Friday, November 25, 2011

York PC 112: The Long Walk

I spent the whole day walking my precinct asking voters for signatures on ballot petitions to get candidates on the ballot. I got about a third of it covered.

Some were more than happy to sign, some reluctant, some wouldn't at all. Nearly everyone is extremely disgusted with national-level politics. Thankfully almost all of the candidates I was walking for are running for local offices.

To think; I have to be ELECTED to do all this for free.

It's obvious to me that a lot of my voters are struggling, and what's worse are the vacant houses. Yeah, there are a few, even in Oak Brook/Lombard/Oak Brook Terrace.

I wish I could be certain I'm bringing back better times for my voters. How would it be if no one was trying, though?

All the best, if you work and vote for it,


York PC 112: We're "Free" In This Country? Really And Truly?

Freedom of speech is supposed to be guaranteed under the Constitution. Why are these cops even there? I didn't see anything but chanting students until the cops tarted batoning them just for speaking their minds.

All the best, if we work and vote for it,


York PC 112: Jimmy Kimmel - A Charlie Brown GOP Debate

All the best, if you work and vote for it,


Monday, November 14, 2011

York PC 112: The Video Rupert Murdoch Doesn't Want You To See...

All the best, if you work and vote for it,


York PC 112: While Occupy Boosts Unions, The President Boosts More Free Trade; Will Either Bring U.S. Job Recovery?

Here's the story about President Obama and the meeting. I think it's worth reading for a couple of points, which 'll get to later:

I have to wonder, after the last 30 years and watching U.S. manufacturing dry up and rust away, if this is such a great idea. When I was a little kid, almost everything we used in the U.S. was "Made In America." I remember it being a novelty and exotic to have something made in a "far-away land."

Most of the adults I knew that worked were employed in small factories scattered all over the country, in small towns, mid-sized cities, and the collar counties of big cities. This was the case when I was a teenager even.

Then, about when I was 30, Ross Perot was running for President. I wasn't really into politics back  then, I could've cared less. I was into things like dancing and trying to keep a job and being a new father and going to college. I just remember my Mom being all hip on this little guy from Texas with big, funny ears and colorful speech, so I watched him on our TV a couple of times, and I especially remember some guy interviewing him. Ross was asked about NAFTA, while it was still being debated. This was just before Bill Clinton was elected. 

Here's the thing I most remember Ross saying:

I also remember watching factory after factory dry up and blow away over the next decade, and it's only accelerated since then. We were already facing heavy competition from Japanese manufacturing, and a lot of unfair practices were used. Now we were about to open our domestic markets to countries that had no labor laws, environmental laws, or healthcare requirements?

We've seen the results of that. It's now a novelty and exotic to find things "Made In America." I've seen countless gutted, rusting, boarded-up factories. The factory where my Grandfather worked for 44 years is a shadow of what it once was. The factory where my Dad worked for almost 40 years is gone, razed. I drove through Metropolis, Illinois in 2004, and the whole town was boarded up or for-sale. How many examples have you personally seen?

Have we had enough of being trickled down on yet?

The President believes that labor standards, environmental standards, and healthcare standards for foreign laborers can be embedded in this new treaty. That's the thing I said I'd get back to. In that article I first referenced at the beginning of this post, that idea got a couple of sentences. It had better get a lot more than that in any treaty.

After all, for the last thirty years under previous such agreements, U.S. Labor and manufacturing has gotten a death sentence, and a deaf ear to any pleas or appeals. Which is exactly why we have the Occupy movement. Foreign labor has gotten the dangerous sweat shops and child labor we fought against a hundred years ago.

It's early-on for the Occupiers. I don't know if they be able to get sanity and support for the Middle Class out of Washington, or even local politicians. I hope they can. I also hope they can get sanity and relief for workers and  the environment across the globe. At-heart, I support what they're trying to achieve. Imagine a world where no one goes hungry or homeless, no wars are needed, and the environment is doing just fine. Isn't that just what people say needs to happen before we grow beyond this one little planet and colonize space? (Where we would actually have the resource basis for endless economic expansion without environmental ruin)

This isn't really about just U.S. workers. It is about regular, working people EVERYWHERE ON EARTH. Wrap your head around it, because if all labor is doing well, we will be. Maybe, just maybe, instead of being AGAINST these treaties, we should be FOR a global labor-and-environmental-standards treaty that ends the problem. Remember this: national borders are just artificial lines on a a map. Who created those lines? Who divided us up like that? Who created a bazillion little places for bureaucrats to grow? People who wanted to have power...

All the best, if you work and vote for it,


Sunday, November 13, 2011

York PC 112: Stop The Corporate Tax Dodgers And Welfare Checks For Fat-Cats

Here it is in the Washington Times, The Top Ten Corporate Tax Dodgers Wall Of Shame.

One note in this article, not emphasized by the Times, but definitely emphasized by me, are the statistics: 80% of the largest U,S. corporations use offshore tax havens, and 57% of those companies paid no US income taxes.

Here additionally is a single, extremely revealing fact: according to the GAO, 18,857 U.S. corporations have "offices" in ONE BUILDING in the Cayman Islands. In actuality, these are just post office boxes.

Why? So they can get out of paying federal income taxes, and leaving workers to foot the bills alone.

Is there really any question why working people are demonstrating in the streets all over the planet?

This isn't a football game. This isn't a "competition" between workers in the U.S. and workers in other countries. This is a global strategy by the wealthy world-wide to pit workers against each other, by nationality, race, religion, or any other artificial sub-grouping they can get laborers to buy into. It is a case of global psyops to keep control and wealth in specific hands.

In their eyes, if the labor in one country starts doing too well, they might take control away, so they must be "kept down."

Unless you're a multi-billionaire you're not part of the club, and even if you are, if you're new money, and they can knock you back into the labor pool, they will.

It doesn't take a super-tight conspiracy. What it takes is a few very wealthy people intending to stay very wealthy, regardless of the cost to everyone else.

Convincing people it's a good idea to let huge, rich corporations dodge taxation is just a symptom of the sickness.

Make no mistake, there's an insanity in our global culture. A global mental illness. You don't let people die in squalor or start wars for the contracting money if you're sane, now do you?

How does all this relate to York Township? We have foreclosed or near-foreclosure homes in our township, bet me. We have a food pantry for seniors. We have families that have had to move apart for work, regardless of whether they really wanted to.

How many times has someone in this township been near homelessness, or gone hungry, or not been able to pay a non-luxury bill on-time, or been unable to send their kids to college, or lost their job and healthcare with it, or not been able to retire while reasonably healthy and still able to enjoy it?

All symptoms of the sickness. Isn't it time to heal the sickness, or at least treat the symptoms?

All the best, if you work and vote for it,


Saturday, November 12, 2011

York PC 112: The Occupy Movement Is Boosting Unions Nation-Wide

For some glaring examples and in-depth analysis, check out this Truthout article: .

Unions can be a prickly issue, but tell me, would we really be better off without weekends off, overtime pay if your employer doesn't care about your family life, paid vacations, health care benefits, safety requirements, etc?

If we had no trade unions, none of those things would exist. In fact, one of the few hopes we have for a better future is to establish GLOBAL trade unions, and stop the abuse of laborers in other countries. If minimum labor standards are in-place globally, the competition world-wide will be about performance and quality. No longer would employers be able to move to a place where labor is paid pennies per-hour and be forced to work in unsafe conditions for unlimited hours.

We should be working to improve the lot of other workers, before ours deteriorates further.

All the best, if you work and vote for it,


York PC 112: Occupy Oakland On General Strike Day - Crowd Count?

Simply amazing.

All the best, if you work and vote for it,


York PC 112: Occupy Movement Goes "Smallville" Just A Few Days After I Suggest It...

...which I am not suggesting has anything to do with my suggestion. (Pun definitely intended, bad as it is.)  It's just interesting that shortly after I post "A Suggestion For The Occupy Movement - Move...", I find "Occupy movement reaches tiny rural communities" posted on Raw Story.

Coincidence and synchronicity are amazing sometimes. I'd love to hear more on how this has turned out.

All the best, if you work and vote for it,


Friday, November 11, 2011

York PC 112: Support Local Food Pantries

Every time I hear something in conversation about food pantries, (and other charitable organizations) it's also said that they're facing incredible demand and are running through their supplies faster than they can be replaced.

This site will provide a listing for local food pantries by town or village:

If everyone could consider donating $5-10.00 per month worth of canned goods or non-perishable boxed foods to these pantries, it would be a big help.

As kind as it is to give at the holidays, people go hungry in this economy year-round.
The closest pantry to York precinct 112 is:

York Township
   1502 S. Meyers Road
   Lombard, IL 60148
Diane Arturi
   Fax: 630-620-2422
Mon through Fri
   9 am - 11 am
Mon, Tue, Thu
   1 pm - 3 pm
York Township
30 days between visits
To receive a pantry card, need proof
   of residency, family member's
   Social Security cards & monthly
   income for all in household

Use USDA guidelines for monthly
   gross income

All the best, if you work and vote for it,


Monday, November 7, 2011

York PC 112: A Busy Campaign Season Kicks Off And More...

I attended two Democratic organizational meeting this past week.

The first was the York Township organization meeting. We had several candidates speak, including the offices of County Clerk of the Circuit Court candidate Ralph Scalise, and County Board District 2 Representative Liz Chaplin.

I was very impressed with Ralph Scalise's employment history, which included a term or more as Assistant Clerk of the Circuit Court for DuPage County, among other impressive public administrative positions. He is also an intelligent and articulate speaker.

I was left with a lot of hope for Liz Chaplin, she has a special history in DuPage County. Liz was the whistle-blower who exposed the mess at the DuPage Water Commission. She is intelligent, articulate, sincere, and informed. I think she stands a very good chance of being elected.

Most of the campaigns are still working hard on ballot petitions; campaign literature is still in-progress, and websites aren't yet up. I'm looking forward to having all the materials to support these candidates, but in the meantime, I'm walking my precinct gathering petition signatures to get a slate of candidates on the Democratic ballot for us in the Primary election. Winners of the Primary will automatically be on the ballot in the general election.

The second meeting that I attended was the DuPage County organization Executive Committee. We voted on the 2012 organizational budget, heard officers reports, and heard Township Chairs' reports. It was an interesting meeting, and we got a lot accomplished. We also heard from the Assistant Speaker of the House for the Illinois Congress, and from several action committees. Things are really picking up in DuPage county, especially online. I'm glad to have been an integral part of the online efforts for the county party. I also found out that we've added more than 80 new Precinct Committeemen. We're a far cry from where we were five years ago.

Once I'm past the ballot petitions, I intend to dive in to online work for the York Township Democratic Organization, and other Precinct Committeemen in York.

I'm actively seeking support volunteers in York precinct 112. Please remember, I am a volunteer. Even though I am an elected officer of the party, I do not get paid in any way for this work. If you want to see York 112 and DuPage county turn Democratic, please offer to help. You can e-mail me simply by clicking on my my picture at the upper right of this blog.

All the best, if you work and vote for it,


Sunday, November 6, 2011

York PC 112: A Plan For Local Government To Bypass DC And Support Main Street...

Obviously, we're not getting a fair shake in Washington on the whole foreclosure / housing bubble debacle.

I look at the closed storefronts, unemployment numbers, failed restaurant chains, boarded up or for-sale houses, cut-backs in police, fire fighter, and teacher staffing, closure of State parks or downgrading of services, public transit cuts and fare hikes, privatization of tollways, city parking, water supplies, and everything else, all while the existing infrastructure is crumbling all around us, rusting instead of being upgraded. I could probably run that sentence a lot further down the page. Veterans come home and they're left to fend for themselves. Is it any wonder the most popular topic on Twitter a month or so ago was " F#*k Washington?"

There's a way, I think, that States might be able to start putting things back on track locally if they so choose to do so. It sure isn't going to be by raising property taxes, which is only making the housing debacle a housing cataclysm. It's not going to be by raising individual income taxes, because that will only decrease consumer spending, and make it harder for working people to continue keep their monthly bills current. It won't be by increasing user fees, for the same reasons.

I think what the States need to do, and should do, has four basic parts to it:

Part 1: Use Eminent Domain powers to seize bank-owned properties with a broken chain of title or mortgage ownership, and block any foreclosures without 100% perfect documentation.

Clearly, the banks have operated fraudulently in an insane number of cases, failing to properly document and record title and mortgage ownership, and in some cases, foreclosing on homes and commercial properties that there isn't even a mortgage on. You read that right, foreclosure mills in this country are operating that far from sanity. This is the only way you're ever going to get a valid and clear title back on many of these properties. Many people won't buy them now because they can't be guaranteed that they'll have a clear title with no lien on it. There is also the deteriorating conditions of foreclosed homes, the problems with squatters, criminal or not, and what these issues are doing to the values of adjacent properties. In reality, we could see housing prices fall back to 1980 levels or below yet, if nothing is done.

As far as what to do with these houses once they're in State ownership, that's part of how to tackle unemployment and homelessness.

Part 2: Put the homeless in houses and the unemployed to work.

Instead of using cash to pay for all State-required labor, using housing credits and food credits. Put people to work repairing the seized homes and maintaining State properties, filling in administrative functions the State doesn't have cash to pay for, and other places where the State needs labor but doesn't have the budget to support those needs. In return, the laborers could be given residence in the houses seized in part one above, food stamps, training on relief gardening for food, and a documented position to put on their resume or work history.

This allows the State to do more and provide more services with less cash, creating a win for the state. It allows for the maintenance, up-keep, and habitation of homes that were foreclosed on, providing a win for homeowners in the neighborhoods where these houses are. (Or where the commercial-property foreclosures are)

The relief garden training allows for growing food and where possible, raising poultry, reducing the need for State outlay in food stamps. If neighborhood gardening groups are established, it can also help foster a sense of community, something often lacking in today's " move-for-a-job-at-the-drop-of-a-hat" society.

On this plan, people are still working for their food and housing, they're just not using cash to do it.

Part 3: Establish non-profit agencies to administer these programs for the State.

Rather than all-out socialism, the State could establish non-profit agencies on a regional basis to move these properties through the system, from building rehabilitation, to labor-occupied housing, to sale in the real estate market as the economy improves and recovers. This process would have to be initially defined and through experience refined, but it would prevent long-term State ownership of private property. The State would be the ultimate authority for oversight, and this would make some allowance for regional conditions and adaptability. These non-profits could be staffed by the same unemployed labor pool under the same terms as the rehab work, and this would provided local administrative work for the physically-disabled workers who need work that suits their physical abilities.

Part 4: Ban all State and municipal tax breaks for businesses that are not owned or incorporated withing the State, and ban taking public loans out from out-of-State banks or other entities other than private investors willing to buy bonds.

This would focus local-government taxation relief on smaller local businesses and industry. This would help bring business and jobs back locally without being dependent on national, federal policy structures. If larger businesses want to sell or operate within the State, they will have to pay their fair share of State and local taxes, but small start-ups and local entrepreneurs would be able to compete enough to survive. This would also help reduce monopolistic market tendencies that have been rampant in the past few decades.

This would also help strengthen local banks and credit unions instead of large trans-national banking conglomerates with no interest in the well-being of the local communities. If large out-of-region corporations don't want to service a particular market, tell them goodbye and replace them with local businesses.

On a side note, there are numerous attorneys who used to make a pretty fair amount of income from real estate transactions who would probably welcome the extra work, even at State-mandated rates, to help support this plan.

It's about time that eminent domain powers were actually put to use truly in the greater interests of the community, rather than in the greater interest of the trans-national conglomerates.

I also want to make it clear; I am NOT suggesting replacing current cash-paid State employees with public labor. This is about expanding State services without ADDITIONAL cash outlay, and bringing current State employees additional support staff, and primarily, tackling the real estate market problems created by wrong-headed federal and trans-national corporate policy.

All the best, if you work and vote for it,


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

York PC 112: A Suggestion For The Occupy Movement - Move...

Small cities and towns are losing population and failing all over the country. What if the Occupy movement actually...moved?

Move to the small towns out in the countryside and take over local government in those places. Create the society that they believe in, out in places where they ARE the government rather than combating existing city governments. If their vision of the world is better, people will want to move to their towns because life is better there.

It's a whole new approach to the same problem - and it would allow the Occupy movement to place representatives in State governments around the country.

Such an approach could actually change the status quo without the problems the Occupy movement is now dealing with. It would also allow for a lot more latitude in activities and economic structure.

Please note that I am NOT saying that the Occupy movement should abandon its places of protest around the country. Those places are necessary and draw the attention, hearts, and minds of the general American Public, and they must continue.

What I AM advocating is that the Occupy movement create a few living examples of what life would be like in a place that was governed in the ways they suggest, places that are outside of Wall Street and that eschew the big banks and their branches and tentacles. An illustration of the vision, if you will.

Personally, I think the results might be fascinating.

All the best, if you work and vote for it,