Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

Blue on Blue

February 1, 2015

MoveOn.org is not too fond of Rahm Emmanuel.

Dear MoveOn member,

This month in Chicago, there’s a battle going on over the heart and soul of the Democratic Party.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel perfectly embodies the pro-Wall Street corporatist wing of the Democratic Party. In the 1990s, he fought against labor and environmental groups while pushing NAFTA through Congress.1 In the 2000s at the DCCC, he was known for recruiting conservative Democrats and building the conservative “Blue Dog” caucus.2

And in 2009, when MoveOn members held those same conservative Democrats accountable for blocking a public option in health care reform, Emanuel called us “f***ing retarded.”3

When he was elected mayor of Chicago in 2011, his first actions were to cut vital public services across the city, closing dozens of mental health clinics and provoking the first teachers’ strike in decades. He then proceeded to close 50 public schools in low-income communities, while championing private schools in wealthy neighborhoods and diverting tax dollars and public resources to favored corporations.4

In just four weeks, Mayor Emanuel will need to answer to Chicago voters for his right-wing policies. Polling has consistently shown him to be in serious trouble, and MoveOn members in Chicago have just voted overwhelmingly to endorse his progressive opponent, Cook County Commissioner Jesús “Chuy” García.

Defeating Mayor Emanuel will not only improve the lives of millions of people in our nation’s third largest city, it will also send shockwaves through the national political establishment.

Can you chip in $3 today to MoveOn’s first endorsement of 2015—Jesús “Chuy” García?

Yes, I’ll chip in.

The key to defeating Mayor Emanuel will be to unite and mobilize all of Chicago’s diverse communities in a massive get-out-the-vote effort. That’s why MoveOn has hired a full-time local organizer to mobilize the 75,000 MoveOn members in Chicago and help send Mayor Emanuel packing.

It’s also why we’re asking MoveOn members across the country to chip in today. Every dollar we raise will help the García campaign pay for signs, literature, hand warmers, and everything else the thousands of grassroots volunteers will need to get out the vote in their neighborhoods.

With just a few weeks to go until the February 24 election, we have a huge opportunity to hand “Mayor 1%” an embarrassing defeat. 

Because so few other major progressive races are happening right now, progressives can focus our resources and make a massive impact on the critical first major election of 2015.

Will you chip in $3 to Jesús “Chuy” García’s grassroots campaign today?

Yes, I’ll chip in to defeat Mayor Rahm Emanuel and elect a progressive champion.

Thanks for all you do.

–Matt, Milan, Joan, Ilya, and the rest of the team

There has been a lot of talk in the mainstream media about the fight between Tea Party extremists and the Republican establishment, but I wonder if the divide between the more pragmatic Democrats and people like MoveOn.org isn’t much greater. I do not know much about Chicago politics and the Wikipedia article on Rahm Emanuel is not particularly enlightening about his performance as Mayor of Chicago. He was President Obama’s Chief of Staff from 2009 to 2010, so he could hardly be described as a conservative. He does seem to have a knack for making enemies, especially with people who hold that defending progressive principles is more important than real accomplishments in enacting policies. There is this gem in the article.

He has a reputation for his no-holds-barred negotiation style that involves “his share of shouting and cursing”. Ezekiel Emanuel has written, “The impatient, pushy Emanuel style is so well known that during a recent job interview I was asked, point-blank, whether I had the level-headed temperament the position required….. [A]s obvious to our flaws are to others, it’s difficult to recognize them in ourselves.”[5] At a closed-door meeting in the White House with liberal activists, Emanuel called them “fucking retarded” for planning to run TV ads attacking conservative Democrats who didn’t support Obama’s health-care overhaul. In February 2010, Emanuel apologized to organizations for the mentally handicapped for using the word “retarded.” He expressed his regret toTim Shriver, the chief executive of the Special Olympics after the remark was reported in an article by The Wall Street Journal about growing liberal angst at Emanuel. The apology came as former Alaska Governor and conservative activist Sarah Palin, on her Facebook page, called on President Obama to fire Emanuel.

In other words, he is kind of a jerk. Still, his description of the activists were were planning to oppose Obama’s healthcare policies on the grounds that weren’t liberal enough is essentially correct. I wouldn’t use quite the same terminology as Emanuel did, but those people, and moveon.org do not seem to be able to deal with political realities. Emanuel seems to have governed Chicago pragmatically with some idea of controlling municipal spending. Moveon.org would prefer a solid progressive who won’t win and would run the city into the ground. And they think that Tea Partiers are unrealistic extremists.

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Chicago Murder Rate Higher Now Than in Capone’s Day

February 4, 2013

While not at a record high, that was in the 1990’s, the present murder rate in Chicago exceeds that of the fabled days of Al Capone and the Chicago gangs. The details are here in this piece from the local ABC affiliate.

In this I-Team report, Chicago’s rising murder rate in a new context, how the numbers of shooting deaths compare to the city’s most notorious crime era, the one that has tarnished Chicago’s reputation around the world for a century.

The surprising stats show the city is worse off now in the category of murder than at the height of the era that has driven Chicago’s reputation for almost a century, Capone’s “gangland” Chicago.

Let’s compare two months: January 1929, leading up to the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, and last month, January 2013. Forty-two people were killed in Chicago last month, the most in January since 2002, and far worse than the city’s most notorious crime era at the end of the Roaring Twenties.

Even though the image of Chicago, perpetuated by Hollywood over the years, was that mobsters routinely mowed down people on the streets, the crime stats tell a different story. January 2013’s bloodshed has caught the attention of Chicagoans, politicians, the White House and people around the world.

In January 1929 there were 26 killings. Forty-two people were killed in Chicago last month, the most in January since 2002, and far worse than the city’s most notorious crime era at the end of the Roaring Twenties.

Even though the image of Chicago, perpetuated by Hollywood over the years, was that mobsters routinely mowed down people on the streets, the crime stats tell a different story. The figures from January 2013 are significantly higher than the January of Al Capone’s most famous year.

With Friday’s fatal gunshot attack on a vehicle on a Lake Shore Drive, February is starting as January left off. But if the current murder rate continues, February 2013 will far exceed February 1929, when there were 26 killings, and that number includes the attack known around the world, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. In that single slaughter, seven people were lined up against a warehouse wall on North Clark Street and gunned down. It was a bootlegging dispute between North and South Side mob gangs.

That hasn’t changed between then and now, as police today cite street gangs and drugs for the rise in killings.

The 42 murders in January is nowhere near the most ever in a month, but even that figure is not from the rat-a-tat-tat years. It is from the early 90s, when police also said a mix of gangs and drugs fueled the tremendous number of killings.

I am at a loss as to how this could be. Chicago has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country. The murder rate there should be the lowest in the country, unless, there is only a tenuous link between gun control laws and the crime rate. No, that couldn’t be true. No doubt those gun nuts have weakened the laws since Capone’s day. But wait, the article goes on.

There was no real gun control back in Capone’s day. The first national firearms act wasn’t signed until 1934. It required approval of the local police chief, federally registered fingerprints, federal background check and a $200 tax.

Could it be just barely possible that strict gun control laws have little or no effect on the murder rate? Could it be that disarming the law abiding citizens of a given jurisdiction might actually increase the crime rate since the risk to criminals is lessened? No, it must be some sort of strange anomaly.

 

Jim Messina Thanks Me

November 9, 2012

Jim Messina wants to thank me for the hard  work I have done for the Obama campaign.

David —

President Obama made a surprise visit to the campaign office in Chicago yesterday to give a heartfelt thank-you to staff and volunteers.

I wanted to pass this video along, because it’s a message every single person who helped build this campaign deserves to see. He wasn’t just talking to those of us in the office — he was talking to all of you.

In his speech on Election Night, President Obama gave you all the title you have spent the last year and a half earning:

“The best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics.”

So many times in this election, this campaign was counted out. They said our supporters wouldn’t turn out, and we’d never see the kind of voter participation we saw in 2008. They said we’d be buried in money and special-interest influence. And they said that no campaign could overcome the political headwinds we faced.

Last year, a major American newspaper asked, “Is Obama toast?” As recently as two weeks ago, another ran this headline: “Can Obama win?”

Tuesday night, you all answered all of those doubts with a resounding YES WE CAN. By knocking on doors, organizing phone banks, and chipping in a few bucks when you could, you built a campaign that is unparalleled. And you re-elected our president.

You also proved that millions of ordinary people taking ownership of a cause is still the most powerful force in our political process. You showed that grassroots organizing and small donations are not only the right way to win, but also the most effective way.

How we got here must guide where we go. If we’re going to accomplish the things America voted for on Tuesday, you’ve got to be even more involved in getting them done than you were in giving us all the chance.

We’ll be in touch soon about how we can get started on some of the President’s top priorities in his second term.

For now, I just want to say I am so proud of this team. And I can’t wait to see where you take this incredible movement from here.

Thank you — more to come,

Messina

Jim Messina
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

You’re welcome Jim. Now, go back to that playground you were lurking in.

 

Competing Visions

August 13, 2012

 

I like how Mitt Romney handled these hecklers in Wisconsin.

After several interruptions from a protester in the crowd at a Wisconsin campaign event, Mitt Romney said to the heckler: “You see, young man, this group is respectful of other people’s right to be heard. And you ought to find yourself a different place to be disruptive because here we believe in listening to people with dignity and respect.”

The heckler was also hit with several rounds of “USA! USA! USA!” by the crowd at the event.

Romney used the heckler as a chance to tell President Obama to take his campaign out of the “gutter.”

“Look, there is no question that if you follow the campaign of Barack Obama he is going to do everything in his power to make this the lowest, meanest, negative campaign in history. We’re not going to let that happen. This is going to be a campaign about ideas, about the future of America,” Romney said.

“This is a campaign about greatness, about America’s future for your children, for the world. Mr. President, take your campaign out of the gutter. Let’s talk about real issues that America faces,” Romney also said.

The gutter is all Obama has left. The last thing he seems to want to do is talk about real issues.

 

“Too many folks still don’t have a sense that tomorrow will be better than today. And so, the question in this election is which way do we go?” President Obama asked at a fundraiser in Chicago on Sunday.

“Do we go forward towards a new vision of an America in which prosperity is shared?” Obama asked. “Or do we go backward to the same policies that got us in the mess in the first place?”

“I believe we have to go forward,” Obama said. “I believe we have to keep working to create an America where no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, no matter what your last name is, no matter who you love, you can make it here if you try. That’s what’s at stake in November. That’s what is why I am running for a second term as president of the United States of America.”

Forward right off the cliff. The mess we are in couldn’t possible be due to the President’s own policies to “share the prosperity”. It has to be his predecessors. If you try the share the prosperity, you only end up sharing poverty.

 


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