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-- Minority leader Cross attacks governor’s tax increase plans during visit to Marion - Tom Kane
The former New York City mayor bought books at a downtown Borders and shook hands at Harry Caray's restaurant before speaking to about 200 people during a $1,000-per-plate fund-raiser at the Palmer House Hilton.
The good wishes Giuliani got from Dutchie Caray, wife of the late broadcaster, were representative of the good day he had on the campaign trail. Before he watched baseball in Harry Caray's bar, he picked up a key endorsement from Sen. David Vitter (R-La.).
Also, CNN released a poll that showed Giuliani holding a double-digit lead over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Thirty-four percent of registered Republican voters supported Giuliani, while 18 percent backed McCain, the CNN poll found. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney tied at 9 percent.
But Giuliani's landing was more substantial, with prominent businessmen Ron Gidwitz and Patrick Ryan among those chairing the Palmer House evening event.
He drew applause, then laughter, and even silence as he shared stories about leading the nation's largest city out its darkest days -- first in the early 1990s when he beat back a crime wave and then after Sept. 11, 2001. It was then, he said, that he saw his skill for shutting up and getting things done.
At Harry Caray's, Giuliani didn't gloat about his lead in the polls. "This is like a roller coaster," he said.
Giuliani also had kind words for Mayor Daley.
"Of all the cities that helped us after Sept. 11, Chicago helped us the most," he said. "One day I was actually driving through [New York] city about a month after Sept. 11, and I saw this police officer directing traffic. And the police officer had a Chicago uniform on. . . . He said, 'Mayor Daley sent me here."
It's official. English can unite us all - Bob Sperlazzo, chairman, Fox Valley Citizens for Legal Immigration, Carpentersville
Official English promotes unity. Immigrants of many nationalities built Carpentersville, but the ''melting pot'' melded us into one people. This long tradition of assimilation has always included English as our common ground. Unfortunately, multilingual government sends the opposite message to non-English speakers. It separates language groups, and contributes to racial and ethnic conflicts. Official English helps reverse this harmful process.
Official English is pro-immigrant. Immigrants benefit under Official English. Instead of the mixed message, immigrants must know English to participate fully in our government process.
Multilingual services create ''linguistic welfare.'' It says: ''You aren't real Americans and never will be.'' Life without English proficiency means low-skilled, low-paying jobs.
Census data show an immigrant's income rises 30 percent after learning English. This leads to increased economic opportunity and the ability to become a more productive member of society, benefitting everyone.
Official English is common sense government. It eliminates needless duplication of services in multiple languages and the related expenses. It also recognizes the need for commonsense exceptions, permitting other languages for emergency, safety, health services and language instruction.
Official English is simply a limitation on government (never ''English-only''). It does not affect private businesses or conversations.
It means government must communicate all business in English: One language controls the government's intended meaning.
Federal law requires that immigrants read and understand basic English. A recent Zogby poll found 79 percent of voters and 81 percent of recent immigrants supported such a law.
English is the glue that unites all races, colors and creeds. It is vital to the assimilation and advancement of immigrants and the future well-being of our Village.
We urge the Village Board to establish English as the unifying language of Carpentersville government.
DIERSEN HEADLINE: Chicago Sun-Times publishes an outrageous anti-American anti-religious editorial by Martin Varsavsky
(Not posted as of 5:30 AM)
2008 hopeful Giuliani pops up at Harry Caray's Former N.Y. mayor in town for fundraiser - Tim Jones
Rudolph Giuliani dropped into Chicago on Monday for a drive-by visit with local TV reporters before heading off to a private fundraiser to help bankroll his all-but-announced presidential campaign.With recent polls showing the former New York mayor opening up a double-digit lead over his nearest Republican opponent, Giuliani led a flotilla of camera crews and reporters into Harry Caray's Restaurant downtown and paused for a toothy smile with the bronze bust of the late Baseball Hall of Fame broadcaster.There was no time for the 16-ounce New York strip steak ($37.95) or even the bowl of potato chips placed in front of him and Caray's widow, Dutchie. It was Diet Pepsi, accompanied by questions on abortion, the Iraq troop surge, Sept. 11, presidential polls and Giuliani's two divorces."I think most Americans relate to the fact that you make mistakes in life," Giuliani said. "All of us who are running for president . . . one thing I'm for sure, none of us are perfect."The visit lasted barely 30 minutes, long enough to make the evening news. Giuliani signed autographs, patted shoulders and looked at a behind-the-bar TV screen just in time to see a San Francisco Giants second baseman and outfielder collide in right field while chasing a pop-up in an exhibition game with the Cubs."Ooooh! You see that?" Giuliani said.Giuliani, who has filed candidacy papers but has not publicly launched his presidential bid, enjoys a wide lead over Republican rivals in recent polls. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll conducted over three days, ending Sunday, showed him leading Sen. John McCain of Arizona, 34 percent to 18 percent. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has not announced his candidacy, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are tied at 9 percent, according to the poll. The survey had a sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.The first voting is still about 10 months away.This lead probably won't last, Giuliani said. "It'll be like a roller coaster."Before leaving, Giuliani, a big New York Yankees fan, said he'd like to see a World Series game at Wrigley Field."I'll be back," he told Dutchie Caray as he headed off to his fundraiser.
A New York Times/CBS News Poll found that 40 percent of Republicans surveyed said they expected Democrats to win the White House next year. Just 12 percent of Democrats said they thought the Republicans would win. Nearly 6 in 10 Democrats said they were satisfied with the candidates in the race, but nearly 6 in 10 Republicans said they wanted more choices.
U.S. seeks to cut Scott Fawell's term Prosecutors want to repay cooperation in Ryan testimony - Matt O'Connor
The 11-member task force is made up of Republican county chairmen from all over the state. Tazewell County's own Republican chairwoman, Demetra DeMonte, is one of those chosen for the task force.DeMonte said that Tazewell County was chosen to join the task force because of the size of its population. “Our goal is to turn Illinois Republican red once again and we believe it is possible,” DeMonte said after the committee finished meeting.Randy Pollard, president of the Illinois Republican County Chairmen's Association, said the objective of the meeting, which was held Sunday morning in the Tazewell County Republican Headquarters in Pekin, was to pull ideas from all over the state. Speaking outside of headquarters, Pollard said, “This is the first time in Illinois history anything has been done like this in the Republican Party.”
Pollard said task force members were chosen not only for the demographic areas they represent in the state, but also for their organizational skills.Members of the press were invited to the Sunday morning meeting, but then were not allowed to sit in on discussions. When asked why the press was not allowed to listen in, DeMonte said, “it wasn't an open meeting.”Speaking via telephone, several hours after the task force concluded its talks, DeMonte called the meeting “excellent.”
DeMonte said that she will work with Will County Republican Chairman Jack Partelow, organizing a workshop for Republican chairmen across the state. DeMonte said she will structure the workshop in a way that helps other Republican chairmen better form committees to will help the party get back in touch with its grassroots.“We haven't won a lot of elections lately, have we?” DeMonte said, when asked about problems that face her party.DeMonte said that future task force meetings will probably take place via telephone conference. “I'm very proud of the fact that Tazewell County was selected as the first meeting place,” she said.
We believe more strongly than ever that our Illinois GOP is poised for a Renaissance. But as every 5th Grader knows, before the Renaissance there were the Dark Ages. That’s the period in which our Illinois GOP still finds itself stuck.
We’ve already provided the historical proof. That piece we published right after the November election last year (Illinois GOP ignored every tsunami warning) laid out the iron-clad case.
Honest mistakes would be one thing. But we’re talking here about incredible dishonesty and mismanagement that deliberately destroyed any semblance of a Republican Party in Illinois. It was all in the reckless name of trying to put Judy Baar Topinka into the Governor’s Mansion.
The greediest feudal lord could only have dreamed of running such a self-serving fiefdom - and of having the submissive serfs who would sit around quietly and enable so much destructive behavior.
Where things now stand
There is actually a lot to be optimistic about. Topinka is now off the political scene for all practical purposes. And Bob Kjellander is hanging by a thread. Actually, he’s already been fired by his own Central Committee, but Kjellander says he’s going to keep showing up. This should all make for another entertaining spectacle when the State GOP meets next time in May (so mark your calendars now for Saturday, May 19th in Champaign).
Other players who also had a hand in keeping our Party in the Dark Ages have also moved-on. John Tsarpalas has moved-on as the State Party’s Executive Director, and Gary Skoien has moved on as the Cook County GOP Chairman. The DuPage County GOP Chairman Kirk Dillard has promised to hand off the reigns there soon.
The main roadblock still out there is State Party Chairman Andy McKenna, Jr. Why is he still hanging around? Good question. After all the unprofessional behavior that occurred under his watch – McKenna just can’t wake-up one day now and decide to be a serious leader. Who will ever trust him again? The reality is McKenna made his bed with Topinka. He should now do the honorable thing and move on.
But of course McKenna isn’t going to listen to us, or any member of the rank-and-file for that matter. The old guard clearly wants McKenna to stay around.
We can only speculate about the reasons why. Surely even the old guard would acknowledge McKenna’s done a miserable job. But at least he’s THEIR guy. Better in the old guard’s view to keep the Party apparatus in a straight jacket. If some Young Turk got in there the GOP might come to life, and where would some of the old faces be then?
What McKenna and some of these other blasts from the past don’t seem to understand is that if you work for the Illinois Republican Party, you have a special duty. The State GOP represents the Republican “franchise” in Illinois.
If McKenna, MaryAlice Erickson, and all the rest want an organization where they can play politics – they should go form a new group. Their unprofessionalism, dishonesty and ineffectiveness wouldn’t be an issue if confined to their own little club. They could make their organization as exclusionary and petty as they wanted. Their penchant for running a Dark Ages organization where new faces become appalled by the unprofessionalism on display could be exercised to their little hearts’ content.
But these discredited officials shouldn’t keep clinging to our State Party. What we’re seeing are the worst impulses of some spoiled Baby Boomers. They want the easy route. They want all the power and perks associated with controlling an established franchise like a State Party – but they just want to ignore the duties to the rank-and-file that go along with their titles. The current crop came into an organization that was already established – and just milked it down to nothing.
Here’s what’s going to happen. Illinois will see the Republican candidates for President here in the coming months. They are coming here mostly to mine cash for their campaigns from the many wealthy individuals in Chicago’s large business community. Assuming Illinois moves-up its Primary date, we might even see some semblance of a campaign in Illinois from some of the contenders.
But that will be it. After next year’s Primary, Illinois will become fly-over country yet again for the Presidential nominee of both Parties. If we do see a Presidential campaign again, it will only be during a short fundraising stop to siphon-out yet more cash from big donors for use in states where the Republican Party isn’t a joke.
Republicans who haven’t done enough to demand responsible management of their own Illinois Party shouldn’t expect any other result.
It’s incredible, but we still hear a few gullible souls who say the Illinois GOP’s biggest problem is “all the infighting.” Whether they realize it or not, what they are really saying is “let’s make sure Illinois remains a Blue State for the rest of our natural lives.”
Our Illinois GOP is broken. When something’s broke, you fix it. You don’t become an enabler by trying to convince yourself that playing pretend will actually change anything. Those who want to keep their heads in the sand just make themselves an official part of the problem. The coward’s way out just guarantees that the Illinois GOP keeps dying from a thousand cuts.
Call it “infighting” if you want – but anyone with any real world experience knows that’s the only way broken organizations get fixed. Self-serving managers don’t just become good managers.
Isn’t a winning Republican Party worth fighting for?
One of Giuliani’s biggest challenges is to woo conservative voters, who so far haven’t coalesced around anyone in the slower-to-develop GOP field. One of the first salvos fired against him on that score came Monday in the form of a video posted online from the 1989 New York mayor’s race, where Giuliani talked about his support for taxpayer-funded abortions for poor women.
When asked if he still supports taxpayer-funded abortions, Giuliani said he “doesn’t have any real agenda to change the state of the law” on abortion. Current federal law, introduced by retired U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde of Wood Dale in 1976, bans federal funding of most abortions.
Giuliani said he hopes his support for parental notification of abortions by minors and ban on late-term abortions will prove to voters his position is a “balanced one.”
One Republican strategist said Giuliani is “strong where it matters most: leadership, national security and the economy.”
“His secret weapon among Republicans is his utter fearlessness and devastating effectiveness in deconstructing liberal orthodoxy,” said the strategist, Wheaton’s Dan Curry.
Republican businessman Ron Gidwitz, a moderate, said Giuliani’s support of abortion rights won’t hurt him overall.
“He’s a fiscal conservative and that appeals to the broad range of conservatives. He’s a social moderate and that helps him in the general election,” Gidwitz said.
Giuliani, who got a late start and is still putting together a campaign infrastructure in Illinois, huddled at a small private lunch with state Republicans before heading to the $1,000-a-head fundraiser at the Palmer House that was closed to reporters. Campaign officials wouldn’t say how much the event was expected to raise. It was organized by Gidwitz, Aon Corp. executive Pat Ryan, venture capitalist Rich Earley and banker Robert Rodman.
Giuliani has a decent lead in early polls, with political site realclearpolitics.com’s latest tracking putting him at 38 percent. But Giuliani said whoever’s in the lead now “doesn’t make much difference.”
U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are also viewed by political analysts as in the top tier on the GOP side.
Giuliani stopped by Harry Caray’s restaurant downtown to pick up a pair of oversized Caray glasses and an autographed Ryne Sandberg baseball from the famous Cubs broadcaster’s widow, Dutchie. As he posed in front of the Caray statue, a photo of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama hung on the wall just feet away. And as Giuliani shook hands and signed books in the bar, video of Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton aired above him on a cable news channel.
Giuliani also reacted to a somewhat rough last week on the trail, when the focus was a family flap caused by college-student son Andrew, who said he’s estranged from his father. Giuliani, who is on his third marriage, said he simply won’t answer questions he considers too private.
“I think most Americans relate to the fact that you make mistakes in life,” he said when asked if the public is accepting of divorce these days. “You do things wrong, and you try to learn from them. I think all of us running for president, one thing I can be sure of, none of us are perfect.”
Giuliani picked up an endorsement from Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, who said in Washington that Giuliani would appoint conservatives to the federal bench if elected president.
Giuliani called former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee, who is mulling an entry into the GOP primary, “a great guy.”
A message to you, Rudy? - Eric Krol
Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani was in Chicago today for some strategery sessions with a few Illinois Republicans, a $1,000-a-ticket funder and a photo op at Harry Caray's.My story already is posted online: click hereHere are some outtakes that didn't make the cut for the print edition:
The Cubs-Giants Cactus League game was on TV (this is Cubs' ground zero downtown, after all) and it naturally caught the mayor's attention. He witnessed the rather nasty collision between a couple Giants' outfielders and winced. Giuliani also inquired how former Yankees second baseman Alfonso Soriano is doing with the Cubs.
Originally, he was going to take questions in the dining room, but he sat down at a bar table, ordered a couple diet Cokes and signed some 8-by-10s for Dutchie Caray, Harry's widow. And took questions right there.
The biggest observation I took away was that he said a whole lot without really saying anything at all. He gracefully sidestepped questions about Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, his private life, abortion and former Sen. Fred Thompson (he's thinking about running, apparently).
He was asked if he feared running this early would lead to overexposure for himself and the other candidates. The response: “This is like a roller coaster. I'll be ahead, John McCain will be ahead, somebody else will be ahead. It'll go up and down.”
Like chief rival Sen. John McCain, Giuliani supports the Bush administration's troop surge in Iraq: “I support the change in strategy the president has put in effect. I think that we have to give ourselves a chance to succeed. If we run out without giving ourselves that chance, what's going to happen is, we're going to have a civil war, a regional war, and we're going to have to go back and the casualties will be much worse," he said.
Giuliani thanked Mayor Richard M. Daley. "Of all the cities that helped us after Sept. 11, your city helped us the most," Giuliani said.He then told the story of driving through NYC and seeing a Chicago police officer directing traffic “How did he know where to send people? He probably sent some people to the Bronx,” he quipped.
Giuliani was asked about campaigning in the adopted state of Democratic U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, a potential rival should both win the nomination. Giuliani talked about liking Wrigley Field and was dancing around the question when I threw in that Sen. Hillary Clinton grew up here. “Well good it's everybody's hometown then," he replied.
The 6th District Republican from Wheaton toured the Walter Reed Army Medical Center campus with a group of fellow congressmen and described a “shabby” atmosphere in some buildings.
“We can do a lot better than that,” Roskam said. “Clearly there’s a failure in leadership.”
Roskam’s comments came after remarks by Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth, Roskam’s Democratic opponent last election. Duckworth, who lost her legs in combat and was treated at Walter Reed, described housekeeping problems there such as mice.
Roskam said he was shocked by recent news of negligence at the Washington, D.C., facility.
“Up until the story broke, Walter Reed enjoyed a sterling reputation,” he said. “The presence of members of Congress and the increased scrutiny sends a strong message.”
When Congress begins debate of a new funding bill next month, Roskam said he’d support increased money to fix Walter Reed’s deficiencies although it is scheduled to be closed in 2011.
“It’s four years out. We still have a responsibility any time the United States sends a member of the military there for care,” he said.
Roskam added that patients he interviewed had high praise for the hospital staff, but he heard troubling stories about bureaucratic roadblocks they encountered in returning to civilian life.
The initial ad continues the governor’s rhetoric of big business cheating the tax system and leaving the average Illinoisan to make up the difference either via higher local property taxes or state taxes.
“I say it’s time the middle class got a break,” Blagojevich says in the ad, which the state is not paying for.
A newly formed group called Citizens for Tax Fairness, Health Care and Education claims responsibility. According to state records, that group was formed last Thursday and its leadership consists of a former top union official and the head of the state’s hospital association.
Neither Margaret Blackshere, who until recently has been president of the Illinois AFL-CIO, nor Kenneth Robbins, president of the Naperville-based Illinois Hospital Association, could be reached for comment Monday. The Blagojevich administration could not provide more information about the ads.
The state’s unions see Blagojevich’s plan as pumping billions of dollars into state programs and projects, all of which likely may benefit union members. The hospital association, meanwhile, is fighting a political battle over charitable work and tax-exempt status in addition to the future of the state board that decides hospital construction.
This initiative comes on the heels of Blagojevich touring the state with a series of rallies designed to stir support for his health care and education plans and the accompanying business tax increase needed to pay for them. Blagojevich wants to impose a tax on essentially every dollar that comes into a business, regardless of whether it ends up being profit.
He’d also essentially do away with the corporate income tax. The end result is expected to be a tax increase on businesses of more than $6 billion annually.
The business community and many Republican lawmakers say those added taxes merely would get passed onto consumers.
Scott Fawell helped feds in other cases, prosecutors say - AP
A onetime aide to former Gov. George Ryan not only testified against his old boss but provided information in five other federal public corruption investigations, prosecutors said Monday.
Prosecutors furnished fresh details of Scott Fawell’s cooperation in court papers urging U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer to chop six months off of his 6¨-year racketeering and bid-rigging sentence as a reward.
Fawell, 45, was Ryan’s chief of staff in the Illinois secretary of state’s office for eight years and managed his 1998 campaign for governor. He was convicted of racketeering in March 2003 and pleaded guilty to bid-rigging in September 2004 in exchange for a deal with the government.
Besides testimony against Ryan and longtime Ryan friend Larry Warner, Fawell provided “debriefings relating to at least five non-Warner/Ryan investigative matters involving public corruption,” prosecutors disclosed.
Ryan, 72, was governor from 1999 to 2003 and retired amid a scandal over payoffs and other governmental corruption. He was convicted in April 2006 of racketeering and other offenses. Prosecutors said he steered state contracts to Warner and other associates, covered up drivers license bribery and used state money and state workers to operate his campaigns.
In exchange for Fawell’s testimony at Ryan’s trial, prosecutors agreed to recommend a deal for his fiancee and former administrative assistant, Andrea Coutretsis, who had pleaded guilty in two corruption cases.
Prosecutors also agreed to recommend that Fawell’s bid-rigging sentence run concurrently with the 6¨-year racketeering term he was serving, and agreed to ask Pallmeyer to cut the sentence by six months.
Prosecutors did not say which public corruption investigations Ryan discussed with them other than the one involving Ryan.
“Over this approximate three-year period defendant has provided substantive information to the government in excess of 50 debriefing and trial preparation sessions, including providing information on a pending investigative matter as recently as Nov. 27, 2006,” the prosecutors said.
They asked Pallmeyer if, instead of coming to Chicago for the hearing at which his sentence might be cut, Fawell could participate via closed-circuit TV from the federal correctional center at Yankton, S.D.
According to the government, Fawell’s “out date” from Yankton is July 2009. But the proposed cut would get him out faster, as might other unspecified credits that he might have earned while behind bars.
DIERSEN HEADLINE: Bolds votes for Wheaton Block 316 development project
(DIERSEN: A statement Bolds provided the news media yesterday evening is posted in PDF format on the Files page of www.DiersenForMilton9.com.)
Councilman’s about-face puts Wheaton’s Block 316 on track - Jim Fuller
Alan Bolds may have lived up to more than one promise in reversing his vote on a multimillion-dollar downtown development Monday night.
Last week, Bolds promised to switch his vote after listening to “a lot of people” following his vote against the Block 316 project. Monday night, Bolds said he’d heard from a lot more people than he’d heard from in the year leading up to last week’s vote.
Bolds was a consistent critic of the project until recently. He said he believed the city’s $9-plus million buy-in was simply too high a price to pay. Until last week, that view didn’t matter in a 5-2 majority in favor of the retail/office building and parking garage development.
After last Monday, Bolds faced criticism from the developers and the majority of his fellow councilmen for stymieing the project on a technicality where six votes were needed to push Block 316 along.
Bolds said that helped change him on a personal level.
“It is time to come together for the greater good of our community and reconsideration represents a greater good,” Bolds said. “After closer review and careful analysis of this project, it is the right thing to do. I could no longer stand in the way of this project.”
After the vote, Bolds wouldn’t directly say if he was disappointed by the developers politicizing his initial “no” vote last week.
Chad Thorson, a point man for the Block 316 developers, sent out an e-mail to about 30 people around the city last Tuesday asking them to back Mike Gresk, Bolds’ opponent in the current race for mayor.
“Alan had given his word that he would not trump the wishes of a majority of the council and in the end changed his mind, broke his word and voted against the project,” Thorson wrote. “He has shown he is not the kind of leader we want for Wheaton.”
Bolds said he had let some people know how he planned to vote last Monday, but wouldn’t say if he made any promises to anyone. Bolds said he found himself vacillating on what was the right way to vote for several days. Now, he said, it’s time for everyone to move forward, particularly the developers and make sure Block 316 is built and really does downtown development as billed.
“I am all about moving forward,” Bolds said. “Leadership requires a willingness to change, especially if that change comes from within,” Bolds said. “My decisions were based on reviewing the merits, listening and making the best decision possible.”
Walter Reed A Metaphor For Government Health Care - Doug Pattonhttp://www.gopusa.com/commentary/dpatton/2007/dp_03121.shtml
"Government-run health care will combine the efficiency of the Post Office with the frugality of the Pentagon and the compassion of the IRS."-- 1994 rallying cry against Hillary-Care
I was writing fiery speeches for a long-shot Republican congressional candidate when Hillary Clinton attempted to engineer a takeover of America's health care system. In fact, it was Bill and Hillary's arrogant overreaching for power that helped that young conservative topple an entrenched Democrat in November of that year, one more victory in a landslide election night that would became known as the "Republican Revolution."
While the GOP revolution may have stalled, the liberal Democrat juggernaut for what used to be called "socialized medicine" rolls on. Those who want their government to provide cradle-to-the-grave safety nets continue to clamor for ever more radical candidates promising ever more radical solutions for our health care "crisis."
Hillary Clinton, of course, has never abandoned her dream of establishing a federal bureaucracy that would take control of one-seventh of the nation's economy; and the fact that she is now a serious contender for the White House makes her dream that much more dangerous. But running to her left, Barack Obama and John Edwards are trying to steal her thunder on the issue, and they will not be outdone in their attempts to buy the votes of those who believe America is all about having things handed to them.
As I read about the scandal surrounding the Walter Reed Army Hospital, I was reminded of Hillary's 1994 fiasco, and why so many of us were motivated to action against her blatant power grab. Can you imagine huge government hospitals, whose services all of us would be forced to utilize, with mold growing up the walls and vermin infesting the rooms like some third world medical facility? Liberals will never admit that this will be the result of their vision for our nation's health care system, but that is exactly what our wounded military heroes have been enduring at Walter Reed. Why should we believe that dictatorial Hillary-care would be any different?
Pick a federal agency. Do any of them fit your model of how health care should be run? How about the United States Postal Service? Calling itself a quasi-private government entity, the USPS is a relatively unaccountable monopoly that would crumble under real-world competition.
How about our government schools? Talk about unaccountable monopolies! Do I detect a pattern here?
Perhaps the Internal Revenue Service or Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) would qualify as your bureaucracy of choice. Ask those who have ever dealt with either agency if they would like to negotiate for cancer surgery with such people.
How about five trillion dollars in government spending for the forty-year "war on poverty"? Is that your model for efficiency?
While there was outsourcing going on at Walter Reed, with private companies providing at least some of the management, the truth is that whenever government is involved in any endeavor, efficiency, cost effectiveness and accountability inevitably head south. When government partners with a large corporation, the private sector does not improve the government; government corrupts the private sector.
The grand experiments with communism around the world have been miserable failures, mainly because they deny human nature in theory and reduce entire societies to an equal level of misery in practice. Similarly, attempts at providing health care for all Americans by turning it into a gargantuan government bureaucracy also will fail.
Former Sen. Bob Dole, himself a wounded World War II veteran, and Donna Shalala, Bill Clinton's Health and Human Services Secretary, have been appointed to head up yet another commission to study the problems inherent in a system that could produce such a scandal as Walter Reed. We can all expect about as much from that as from any other recent government commissions.
Walter Reed is a metaphor for the nightmare that our nation's health care system will become if our federal government is trusted to control and manage it: a microcosm of what 300 million Americans will face if liberal Democrats' utopian ideas are allowed to come to fruition.
18 South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day parade attendees arrested - Courtney Grevehttp://www.dailysouthtown.com/news/294350,131NWS8.article
The accused include a Blue Island man who slapped a woman on the buttocks, three siblings from Evergreen Park who interfered with police and a 17-year-old boy charged with underage drinking after he chugged a beer in front of an officer, Morgan Park police Sgt. Mike Casey said.
Chicago firefighter paramedics made 31 ambulance runs Sunday near the parade route, firefighter Rich Rosado said. Ten of those calls resulted in a person being taken to an area hospital, he said.
Information could not be provided on how many of those calls were because of drunkenness, Rosado said.
Alcohol is believed to have played a part in all of the arrests Sunday.
Juan Guitierrez, 33, allegedly slapped a woman's behind with an open hand, which led to a scuffle with the woman's friend on the sidewalk at 11520 S. Western Ave., Casey said.
Guitierrez, of the 2200 block of Davis Street, Blue Island, was charged with battery and disorderly conduct. He was taken into custody on a warrant for failure to appear in DuPage County, Casey said.
Aidan Thompson, the woman's 27-year-old defender from Chicago's Morgan Park community, was charged with disorderly conduct and possession of cannabis, police said.
In an unrelated incident, trouble started for a 17-year-old boy from Evergreen Park when he repeatedly kicked the side door of a car sitting in traffic. The driver dialed 911, and the teenager fled on foot when police arrived, police said.
When police caught up with the teen, he cursed at the officers and became combative. Then his two sisters, ages 17 and 20, jumped into the melee, police said.
The boy was charged with criminal damage to property and aggravated assault of a police officer. The girls were charged with obstruction of justice, police said.
One person was charged with drunken driving as he left the parade Sunday, police said.
Joseph Dekett, 25, of the 1100 block of West 118th Street in Chicago's Morgan Park community, also was charged with driving on a revoked license and operating without insurance.
Lastly, a 17-year-old boy received a municipal violation for drinking alcohol in the public way. The teenager was spotted staggering down the middle of Western Avenue at 112th Street. He was carrying a plastic cup containing an amber liquid, police said.
When he was asked if he was drinking beer, the teen said, "Not any more." Then the boy chugged the beer and threw the cup on the ground, Casey said.
Several people also were charged with public urination, including five people who had immediate hearings in an Administrative Notice of Violation van stationed in the County Fair grocery store parking lot.
In 2006, four people were arrested on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and trespassing. No one was arrested on alcohol-related charges.
Minority leader Cross attacks governor’s tax increase plans during visit to Marion - Tom Kane
MARION - Illinois House Minority Leader Tom Cross spoke Saturday night in Williamson County at the VFW hall.State Rep. Cross was the keynote speaker at the Williamson County Republican Women’s Lincoln Day Dinner. The dinner is one of many annual fund raising events that the women’s group sponsors.He attacked Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s recent plans to increase taxes on Illinois businesses and criticized his failing to lead more aggressively against Ameren’s rate increases.
Cross said the state is in for severe economic hardship as a result of these two positions.Cross pointed out that raising the taxes on businesses will drive new business away from the state resulting in stagnant economic growth.He said that allowing the utility rate increases to go unchallenged would lead to the closure of many businesses and severe hardship for the consumer.
“We are the better party at governing,” said Cross. “We need to come together and establish a message that we can all agree on.“We need to bring young people up in our party,” he said. “Republicans know how to lead.“If we keep fighting, we will be back in the spot where we need to be to govern,” he concluded.
Marion Mayor Robert L. Butler and City Commissioner Robert “Dog” Connell also spoke.The main purpose of the Williamson County Republican Women is to raise funds for Republican candidates at mostly county and city levels. Besides the Lincoln Day Dinner the group sponsors:- The Biscuit and Gravy Breakfast held in February.
- The Ham and Beans Lunch and Dinner held in October.- The annual picnic held last year in Ray Fosse Park.
Some in Indiana think that will help their state in its efforts to attract new business.
"You can bet if they (Illinois) go with it, I'm certain Indiana economic development people will point out that we don't have that tax," said Lawrence DeBoer, an economics professor at Purdue University. "It's an opportunity for us to turn the tables."
The Blagojevich administration scoffs at the notion a gross-receipts tax in Illinois will put the state at a competitive disadvantage when trying to lure new business. Becky Carroll, spokeswoman for Blagojevich's budget office, said Indiana has higher corporate income taxes and sales taxes than Illinois, which would factor into a business' decision where to locate.
"What businesses look at is not one tax, but all taxes," Carroll said.
In his budget speech last week, Blagojevich called for the state to impose a tax on gross business receipts, meaning nearly all types of transactions. Manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers would pay 0.5 percent, while other types of business would pay 1.8 percent.
Companies with less than $1 million in revenues would be exempt, which the administration says would cover 75 percent of businesses.
Blagojevich said the state's corporate income tax is riddled with loopholes that enable many very large corporations that operate in Illinois to escape paying any income tax on their sales here.
He said a gross-receipts tax will produce $6 billion in new revenue for the state, money he will use to significantly increase education funding and pay for a program to give uninsured Illinoisans access to health coverage.
"When large corporations don't pay their fair share to the state, our schools are underfunded, our health care needs go unmet, local governments suffer, and property taxes go up," Blagojevich said in his speech. "This is grossly unfair."
The Illinois State Chamber of Commerce and other business groups countered that business pays nearly half of all taxes collected in the state, including a significant portion of property taxes. Chamber president Doug Whitley said it was unfair for Blagojevich to single out one tax and use that as an example that business doesn't pay enough taxes.
Fairness was also an issue in Indiana when the state debated getting rid of its gross-receipts tax.
"We had a 20-year history of trying to phase it out," said Steve Johnson, president of the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute. "The reason is the tax had nothing to do with the profitability of the business. It had nothing to do with anything except money coming into the cash register."
"It was widely viewed as anti-competitive," said Chad Sweeney, executive vice president and counsel for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, essentially the equivalent of Illinois' Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
"There were some negative effects people can point to, the pyramiding effect and the impact on the supply chain," Sweeney said. "It makes it a more difficult place to do business."
Indiana enacted a gross-receipts tax in 1933, a time when several states turned to the tax as a way to generate revenue during the Depression. Over the years, many of the states that enacted the tax during the Depression phased it out in favor of other taxes.
Although Indiana's gross-receipts tax underwent changes over the years, the state didn't get rid of it because it produced a fair amount of revenue. In 1998, Johnson said, the tax generated $548 million. That's in a state where the state budget at the time was about $11 billion.
The change finally came in 2002 after the state overhauled its tax system, but not because of opposition to the gross-receipts tax. Rather, it was because Indiana courts had earlier ordered a massive change in the state's property tax system. The expected financial fallout from that led Indiana officials to a broad restructuring of the state's tax system.
Illinois business leaders predict a gross-receipts tax will lead to lost jobs and hurt economic activity. However, Indiana officials admit it's difficult to document that getting rid of the tax has led to job growth and increased economic activity.
"Separating that tax from all of the other taxes and what affects business development would have been pretty tough," DeBoer said.
Sweeney agreed, saying, "We have in the last two years had records of new job commitments and capital commitments. How much of that can be directly related to (eliminating the tax) I can't say."
What Sweeney can say is that not having a gross-receipts tax could play a role in the state's efforts to attract business.
"Our governor is committed to making the state the most business-friendly we can be," Sweeney said. "If we thought we had an advantage in tax structure, we would use that."
NEW YORK TIMES
Facing Fraud Trial, Conrad Black Flouts the Rules - Richard Siklos
(FROM THE ARTICLE: Also expected to add to the carnival atmosphere is a flotilla of international media covering the trial and the promise of a parade of celebrity witnesses including Henry A. Kissinger, former Illinois Governor James R. Thompson and the real estate developer Donald J. Trump. . . But in late 2003 — two years after giving up his Canadian citizenship in a huff to become a British peer — Mr. Black’s career unraveled at the hands of his hand-picked board of high-profile directors, including Mr. Kissinger and Mr. Thompson, amid allegations that he and several associates like his longtime partner F. David Radler had helped themselves to unauthorized bonuses that were not properly disclosed to the board or shareholders. An internal company inquiry accused Mr. Black’s management of greed on a vast scale and said Hollinger was a victim of “a corporate kleptocracy.”)
TORONTO, March 6 — When Conrad M. Black pleaded not guilty to criminal fraud charges in December 2005, a federal court in Chicago granted his request that he be defended by Edward L. Greenspan, one of the most famous criminal defense lawyers in Canada, where he is known by the nickname Fast Eddie.
But the court made Mr. Black sign a waiver acknowledging that he understood that his lawyer, for all his renown in Canada, does not know American law.
If he loses, Mr. Black, who faces more than 90 years in jail if convicted, cannot appeal on the grounds that it was his lawyer’s fault.
“I love that I’ve been certified as stupid by the Illinois judge,” said Mr. Greenspan, who plans to frame a copy of the court document and hang it in his law office here. “So stupid,” he added, “that no matter how incompetent I might be, Conrad can’t rely on it.”
The waiver is just one of the elements that seem to ensure that the case of United States of America v. Conrad M. Black et al., which begins on Wednesday in federal court in Chicago, is going to be unusual.
First there is Mr. Black himself, a larger-than-life figure whose baroque vocabulary and towering demeanor can seem straight out of Dickens. Unlike most defendants in corporate malfeasance trials facing the rest of their years behind bars, Mr. Black has gone very public — giving interviews and speeches, writing articles chastising his accusers and vowing not only exoneration but a comeback.
“He not only says he’s not guilty,” Mr. Greenspan said, “he says it to everybody who listens, and everybody who doesn’t listen.”
The trial is taking place in Chicago because that is the registered headquarters of Mr. Black’s former holding company in the United States, called Hollinger International.
In its heyday a decade ago, Hollinger was the world’s third-largest newspaper company by circulation. The former press tycoon will be pitted against Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the United States attorney for Illinois who last week made headlines with the conviction of I. Lewis Libby, the former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, of obstruction of justice, perjury and lying to investigators.
Mr. Fitzgerald is not expected to prosecute the Black trial personally, but will stop in from time to time to observe how the case is progressing.
In the midst of what is expected to be a three- or four-month trail, Mr. Black is also publishing a biography of Richard M. Nixon — his fourth book — and is expected, if time allows, to hold something of a promotional tour in the midst of the trial.
Also expected to add to the carnival atmosphere is a flotilla of international media covering the trial and the promise of a parade of celebrity witnesses including Henry A. Kissinger, former Illinois Governor James R. Thompson and the real estate developer Donald J. Trump.
In Mr. Black’s native Canada, the media attention on the trial is nothing short of gaga. The Globe and Mail of Toronto, considered Canada’s most serious newspaper, recently ran a front-page article about eating lobster dinner with Mr. Black in a restaurant; the Canadian newsmagazine Macleans published a special edition last week devoted to the “trial of the century.”
Toronto Life, a monthly magazine in the city where Mr. Black has been holed up in his mansion since his troubles began, is preparing the Web site conradblacktrial.com to follow every twist.
One poll said that 56 percent of Canadians were following the developments of Mr. Black’s trial. As Robert Fulford, a longtime columnist and commentator on Canadian media, said in an interview: “There seems to be no one in the country who has no opinion on Conrad Black.”
In an e-mail message last week, Mr. Black characterized what was to come as “the big battle” of his ordeal. “The last act of the three-part story will come when we win, and we will win,” he said.
The case against Mr. Black and his colleagues differs from other high-profile corporate scandals like Enron, Worldcom and Adelphia because, unlike those companies, Mr. Black’s former company is a going concern, though much smaller. Most of the newspapers it owned have been sold and Hollinger International is now called the Sun-Times Media Group.
On paper, the case it most resembles is Tyco, which resulted in a conviction for its former chief executive, L. Dennis Kozlowski, after an earlier mistrial. Mr. Kozlowski is serving up to 25 years in prison.
Mr. Black’s legal team is expected to contend in court that the business is in worse shape today, having spent some $200 million investigating and pursuing allegations of wrongdoing by the company’s cofounder.
Mr. Black contended in an e-mail message last week that the Hollinger directors behind his ouster and Richard C. Breeden, the former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman who helped conduct the internal investigation into Hollinger and its affiliates, “have sucked the blood out of those companies and done savage violence to the public shareholders.”
There has long been a cinematic quality to Mr. Black’s life and career including his rise to prominence and striking fall. He was for a time, the publisher of The Daily Telegraph in London, The Jerusalem Post, Chicago Sun-Times and most of the large daily newspapers in Canada.
Married to a glamorous conservative columnist, Barbara Amiel, who served on Hollinger International’s board and as a corporate vice president, the Blacks cut a swath through high society here and in London, Palm Beach and New York.
But in late 2003 — two years after giving up his Canadian citizenship in a huff to become a British peer — Mr. Black’s career unraveled at the hands of his hand-picked board of high-profile directors, including Mr. Kissinger and Mr. Thompson, amid allegations that he and several associates like his longtime partner F. David Radler had helped themselves to unauthorized bonuses that were not properly disclosed to the board or shareholders. An internal company inquiry accused Mr. Black’s management of greed on a vast scale and said Hollinger was a victim of “a corporate kleptocracy.”
Mr. Black and three former Hollinger International executives, Peter Atkinson, Jack A. Boultbee and Mark Kipnis, have pleaded not guilty to charges including fraud, racketeering and obstruction of justice relating to more than $80 million in allegedly misappropriated money.
Most of the money in question related to agreements involving buyers of Hollinger newspapers and the company, which said that neither Hollinger nor its important executives would start competing publications. Mr. Black has argued that any wrongdoing was the result of either sloppy paperwork that was approved by the company’s star-studded board or was the handiwork of Mr. Radler — who has pleaded guilty to a single fraud charge and agreed to act as a chief witness against Mr. Black and the others. Mr. Radler will serve a sentence of up to 29 months for his plea, possibly in a Canadian jail. Some other charges against Mr. Black stem from alleged abuses of his position of trust running a publicly traded company, including using the company plane for a holiday in Bora Bora, buying a Park Avenue apartment in New York on unfair terms from the company and using $40,000 of company money to pay for a 60th birthday party studded with business and media elites for Ms. Amiel at La Grenouille restaurant in Manhattan.
Mr. Trump, who attended the dinner, is likely to testify on Mr. Black’s behalf that he regarded it as a business event because he was negotiating a deal to buy the Sun-Times office building in Chicago, said three people close to the case who were not authorized to discuss the legal strategy. Eric H. Sussman, the assistant United States attorney who is trying the case with two colleagues, declined to comment.
Mr. Greenspan’s place at the defense table is fitting for the latest chapter in Mr. Black’s odyssey. The two men attended their first year of law school together at York University here in 1965, although Mr. Black dropped out but later completed the degree in Quebec. Mr. Greenspan, who grew up in Niagara Falls, Ontario, also went to high school with Ms. Amiel.
At his office last Tuesday morning, Mr. Greenspan had filled the boardroom table in the main floor library at his firm — it occupies a former bank branch, complete with a vault — with color-coded files relating solely to his much-anticipated cross-examination of Mr. Radler.
Having risen at 4 a.m. in Chicago to grab an early flight here, Mr. Greenspan underwent a quick blow-dry by a stylist named Jimmy before having his photograph taken.
Although he would not discuss his legal strategy, Mr. Greenspan said he was confident of victory even though the curve for learning the procedures of the United States federal court after a career in Canadian law was steep.
Robert W. Kent Jr., a former assistant United States attorney who worked on the Black trial at the time he was charged but left last year to join a private practice, said he knew no other instances of a defendant hiring a foreign lawyer. “It is unusual and it is daring and it creates issues,” said Mr. Kent.
Mr. Greenspan agreed to take on the case only because he knew he would be paired with Edward Genson, a criminal lawyer in Chicago who shares a propensity for defending high-profile people caught up in a scandal, like the singer R. Kelly and a former governor, George H. Ryan. (Mr. Greenspan’s daughter, Juliana, worked as a lawyer for six years in Mr. Genson’s practice.) Mr. Greenspan said he expected Mr. Genson to handle the opening statement and “introduce me to the court,” but that he would most likely make a closing argument.
Like Mr. Genson, Mr. Greenspan is no stranger to high-profile cases, from murder to corruption. Last month he successfully defended three N.B.A. players who had been charged with assaulting a male exotic dancer and his fiancée, a stripper, outside a club here.
For several years, he has been the lawyer for Garth Drabinsky, the former chief executive of Livent, a mainstage theater production company that collapsed after a financial scandal in the late 1990s.
Mr. Drabinsky, who had Mr. Black on his board at Livent, is considered a fugitive in the United States but has not been extradited because he was charged with similar offenses in Canada. His trial is set for next year.
In preparation for the Black trial, Mr. Greenspan, Mr. Genson and their supporting lawyers have plowed through some seven million pages of evidence, much of it culled from various civil actions pending in the Hollinger debacle.
“I don’t know who tagged me with the label Fast Eddie, but the Americans are faster than I am at my fastest,” Mr. Greenspan said. “I am going to be tired, but I am going to be ready.”
Over his 37-year career practicing law, Mr. Greenspan does have one other crossborder experience. Early in his career, he took on a case in Traverse City, Mich., defending a Canadian who was accused of arson. But after arguing pretrial motions, Mr. Greenspan showed up for the case and his client did not; he elected to stay in Canada as a fugitive. With Mr. Black chomping to get to Chicago, Mr. Greenspan said he had no worry about history repeating itself.
“We’re going down there to win this,” Mr. Greenspan said.
Asked if he had tried to curb Mr. Black’s public statements, Mr. Greenspan declined to comment on the basis of client privilege. He said it had not been determined if Mr. Black would testify, but it does not require imagination to guess which way Mr. Black would go.
But one thing he said he had not done was attempt to moderate Mr. Black’s imperious, multisyllabic style. “You can’t change him,” Mr. Greenspan said. “That would be silly if I tried to turn him into Forrest Gump.”
ACCURACY IN MEDIA
Soros Buys Another Politician - Cliff Kincaid
(FROM THE ARTICLE: Political observers knew that Barack Obama was for real as a presidential candidate when Democratic Party money-bags George Soros took an interest in him. But Soros has also purchased the services of other candidates. One of them, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, is currently trying to strong-arm state legislators into passing a Soros-backed "medical marijuana" bill. Records show that Richardson took $50,000 from Soros and a Soros front group during his re-election campaign for governor.)
Political observers knew that Barack Obama was for real as a presidential candidate when Democratic Party money-bags George Soros took an interest in him. But Soros has also purchased the services of other candidates. One of them, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, is currently trying to strong-arm state legislators into passing a Soros-backed "medical marijuana" bill. Records show that Richardson took $50,000 from Soros and a Soros front group during his re-election campaign for governor.
Referring to Soros' $26 million campaign to defeat President Bush in 2004 and his financial backing for Richardson, now a presidential candidate, anti-drug activist Steven Steiner comments, "Soros almost bought the White House in 2004. Now he is buying a presidential candidate." Steiner runs Americans for Drug Free Youth.
Despite what you read or see in the major media, the idea of "medical marijuana" is a hoax, acknowledged by those on the inside of the movement, who admit that it is a carefully orchestrated step down the road to complete legalization of dope. In California, the first of 12 states to allow sales of "medical marijuana," pot "clinics" have been raided by federal agents and exposed as massive drug-trafficking operations. The owner of one "clinic" was writing checks to himself for about $10,000 a week and had deposited $2.3 million in a bank account over just an eight-month period. There are said to be about 400 of these pot "clinics" statewide.
The city of Adelanto, California reports that its "medical marijuana dispensaries" have become magnets for muggings, illegal drug sales nearby, burglaries and other crimes. Meanwhile, doctors have been caught prescribing marijuana to high school students for health "problems" like stress and sleeplessness.
This doesn't seem to matter to Soros, who has been backing "medical marijuana" initiatives for years. But it is surprising that Governor Richardson would push one of Soros's initiatives so brazenly, knowing that the campaign could expose his ties to Soros and create the public impression that he is a puppet of the billionaire "philanthropist."
Anti-drug activists are livid, having defeated the bill in the New Mexico House last week, only to see Richardson try to revive it. Time is of the essence because the legislative session ends on Saturday. The El Paso Times quoted Reena Szczepanski of the Drug Policy Alliance of New Mexico as saying, "I still believe we can get it through. I don't think this is a long shot by any means."
Szczepanski's group is the state offshoot of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), a group funded by Soros in order to repeal the nation's laws against illegal drug use. The DPA includes such figures as Soros, Walter Cronkite, Arianna Huffington, and Ram Dass on its board. Ram Dass, also known as Richard Alpert, achieved notoriety for experiments with LSD before becoming a mystic by studying yoga and meditation. Huffington, now known for the website that bears her rich ex-husband's name, is also associated with the New Age movement, having been a follower of guru John-Rogers and his Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness.
The Drug Policy Alliance and its New Mexico branch are affiliated with the Drug Policy Alliance Network, which gave Richardson $25,000. That was in addition to the $25,000 given to Richardson by Soros personally.
But it turns out that Richardson isn't the only New Mexico politician doing Soros's bidding. New Mexico's Democratic Senator Jeff Bingaman arranged for the Drug Policy Alliance of New Mexico to get almost $500,000 in federal funds, supposedly to educate the public about the dangers of methamphetamine. It seems strange, to say the least, that a group promoting acceptance of illegal drugs should be getting federal money to fight them. Indeed, during the 2006 legislative session in New Mexico, the Drug Policy Alliance boasted about fighting bills "that would have increased sentences for people convicted of methamphetamine possession." The group opposes "locking people up" when they violate the drug laws.
Although marijuana continues to be portrayed by media outlets as a "soft" drug, horrendous crimes have been associated with its use. In Richardson's New Mexico last year, 16-year-old Cody Posey, a marijuana user, was convicted of killing his entire family on a ranch owned by media personality Sam Donaldson. Posey, who has even been caught smoking marijuana at school, had shot his father, stepmother and stepsister in their heads. On the stand during the trial, Posey also acknowledged using LSD at the age of 10.
The Drug Policy Alliance, however, considers marijuana to be relatively harmless and recommends "the elimination of criminal sanctions for consumption-related offenses." It supported the "Compassionate Use Act," the measure that passed in California, supposedly to make marijuana available to "sick and dying patients," but which has led to more drug trafficking, more crime, and more use of marijuana by young people.
Ignoring the burgeoning scandal of "medical marijuana" in California, Bill Richardson's aggressive service on behalf of the Soros agenda suggests that he is anxious to get a position on the Democratic ticket in 2008. He is clearly counting on the media to keep his Soros connection secret.
REPUBLICANS FOR FAIR MEDIA
Oberweis Resignation as RA-IL Chief Spokesman a Strange Saga of subterfuge and Politics - Dan Zanoza
SPRINGFIELD -- On January 16th, RFFM.org posted an exclusive titled, "Republican Assembly of Illinois (RA-IL) Fails to Appoint Oberweis State Conservative Spokesman / Meeting Draws Ire of Some Pro-Family Leaders." [http://www.politicsislocal.com/artman/publish/article_553.shtml]
RFFM.org reported on what was referred to by some as a "secret meeting" held by the organization on January 6, 2007. An anonymous source who attended said the gathering included some past and present members of the Republican Assembly of Lake County and conservative leaders who were not members of the group.
According to the source, the Republican Assembly of Illinois intended to appoint perennial Republican candidate Jim Oberweis to a leading position in the organization. RFFM.org learned the group's leaders had indeed intended to not only insert the CEO of Oberweis Dairy into a high position, but they also planned for Oberweis to represent all conservatives in the state of Illinois.
RFFM.org came under considerable criticism from Republican Assembly (RA) officials who claimed the report was erroneous and misleading. RFFM.org attempted to contact RA officials through one of its members, seeking clarification about where and how the January 16th article was allegedly misleading or inaccurate, but no representative of the RA contacted RFFM.org related to this matter.
RFFM.org stands by its January 16th report in full measure. On February 10th, the RA validated RFFM.org's story when the group appointed Oberweis as its chief spokesman. ["Republican Assembly of IL' So-called Conservative Caucus Chooses Oberweis as Chief Spokesperson for Group and State?" http://www.politicsislocal.com/artman/publish/article_564.shtml] RA apparently expanded the role of Oberweis by indicating the businessman would also be a spokesman for all conservatives in Illinois. No vote was taken regarding the appointment of Oberweis and, according to reports there was a great deal of dissension over the group's actions during the meeting.
"It wasn't a vote. It was a strange process which was used to select Oberweis as the group's spokesman," said the source. "Most certainly there was dissension in the room. I think there has been some confusion over this. All because an individual attended the meeting, it didn't mean that person supported what was going on."
On February 15th, the RA issued a press release announcing Oberweis' appointment. The p.r. also indicated Oberweis was a unanimous choice. The press release drew a firestorm of criticism from the conservative community and, to make matters more strange, some of those who attended the February 10th Republican Assembly meeting expressed concerns over the content of the document.
The p.r. was issued by Col. Raymond True on behalf of the organization, but RFFM.org has learned some of those who attended the February 10th meeting were strongly against releasing the document as it was worded. According to reports, Oberweis himself felt the press release announcing his appointment as RA Spokesman was inappropriate.
Shortly after the Feb. 10th meeting Bruno Behrend, who had been selected as deputy spokesman for the group, resigned. On February 15th Oberweis informed RFFM.org he had also resigned from the organization's spokesman position earlier that day. ["Oberweis Resigns Newly Appointed Position as RA-IL Spokesperson" http://www.politicsislocal.com/artman/publish/article_566.shtml ] Oberweis would not provide RFFM.org a reason for his resignation.
Recently, RFFM.org learned the reason for the resignations of Behrend and Oberweis was due to the inaccuracies in the press release written by Col. True, the Chairman of the Republican Assembly of Lake County. True would not relent regarding the concerns voiced by members of the organization. Hence, this led to the resignations.
RFFM.org has learned some conservative leaders who attended the Feb. 10th meeting had no idea of the group's agenda prior to the gathering. One member who could not publicly issue such a political endorsement was furious when he said he was caught off guard by the criticism he received after the press release went out on GOP USA Illinois mentioning his organization. He said he was not made aware of the group's primary agenda for that day.
Some speculate Republican Assembly leaders attempted to appoint Oberweis, in order to help launch another political campaign planned by the dairy magnate.
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