Thursday, June 09, 2016

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Thorner: Comptroller delivers budget message to Lake County Republicans

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Comptroller Leslie Munger addresses Women’s Republican Club of Lake Forest & Lake Bluff

By Nancy Thorner – 

The Women’s Republican Club of Lake Forest & Lake Bluff and Shields, West Deerfield, Moraine, and Vernon GOP Township Organizations held a Meet and Speak with Lake County & local State GOP candidates and incumbents at Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest on Thursday, June 9, 2016 from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm.  Peggy Siebert serves as president of The Women’s Republican Club of Lake Forest & Lake Bluff. Leslie Munger, Comptroller, State of Illinois and Mark Shaw, Chairman, Lake County Republican Central Committee were the featured speakers at the Paint Lake County Republican Red! event.

Comptroller Munger emphasizes need for balanced budget

Even though the wording of the Illinois Constitution seems clear that the proposed expenditures shall not exceed funds estimated to be available for the fiscal year as shown in the budget, for more than a decade Illinois lawmakers have used borrowing and budget gimmicks to pass unbalanced budgets.

Leslie Munger knows what it is to have a budget.  In her 25 years as an executive at Helene Curtis in the hair care business, Ms. Munger is used to having a budget finished on time.  Munger was sworn in as Illinois State Comptroller on January 12, 2015 to take over the position held by Judy Topinka after her untimely death. This being the second year without a budget, Munger rightly called the present as being the “most challenging financial time in this state’s history.” This marks the second year for Illinois without a budget. 

Ms. Munger blamed both parties for a decade of bad decisions where financial problems were pushed off until tomorrow.  

In 1994, then-Gov. Jim Edgar spearheaded a bipartisan pension bill he claimed would solve the state’s then $15 billion pension deficit.  The basic setup?  Drastically reduce pension payments at the plan’s onset and then steadily increase payments in the future.  Under Edgar’s pension ramp, unfunded pensions liabilities have increased nearly $116 billion in 2016, despite taxpayers contributing $16.4 billion more to the five-state-run pension systems than required under the Edgar plan.

Presently Illinois is spending $5 billion more than what the state is taking in. The outcome:  There are more bills to be paid than the money available to pay them.  It was in April that Comptroller Leslie Munger decided to put legislative paychecks into the same long line for payment as everyone else waiting for payment from the state, making payment about 48 working days late. State lawmakers and top elected officials are not happy with Munger as they have missed their last two paychecks.

In the budget fight, each side blames the other side and neither appears willing to budge.  There is now a war of words and blame between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton.  Consider that the Illinois House Democrats recently proposed and passed a fiscal year 2017 budget plan that is nearly $7 billion out of balance. 

According to Leslie Munger, this proposal could increase Illinois’ unpaid bills to $1.5 billion from $7 billion, and could cause eight to nine month payment delays for vendors.   With $32.6 billion in expected revenue for 2017, SB 2048 is far out of line with what the state can afford. 

It doesn’t help that recently two major credit rating agencies downgraded Illinois already worst-in-the nation rating, citing the ongoing political gridlock and fiscal mismanagement by state leaders.   The changes means that Illinois will pay more money to borrow.

Leslie Munger is committed to fighting for “the soul of the party.” She is facing Democrat Chicago City Clerk Susanna Mendoza in November’s election, as her appointment was only for two years to finish out the term of Judy Topinka. Help is needed for Leslie Munger to win her own four year term.  More Republican legislators must also be elected to the General Assembly.  Only one seat is needed in the House for Republicans to gain more power over Mike Madigan, the longest-serving House speaker in Illinois history and one of the longest-serving state House speakers in United States history, while a three seat pickup is needed in the Senate for the same to happen to John Culligan (Read here “How Madigan Became King” by Austin Berg, Illinois Policy Institute). 

The pick-up of seats are doable, although it will not deny Madigan and Cullerton the Super Majorities they now enjoy.  Both will still be in control, but not with complete power.  The Democrat’s goal of reclaiming the Comptroller’s Office and the checkbook must be denied.

Mark Shaw, Chairman, Lake County Republican Central Committee

Mark Shaw stressed that what happens in Springfield also affects Lake Forest.  For twenty years the Democrats have been trying to bring their brand of politics up to Lake County.  Of the 14 seats on the Lake County Board, 9 are Republicans. This Republican majority must be protected.  Local precinct committeemen are vital in promoting, electing and re-electing the slate of Republicans candidate running here in Lake County. 

Many Illinoisans would be surprised to hear that Illinois is not a Democratic state.  The Illinois General Assembly is responsible for drawing both congressional and state legislative district lines.  Based on census figures every ten years, Illinois’s legislative redistricting plan was passed by the legislature on May 27, 2011. Quinn signed the map into law on June 3, 2011.  Not surprising is that gerrymandering is rampant here in Illinois, which means that many incumbent Democrats are never challenged.  Gov. Bruce Rauner has endorsed a petition-driven effort to allow voters to change the state constitution to reduce political influence in the redrawing of legislative boundaries, dismissing attempts by lawmakers to put their own redistricting proposals on the fall ballot.     

Before introducing the Lake County and local State GOP candidates and incumbents, Mark Shaw spoke of the voter anger he has experienced here in Lake County.  Reforms can take place at the county by electing good people and keeping these people in office.  

Introduction of Lake County and Local State GOP Candidates and Incumbents

Among the many candidates who spoke were State’s Attorney, Michael Nerheim, who told of an opium epidemic in Lake County where all drugs are coming from Mexico.  Programs to allow drug addicts to get help were touted.  A life-saving antidote in now in the hands of the police — naloxone — which has been credited with saving 80 lives in Lake County.  On June 1 a new program was announced, the “A Way Out” country addition treatment program where those struggling with addiction can walk into a police station and find help rather than handcuffs. 

Keith Brin, Clerk of the Circuit Court told of an amazing accomplishment.  Brin reduced the budget in his office by 20% through investing in technology.

Carla Wyckoff, County Clerk, although not up for election until 2018, indicated that the 14 early voting sites in Lake County are now universal voting sites.   Another change is that registration can now take place on election day.  Ms. Wyckoff had reason to be pleased with her department.  It does everything internally, even printing its own ballots at 4 cents a ballot.  The push continues for more election judges.

Presentations were made by two dentists who are running to defeat Lake County Democrat incumbents  Dr. Howard Cooper hopes to unseat the present Lake County coroner, Dr. Thomas Rudd.  Cooper want to go into schools to talk about drugs before they end up on his table.  Bob Haraden is running against long-time Democrat Recorder of Deed, Mary Ellen Vanderventer.  He wants to work to modernize the records system so your records are accessible online.

For positions on the Lake County Board in a push to keep Lake County Red, introduced were Michael Rummel (former mayor of Lake Forest), for District 12; Ann Brennan, for District 13; and Laura Lambrecht, for District 11. 

In an effort to win back control of the General Assembly from Democrat control, Lake County candidates Benjamin Salzberg is running against incumbent Democrat IL Senator Julie Morrison (29th), while Martin Blumenthal is going up against Incumbent Democrat representative Steve Drury (58th).

Tom Mannix, a political consultant since 2001, was enlisted by Mark Shaw to explain what volunteers can do to help candidates.  Suggestions given include door knocking, phone banks, circulating petitions, working train station, putting out yard signs out, attending events on behalf of candidate, holding Meet and Greet event, and general volunteer office work.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

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By Nancy Thorner and Ed Ingold –  

Radical Islamic terrorism raised its ugly head again this weekend when 49 individuals were killed in Orlando, Florida, by a gunman’s rampage that represents the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. According to a Rasmussen Report, most Americans saw the horror in Orlando coming nearly three months ago.

What if the gunman would have had a pint of gasoline?  Instead of killing 49 people out of 300, he could have killed them all.  There was one exit, which would have been quickly blocked in the resulting stampede. Such a situation is not without precedent. 87 people were killed in a single exit social club by a disgruntled customer at the Bronx Happy Land social club fire in 1990.

Listening to various talking heads on Fox News (and others) regarding the atrocity committed in Orlando, FL on Sunday morning, June 12, it took a surprisingly short time to discern the political background of the speakers. Democrats invariably returned to the themes of LGBT hatred and “gun control,” disregarding all other aspects of the incident. It would save a lot of time if there were a more concise way to reveal their outlook on events.

A shibboleth is an example of a linguistic password: used to identify another person as a member, or a non-member, of a particular group.

Shibboleth refers to a story in the Old Testament, the Book of Judges. Two Semitic tribes, the Ephraimites and the Gileadites, have a great battle. The Gileadites defeat the Ephraimites, and set up a blockade across the Jordan River to catch the fleeing Ephraimites who were trying to get back to their territory. The sentries asked each person who wanted to cross the river to say the word shibboleth. The Ephraimites, who had no sh sound in their language, pronounced the word with an s and were thereby unmasked as the enemy and slaughtered.

As applied to the talking heads on television concerning Orlando’s shooting, the shibboleth would be “Islamic Terrorism.” That term has yet to cross the lips of President Obama, his heir-apparent, Hillary, nor any of their acolytes. President Obama, in his televised speech to the nation, called the gay jihad mass murder an “act of hate” and an “act of terror”, carefully avoiding the more concise term. This notwithstanding the fact that the shooter, Omar Mateen, screamed “Allahu Akbar!” during the shooting and his 911 call pledging allegiance to ISIS.  This was ignored by Barack Obama as he went after guns.

If the so-called “experts” can’t or won’t pronounce that phrase, they should be instantly dismissed as having nothing to contribute. It would be educational to ask Obama, in public, what the letters in “ISIS” (or “ISIL”, which includes the state of Israel) stand for, and watch him stand tongue-tied or walk off the stage in disgust.

The Pulse Club atrocity was not a tragedy. A puppy falling into a drainpipe is a tragedy. The happening was deliberate and cruel to the extreme, having nothing to do about the availability of guns.  It is about:

  • A target of opportunity with many potential victims
  • A soft target, unlikely to present an armed defense
  • All exits and entrances except one were chained and locked.
  • A target which would get the immediate attention of the Administration, since it involved the LGBT community
  • Easily and widely publicized, to the benefit of Islamic Terrorists everywhere

There were no “red flags” raised when the shooter purchased two guns shortly before the assault. The FBI admits they had questioned Omar Mateen twice in the last three years, but purged their records of those encounters out of political correctness, mandated by Obama and the DOJ. The same policy allowed Ft. Hood, Boston Marathon, the North Charleston church and San Bernardino to develop unnoticed.

The “Terror Watch List” should not be a prohibition against exercising a constitutional right since it derives from a faceless bureaucratic decision, but it could sound a wake-up call to Homeland Security. Not all smoke means a fire, but it’s a pretty good idea when to start looking. If the President were to get his way and establish a new prohibited class, it would not be long before everyone who criticized the administration would find themselves on the list.

Although long guns figured prominently in San Bernardino, CA and Aurora, CO, long guns of any sort account for only 1% of homicides. Most are committed with hand guns of various sorts, and 10 percent using hands, fists and feet. In fact, Obama and Hillary don’t want guns of any sort in the hands of ordinary citizens. They decry so-called “assault rifles” simply for starters as low-hanging fruit, despite their enormous popularity. Real military “assault” rifles are fully automatic, and only a handful are in the possession of civilians. By “automatic”, progressives mean “semi-automatic”, which require a separate trigger pull for each round. Semi-automatic firearms, long or short, constitute over 85% of all civilian firearms. Progressives in New York and California include pump and lever action guns in the “assault” category. Where does it end?

As in the great Australian confiscation of guns, John Wayne would twirl his ubiquitous Winchester 1902 by the lever and say “Let’s dance!” or something like that.

Australia’s 1996 gun confiscation didn’t work – and it wouldn’t work in America.

It’s time we started looking for solutions, not just a way to transfer blame to others as a way to promote a failed Liberal ideology.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 08:21 AM | Permalink

 


Comments

Grant Noble said…

Until we start winning primaries, nothing will change. The only person who is a semi-surprise on this list is LaHood, who like Hultgren voted against last year’s White Flag (to Obama) budget that increased Planned Parenthood funding. He’s new and this might be an oversight. Those in his district should remind him to sign on to FADA. The rest needed to swept out in the next primary election. nd You should also vote for an appropriate third party if possible as protest since none of them are needed for a Republican majority to control the House next year.

The Rule of Law is necessary, but it was because government left free people alone in Hong Kong, that people could make themselves rich. This is the ingredient of prosperity.  Government control takes away opportunities for people to succeed and prosper on their own.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Comments

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Thorner: What if Environmental Laws Make Things Worse?

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By Nancy Thorner – 

Time and again, humans have put into motion well-intentioned schemes to restore the environment to the condition people have come to believe is natural and pre-ordained by some higher authority, but they only made things worse. So …

  • What if what we think we know about ecology and environmental policy is just wrong?
  • What if environmental laws make things worse?
  • What if the very idea of nature has been hijacked by politics?
  • And what if “the wilderness” is something we create in our minds, as opposed to being an actual description of nature?

These are the questions Jim Lakely, Communications Director at The Heartland Institute, posed to those in attendance before introducing author Ryan M. Yonk as guest speaker at a Heartland event on Wednesday, May 11.

Yonk, along with Randy T. Simmons and Kenneth J. Sim, wrote Nature Unbound: Bureaucracy vs. the Environment, a book published by the Independent Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan, public-policy research and educational organization that shapes idea into profound and lasting impact. [How to purchase Nature Unbound.]

About the authors:

Ryan M. Yonk is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, Assistant Research Professor of Economics and Finance at Utah State University, and Executive Director of Strata Policy.

Randy T. Simmons is Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute and Co-founder, President, and Director of Research of Strata.

Kenneth J. Sim is Director of the Reliable Energy Education Network and a former Analyst with Strata Policy.

The book, Nature Unbound

In Nature Unbound, Yonk and his co-authors offer a devastating critique of federal environmental policy by scrutinizing it through the lenses of biological ecology and political ecology. The book makes us rethink environmental objectives. It aligns incentives with goals and affirms the notion that human beings are an integral part of the natural order and merit no less consideration than Earth’s other treasures. It isn’t enough to try to put an area into a time-capsule and preserve it for future generations. After all the natural world changes and even degrades. Nature is constantly in flux and will not maintain its beauty or current state without human intervention.

Nature Unbound likewise makes a good case for abandoning the balance of nature myth and rethinking the environmental laws aimed at maintaining the mythical balance. This thinking was present in passing the Clean Air Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Wilderness Act, and, more recently, a slew of renewable energy legislation – even though laws often fail to meet their stated environmental goals and may lead instead to worse environmental and economic outcomes. For instance, did stopping logging operations in the Pacific Northwest return forests to their natural state? Ecosystems do not exist in a steady-state equilibrium where, if left alone, they return to an idealized conditions.

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Guest Speaker and Author, Ryan Yonk

 Yonk initially tackled two central problems about environmental thinking which are deeply flawed:

1. Balance of Nature: The outdated notion that nature actually has a steady equilibrium it rests at, that the environment would return to some Eden-like state if only humans wouldn’t have touched it. But does a well-tended garden just happen on its own?

2. Assumed Perfect Political Process: The unfounded notion that the political process represents the best science and the popular will. 

The Wilderness Act of 1964 and the Clean Air Act (Air Pollution Control Act of 1955) were passed to take back what was never meant to be. Even the American Indians changed the land to make it more hospitable. In actuality, things were getting better even before strict regulations were enacted – and not because of the new regulations. Rather, growing prosperity gave man more leisure time with which to engage the environment in positive ways.

Two early environmental crusaders cited by Yonk were John Muir and Aldo Leopold

John Muir, a friend of President Teddy Roosevelt, founded the Sierra Club and helped guide an evolving wilderness movement that considered wilderness sacred space. Wanting to preserve the “cathedral of the mountains,” the Scottish environmentalist failed to draw support for his dream until he got involved in politics. He convinced Roosevelt of the beauty of his “wilderness as sacred space” vision, turning what had been a local discussion into a political one. In 1890, with the urging of Muir, Roosevelt created Yosemite National Park. 

Aldo Leopold, called by some the father of wildlife conservation in America, helped organize the Wilderness Society. Early on, however, Leopold realized that restrictive laws had largely failed in their mission to conserve America’s forests, rivers, and other natural resources.

Conservation laws explode in late 60s and 70s

Following a decades-long lull in the passage of environmental laws, the late 60s and early 70s saw a surge we still feel today. Congress Greatly assisted through the infusion of government cash, the following laws and regulations were passed: the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the Clean Air Act, the National Environmental Policy Act , the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and created the Environmental Protection Agency. Although largely a failure in the ecological sense, they succeeded in the political realm.

Yonk presented this slogan of how restrictive environmental laws come into being: “Good Intentions, Bad Results.” Government is often motivated by disasters to do something, especially when the public demands action, but the results many times fail as an effective means to tackle the issue hand. For example: The 1969 Santa Barbara, CA oil spill, a relatively minor one as oil spills go, provided the impetus for the 1973 Clean Air Act (CAA), and the Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972, which was grew out of the amended Federal Water Pollution control Act of 1948.

But what happens if nothing is done when a situation merits human intervention, such as the Bark and Beetle crisis Yonk cited? The outcome from failing to initially address the beetles was to create a fire risk because of damaged trees in the Logan, Oregon area. By 1989 the area had become a tinderbox – and with a no intervention policy, the Forest Service didn’t attempt to put out the fires; instead they put out people.

Biological and Political Principles in Managing the Environment

What about biological principles in regards to the environment? A slide presented by Yonk listed them as two-fold:

  • Managing nature protects biological integrity better that does natural regulation.
  • Natural, wilderness, preservation, and ecosystems are only human constructs, not scientific ones.

In regard to political principles interfering with good environmental policy, these three principles were noted:

  • Powerful political forces are invested in existing legislation and regulation.
  • Making political changes will require extensive and intensive political entrepreneurship.
  • Marginal changes are more possible than wholesale changes, as nature is always in flux.

A short quote from Nature Unbound describes how this nation has dealt with environmental issues:  

“This nation’s conservation history might be compressed into two sentences: We tried to get conservation by buying land, by subsidizing desirable changes in land use, and by passing restrictive laws. The last method largely failed; the other two have produce some small samples of success.”

Concluding Thoughts

A number of questions were addressed to Yonk by those in attendance and by others watching the live-stream of the event on Heartland’s YouTube page. 

One question was about the EPA and how people are selected to serve in the agency and how it fits in the structure of the executive branch. Yonk noted that EPA directly reports to the administration. President Obama is the agency’s boss, even though the EPA administrator is not a cabinet member. EPA has become completely radical in nature and is self-selecting in its members. They go from lobbying organizations into government and then into the regulating world to create policy. The same is also happening in other government agencies, where bureaucratic self-interests are easily realized and agents are constantly pushing for increases in budget and size.

Before introducing speaker and author, Ryan M. Yonk, Jim Lakely spoke with pride about Heartland’s new Michael Parry Mazur Memorial Library with its wealth of liberty and free market books. As Freedom and Liberty are under assault in this country, the support of both principles are important to to the survival of this nation. Read here my write-up about the grand opening on Wednesday, May 4th, 2016.

 A Photo of Veterans saluting

 
The Village of Lake Bluff Celebrates Memorial Day in a Big Way – by Lake Bluff resident, Nancy J. Thorner
Memorial Day, borne out of the Civil War, was originally called Decoration Day and celebrated on May 30th to honor those who died fighting in the Civil War.  Memorial Day is now regarded as a day of remembrance for those who have died fighting any war in service of the United States of America.  With Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 the date of Memorial Day was changed from May 30th to the last Monday in May as a way to ensure a three day Federal holiday weekend.
Lake Bluff from its very beginning had young people in times of war who were willing to serve their country.  The Necrology revealed the names of 16 Lake Bluffers who died in service to their country starting with the Civil War.
On a picture perfect morning, Lake Bluff’s Memorial Day Ceremony was held on the Village Green in downtown Lake Bluff in front of a large gathering of Lake Bluffers and a dwindling number of proud veterans, most seated on chairs, as members of Lake Bluff Post 510, David Cimarrusti, Commander.
The spirit of patriotism was ever present as pre-ceremony marches by the Lake Forest High School band set the mood for what was to follow from the raising of the flag by Boy Scout Troop 42 to the final wreath laying ceremony.
A long tradition at Lake Bluff Memorial Day Celebrations, the recitation of “In Flander’s Field” by Esther Fetherolf, a longtime resident of Lake Bluff before her death in 2015, continued unbroken this year when Deb Dintruff, President, 4th of July Committee, read the heart-wrenching poem.  Esther started the tradition to honor her father, a participant in WWI.
Guest Speaker Captain David S. Kemp, Commander, MEPCOM, recently appointed as Chief of Naval Operations Reserve Forces after being stationed in Germany for 5 years, expressed an affinity for Lake Bluff as a Navy guy and former ship driver.  Lake Michigan reminded him of the ocean, while Lake Bluff brought back memories of his childhood home in New York.
In speaking of the 205,000 young people who enlisted and were shipped off to nine different boot camps out of the 1/2 million who were interviewed, Captain Kemp spoke of the very moving sacred oath (a promise) all had to take in front of a witness to defend their nation, fully realizing they might have to give their all.
In speaking about today’s young people, Kemp related how 1 in 3 adults believe young people are lazy and spend too much time on the Internet and will fail to make the world a better place.  Not so said Kemp, who believes this generation of young people born between 1982 and 2004 (called Millennials) have the potential to become “the next great generation.”  This in contrast to Generation X born in the time frame of 1965 to 1984.

The Marine Air Con

trol Group 48 Firing Detail from Great Lakes provided the Salute to Fallen Comrades.