Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts

Friday, September 4, 2020

Electing Joe Biden/Kamala Harris is our democracy’s only hope

I have tried to resist political comments in this blog. After all, this is supposed to be a personal place, where writing about the things I love gives me joy. So much of what I write about and photograph are positive, lovely moments to share with others. I enjoy taking pictures of beautiful things adorable animals, highlighting my quilting hobby. But the truth of the matter is the political situation with which we find ourselves is personal. It occupies my thoughts every single day. It even keeps me awake at night.

I’ve worked as a journalist; I’ve been involved in activism and community organizing. It seems like a lifetime ago, since I’ve been retired for the past fifteen years, but there have been lessons learned. Old habits die hard. Even today, I find myself drawn to watching public hearings in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. I watch political speeches and tend to pick up political publications long before I ever consider entertainment or other less serious publications. I can’t help myself. I have the need to know. I have a right to know. 

I’ve long believed and it is borne out every day that it is disingenuous to complain about politics when you have never been a student of it. Being genuine is important to me. Standing up for what I believe is important to me. And making a case for controversial decisions has to include factual information. Making hard decisions is never easy, but it has to be done. And, to do it, there has to be a thorough examination of as much as possible from every angle. 

A wise editor once told me, “If you think you know two sides of a story, you still don’t have the whole story.”  

He was so right. Life has taught me that. Politics is complicated. That is on purpose, a way to keep us all in the dark. It takes time and effort to understand why political decisions are made. Things are not as simple as they may seem. It is not enough to just proclaim political partisanship, or to listen to just one source. How many people who complain about ‘fake news’ and who malign the ‘main stream media’ know that news stories don’t see ink or make it to the airwaves until there are at least three credible sources? That certainly doesn’t happen on social media, which simply regurgitates somebody’s blog post or some hate group. Social media is no place to try to learn about politics. 

With all that said, I have to admit that it makes no sense to me how the upcoming presidential race can be so close. That always confuses me, but especially this year when the choices are so clear. 

I cannot understand how people I know to be good, caring people, can fall for the lies and complete fabrications of not just Donald Trump, but the Republican Party. How can anyone support a party when its leadership says one thing one day and the complete opposite the next? 

As of this writing Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by about 6-10 points in the average of a number of polls. I find that to be unthinkable. How is it possible that anyone, let alone more than thirty-percent of the country can fall for Trump’s con? 

“The true measure of a man is not how he behaves in moments of comfort and convenience but how he stands at times of controversy and challenges.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

We have already seen the results of challenges faced by these two men. 

Joe Biden has been challenged in the most personal, horrible way possible. He lost his wife and daughter in a car accident and later lost his son to cancer. There can be no greater challenge in life. Biden handled that horror with grace and dignity. It made him a more caring, more empathetic human being. He genuinely wants to serve the American people, and to heal the pain felt by thousands of families across the country that have become ill or lost loved ones to the Corona Virus. He reaches out to people in their own time of grief and tries to console them.

In sharp contrast is Donald Trump, a man with no concern for anyone but himself, a pathological trait he exhibits in his every action. Thousands more people have died from Covid-19 because of his early inaction and failure to listen to anyone who knew better. Trump follows his own stable genius instinct, which has proven over and over again to be a failure to the American people. 

He completely bungled the response to this pandemic because he thought it would interfere in his re-election. Things were going so well for him when the stock market was skyrocketing to heights never seen before in the early part of this year. Of course it did. Trump did away with constraints on business, from environmental regulations to safety measures to workers’ rights. They all melted away under Trump, giving business carte blanche to plow through any forest, dump in any stream, and tear apart pristine land, whether public or private. There have been regulations over the years for a reason. 

The stock market is not the economy! Yet, Trump touted the fine economy, despite millions of unemployment applications and people in this country waiting in long lines to eat. He gave his pals a giant tax break that the rest of us will pay for generations. Even in a stimulus bill designed to help those hurt by the pandemic ended up in the pockets of Trump’s rich pals while hundreds of small businesses closed their doors for good. 

Trump has never apologized for his inept response to the pandemic, as he proclaimed it would simply go away. He never apologizes for anything. Instead he merely doesn’t talk about it. He creates diversions instead. He is a master at that. 

It is all about getting re-elected for Trump. I can see why. He knows when he leaves office he will likely be indicted for alleged money laundering, real estate swindling, tax fraud, the inflation of the value of his property for sales purposes and the same property deflation for tax purposes, and more during his business dealings prior to holding office. Just the things he has done while he was in office are enough to put him away for a long time. His treasonous behavior, the multitude of lies he has told, the money he has skimmed from taxpayers as he soaked the Secret Service who had to pay a premium to stay in his golf resorts, the lack of accountability when Russians put a bounty on the head of American service members in Afghanistan, no word about the brutal death of an American journalist in Saudi Arabia, and countless other foreign entanglements merely designed to enhance his business. 

Donald Trump is an accused rapist who is admittedly morally corrupt and brags about it, his misogynistic treatment of women. What kind of a man pays a porn star to sleep with him just after his wife gives birth to their child? He has no regard for anyone that isn’t white, wealthy, and subservient to him. 

He acts like a mob boss, with no scruples as he fawns over the world’s dictators. He maligns his enemies, the media, anyone that asks a question he doesn’t like. He answers only to his own ego as he lives only for his own self-aggrandizement. He lies, cheats, steals, and what is worse, he has manipulated every check and balance our government has spent years putting in place. 

And his latest scandal, calling fallen military heroes “suckers and losers,” may be the one that does him in. He is trying to talk his way out of this one, but there are just too many times he has said similar things. There are too many people who know better. Remember those three sources in news stories. There seem to be even more in this story.

So it simply makes no sense that between 30- 40-percent of this country can say they support this man for another four years. I hope when this election is over, these numbers were dead wrong and Joe Biden/Kamala Harris wins by a landslide. Only then can we bring peace, justice, and democracy back to the United States of America.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Use Internet wisely

I love the Internet. I have loved it since my first online experience, back in those early, primitive days when AOL was the only online portal available to the public.

The Internet was filled with scientists, which is where it really all began, college professors, and other intelligent computer users--geeks if you will. God I love geeks! Every time I logged on to the Internet, I learned something.

Today, the Internet is becoming a horror. My email inbox is choked with jokes, inspirational messages, words of wisdom, and political rants with a large percentage that amount to no more than the latest Fox News BS.


The Internet helped elect our President, because he and his handlers were bright enough to tap into the technology available to them. And that practice was not lost on every nut ball and wacko from Alaska to Mexico who wants the next taxpayer-funded gig to make them rich.

With so many political wannabes online, learning is much more difficult and I no longer have faith in things I read.

The result of having everyone use the Internet, the result has diluted information resources and watered-down content. Advertising is worse than it has ever been with startling windows that pop up from seemingly nowhere just to startle and annoy me. They are never in an obvious place, so it is difficult to know how to turn them off. I usually just hit the mute button on my keyboard until I can find which of my multiple windows contains the offending ad and where it is located.

Even my beloved Google is no longer what it was. Being number one no longer means much as far as quality is concerned. Too many people who think they are writers who are more interested in search engine optimization and correct keyword placement than research. Plagiarism runs rampant online. Worse yet, the content that writers steal and copy is often times incorrect.

I'm tired of email jokes by well-meaning friends. So many of them think they understand my sense of humor. I hate to admit this, but my sense of humor is often times commensurate with what is going on that day. What I may get a kick out of one day may annoy me to the hilt the next. For the most part, I just don't have time to read jokes all day. I am a writer. I use my computer for work, not jokes. Besides, if I want to read a joke, I will Google 'jokes' where I will find just what appeals to me at the time. Funny, I never do that. Maybe I don't have time for jokes!!!

Then there are those inspirational messages with the beautiful music and glittery shapes. If I needed inspiration, I would turn off the computer and read a book or watch TV or look out the window. If I wanted to see NASA photos, I'd search 'NASA.'

My inbox is filled with newsletters, correspondence, and other items that are essential to me. There is no room for jokes and well-meaning inspiration.

But the worst is the political crap. I consider myself a student of politics. I love it. Trouble is, most of the junk that is sent to me is from people who know nothing about politics, and brazenly claim to hate it. So send me political emails?

One word of advice; if you don't like politics, don't forward political rhetoric to me and above all, don't send me spam that is verifiably wrong.

One last message...

If my inbox is any example of the kind of election season we are going to have, I cringe. We get the government we deserve. But I don't deserve it. Do me a favor, if you are not bright enough to understand the issues, don't vote.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Jesse Jackson, Jr. his latest woes

Headlines are filled with allegations of ethics violations and potential wrongdoing by Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. in connection with the vacated U.S. Senate Seat formerly held by President Barack Obama. The congressional ethics probe was placed on the back burner upon request from federal prosecutors who are investigating former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

By all accounts, Jackson appears to be in some hot water. Perhaps that would explain his uncharacteristic silence of late.

Coincidentally, Jackson and Sen. Roland Burris, who was appointed to fill the vacant Senate seat from Illinois, are named two of the 15 most corrupt congressmen in Washington. Coincidentally, Illinois has just escaped from the scrutiny of a similar allegation. Another Illinois Congressman, Jerry Weller, who decided not to run for re-election in 2008 was also labeled one the most corrupt congressman.

But why should Illinois' congressional delegation be the only offices mentioned. Illinois governors are not immune to prosecution, accusation, or going to the slammer. Take Blagojevich, who was impeached as governor and now awaits a 2010 trial in federal court for allegations of wrongoing. Then there is his predecessor, George Ryan whose home address is a federal penetentiary.

Ryan follows in a long line of corrupt governors. In the last 35 years, two other Illinois governors have served time -- Otto Kerner and Dan Walker.

So, is it any wonder that Jackson has been silent of late?

A story published last December addresses this very topic. Perhaps it is time to revisit it here.
* * *
Jesse Jackson, Jr.
Is he a hero or is he scrambling to save his political life?
originally published in Dec. 2008 at

Last December news reports indicated that Jesse Jackson, Jr. had long been cooperating with federal prosecutors’ investigation of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s alleged “pay-to-play” schemes.

Jackson was identified as ‘Senate Candidate 5’ soon after the criminal complaint in accordance with Blagojevich’s arrest was released last week. The complaint alleged that ‘Senate Candidate 5’ was implicated in Blagojevich’s alleged plot to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

Jackson denies allegations

But Jackson has vehemently denied he was involved in trying to buy the position, despite his immodest efforts to win the appointment.

Jackson’s aides intimate that Jackson is not only innocent of trying to trade campaign cash for the senate seat, but that he has long been an informant to federal prosecutors about Blagojevich’s behavior. Jackson has claimed that Blagojevich refused to appoint Jackson’s wife Sandi as Illinois State Lottery Director because Jackson would not donate $25,000 to the governor’s campaign fund.

The reports paint Jackson as almost heroic.

Questions remain

While the facts of this situation will become clearer with time, there are things already known about the tenuous relationship between Jackson and Blagojevich. Much of it has to do with Jackson’s obsession over building an airport near Peotone. Jackson has tried to coerce Blagojevich into supporting Jackson’s plan which includes turning over state-owned land to Jackson’s self-prescribed airport authority.

Jackson, Blagojevich and the Peotone Airport

Blagojevich never gave Jackson what he wanted. The problem began days after Blagojevich was elected in 2002. That was a very active time in eastern Will County.

Blagojevich reportedly considered calling a halt to land banking near Peotone because of the state’s budget crisis. Blagojevich inherited the questionabe undertaking from his predecessor, ex-Gov. George Ryan and Ryan’s transportation Secretary Kirk Brown.

A little airport history

During Blagojevich’s first year in office, the U.S. Congress was set to approve the O’Hare Modernization Plan. Jackson was furious when language was removed from legislation that would have provided an iron-clad guarantee that if O’Hare is expanded, Peotone would also be built.

When legislation was signed with a cursory mention of Peotone, Jackson went into a tirade claiming, “If O’Hare gets expanded, there is no need for Peotone.” But that didn’t slow his efforts to push the project.

About the same time, the FAA approved a Tier 1 Draft Environmental Airport study for the Peotone project. Jackson wanted approval on a fast track. To date, no progress has been made on the project.

In 2003, Jackson was deeply involved with DuPage County officials – O’Hare expansion opponents -- who have bankrolled the effort to build a new airport at Peotone. The Suburban O’Hare Commission as they were known believed a new airport at Peotone was preferable to an expanded O’Hare. It was this organization that had bankrolled Jackson's efforts and lined up funding. (Incidentally, due to the last election cycle SOC boss Bensenville Village President John Geils was voted out of office.)

Jackson misrepresents Peotone location

Jackson has long ignored the distance between the south suburbs and the proposed airport. Peotone is listed alphabetically on Jackson’s website between Park Forest and Phoenix, which are in his district. After numerous complaints, a disclaimer identifying Peotone as located in Will County was added, though it does nothing to clarify that Peotone is located outside Jackson’s second congressional district.

Jackson also ignored the distance between the south suburbs and his pet project when he deceived his colleagues about the Peotone project’s location. In the summer of 2007 he stood on the floor of the House of Representatives claiming, “Peotone abuts Ford Heights.”

Jackson’s remarks were part of his sales pitch to get a $231,000 earmark attached to a spending bill for his airport authority.

Latest predictions on the 40-year old project fail again

At that time, Jackson predicted the airport would be built and operational by 2008 with five gates and one runway. He expected the State of Illinois to provide land it owned to his airport authority. The state owned roughly a third of what would have been needed to build an airport.

In 2005, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued a 37-page unfavorable opinion about Jackson’s airport authority.

Madigan said the state transportation department did not have the authority to convey state-owned land, for less than market value to Jackson’s airport commission.

Madigan also said the deal brokered by Jackson between his Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission (ALNAC) and airport developers to design, build, and operate the airport was not legal under Illinois law as the authority was currently structured.

She also issued the opinion that for Jackson’s authority to develop an airport, it has to be recommended by the Governor in the airport’s Master Plan.

When ex-Congressman Jerry Weller added an amendment to the defense bill stating that a Peotone airport should be controlled locally, Jackson was furious. He called the bill a “Peotone killer,” and took the opportunity to lash out at all his critics, including Blagojevich.

Jackson used the very communities he purported to help

In 2006, Jackson was furious with Blagojevich. He wanted ALNAC members, some of those poor south suburban communities that he claimed would benefit by an airport, to cough up $300,000 to mount a media blitz and to pressure Blagojevich into turning over eastern Will County land to Jackson’s airport authority.

More than $200,000 was ultimately raised by Jackson’s advocates, including $25,000 from the City of Harvey, a city whose economic woes remain at the forefront of the media. Jackson’s efforts came under fire from several who questioned the use of municipal funds for a public relations blitz. Many felt it was wrong to use tax dollars for a project touted as a no-taxpayer supported airport. Jackson’s plea for phone calls to the governors’ office resulted in only a small number of them.

When Jackson coerced local governments into donating funds to his campaign to lobby Gov. Blagojevich to turn over state-owned land to his airport authority, Paul Lohmann, the mayor of a town adjacent to the proposed airport took Jackson to task that summer. In a letter to Jackson, Lohmann asked if that money would be better spent as a donation to Robbins or Harvey, two of the poor communities in Jackson’s district.

Jackson has claimed a new airport at Peotone would be an economic benefit to Robbins, Harvey, and the poorest of the south suburban communities – Ford Heights. There has, however, been no evidence that a runway 20 miles away from those communities would have any effect on the economies of those towns.

Blagojevich remained on the fence

Blagojevich stayed clear of the battle for control of the proposed airport by ALNAC or Will County. He said they would have to work it out or risk losing the development.

Jackson ally, State Sen. James Meeks, considered running for governor in 2006. Jackson made it known that if he didn’t get what he wanted from Blagojevich, he would rally support for Meeks in the black community, even though it was unlikely Meeks would win. Jackson’s support could, however, have taken enough votes from Blagojevich to put Republican Judy Baar Topinka into the governor’s mansion.

That was the tactic Jackson used successfully in the 1998 gubernatorial election against fellow Democrat Glenn Poshard. Poshard openly opposed the Peotone airport. Jackson was livid. He used his influence in the black community to support George Ryan for governor, a feat for which he still claims credit.

Jackson and Halvorson at odds

Last summer, Jackson accused State Senate Majority Leader and Congressman-elect Debbie Halvorson of designing an airport authority bill with elements of a “pay to play” scheme hatched by Antoin “Tony” Rezko, Blagojevich’s convicted former fundraising pal. Halvorson sponsored and pushed the bill – SB2063 – through the Illinois Senate in the spring.

Jackson’s accusation took the form of a letter to the editor, first appearing in the Village of Park Forest online newsletter. It was written by Jackson aide Rick Bryant who is also ALNAC chairman. Bryant wrote that Halvorson gave into Rezko on a plan that two years earlier Jackson flatly rejected. Halvorson countered by saying she has never met with Rezko, and she has never even met him.

Bryant admitted that Rezko stood in for Blagojevich in the Jackson meeting.

Perhaps only time will tell if Jackson is a hero responsible for helping to bring a corrupt governor to justice, or if he is a political scoundrel deserving of a similar reward as other pay-to-play politicians.