We are all emotionally spent from the debacle on the Potomac that played out recently over raising the debt ceiling. The politics were brutal and those who lost will be the same middle class and working class Americans who've been getting the short end of the stick in this country for the past 30+ years, those "ordinary" people. The winners, as usual, will be the filthy rich and corporate America, who remain unscathed by reality and unburdened by conscience. There will be no new tax revenue coming from them to pump into our anemic economy and help fuel a recovery. Their future is secure -- ours, anything but.
The states, meanwhile, will take another hard hit, as the slicing and dicing of imperative municipal services continues while they struggle to deal with fragile budgets and shortfalls. Much has already been written about our dysfunctional government and its inability to govern, and the inability of our "leaders" to even identify what the major national issues are. Jobs, jobs and more jobs has always been the main issue. Our president, at last, has begun his "pivot" to this issue. What will that mean?
We as progressives, public citizens and voters must get involved to take back our democracy and put our country back on the right track (sound familiar?) before the Republicans and their rabid-dog Tea Partiers burn America completely to the ground. When good men and women do nothing, evil triumphs (to paraphrase Edmund Burke), and we have seen over and over again how low voter turnout -- especially in primaries when we really have some choices -- has resulted in victories by radical elements who are dangerously unqualified to hold public office. One only has to look so far as the hijacking of the debt ceiling debate by the Tea Party lunatics in the House to see the results of our failing democratic system.
It has often been said that politics is not a spectator sport. There is no greater truth, especially these days. Yet we do see glimmers of hope surfacing here and there, including in exciting places like Wisconsin, where on Aug. 9th the recall vote was held for the State Senate. Scott Walker's attack on the bargaining rights of state workers set off a national furor, and when state workers in Michigan and Ohio also came under fire, the progressive and union communities finally stood up and said, "No more!" Unfortunately, only two of the three seats Democrats needed to win in Wisconsin were won, and the State Senate majority remains Republican. But the fight will continue, as the defense of collective bargaining and the protection of workers rights (both public and private) are national issues. Wisconsin has been a bell-weather of what will surely occur nationwide if we are not diligent in fighting for a voice in our political decisions. Governor Scott Walker can expect a recall election next year for his gross policies that deny workers rights and hurt the people of Wisconsin.
People from across the country have followed the lead of progressive organizations like the PCCC, DFA and Progressives United, to rally support and donate to the recall efforts in Wisconsin. The DNC could learn a thing or two from these organizations in gearing up for the 2012 elections. The DNC must focus more on educating Americans on the issues, enrolling new voters across the nation, and keeping us informed and active throughout the year -- every year, not just during election cycles. State parties must also coordinate better with the national Democratic party on messaging. We as voters can and must get behind progressive candidates and volunteer in their campaigns, in our own states or outside them, if there is an exceptional candidate that speaks to our own values. But we must become involved and better informed -- it is our responsibility as the citizens and caretakers of this great nation.
Here is the campaign I am committed to outside of my own state:
Dr. David Gill, an emergency room doctor and intrepid campaigner, has launched his 2012 campaign for Congress; will his fourth run finally be the charm? In the past he chased an impossible dream by running in a very conservative district, but this is a new day and a new district, with the newly drawn 13th IL offering an evenly divided voter pool that boosts his chances of winning considerably. Due to the demands of campaigning, Dr. Gill can only work 8-10 shifts per month, down considerably from his usual 16 shifts. As an hourly paid employee, he pays for his own health insurance and knows all too well what a burden a deductible-heavy healthcare plan can be. After his shifts, Doc Gill then heads out on the campaign trail. His commitment and sacrifice to serve is enormous, and he deserves our support. We should remember that Senator Dick Durbin is from the same state, and the current Majority Whip, ran four times for Congress before succeeding. Now he is the second in command in the Senate, no small potatoes.
The only real hindrance for Dr. Gill is, as usual, "da money," as the Democratic party establishment continues its disheartening practice of supporting incumbents (even if they are deadwood and deadbeats) and party insiders, so long as they can raise money. Meanwhile, fresh blood like Dr. Gill is neglected and, at times, even actively dissuaded from entering into public service, another maddening Catch-22 in our political system. Merit does not seem to be a factor in selecting who the party should support, only "da money."
So this extraordinary ER doctor is building his grassroots campaign with many new and longtime volunteers, taking his message to the highways and byways of rural America in a district 150 miles from the bustle of Chicago. He is going directly to those ordinary Americans who struggle every day, as he does on the battlefield of the toughest branch of medicine, treating his neighbors in the emergency room. The people of his community have depended on Dr. Gill for 20 years, and his commitment to service has compelled him to run again for Congress. Who better to understand the needs of the People than this doctor toiling for an hourly wage in a hospital's ER, who is also a husband and a father of six.
Dr. Gill is an unapologetic, proud progressive and Democrat, and I asked him to tell us in his own words why he is running for Congress again and why he is willing to endure the brutal rigors of another campaign for the next 15 months?
Dr. David Gill, Democratic Candidate for Congress, IL-13:
"I am an Emergency Room doctor-not another career politician. Washington, D.C., is swarming with professional politicians. We need citizen legislators with common sense who understand the conflicting pressures of daily life and the needs of people struggling to get access to health care, find jobs, and make a better life for their children.
"Every day at work, I encounter patients who must weigh impossible tradeoffs: go to the hospital or pay rent; pay for tests and medical procedures or risk their own lives. I'll never forget a patient I had two years ago.
"She came to my Emergency Room with a heart attack in progress, and we were unable to save her. While talking to her distraught husband afterward, I learned that she had been treated for chest pains recently and had been advised to get surgery. She and her husband knew how deadly important it was that she get the needed operation, but they had no insurance and they just didn't know how they could afford it. She was only in her 40s.
"Now my Congressman Tim Johnson and other Republicans in Washington want to replace our current Medicare system that guarantees seniors' care with a voucher program. The Republican plan tells seniors that if their medical problems cost too much money, they're on their own. Seniors will have to make tough decisions that my patients face every day-whether to buy food or medical care-on fixed incomes. That's not acceptable-not in America.
"I ran in the past in an overwhelmingly Republican district to hold Tim Johnson accountable. This time, I'm running to win. We're taking back IL-13 for the people.
"Year after year, Johnson has been more in touch with the needs of lobbyists and millionaires than with the needs of families on Main Street in Bloomington and Springfield, Illinois. During his 40-year political career, he hasn't sponsored even one significant piece of legislation. Illinois' 13th district needs a Congressman who will stand up to corporate-written trade deals and stop the outflow of good union jobs from places like Decatur.
"Working families, young people, returning veterans and senior citizens who cannot afford to retire want to know, 'Where are the jobs?' Yet, in a time of economic insecurity, the 112th Republican-led Congress has cut the social safety net, restricted women's reproductive rights, choked funding for sorely needed financial and health care reforms and done nothing to create jobs or improve the economy. All the while, these politicians have been diligently looking out for the priorities of corporate lobbyists and Wall Street. Tim Johnson has been an enthusiastic foot soldier for John Boehner's job-killing agenda every step of the way.
"I will work to protect our social safety net for seniors, children, and veterans. I will champion collective bargaining. I will insist that future trade agreements carry sufficient environmental protections and do not outsource American jobs. I will bring good-paying jobs to our district through wind farms and sustainable energy policies. I will work tirelessly for an Improved Medicare for All health care system that favors patients' interests over the corporate bottom line. Most of all, I will be a strong independent voice for the people of Central and Southwestern Illinois, not multinational corporations.
"I ran better than most statewide Democratic candidates in 2006 and 2010, including incumbent governors who were re-elected both times. When redistricting transformed our district-the most Republican in the state-from one President Obama lost in 2008 into a lean-Democratic district he won by 11 points, I knew Tim Johnson's time in Congress was finally up. We can take IL-13 back from the Republicans. I hope you'll join me in bringing common sense to Congress.
"We must return common sense to Congress. If you want to be part of a grassroots campaign powered by real citizens, then I ask for your support today. You can join our campaign on facebook (David Gill for Congress) and follow me on Twitter @davidgill2012."
Link to original article on Huffington Post Politics.
You can also find out more and donate to Dr. Gill's campaign on his website, www.gill2012.com.
For more information, read this CNN article entitled "45,000 American deaths associated with lack of insurance" and see my Huffington Post article "The DNC, DCCC and DSCC Need Makeovers."
Within hours of renowned climate scientists announcing a staggering milestone in carbon dioxide emissions, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn rolled out the booster wagons for Big Coal and celebrated his state's five-fold increase in record coal exports.
Gov. Quinn, once hailed by the Sierra Club as "the clear choice for Illinois voters who want to move to a clean energy economy and protect our drinking water and wild places," despite the fact that he had received huge contributions from the coal industry, declared:
"Illinois coal is in high demand overseas and we...
Jeff Biggers | Huffington Post 02 May 2013 Hits:176 Illinois
Whether she runs for governor or not, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan would need nine lives to bring the state's notoriously broken regulatory system into compliance with the nation's most reckless coal industry.
With state coal production soaring against national trends, Illinois cemented its reputation as the worst rogue state for coal operations last Friday, when the rubber-stamping operations of the state's EPA issued a pollutant discharge permit to a company already cited by the state for over 600 toxic discharge violations at its central Illinois non-union strip mine.
Translation: Imagine the...
Jeff Biggers | AlterNet 02 May 2013 Hits:256 Illinois
"We are over-tested, under-resourced and fed up!"
Hundreds of Chicago students are taking up the mantle in the fight against the role of standardized tests in public school closures as they walked out of a state exam Wednesday. Their message: "We are over-tested, under-resourced and fed up!"
Over 300 students from over 25 different Chicago public schools boycotted the second day of a state-wide standardized test.
Ahead of a school board meeting, at which the demonstrators were banned from speaking, the students rallied outside the district headquarters carrying placards and forming a human...
Lauren McCauley | Common Dreams 27 Apr 2013 Hits:446 Illinois
“Every Constitution written since the end of World War II includes a provision that men and women are citizens of equal stature. Ours does not.“ Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The Equal Rights Amendment is up for a vote in Illinois on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.
What’s fantastic is that there are now ten Democratic members and only six Republicans on the Judiciary Committee that will be voting on the issue. I am listing their contact information below.
Your help is needed TODAY. It is important, even if you don’t live in...
Kimberley A. Johnson | Liberals Unite 14 Apr 2013 Hits:482 Illinois
Former state representative Robin Kelly (D) easily won a special election in Illinois’ 2nd congressional district Tuesday, capturing the seat once held by embattled Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr.
With 20 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press called the race for Kelly, who led Republican nominee Paul McKinley 89 percent to 7 percent.
Kelly’s fate was essentially sealed when she won the February 26 Democratic primary. With a boost from gun control advocates, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), Kelly cruised to victory in a crowded Democratic race, all but ensuring a trip to Congress. The overwhelmingly Democratic district includes Chicago’s...
Sean Sullivan | The Washington Post 11 Apr 2013 Hits:208 Illinois
More than 100 people arrested while taking part in mass civil disobedience against Rahm Emmanuel's cuts and closures
More than 100 demonstrators taking part in mass civil disobedience were arrested in Chicago on Wednesday as several thousand people marched against the largest proposed round of school closings in recent memory.
Many carried placards proclaiming "Strong Schools, Strong Neighbourhoods" and "Protect Our Children" while chanting "Whose Schools, Our Schools" and calling for mayor Rahm Emmanuel's resignation.
"We're signalling that there is going to be a large and determined movement that will use the tactics of civil disobedience...
Gary Younge | The Guardian UK 28 Mar 2013 Hits:197 Illinois
March 26 - At 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26, J-1 student guestworkers who exposed severe exploitation and retaliation at McDonald’s restaurants will march on the home of CEO Don Thompson to personally deliver more than 100,000 petition signatures and demand an end to labor abuse.
The students delivered the petitions and demanded a high-level meeting at McDonald's corporate headquarters yesterday, but Don Thompson refused to appear.
At 5:30 p.m. they'll bring their demands and petitions right to CEO Don Thompson's home. Along with the petitions students will bring food from each...
26 Mar 2013 Hits:226 Illinois
One of the largest charter school operators in Chicago, the politically influential United Neighborhood Organization, has agreed to allow teachers at its schools to join a union, labor leaders said Friday morning.
The move represents a sharp change in stance for UNO CEO Juan Rangel, a co-chairman of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2011 campaign who strongly criticized the Chicago Teachers Union for going on strike last year.
Rangel’s newly forged deal with the Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff, known as ACTS Chicago, comes barely a month after the Chicago Sun-Times revealed how...
DAN MIHAPOULOS | CHICAGO SUN-TIMES 10 Mar 2013 Hits:390 Illinois
It's an obvious question, with an easy answer. Our nation's bipartisan political elite have decided to privatize public education. They know the only way they can execute this deeply unpopular policy is to do it on the down-low, with a minimum of coverage, and no mention of the p-word, especially of growing civic resistance to it.
If you don't live in Chicago you might not know that the CEO and the dozens of other six figure a year mayoral cronies who run the Chicago Public...
Bruce Dixon | Black Agenda Report 28 Feb 2013 Hits:675 Illinois
(Note from the Answer Sheet's Valerie Strauss: A coalition of teachers from public and private schools — including the school that Education Secretary Arne Duncan attended as a child and where President Obama’s daughters were enrolled before they moved to Washington — are releasing an open letter to Duncan expressing concerns about department policies that they say promote the overuse of standardized tests. Among the signees are teachers from the Ariel Community Academy, a public school that was founded by a team of people that included Duncan.)
Dear Mr. Duncan,
Chicago Teachers | Common Dreams 16 Feb 2013 Hits:514 Illinois
Bill Bianchi, co-coordinator, PDA-IL reports:
PDA's third Progressive Central, co-sponsored by the Nation on Saturday January 19th, brought together the heart of America's progressive leadership.
The Progressive Central idea is simple. While the national political parties and elected leaders are holding their conventions and inaugural, PDA piggy-backs on their events to gain a national spotlight for our progressive agenda and strategy and to give our progressive champions a chance to shine. Guerrilla publicity.
I'll be the first to admit that the progressive community in this country remains weak and for the most...
PDA Illinois Leadership 30 Jan 2013 Hits:335 Illinois
Wanda Rohl’s surprisingly strong showing in the recent congressional race for Illinois’ 16th district spurred progressives from the DeKalb-Rockford area to form a new PDA chapter.
Eight PDA supporters in Illinois’ 16th congressional district set chapter goals to: expand the progressive base, advance PDA’s progressive agenda and recruit and elect progressive candidates in a district that is designed to be Republican.
In 2010, the Illinois Democratic Party redistricted the state’s legislative districts, leaving the 16th a solid Republican strip running from the Wisconsin border 150 miles down the center of...
Illinoisnoki1 | PDA IL 10 Dec 2012 Hits:544 Illinois
A high-ranking employee of the contractor who recently won a $99.4 million janitorial contract with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration once served a prison sentence after he was charged in the same corruption case as late Chicago mob boss Anthony “Big Tuna” Accardo.
Paul A. Fosco was convicted on racketeering charges in 1987, sentenced to a 10-year prison term and left federal prison in 1993, public records show. He now is an executive vice president of United Service Companies, according to his profile posted...
Dan Mihalopoulos | The Sun Times 09 Dec 2012 Hits:487 Illinois
CHICAGO — Gov. Pat Quinn tentatively set the special election to replace U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. for March 19, saying he would seek approval to move it to coincide with municipal elections on April 9.
Jackson resigned from Congress last week, citing his health and acknowledging that he's under federal investigation, reportedly for misuse of campaign funds. The move creates an unusual opening in the Chicago area territory that Jackson has held since 1995, and several candidates have already come forward.
The law gives the...
Sophia Tareen | Associated Press 27 Nov 2012 Hits:558 Illinois
BuzzFlash at Truthout talked today to Tom Gaulrapp who is losing his job after 33 years because Mitt Romney's Bain Capital is sending the Sensata plant where he works to China. Not only will Gaulrapp and about 170 US workers lose their jobs to low paid workers overseas, many of them – such as Gaulrapp – will have lost considerable severance payments due to Bain's acquisition of the plant from Honeywell in late 2010.
Bain Capital owns the majority shares in Sensata since 2006. According to Gaulrapp, when Sensata...
Mark Karlin, Editor of BuzzFlash 26 Sep 2012 Hits:1056 Illinois
Democrats left their convention in Charlotte, N.C., with an unusual amount of unity and enthusiasm, but the three-day-old strike by 26,000 teachers in Chicago has quickly deflated some…
Of the issues that remain to be settled in the contract dispute here between the teachers’ union and the city, expanding charter schools is not officially on the table.
For the first time in a quarter century, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU)—which represents educators, school clinicians, and support staff in the nation's third-largest school district—is on strike…
With the possibility looming for a strike beginning on Monday across Chicago’s public schools, contract talks for city teachers were expected to stretch into the weekend, as hundreds…
Pat Quinn: "We should show the nation that when something really bad happens ... that we don't stand idly by, we take action."
In the wake of the mass shooting in…
On a warm summer afternoon, outside of Peoria, over 60 people including union members, Peoria County Democrats and PDA supporters enjoyed an old fashioned candidate picnic outside Peoria, Illinois, July…
Barrington, Illinois July 28, 2012. Today in Barrington a rag-tag crew of progressives from as far away as Round Lake to the north, Chicago to the east, and…
A workers' cooperative in the Goose Island area of Chicago is desperately trying to stop the liquidation of a windows and doors factory the sale of which will…
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By Ashlee Rezin Friday June 29th, 2012, Progress Illinois
Romney's Bain Capital to move 170 Jobs to China
In response to more than 170 impending layoffs at…
BY DAN MIHALOPOULOS Staff Reporter email@example.com May 16, 2013 9:51PMBookmark/Search this post with:
By Guy Miller"We've had this date from the beginning," Stanley tells Blanche before he brutally rapes her in scene ten of Tennessee Williams’ Streetcar Named Desire. On April 10, when President Barack Obama released his 2014 budget proposal...
Protest New Illinois Governmental Body that Can Force Charters on Your CommunityBy Northern Illinois Jobs for JusticeLink to meeting schedule at Charter Commission Offices, 160 N. LaSalle http://www.isbe.state.il.us/SCSC/meetings/meetings.htmMembers...
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 7, 2013 President Obama has proclaimed this as “National Charter Schools Week” in the United States, warmly embracing a cause that is anathema to teachers unions as it is in much of the president’s liberal...
SPRINGFIELD--Saturday, April 27: A dozen Springfield area activists gathered at the Lincoln Library Public Library, 326 S. 7th St., to form Progressive Democrats of Greater Springfield, here after known as the P-DOGS.Bookmark/Search this post...
The Washington Post, Posted by Valerie Strauss on April 13, 2013Bookmark/Search this post with:
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Legislators Who Have Cut Ties To ALEC