The 219 Democrats in the House of Representatives that voted in favor of the Senate Health Care bill did so based on what many say was their “conscience”.
To them, the thought of having families and individuals struggle with out-of control health care costs, lack of insurance, or being declined or dropped from coverage, adjacent to the fact that health care adds to the United States’ deficit, was all enough for them to pass legislation that could fundamentally change America.
These Democrats passed the bill, ignoring public opinion or the fact that there are roughly 38 states that say it takes away the rights of the states and mandates Americans to purchase a product called insurance, which are both unconstitutional.
They did so because they have a “heart.” Because they feel for those people affected by the current system. Because even though most Americans were opposed to the bill, they know what is best for everyone and will do what is best to them, not what the people want.
The passage of this 2,700+ page bill has started the process of changing America from a Federalist Democracy to that of a legislative and executive dictatorship – a fascist nation.
Those leaders that swore to protect and uphold the Constitution failed here, as there is no arguing that Congress does not have the authority to pass such legislation that takes away our freedom and the rights of the states. If the Constitution does not specify a matter, then that matter reverts to the states or the people. This is not an assumption, this is not a lie, and this is not a broad interpretation. This is what the Constitution states and promises.
We all know that health insurance is not mentioned in the constitution, that health insurance is a product you purchase and that the federal government has overstepped its authority here again. Even Democrats have been unable to argue these facts, so now our government will surely spend billions of dollars defending their position, and those 38 states will undoubtedly spend as much or more fighting it. At least there is going to be a fight!
If only the Democrats in Congress had listened to the people, followed the Constitution and started over from scratch with this bill to guarantee that the fundamental problems with Medicare, Medicaid, insurance costs, lawsuit awards, etc. were actually fixed and not bandaged, we might have seen more months go by without the passage of a bill, but we might have witnessed real change that does not increase taxes, does not allow for fraud, does not allow plaintiffs to seek enormous settlements and so on and so on…and does not create a legal battle costing Americans even more!
Now, we see the leaders of this nation turning away from their constituents and walking all over the Constitution. Soon, we might have 12-15 million more people that are currently here illegally become legal so they too can vote. To the Democrats, this is a key factor, because without these additional votes, they probably will not be re-elected in 2010 or 2012. There are even Republicans that are pushing for immigration reform.
What happens when Congressmen or the President do not protect and defend the Constitution as they swore to? Now is the time to answer this legitimate question and do what the answer to this question provides for.
Rich Miller’s commentary on State Government
I’m going to tell you right up front that this is a column about the state budget and involves a little math.
Wait! Don’t move on to the next story. I know this can get a bit tedious. But the math is easy and the story itself tells us a lot about how this state is being governed.
I decided to write about this when Gov. Pat Quinn appeared on public television’s Chicago Tonight show last week and was grilled hard by hosts Phil Ponce and Carol Marin.
The governor did his best to deflect some very tough questions about his budget and other topics (many of the questions seemed to come right from one of my previous columns, by the way).
One thing the interviewers returned to again and again was how Quinn’s proposed budget cuts over a billion dollars from education spending. The governor wants to stop those cuts with a one percentage point income tax surcharge. Quinn has warned that, without a tax hike, the schools would suffer. Thousands of teacher layoffs would result. Kids would be put into ever-more crowded classrooms.
The governor kept explaining that the federal government was primarily to blame. The state got about a billion dollars from the US government’s stimulus program last year to fund schools, but that cash won’t be forthcoming again this year, and now there’s a crisis.
Blaming Washington, DC is always fun, but his comment were misleading at best. Quinn and the General Assembly actually did cut state education funding last year, and that’s why we have a problem now.
The truth is that federal education dollars were used to replace existing state funding last year.
Here’s what they did.
First, the schools budget was cut by about a billion state dollars and then the hole was immediately refilled with about a billion federal dollars. Quinn and the General Assembly essentially put that federal money into the state’s permanent spending base, instead of using it to supplement what the state already was spending.
And now, with the federal school program ending, that billion-dollar education budget hole has reappeared.
The absolute worst part about this whole thing is Quinn and everybody else knew last year that the federal stimulus program was a temporary, one-shot deal. They knew what the consequences would be if the economy didn’t turn around quickly and state revenues began to grow again. Instead, the economy may have since bottomed out, but unemployment is still rising and state tax revenues have continued to plunge.
This time, Quinn’s plan is to fill that hole yet again with a one percentage point income tax surcharge.
What they did last year is pretty much what the state does with Lottery proceeds. Instead of increasing dollars to schools, Lottery cash (which is about $650 million a year) just frees up money so it can be spent on the rest of the budget.
Despite all this, it’s tough not to blame Quinn for pulling that little fiscal trick last year. The budget was such an intense, unprecedented disaster, and not enough political will existed to increase taxes, that Quinn and the other leaders - Democrats as well as Republicans - were looking for anything they could do to keep the government afloat.
While some did call for big cuts last year, particularly the Republicans, even they blinked when reality started hitting home. It was the Senate Republican Leader, after all, who demanded that money be found somehow, some way (without a tax increase, of course) to fund human service providers last summer when the prospect of providers going out of business became an all too clear reality. So, pulling the switcheroo with that federal school money was an easy target. They did what they had to do to get through the crisis.
No matter the reasons or the excuses, this year’s education hole is the governor’s fault, shared with the General Assembly. And it’s entirely misleading to blame the feds for this current calamity with school funding. They did it to themselves.
Negative & Fearful
Many are asking, “why is our Republican Party so negative and fearful about America’s future”? The only response I can come up with is, “I can only guess, here are some possibilities”.
1) America ended the 20th Century so upbeat. Our Federal Government had four years in a row with Budget surpluses for the first time in our history, and each year bigger than the previous year. The Congressional Budget Office, a non-partisan advisory board to Congress on fiscal matters, at that point projected that we were on track to have our Federal debt paid off by 2013. There was a record high surplus to be handed to the next Administration on January 20, 2001.
2) The Presidential debates between George W. Bush and Al Gore were going on at that time. Gore who was vice President under Bill Clinton was attempting to gain some mileage from those four years of surpluses. Bush’s rebuttal was that for an Administration to be levying more taxes than needed to run the Government was immoral, and if elected President one of the first things he would do is place those surplus dollars back in the pockets of the taxpayers. That would further improve the economy. He would ask Congress to cut income taxes which will create an even stronger economy and generate even more tax dollars. We could pay off the Federal debt by 2010.
3) As we learned in grade school, our forefathers set our new Nation up with a Capitalistic Economic System, many times called “free enterprise”. This system allows private, for profit, ownership of trade and industry. The profits are then taxed to support local, state and Federal Government. This is far and away the best economy in the world ‘IF’ our elected officials have the backbone, and voters concur, to tax enough to pay for the services both deemed to be necessary. The reason this has failed for the United States is because in 1981 ‘Supply-side Economics’ nicknamed ‘Reaganomics’ named after Ronald Reagan, our 40th President was introduced to Congress. Ronald Reagan, in my opinion, was and still is the best Republican President our Nation ever had, however his own Party failed him. They supported the tax cuts but not the matching spending cuts that must also be a part of the package. In retrospect he should have vetoed their spending bills, because there were not enough votes to override his veto. This was one of those, ‘woulda, coulda shoulda’ Monday morning quarterback situations that we’ve all been through.
4) Now is the third time in my memory (1920s, 1980s and 2000s) that our Republican Party has failed to feed the ‘Golden Goose’ that lays the golden eggs that allow our Capitalistic economy to succeed. If we don’t learn this time around, we may as well all stoop over, grab both our ankles and kiss our rear ends goodbye. The show is over if we continue those dictated, brain dead NO CHANGE votes.
Today some Republicans, those who put their Party ahead of their Country, are fearful that Obama will make “W” Bush’s Administration look as bad as Bill Clinton made “H” Bushes Administration look and Franklin Roosevelt / Harry Truman made Herbert Hoover’s Administration look. Those Republicans are hoping Obama fails.
Here is the math, Ronald Reagan inherited a Federal debt of 0.9 Trillion dollars then; Reagan handed ‘H’ Bush a debt of 2.7 Trillion dollars; ’H’ Bush handed Bill Clinton a debt of 4.1 Trillion dollars while “W” Bush handed 9.2 Trillion dollars of debt to Obama.
Coming soon: Deficit; the cruelest tax of all.
Rural Shannon, IL
Preservation Initiative in Morrison
It has come time to clear up some facts involving the public discussion regarding the Morrison City Council’s preservation initiative. I am concerned that this entire public discussion is veering toward a personal level, and that is simply not where it should go. Nevertheless, when there are inaccuracies, implications or innuendos that suggest some kind of untoward actions or motives, the same cannot go unchallenged or unaddressed.
In a “Letter to the Editor” appearing in the March 9, 2010 issue of The Whiteside News Sentinel, Luke Vander Bleek says that he “…was happy to have (me)…in attendance at the meeting (that was hosted by he and his wife on February 21st at the Odell Community Room)”- an event to which an “invitation letter” was sent to addresses in the historic district.
While I was glad to read that Luke appreciated my appearance, I was somewhat surprised by his gratitude because, even though I am a property owner within the historic district, I (along with at least two others who are obvious proponents of the City Council’s initiative) was omitted from the invitation list for the gathering. While Luke is quite free to invite anyone he chooses to an event he hosts, this policy of exclusion seems to be the exact opposite of the kind of inclusion which he complains is otherwise lacking elsewhere. Despite the lack of notice, I decided to attend in an effort to listen, learn and speak if necessary.
Returning to his “Letter to the Editor,” Luke is correct that I was the Chair of the “Mayor’s ad hoc Morrison Downtown Preservation Task Force,” that I had a hand in drafting the historic preservation ordinances at issue, that I am the present Chair of the Morrison Historic Preservation Commission (MHPC), and that I own a home within the historic district.
The items that are inaccurate or inappropriately implied are:
That I was “assigned” to chair the “Mayor’s ad hoc Morrison Downtown Preservation Task Force. In fact, I was asked to do so and acceded to that request. After 26 years on the bench, a time during which I was constrained by the Supreme Court’s “Cannon of Judicial Conduct” from most charitable activities and participation in any governmental or quasi-governmental positions, I wanted to give back to the community into which I was born, in which I was raised and to which I returned.
That “…one year later, (I) submitted (that Commission’s) report for publication...” In fact, as would be the protocol, the aforementioned report was, in early 2009, submitted to the person who asked for it- the Mayor. What he did with that report was, naturally, entirely up to him. It is my understanding that, ultimately, it was the Mayor who decided to ask for its publication a couple of months ago.
That I “composed” the new preservation ordinance. Again, I was asked, in my capacity as a member of the MHPC, to put together a proposed set of regulations. I did so by finding sets of similar rules from other municipalities, taking the most rational of those code sections and compiling and editing them to reflect Morrison’s uniqueness.
That somehow, because I am the Chair of the Morrison Preservation Commission or because my home is within the historic district or has been designated a local Landmark, there is an implication of some less than honorable motivation for assisting the City Council with their preservation initiative. In fact, my residence was granted Landmark status nearly a decade prior to my service on any commission or task force and had been within the secondly created historic district for more than a year previously. I have not, and certainly would not, apply for any benefit from the municipal body to which I have am volunteering my services.
Lastly, on behalf of his land trust containing four parcels on Lincolnway, Luke asked for exclusion from the historic district that has existed for some time. Although the Morrison Historic Preservation Commission passed on this request the first time around, it was sent back to our body from the City Council. Eventually, his two “Applications for Certificates of Appropriateness” to demolish the structures on two of the pieces of real estate were unanimously approved. It should also be noted that, to date, he has only asked to demolish those two aforementioned buildings. He has not asked for any action on the remaining two.
To repeat, my involvement is nothing more than a desire to give back to our town in a way that will hopefully be of benefit to all of us. Many of us recall the Lincolnhighway corridor and main business district’s core being a nearly perfect architectural pallet where each structure contributed to the beauty of the whole. While what is gone is, indeed, water under the bridge, efforts to maintain what remains of our important buildings and the ambiance of our streetscapes will hopefully be of benefit, both economically and in terms of quality of life, to every Morrisonite.
Whether or not one agrees with the City Council’s initiatives can certainly be the subject of good faith debate, but to ascribe an ulterior motive to one or more people who are proponents is nothing more than an attempt to put some kind of “bad guy” face on them in order to create an untoward contrast to opponents depicted as those supposedly wearing white hats. Let the discussion be a civilized discourse on the merits- not one driven by attempting to cast characters as what they are not. It is far easier to be critical of what someone else has produced than to be constructive.
Continuing regards to all,
Chair, Morrison Historic Preservation Commission
Thanks for Your Support of the LRA
March 18, 2010
Ladies and Gentlemen:
On behalf of the Jo-Carroll Depot Local Redevelopment Authority, thank you to the counties, communities and organizations that sent resolutions of support for the LRA’s efforts to expedite the transfer of property in the Savanna Depot Park for economic development. The Savanna Depot Park includes property--in Jo Daviess and Carroll counties at the former Savanna Army Depot--that the Army agreed to convey to the LRA for economic development and job creation.
On Monday, March 15, representatives from the offices of U.S. Senator Richard J. Durbin, Senator Roland Burris and Representative Don Manzullo and three individuals with the Illinois EPA were briefed by the LRA on the complex transfer process and impact of the current pace of property transfers. They talked with the LRA about where there is slack in that state and federal process and how the slack can be picked up.
All involved in the talks received copies of the resolutions and letters of support for this effort. As a follow-up, staff of Congressman Manzullo and Senator Durbin are scheduling meetings with Department of Defense officials in D.C. Their bi-partisan efforts are appreciated.
In addition, the LRA likely will arrange for talks with local Army representatives, IEPA and USEPA. Resolving the outstanding issues with the IEPA is of paramount importance. The immediate need is to reach an agreement on what restrictions will be placed on use of property that studies have shown to contain “munitions debris,” all or fragments of military munitions that do not contain explosives or pyrotechnics, i.e. scrap metal.
The restrictions will affect industrial property that has not yet been conveyed to the LRA. All of the property that has been deeded to the LRA 2003-2008 has no environmental use restrictions. In 2003, the LRA received the first parcel. The installation was selected in 1995 to be closed, and it closed March 18, 2000.
Again, thank you to the Jo Daviess and Carroll County Boards, the cities of Savanna, Freeport, Galena, Mt. Carroll and Lanark and villages of Hanover, Elizabeth, Stockton, Warren, Milledgeville, Chadwick, Shannon and Thomson, and the Blackhawk Hills RC&D, Tri County Economic Development Alliance, Savanna Chamber of Commerce, Illinois International Trade Centers, Rescar, Inc. and Riverport Railroad. LLC. State lawmakers are being kept informed of this effort and your support for it.
Diane M. Komiskey,
Libertarians Oppose Census Questions
WASHINGTON - Libertarian Party (LP) Chairman William Redpath released the following statement today regarding the 2010 census: “The Libertarian Party believes that the federal government’s current census procedures are unconstitutional, unnecessary, and too expensive. We believe that the census is constitutionally limited to collecting only one piece of information about each residence: the number of persons living in it.
We urge Congress to change the census laws to comply with this constitutional limitation. “The U.S. Constitution empowers Congress to provide for a census in order to apportion Representatives correctly. The Constitution does not empower Congress to use a census for any other purpose. There is no need for Congress to collect additional information such as names, races, ages, sexes, or home ownership status. Unfortunately, the federal government wants to use the additional information to fine tune its control over the lives and money of the American people.
“The 2010 census is expected to cost over $14 billion. A recent report from the Inspector General of the Department of Commerce indicates that preparations for the 2010 census have already been filled with waste and bloat. A proper census, limited to just a headcount, would be far less expensive. “Many Americans fear that the Census Bureau will not keep their information secret, and might turn personal details over to other government agencies. The Census Bureau promises that they will keep everything confidential, but they have broken that promise in the past. As David Kopel of the libertarian Cato Institute has pointed out, during World War I the Census Bureau handed over lists of names and addresses so the federal government could search for draft resisters. And, shockingly, during World War II, the Census Bureau told the Justice Department which neighborhoods had high concentrations of Japanese-Americans. The federal government then used that information to find Japanese-Americans and imprison them in concentration camps.
“As Congressman Ron Paul, 1988 Libertarian candidate for President, recently said, ‘If the federal government really wants to increase compliance with the census, it should abide by the Constitution and limit its inquiry to one simple question: How many people live here?’”
The LP is America’s third-largest political party, founded in 1971. The Libertarian Party stands for free markets and civil liberties. You can find more information on the Libertarian at www.lp.org .
By Jim Sacia, State Representative 89th District
It failed, but I still consider it a great success. House Bill 4810, a bill requiring a drug test for welfare recipients, stalled in the House Human Services Committee March 10th, on a vote of three yes and three no. My sincere thanks to all those who got up very early to be in Springfield for the 8:00 AM committee: Holgeir Oksnevad who initially brought me the bill two years ago, Sandy Elrick, Ken Opperman, Bernie Mrugala, Ed Gaulrapp representing the Pearl City American Legion, Beth Buisker, Dennis Yaeger, and Judith Schuldt. To the many of you who sent letters and emails to members of the committee you will never realize how much you’ve accomplished.
This effort is a work in progress. Last year when I introduced the bill (then as HB389), it was nearly laughed out of committee by those who feel such a requirement is totally inappropriate. What you have accomplished is to awaken them to recognize that there are those of us who are offended when a taxpayer with a job must take a drug test, but someone who’s receiving a portion of that worker’s hard-earned tax dollars has no such encumbrance.
I support a welfare system. The reality is however, that in many cases, it is a badly abused system that fosters multi-generational dependence. A recent article in the “Illinois Statehouse News” quoted my friend and Human Services Committee member Mary Flowers (D-Chicago), as saying “I was outraged about Representative Sacia’s bill that everyone that’s on welfare has done or will do drugs.” She continued “everyone that’s on welfare isn’t there because they want to be on welfare.” The gentle lady from Chicago is well aware that I made no such statement. She strongly opposed the bill in committee last week as she did last year.
My good friend and fellow committee member Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) told “Illinois Statehouse News” that she supported the bill because of the rising cost of footing the bill for public aid recipients. “It doesn’t automatically knock someone out. It would voluntarily give them drug treatment. If they don’t want the treatment, then I feel they should be off (welfare),” she said.
Here is why your support was so important: eight of you from here in the 89th district filled out witness slips in support of this legislation making a total of twelve slips filed in favor. Well over 100 emails were sent to committee members. Now, even members of the ACLU have indicated a willingness to work with me to draft a bill that will pass. As I said, this is a work in progress and your efforts have had a very positive effect. Patience is a virtue.
There is other news this week that you need to know. No one can deny the severity of the state’s financial crisis, so doesn’t that mean we should spend wisely? The Illinois Department on Aging has made plans to move to a new facility that will cost you, the taxpayer, more than $550,000 per year. Oh, did I mention that the building they are currently in is in good condition and is rent free? Or that the man seeking to rent the new space to the agency has contributed more than $200,000 to both political parties over the past 10 years? Does this make you angry? Well, there are good people fighting it. House Aging Committee Chairman Jack Franks (D-Woodstock) called it a “bone-headed move”. The Committee’s Minority Spokesperson Sandra Pihos (R-Glen Ellyn), is adamantly opposed. They, along with Representative Raymond Poe (R-Springfield), have teamed up to stop it. The ball is now in the Governor’s court.
I will be at Highland Community College West in Elizabeth on Saturday, March 27th at 7:30am for the Jo Daviess Health Department Senior Fair. I hope to see you there!
As always, you can reach me, Sally or Barb at 815/232-0774 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit my website at www.jimsacia.com. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you.