Saturday, May 31, 2014

Bankers exhale as Tea Party power fizz

By Peter Schroeder -

Banks are breathing a sigh of relief after established GOP incumbents bested a handful of Tea Party challengers at the polls recently.

Industry sources said the establishment wins improve Republican odds of retaking the Senate, which would in turn lead to a friendlier climate for the long-beleaguered sector. But some note that the Tea Party has left a mark on the Republican Party, presenting a challenging landscape for the industry.

The Tea Party movement can trace its roots back to fury about bailouts and banks, but the force that pulled the Republican Party right in recent years is finding less success at the polls recently.

In Idaho, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) was repeatedly blasted by outside groups for his 2008 vote in favor of the Wall Street rescue, but he soundly defeated his conservative challenger all the same.

Voters in Georgia, Oregon and Pennsylvania also opted for more mainstream candidates as opposed to conservative upstarts. And in Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) trounced his primary challenger, Matt Bevin, who made McConnell’s vote in favor of the bailout a central plank of his campaign.

The recent shift away from feisty conservatives who are antagonistic toward Wall Street is a welcome development for a sector long in the political crosshairs of those at both ends of the political spectrum.

“The fact that [Sen.] Ted Cruz [R-Texas] will not have.....

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Friday, May 30, 2014

The fight for women's votes in 2016 begins

Williams: The fierce fight for women's votes
By Juan Williams -

Most voters in the last four presidential elections have been female, and most of them voted for the Democrat. But in all four races a majority of white women voted for the Republican.
Young white women and white working moms are more likely than their older, married sisters to vote for Democrats. But concern over the economy has them looking for solutions from either party.

In the 2016 presidential race, Republicans plan to convince those white women that the GOP knows how to put money in their pockets. Even more, the GOP wants to stir fear among white women that Democrats don’t have the answers to economic problems — and they want to make this argument especially strongly in the cases of two prominent white females, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

If the Democrats nominate Clinton or Warren the GOP will be busy telling swing voters — lots of white working women — that fixing the growing income divide is more important than putting a woman in the White House.

Jobs are the number one issue for Americans and especially for middle and working class white women, the so-called “blue collar moms.” 

To Read More:

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Are you an Activist?

Making an Impact: Are You an Activist? 
 By Tara HolmesTruthout | Op-Ed
Who are the "real" activists? How do they make a difference?
I never considered myself an "activist," per se. Activists were hardcore people who literally put their lives on the line against injustice. Don't get me wrong, I get fired up when I hear of environmental or social wrongdoing - I write letters to elected officials, make calls, attend community meetings, or boycott a product - but regularly march in the streets, or risk being thrown in jail? That's just too intense for me; that's reserved for "real" activists.
It took me some time to realize that the "small, simple" actions I was taking against oppression in my own daily life, even if simply raising an important issue with my friends, family and colleagues, added up to more activism than I thought, and it was just as real and impactful. In fact, I came to realize that we're all activists to varying degrees; it just depends on how you look at it. After all, who hasn't at some point in time in some small way stood up against injustice - especially when it becomes personal?
Perhaps, then, I have to redefine my definition of activism. Who are activists anyway? People who have nothing to lose? People who have everything to lose? People who feel a sense of right and wrong more so than others? What I'm coming to realize is that activism comes in all shapes and sizes and can be witnessed in the most unlikely of places.
Classic Political Activism....To Read More: 

Monday, May 26, 2014

What Happened to Bernie Sanders' Veteran's Bill?

On this Memorial Day weekend, Sen. Bernie Sanders is honoring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Bernie will attend ceremonies in Vermont paying tribute to those who have served our country. He also will discuss veterans issues during a discussion at 9 a.m. ET Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” One possible topic may be Friday’s announcement that Bernie will introduce legislation to increase accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs and revive his comprehensive measure to improve veterans’ and survivors’ benefits.

May this Memorial Day be full of both remembering and new memories of living in this fine country.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Returning Equality to the Campaign Finance Debate

By Victoria Bassetti, Brennan Center for Justice | Op-Ed
April showers bring May flowers? April brought us a throwdown between two Supreme Court Justices over campaign finance laws. But May brought us what seems to be a commitment to a Senate vote this summer on a constitutional amendment to address the tidal wave of money threatening to swamp our political process.
April dawned with Chief Justice Roberts decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, which yanked the rug out from under another plank of our current campaign finance system. And it ended with retired Justice John Paul Stevens publicly taking on Roberts for a jurisprudence that is “quite wrong” in his testimonybefore the Senate and in a variety of public appearances promoting his new book.
Largely lost in the April media shuffle around Stevens’ appearance: Senator Charles Schumer’s announcement that the Senate would vote this year on a campaign finance constitutional amendment.
After two weeks of silence on the matter, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid Friday announced ....Read More:


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Keep Shouting it from the Rooftops; Obamacare is working

Some additional information for those of you using Get Covered Illinois          

Half Million Illinoisans Got Covered

More than 500,000 Illinoisans gained access to health coverage during the Marketplace Open Enrollment Period, extending a culture of health coverage throughout the state. Now it's time to use your coverage plan benefits to stay healthy.

Tips on using your coverage
Putting coverage
to work
It's National Women's Health Week
Navigator Regina Carballo shares tips on using coverage benefits.

Cancer survivor gets treatment, saves
thousands with new
health plan.
Encourage the women in your life to stay healthy.

News You Can Use

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You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you get married, have a baby or get divorced.
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

ALAN GRAYSON: Here's How I Plan To Make The Benghazi Investigation A 'Nightmare' For Republicans

Rep. Alan Grayson, a Democrat from Florida, has a plan to become Republicans' "worst nightmare" if he is indeed appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the select committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.
Pelosi has not yet decided whether Democrats will participate in the panel. However, in an interview with Business Insider, Grayson gave a preview of what he'd do if he gets the job.
Grayson said the creation of the select committee dedicated to investigating Benghazi proves House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa's probe of the incident is a "failure." He compared Republicans still focusing on Benghazi to so-called birthers who questioned President Barack Obama's citizenship. 
"It's ridiculous. They just dredge up one fake scandal after another fake scandal, going all the way back to the president's birth certificate," Grayson said. 
Grayson said he would use the Benghazi hearings as an opportunity to draw attention to other issues important to "ordinary Americans" that have not received as much attention. 
"That's where we are at this point," he added. "They're scandalmongers without a scandal. They're trying to offer the American people bread and circuses — without the bread."
Grayson has repeatedly said he would love to be appointed to the committee if Democrats do participate. The committee was established earlier this month by House Speaker John Boehner to investigate Benghazi attack and subsequent government response. 
House Democrats have floated a few different courses of action for their potential participation. Some suggest they could boycott the hearings while others say they could participate in full, sending five members to the panel along with Republicans' seven. 
However, in a letter to Pelosi last week, Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro floated the idea of possibly sending just one House Democrat to participate on the panel. DeLauro argued this would allow for Democrats to READ MORE

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Zlotow's Take: Roskam should withdraw from Benghazi committee

My Illinois Sixth District Congressman Peter Roskam should withdraw from the House GOP committee to hold another hearing, the 14th so far, to investigate the Benghazi terrorist attack of September, 2012. The GOP's transparent use of the tragedy that killed four Americans was evident as the political stunt it is by virtue of immediate GOP efforts to fundraise off the Benghazi issue. After spending five years voting against and spreading lies and scare tactics to derail the Affordable Care Act, and two years promoting a false campaign to demonize the IRS, the GOP is left with endless and meaningless Benghazi nonsense to slander the Obama administration and their likely 2016 candidate. Concerned Sixth District voters want Congressman Roskam to support administration job creation programs rebuilding American infrastructure, developing renewable energy and re-vitalizing education. They want Roskam to support extension of unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed, to both cushion the devastating effects of the 2008 recession and inject billions of dollars into the economy. They want the Congressman to support a raise in the minimum wage to the millions of folks working longer hours than most congressmen, not for a fabulous salary and benefits package, but for poverty wages. They want Roskam to stop supporting military adventurism in far away places like Afghanistan, Ukraine, Africa, Iran, and any other place that meets the war party's fancy.   

The People want Roskam to do their work, not the Party's work. The upcoming Benghazi hearings will be a sham and a disgrace. They will not burnish the Congressman's image for good governance. They will simply be another excuse to avoid moving the district and the nation's critical agenda forward. They may be Roskam's ticket to move up from No. 4 in the GOP House leadership to No. 3, but sadly, at his constituents' expense.

Find more from Walt Zlotow at his blog here

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Let the unraveling begin; Benghazi Backfire

Benghazi Backfire: Fox News Has Lowest Rated Non-Holiday Week in 13 Years

Fox News has gone all Benghazi all of the time, and the result has been Fox’s worst rated non-holiday week with younger viewers since before 9/11/ in 2001.
According to The Wrap, “During the week of May 5, 2014 — the most recent for which numbers are available — Fox News delivered an average of 180,000 viewers in the key 25-54 demographic in live-plus-same-day measurement across the total day. That measures programming from 6 a.m. until the following 6 a.m. Fox pulled the same number the previous week, the week of April 28.”
To put this into context, Fox News only averaged 4,000 viewers on Christmas week last year. Fox’s other record low came during Christmas week in 2012. In order to find a non-holiday week where Fox News had fewer younger viewers, one has to go the whole way back to the week before the 9/11 terror attacks.
It isn’t a coincidence that Fox News has seen more younger viewers turn off their network after they decided to go completely crazy on Benghazi. Republicans desperately needed something to distract the country away from the fact that they were completely wrong about Obamacare, and Fox News was happy to provide it to them by trying to turn Benghazi into the biggest political scandal since Watergate.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Special Birthday Blog

We don't do this often but the blog seemed a good place to thank SANDY GRESAK for her continued work not only in the office but especially on this blog.

She's a TRUE BLUE GAL and please join us in wishing her a very

Friday, May 16, 2014

Breen=Roskam. YOU can stop his election by helping Marian now.

It's tough to live in the heart of the heart of what was formerly the 2nd most Republican county in the state.


Marian Tomlinson has agreed to run against Peter Breen, the darling of such far-right organizations as Stand for Children Illinois and the Thomas Moore Society all likely connected to the Koch Brothers and others who are selling our country to the highest bidders.

If you help get Marian on the ballot, she will challenge this attitude in DuPage and in Springfield.

CALL WALT ZLOTOW TODAY to get your signature sheets 630-442-3045
or join us at the Milton picnic at Herrick Lake starting at 11 tomorrow 5-16-14.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A simple chart for complainers about welfare recipients.

A Simple Chart To Share With Anyone Who Complains About People On Welfare

Ronald Reagan popularized the idea that people on welfare are a drain on the economy. Fox News carries that mantle today, making regular blanket characterizations of the country’s poorest families as big spending welfare frauds. Here’s why they’re wrong — but don’t expect them to admit it.
Families receiving public assistance spend on average less than half as much as families that don't receive public assistance. Considering those very moderate figures, it's safe to say that most of the folks represented by the red bars aren't on welfare for selfish personal gain, but because they actually need the support.
These numbers also prompt important questions about opportunity in the U.S. For example, families that don't receive public assistance spend an average 382% more on insurance and retirement than families that rely on public assistance. How might a family's ability, or lack thereof, to invest in the future impact economic mobility for their future generations?
But the numbers aside, instead of pointing fingers at poor people and spreading false generalizations about them, wouldn't we be much better off working together to ensure all families have a fair chance at healthy, productive, and fulfilled lives — or was I living in a cave when the Golden Rule was overruled?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

More Health care defeats for Republicans

Called by Republicans, Health Insurers Deliver Unexpected Testimony

Health insurance executives, being sworn in on Wednesday ahead of testimony at a House hearing on the Affordable Care Act, offered an industry view that surprised many Republicans.Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times 
WASHINGTON — House Republicans summoned a half-dozen health insuranceexecutives to a hearing Wednesday envisioned as another forum for criticism of the Affordable Care Act. But insurers refused to go along with the plan, and surprised Republican critics of the law by undercutting some of their arguments against it.
Insurers, appearing before a panel of the Energy and Commerce Committee, testified that the law had not led to a government takeover of their industry...

To Read More:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Breaking news: Candidate in the 48th House district

The nominating committee elected at the County Convention has chosen Marian to run in the State Representative District 48 against Tea Party Conservative Peter Breen.  Marian will be seeking 500-1500 signatures on petitions before the end of May to get on the ballot, and will then seek your support in the election November 4.  This district, currently represented by Sandra Pihos, covers about half of Milton Township, and half of York Township, with a few precincts in Bloomingdale and Lisle.  If you live in District 48, or if you would like to help gather signatures, please contact Marian (630-858-4587) or Walt (630-442-3045) to offer your help.  Petitions will be available at the picnic or can be sent to you online, but can only be signed by voters who chose a Democratic ballot the last time they voted in a primary  OR WHO HAVE NEVER VOTED IN ANY ILLINOIS PRIMARY.

Marian wants to represent your ideas in the General Assembly, not those of a radical and irresponsible party faction.

What, No Seniors who Hate Medicare Cuts in Florida?

Florida's Rick Scott Couldn't Find Any Seniors Who Hate Obamacare's Medicare Cuts

Florida Gov. Rick Scott met with senior citizens on Tuesday to talk about how Obamacare-mandated cuts to Medicare Advantage were ruining their lives. They didn't know what he was talking about. “I’m completely satisfied,” Harvey Eisen, 92, a West Boca resident, told Scott, according to The Sun Sentinel
Most of adults in the audience hadn't experienced any changes to their insurance and argued that, “if, as you say,” there are cuts to Medicare, they didn't see why they shouldn't share the wealth of government subsidized health care. “We’re all....
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Friday, May 9, 2014

GOP Candidate denied Health Care until..

Before Obamacare, GOP Candidate Was Denied Health Coverage For Adopting A Child
By Scott Keyes   

MADISONVILLE, Kentucky — In a parallel universe, Matt Bevin might not be an anti-Obama crusader, but instead a poster child for the issues with the old health insurance industry and the ways in which the Affordable Care Act now prevents insurers from taking advantage of consumers.
That’s because Bevin, a Republican Senate candidate trying to unseat Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), himself was once the victim of an unfair insurance industry practice: Denying coverage to consumers because of a pre-existing condition.

During a campaign stop in western Kentucky on Monday, Bevin told the crowd that after leaving a job, “My wife and I literally didn’t have health care for about a year because of a pre-existing condition.”
Was it cancer? Heart disease? Pancreatitis? No. It wasn’t a health condition at all...To Read More:

Watch for these 2016 GOP Strategies

2016 Republicans Target Black Democrats and Poor White Republicans with One Magic Bullet

Once 2016 finally rolls around, Republican candidates have to negotiate two very different electorates in the primary (white Republicans) and the general election (black Democrats) that often share one commonality: economic struggle. A number of the Republicans that are likely to try to win both of those races — Sen. Rand Paul, Rep. Paul Ryan, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum — have begun to articulate what they see as the thread between those two populations.

The Paul Ryan strategy-A listening tour on poverty that focuses on black Americans.

The Rick Santorum strategy-Refocus the Republican party on the needs of poor Republicans.

The Rand Paul strategy-Reach out directly to black voters as a sign of a changing GOP

The Mike Huckabee strategy-Be populist

To read more on their plans:



Thursday, May 8, 2014

Koch brothers face lawsuit

Koch Brothers To Face Lawsuit Over ‘Swirling’ Chicago Petcoke Pollution
By Emily Atkin  

In this Oct. 25, 2013 photo, petroleum coke, or petcoke, is stored on barges on the Calumet River near the Chicago Skyway Bridge in Chicago. The grainy black byproduct of oil refining has been piling up along Midwest shipping channels and sparking a new wave of environmental concerns. The volume and size of petcoke piles has grown sharply, especially in the Midwest.
CREDIT: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

In this Oct. 25, 2013 photo, petroleum coke, or petcoke, is stored on barges on the Calumet River near the Chicago Skyway Bridge in Chicago. The grainy black byproduct of oil refining has been piling up along Midwest shipping channels and sparking a new wave of environmental concerns. The volume and size of petcoke piles has grown sharply, especially in the Midwest. 
Two environmental groups on Monday sent a letter to billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, saying they intend to file a lawsuit against them for polluting a primarily low-income area of Chicago with thick, black, oily dust
The letter sent by the Southeast Environmental Task Force (SETF) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) gave official 90-day notice of intent to sue the Koch brothers and 10 of their companies, including the KCBX Terminals Company, in federal court. The lawsuit will seek to hold them liable for the harmful effects of pollution caused by coal and petroleum coke, or petcoke — a dusty byproduct of tar sands oil refining — which their companies allegedly help store in large piles along the Calumet river on Chicago’s southeast side.
Because petcoke can be used as fuel.. To Read More:

The full notice of intent to sue the Koch brothers can be found here.