Shimkus, too.

The congressman prefers to pretend that he lifts a finger to do something. The attitude is comparable to Nero fiddling while Rome burns. Why should he care? He sleeps well at night and can still tolerate his reflection in the mirror. He is in the White House's good graces.

“When the president of the United States and the majority of your constituents urge you to run, how can you not?" Shimkus said at Friday's dinner, according to the Marion Daily Republican.
The comment is a 180-degree turn from his October 1996, comment.
Shimkus said he favored term limits because "the people want them" and because it's nearly impossible to defeat an incumbent.
He has limited speaking to his staunchest supporters regardless of whatever nooks and crannies his staff has to find them in. He has avoided the majority of his constituency that cannot wait for him to leave office with a voter-imposed term limit.

To those too near and not dear who know the true John Shimkus, this is typical behavior. He is a commonplace, duplicitous, fraudulent control-freak that works hard to maintain a facade of the competent integrity of a good guy. They know he will maintain respect for and a trust in the staff he inherited from former Governor Ryan (someone has to raise campaign contributions on federal time). To him, the rest are
his minions not worthy of even a modicum of respect. They will continue to receive the usual supercilious indifference and witness his temper tantrums. They will never receive reimbursement for John's legitimate expenses. He expects them to work for wages below poverty level and pay for his expenses -- whatever they are. Human decency is beyond his comprehension.

As some had predicted, John Shimkus has elevated himself to the kind of burdensome professional politician he actively campaigned against not so long ago. It is not a crime to be a professional politician to help the district’s constituents. It is a real crime against humanity and democracy to promise selfless service to the public trust and then selfishly remain in office perpetually leaving people with
bupkis until someone dreams up a better offer -- legitimately -- or not.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Dereliction of Duty Defined

Keith Olbermann, an MSNBC commentator, usually provides facts without becoming a newscast of commentary. On the September 05, 2005, broadcast, Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security, stated that Louisiana is a city that is largely underwater.

There has been a lot of finger pointing from anyone with a pulse without understanding the full scope of events in the Gulf Coast. The Monday night broadcast, Secretary Chertoff’s declaration triggered Mr. Olbermann’s eloquent editorial below:

Well, there's your problem right there. If ever a slip of the tongue defined a government's response to a crisis.

Forget the history of slashed federal budgets for projects that might have saved the levees. Drop the imagery of the government watching "Monty Python's Flying Circus" while New Orleans drowned. Ignore the symbol of bureaucrats like Mr. Chertoff using only the future tense in terms of relief that they could have supplied Monday and Tuesday.

We no longer need the president sounding like he's on some sort of five-day tape delay to summarize this debacle. We now have Mr. Chertoff's indelible announcement that Louisiana is a city. Politician after politician, Republican and Democrat alike, has paraded before us, unwilling or unable to shut off the I/me switch in their heads, condescendingly telling us about how moved they were or how devastated they were, congenitally incapable of telling the difference between the destruction of a city and the opening of a new supermarket somewhere. [. . .]

No one is suggesting that mayors or governors in the afflicted areas, nor the federal government, should be able to stop hurricanes. Lord knows, no one is suggesting that we should ever prioritize levee improvement for a below-sea-level city ahead of $454 million worth of trophy bridges for the politicians of Alaska.

But, nationally, these are leaders who won reelection last year largely by portraying their opponents as incapable of keeping this country safe. These are leaders who regularly pressure the news media in this country to report the reopening of a school or a power station in Iraq and which regularly defies its citizens not to stand up and cheer when something like that is accomplished.

Yet, they couldn't even keep one school or power station from being devastated by infrastructure collapse in New Orleans, even though the government had heard all the chatter from the scientists and city planners and hurricane centers and some group whose purposes the government couldn't quite discern, a group called the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Most chillingly of all, this is the law and order and terror government. It promised protection, or at least amelioration, against all threats, conventional, radiological or biological. It has just proved that it cannot save its citizens from a biological weapon called standing water.

Mr. Bush has now twice insisted that — quote — "We are not satisfied" — unquote — with the response to the manifold tragedies along the Gulf Coast. I wonder which "we" he thinks he is speaking for on this point. Perhaps it is the administration, although we still don't know where some of them are. Anybody seen the vice president lately, the man whose message this time last year was, I will protect you; the other guy might let you die? I don't know which "we" Mr. Bush meant.

For many of this country's citizens, the mantra has been, as we were taught in social studies it should always be, whether or not I voted for this president, he is still my president. I suspect anybody who had to give him that benefit of the doubt stopped doing so last week. I suspect, also, a lot of his supporters, looking ahead to '08, are wondering how they can distance themselves from the two words which will define his government, our government: New Orleans.

For him, it is a shame, in all senses of the word. A few changes of pronouns in there and he might not have looked so much like a 21st century Marie Antoinette. All that was needed was just a quick, "I'm not satisfied with my government's response," instead of hiding behind phrases like "no one could have foreseen."

Had he only remembered Churchill's quote from the 1930s. "The responsibility of government for the public safety," Churchill said, "is absolute and requires no mandate. It is in fact the prime object for which governments come into existence."

In forgetting that, the current administration did not merely damage itself. It damaged our confidence in our ability to rely on whoever is in the White House.

As we emphasized to you here all last week, the realities of the region are such that New Orleans is going to be largely uninhabitable for a lot longer than anybody is yet willing to recognize. Lord knows when the last body will be found or the last artifact of the levee break dug up. Could be next March. Could be the year 2100.

By then, in the muck and toxic mire of New Orleans, they may even find our government's credibility, somewhere in the city of Louisiana.
It took too long locating the Executive Branch. Spread out to the four corners of the globe, they chose to vacation in a self-imposed news and communication technology blackout without delegating a clear line of authority. To them, their job accountability (if they acknowledge any at all) ends when they go home or they are on leave (if they do not commit fraud as if they are J. Edgar Hoover).

This is blatant dereliction of duty.

Monday, September 05, 2005

An IL GOP Congressman Found At Last!

Rep. John Shimkus (IL-19) finally showed up -- somewhere. He made time in his busy schedule for an appearance at Concordia Seminary to give a speech. Hurricane issues are problems for others so he does not let them get in the way of schmoozing with those near and dear. In 1976, Concordia was his school of choice if the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, had not accepted the congressman as a plebe. Although he has yet to learn how to act honorable and selfless, he knows how to look good and hug himself rather well. He has honed his skills into a fine art sinc they are much more important than current events in the Gulf Coast.

So much for the value of a congressman's seniority on the House Energy & Commerce Committee. Maybe Speaker Hastert has been too busy with fundraising in Indiana's 2nd Congressional District. He has not found the time to write a script for the 19th CD "leader". Public comment on gasoline gouging, heating oil increases, and funding the relief efforts is difficult without a prepared speech. President Bush has proven that!

As usual, John Shimkus, U. S. Army National Guard Lt. Colonel, leaves it to everyone else to get Fired Up about what is important in America. He remains fizzled out.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

America's Missing VP Found Alive & Well!

Will wonders never cease?!

The VP is still among the living and enjoying civilization. The
Washington Post found him. Unlike the president, he has not spent the month of August on vacation. The man is actually "working".

Vice President Cheney, who has spent part of August at his home outside scenic Jackson, Wyo., remains there today -- although his spokeswoman, Lea Anne McBride, doesn't call it vacation.

"He's working from Wyoming today," McBride told me this morning.

So what is his day like in Jackson? Any fly-fishing on the Snake River during his work day?

"He's already had his morning briefings," McBride said. "He'll have some other internal staff meetings." Beyond that, McBride said, she would have to check and get back to me. I missed her call back but will try to reach her again.

And when is he coming back? "He will certainly be coming back. I'm not able to tell you the day right now. I don't have that handy."
Truly a reason to sleep easier at night knowing the "leadership" is all present (somewhere) accounted for.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Disaster Relief Medicare for Gulf States

THANK YOU to Nancy Rodenski for posting this to the SIDemocrat YAHOO! Discussion Group. It is something for Congress to consider. It is a press release from the Medicare Rights Center:

Plea to Congress and White House to Launch Disaster Relief Medicare for Gulf States

New York, NY - Below is a statement from Robert M. Hayes, president of the Medicare Rights Center, a national consumer service group, seeking immediate launch of Disaster Relief Medicare for victims of Hurricane Katrina:

Hundreds of thousands of Americans are facing protracted refugee status in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Millions of Americans from the afflicted states have lost homes, businesses, jobs or savings. Forced interstate migrations continue.

The most practical way to bring needed health care to disaster victims is to create Disaster Relief Medicare for Americans displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Virtually all physicians, hospitals and health clinics accept Medicare in every state of the union. Immediate eligibility for Medicare coverage for disaster victims would open America's existing health care infrastructure to men, women and children in this time of dire need. Automatic inclusion in a federalized version of the existing Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program would allow the tens of thousands of impoverished refugees to find the health care that they need today, and will need in the grueling months ahead. Medicare can arrange for immediate prescription drug coverage through agreements with pharmacy chains and major pharmaceutical companies.

Middle class families quartered with friends, relatives or in hotels far from home will have little or no access to affordable health care during the duration of their exile. Poor mothers and children bussed from New Orleans to shelters in Texas will face both immediate and ongoing need for care. A jerry-rigged emergency health care system in sports stadiums and school gymnasiums will fail to meet the most basic health needs of most disaster victims.

Medicare is a national treasure providing good health care to older Americans for nearly 40 years. In these desperate times, Medicare is a ready made life saver for millions of Americans facing unspeakable deprivation. Congress and the White House could enact this program today. It could begin saving lives tomorrow.

The Medicare Rights Center, founded in 1989, is the largest independent source of information and assistance on health care rights and benefits for older and disabled men and women in the United States. For more information about MRC, call 212-204-6219, or visit the MRC web site.

Contact: Michael De Dora, Communications Assistant (212) 204-6233
Bob Hayes (212) 204-6215 or (917) 583-6620

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