Robert Redfern, longtime leader of Illinois Forum
By Nancy Thorner –
The 26th Anniversary Luncheon of the Illinois Forum was held at Round Barn Banquet Center,1900 Round Barn Road, Champaign, Illinois, on August 22, 2015 at 12:00 p.m. Organized in 1989 by Chairman Robert S. Redfern, Illinois Forum promotes a smaller state government to restrain spending and to encourage tax cuts and further believes in returning the general assembly to a part-time legislature. As a volunteer movement, Forum members get the job done on their own and do not have to play by the same rules as politicians use to stay in power. Notable state conservatives from all sections of the State of Illinois attended the luncheon.
Chairman Robert Redfern in presenting opening remarks, spoke of the division that exists in this nation with one side believing in constitutional principles, the free market, strong national security and borders, self-reliance, individual freedom and traditional values. Opposing are those who believe in a constitution that means whatever they want it to mean. In discussing Illinois precincts, there are 11,000 in the state and many are not filled with committeemen. With one or two votes more in each precinct, Bill Brady would have been governor of Illinois instead of Quinn in the 2014 election.
Following the luncheon, four speakers were presented, each with great insight that seemed to demands a full account of their remarks. Realizing that such a thorough coverage would be too lengthy for just one article, a Part 2 will follow.
Left: Jim Tobin Right: Dr. Daniel Crane
Speaker 1: Jim Tobin, President, Taxpayers United of America
In 1976 Jim Tobin founded Taxpayers United of America (TUA), which has become one of the largest taxpayer organizations in the country. Mr. Tobin has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV programs and his tax-cutting activities have been the subject of articles by major media publications. Jim Tobin received an M.A. in International Economics from Northern Illinois University, working for nine years as a Federal Reserve Bank Examiner, where he specialized in international finance. Tobin was one of the first economic experts to predict the collapse of Continental Bank and to warn of the dangerous extension of credit by U.S. banks to bankrupt foreign governments.
Attention was directed to a handout by Tobin of the 16th biennial, non-partisan Illinois Tax Survey compiled by the Taxpayers United of America (TUA) of the 98th Illinois General Assembly (2013-2014). Noted on page 5 was a roll call of every Illinois legislator and how he/she voted on each significant tax or spending bill surveyed for the 98th session in terms of “Taxpayer Friends” and “Taxpayer Enemies.” It was not surprising to note that all those cited as Taxpayer Enemies were Democrats, 56 in the House and 39 in the Senate. As to Taxpayer Friends, in all, only 3 Republican senators were cited (Kyle McCarter, Jason A. Barickman, and Chapin Rose). The House did better with 17 qualifying members, but among the 17 Taxpayer House friends were three Democrats. Listed in order percentage wise are the 14 Republican House friends with ratings from 91% to 73%: Dwight Kay, Thomas Morrison, David Reis, Michael Unes, Adam Brown, John M. Cabello, John D Cavaletto, Brad E. Halbrook, Jeanne M. Ives, David McSweeney, C.D. Davidsmeyer, Charles E. Meier, Wayne Rosenthal, and Joe Sosnowski.
Also discussed were the pensions of Illinois Government retirees. A separate hand-out by Tobin listed the top 200 Pensions of Illinois Government Retirees as of 2/1/2015, assuming Life Expectancy of 85 and a 3% COLA compounded annually. There are 12,154 state pensioners collecting more than $100,000 per year and 85,893 state pensioners collecting more than $50,000 per year.
As stated by Tobin, huge pensions are outright taxpayer theft. It is stealing money from taxpayers to give to the political elite. There is no way taxes can be raised high enough to maintain the high pensions demanded by unions for their members. In regard to political leadership, the Cullerton family has been involved in politics for 80 years, with John J. Cullerton as president of the Senate. As for Michael Madigan, he has 32 years under his belt and has managed to have his step-daughter elected as Attorney General, who seems to be in line for a future governorship of Illinois.
This must change if Illinois has any chance of getting out of its economic slump and low ratings in many areas when compared to other states. Statesmen must be elected instead of politicians.
Speaker 2: Dr. David Crane, youngest brother of late Congressman Phil Crane
Dr. David Crane, a psychiatrist whose home is in Ohio, spoke of being 5th of 5 children, the baby of the family. He and his siblings were raised in Hillsboro, Indiana. One of David’s siblings, Dan Crane, is on the Board of Governors at Illinois Forum, which consists of individuals from various portions of Illinois. Evident in David’s remarks was his love of country, which had been instilled in all five Crane children by their father, a doctor, who believed education was often mistaken for knowledge. He instead believed there was more to education than just going to school and spewing forth what passes for learning by teachers and professors. The Crane children were told to get involved and commit to changing the course of this country.
A fond recent memory was Crane’s participation in the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the now famous picture taken of a Navy guy kissing an army nurse at the end of WW II. David found it difficult to speak at times, becoming choked up with emotion when remembering this encounter and others.
Mr. Crane spoke about a change that began in 1911 when those on the Left started to advocate that our country was a democracy. Sadly after 100 years, a majority Americans now believe they live in a democracy. But this is what Benjamin Franklin had to say:
A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
Copies of a letter were distributed by David Crane that was written in 2011 by his former congressman brother and now deceased Phil Crane who died last fall. Phil Crane had submitted his letter, “My View”, to the Indianapolis Star for publication, but it was never published. It is a letter that should be read by every high school student. It details the importance of teaching our children to view our government as a Republic, perhaps the finest government ever established by mankind.
David Crane called it a smart move that one psychiatrist was assigned to every Infantry Division in the Vietnam War. When relating a session he conducted with a group of students, Mr. Crane asked every 18 and 19-year-old to stand up. He then spoke of what their immediate future would hold if the year were 1966: Within 30 days they would be in drafted into the military. After training they would find themselves on the way to fight in Vietnam. 58,000 Americans died in Vietnam. There were 33,000 who were 18 years of age and 9,000 19-year-olds. Even so, when called, the young men never hesitated to get into the mix to serve their country.
The most touching of the accounts related by David Crane involved gangster Al Capone, who despite his dealings with illegal alcohol, never went to jail. Al Capone was represented and protected for years by his lawyer, “Easy Eddie.” But Easy Eddie had a son he loved and didn’t wish his son to follow his chosen path in life. In a turn of conscience, Easy Eddie reported everything he knew to the authorities about Al Capone.
As a result of his disclosure, Easy Eddie was found shot dead a year later in Chicago because of his squeal. Then came the zinger to David Crane’s story. Easy Eddie’s son, Eddie O’Hare — for whom O’Hare Airport is named — became a famous pilot who risked his life when he confronted Japanese planes on their way to attack American targets. Eddie “Butch” O’Hare was awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery.
In closing, Dr. Crane believes if we are to save this nation, it must happen internally and not externally. We must convey the message of freedom and the Bill of Rights. As it took 100 years for the Left to take control of this nation, it will take 100 years to reclaim America as it was known by our forefathers. But major sacrifices will be demanded of the American people. Essential is that young people must be redirected to the task of saving this nation. They must be tough and stand firm. Hillsdale College, dating back before the Civil Was as a higher institution of learning, is attempting to change the direction of this nation by training students not only be Christians, but “tough” Christians who are willing to stand up to those elements who are determined to destroy our Republic.
Not to be missed is Part 2 of the 26th Anniversary Luncheon of the Illinois Forum. To be covered are revealing thoughts by Bill Bradley, former senator and 3 time candidate for governor, and Adam Andrzejewski, founder of Openthebooks.org.who ran for governor in 2010.