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Fix it Florida voters! Fix it now! You don’t get a second chance. Fix it now before you are tainted and are recognized as the dumbest state in the union. People’s exhibit A:

And here is the material for the Florida GOP’s second campaign commercial:

Tasty.
All kidding aside, I can’t be any more serious. Garcia must go. A man of his sloppy intellect and habits in power is a signal of the end of the Republic.

by Ron Brzoska

Last week I received my property tax bill. The purpose of this blog is not to complain about it. In relative terms, I got off easy. My property taxes went up a total of $47.00. I know of others in my community that have seen their property taxes increase by hundreds of dollars. I did find it a bit outrageous that the assessed property value of my home and the others in my locality have remained depressed over their values from ten years ago, but the taxes still go up. My purpose here is to highlight the trends and drivers of my property taxes, what it means, and what we should do about it.

My property taxes went up by 2.24% over the previous year. Increase in the cost of administering government (operations), went up by 0.81%. I can live with that time of increase. I think most people can. The increase in pension costs is 21.95%. To provide proper context, that only accounts for an additional $32, but that also means that pension costs account for 68% of the increase in my property tax bill. Also, if this increase is only the beginning and this percentage of increase is only a harbinger of things to come, it won’t be long before these increased pension costs become quite noticeable and expensive. Please don’t think that when I say “pensions” that I am speaking in code and really mean “teachers.” A third of that increased pension cost on my tax bill comes from my village which saw an increase of 13.3%. That is also an enormous jump.

The following chart shows what taxing bodies make up my property tax.

piechart

The next chart shows the percentage of increase by each taxing body.

chart2

Finally, the dollar amount each taxing body raised my property tax.

chart3

Property taxes are driven by our school districts and municipalities. Everyone knows that. What we need to do now is make it known that we know it. We need to pay greater attention to our school board and village government races. We need to let the candidates know that we will not accept a sentence of death by a thousand papercuts. We need to stop living the lie that political ideology doesn’t matter locally. We need to recognize that most of the people we send to state and national office were once on our village councils and our school boards. We need to realize that the progressives have been building their farm team in this way for decades. We need to make sure that fiscal conservatives hold our local offices to send the message up the food chain. We need to send this message to ALL of the political parties. We need to wake up and not be shy about it.

by Ron Brzoska

April 28th, is Tax Freedom Day in Illinois. Tax Freedom Day is the day that you are finally working for yourself. Up until now, you have been working to earn the money to pay all of the taxes taken from you by the various units of government. It’s all about you now… after 117 days.

According to an article published by the Illinois Opportunity Project, Tax Freedom Day in Illinois is three days later this year than it was last year. The idea behind this is to provide a better illustration of tax burden. Just think, we are working for almost a third of a year before we are earning any money that gets to stay in our pockets.

Let’s break it down into a smaller bite. Rather than scaling to a year, let’s scale to a work week. You would be working all day Monday and for 49 minutes past lunch on Tuesday until you had earned enough in a week to pay your taxes. If we scale it down even smaller to a single eight-hour work day, you will need to work for 2 hours and 34 minutes before you are working for yourself. For me, this means that my first two meetings, my two cups of coffee, and my new bookings for the morning are done for the state. When my first hunger pangs remind me that lunch is near, I’m finally on my time. What does it mean for you?

Feeling taxed enough already?

cubicle

By Ron Brzoska

When you read this, read it with the cadence of a Jeff Foxworthy “You might be a redneck” joke. The only problem is that this isn’t funny.

If you have to take over 1/6 of the economy to give insurance to 1/300 of the people… you are living in Obama’s America.

If your IRS Director is in contempt of Congress… you are living in Obama’s America. lois lerner

If you say the economy is on recovery as the real unemployment rate continues to rise… you are living in Obama’s America.

If major financial reform (Dodd-Frank) doesn’t include the two entities largely responsible… you are living in Obama’s America. imagesCAJ1XMS9

If a law is unpopular, and the president’s answer is to pick and chose which parts to enforce or delay… you are living in Obama’s America.

If members of your oversight committee are implicated in the very investigation they are overseeing… you are living in Obama’s America.           cummings

If requiring ID for early voting is fine, but requiring ID for election day itself is racist… you are living in Obama’s America.

If you campaign against the evil corporations, and then appoint the CEOs to your cabinet… you are living in Obama’s America.                                                                                                                                          imagesCAALOSBS

If we can’t dispatch soldiers to save an American ambassador, but we can dispatch troops to stop a cattle drive… you are living in Obama’s America.

stevens

If your HHS Secretary resigns in weariness and frustration after touting the success of her crowning historic achievement… you are living in Obama’s America.                                                                                                                              sebelius

If your Attorney General gives weapons to drug cartels, but wants tracking bracelets for law-abiding citizens wanting to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights… you are living in Obama’s America.                                                            holder

If a shooter yelling “Allahu Ackbar” before opening fire at a military base is termed “workplace violence”… you are living in Obama’s America.

nidal hassan

If SuperPac money is evil, but Big Labor donations are unquestionable… you are living in Obama’s America.

If rising insurance premiums are called “affordable” while a free ID is called an undue hardship… you are living in Obama’s America.

And finally…

If you didn’t vote for this president, and you can’t understand why anyone did… you are living in Obama’s America.

obamagump

By Ron Brzoska

Last Wednesday the Supreme Court struck down the limits on aggregate campaign contributions and the left nearly lost their collective minds. (Ha! Get it? …”left”… “collective”… guess you had to be there.) Anyway, the left is portraying the decision as the end of campaign finance reform (as if it ever existed) and that an infinite amount of money from the Koch Brothers is about to flood every election. Between this and the Citizens United decision, progressives would have you believing that the Republicans are now destined to win every election.

The narrative has long been that big money goes to the Republican Party. This is a long-standing fallacy; one that I can’t believe the Republican Party hasn’t been able to demonstrate. Since January of 1989, $3,014,026,066.00 has been donated to political campaigns by groups known as “heavy hitters.”

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/list.php

Of that, 38.9% ($1,172,121,553.44) went to Republican candidates while 55.5% ($1,671,916,127.09) went to Democratic Party candidates. The remainder went to third-party or candidates in non-partisan races. Even with the disparity among the two major parties, we are still talking about enormous sums of money. So for the left to be against large campaign contributions from corporations, they would be hurting themselves right? Not so much. If you take the money from these evil corporations out of the coffers of the respective parties, you get the following: Democrats drop by 33% to $1,123,181,257.78 while the Republicans lose 65% of their funding to put them at $412,423, 629.59. The Democrats ratio of campaign dollars over the Republicans would be nearly three to one.  That is an advantage that no one can overcome. Let’s be honest, the hue and cry over campaign contributions has nothing to do with the desire for purity and innocence in elections. It’s about power.

 

bigstock_Falling_Money_669153

Photo also courtesy of http://www.opensecrets.org

It was just two years ago when President Obama was caught on an open mic saying the following to Russian President Dimitri Medvedev:

President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.

President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…

President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.

President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.

While this was chalked up then to mean only missile defense, and was generally portrayed in the media as another case of the right making another one of their crazy conspiracy theories, considering what has happened with the Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of the Crimea… should we take another look? No, I am not saying our president is in on it or condones the Russian actions, but what if Russian President Medveved didn’t really understand what President Obama meant?

I take President Obama’s statements as a kind brush off. He probably found some of the positions held by the Russians to be in conflict with what he wanted to do, and what the United States wanted to do, particularly in an election year. Rather than creating ill will between Russia and America at a time when he was vulnerable, Obama wanted to table those issues for a future time.

Fast forward to today. Have we followed up? Probably not? Did we clarify our positions? Who knows? Did Medvedev, Putin, and the Russian policy makers perceive Obama’s assurances as consent and agreement… and that he only needed to get through the election before he could formally endorse them? Did the Russians have the same perception as the “vast right-wing conspiracy”?

I learned a long time ago that perception is reality. This may be a lesson that our president was naïve about in this case.

By Ron Brzoska

Since last Tuesday, I have seen a number of news reports and articles telling us what the results of the Illinois primaries mean for us that live here, and how it projects to the rest of the country. Since they completely miss the mark, I am compelled to relate my experience and tell you what I have learned.

THE ILGOP IS WEAKER THAN EVER

If one general conclusion can be drawn and a brush swept broadly across a banner in the sky, this is what it would have to say. This is quite a statement when you compare it to the bloodbath Illinois experienced in November of 2012. I should be more specific. The ILGOP establishment is weaker than ever before. I say this for a number of reasons. First and foremost is Bruce Rauner. The final tally will say that he only won by three points. This is a misnomer. Rauner would have won by well over ten points in a four man field if it weren’t for the massive GOTV effort made by the unions that came to back Kirk Dillard. The party is now embracing Bruce Rauner, but they need to do some introspection and answer these questions for themselves:

  • After the debacle of 2010, why weren’t they able to recruit a field better than two retreads and a one that would be easy to blackmail? Did they try?
  • Is it ok for republicans in Illinois to recruit from voter bases that are decidedly not Republicans only to be beholden to them later.
  • Will Bruce Rauner be as interested in furthering the Republican party as he has been in furthering his own ambitions?
  • Will the Rauner voters stay with the party after he is gone?
  • Why was the only real hope and excitement for Illinois’ future provided by someone who is known as Rahm Emmanuel’s vacation buddy?

Another area of weakness was exhibited by the House Republican Organization (HRO). They seem to favor compliance over participation in the political process. They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars protecting their candidates from primary challenges. This has House Minority Leader Jim Durkin beside himself. He was so upset that he held a press conference where he sounded more like an Occupy Wall Street protester lamenting the Koch Brothers than a Republican leader. He was not happy with the dollars spent by Liberty PAC, Illinois Family Action, and others to unseat incumbents that had voting records that Michael Madigan approved of, but their constituents did not. When asked if those same restrictions and levels of transparency should be applied to the HRO, Durkin refused to answer. Do as I say and not as I do.

This weakness manifested itself in the nastiness exhibited in this election. You have the ugliness of the Rutherford scandal. Then there was Goel v Kaifesh, Sandack v Matune, Sullivan v Bednar, Gorman v Bellar, and others. Without rehashing any of the details and bad blood, it is safe to say that strong leadership within the ILGOP would not have tolerated it and candidates would have been less inclined to behave that way in the first place.

The last point demonstrating Republican weakness, was some Republican candidates appealing to Democrats to vote for them as a last resort. While theses candidates never uttered the words “Democrats, vote for me” their operatives actively made calls, posted on social media, and handed out fliers. The polling firm of Ogden and Fry has reported that approximately 65,000 votes for Kirk Dillard could be attributed to Democratic crossover votes. There obviously had to be some kind of effect down-ballot. I’m certain that my state rep district was decided by Democrats. I know teachers that were called and told to pull republican ballots, and I saw democrats tell my state rep that they voted for him. Ask yourself what if this happened in our governor’s race. What if Dillard had won, and he had the Democrats to thank? He didn’t run a social conservative platform (he made appeals, but it was not the thrust of his race). What couldn’t the Republicans offer that an “outsider” could?  Could we have been proud of that?

BUT THERE ARE BETTER DAYS AHEAD

There were encouraging signs however. Although they didn’t win their races, the campaigns of Doug Truax and Chris Balkema have to be eye openers. Both were a lot closer than expected and there is reason to believe that Democratic crossover would have benefitted them. God willing, this is not the last we hear of these two conservatives.

We also got some great victories across the state of Illinois. We have a promising candidate to take on Tammy Duckworth in Larry Kaifesh (CD-8). A handful of state reps give us a reason to feel the future is bright in election night winners Mark Ekhoff (34th), Jeannie Ives (Re-elected in district 42, but faced an establishment challenger), Peter Breen (48th), Keith Wheeler (50th), John D. Anthony (75th), Mark Batinick (97th), and Reggie Phillips (110th). Along with these gains are stories of victories in every county across the state. We have something to believe in and are waking up. Let’s keep it going.

Prologue: I sent this on February 25th. To date I have not received the courtesy of a response from either of them, an aide, or even an email auto-response. Since February 25th the House Republican Organization mailers have become even more vicious and toxic. I am ashamed of my party. I am distributing this publicly because the voice of the electorate needs to be heard, not ignored.

 

Leader Durkin and Representative Bellock,

My name is Ron Brzoska. I am a precinct committeeman in Downers Grove Township, precinct 104. I have been a consistent and hard worker in my precinct, first as an assistant, and now finishing my first term as an elected committeeman. I am an administrator on the DGTRO Facebook page and was one of the top petition circulators in the township despite living in a “blue” precinct. I tell you these things not to brag, but rather to illustrate my commitment to the Republican Party, and the quality of life that our beliefs bring to our families and neighbors.

That commitment is shaken.

Before the remap, I had the good fortune of having Representative Bellock as my representative in Springfield. Since the remap, I have had Ron Sandack as my state rep. I voted for him two years ago and have regretted it more often than not with each of his votes since. Ron Sandack misrepresented himself to me and does not represent the votes and values that I and most Republicans have. That is why I am supporting Keith Matune in this election.  Naturally, the HRO is supporting the incumbent. I understand HRO’s position of supporting its teammates and can appreciate it. I also appreciate positive pieces that highlight the credentials of the incumbent. What I do not appreciate is the lengths that HRO is going in this election to support this particular incumbent. I received the HRO mailer against Keith Matune. Because I live in School District 99, I know that it is a lie. I am angry to see a personal friend smeared, and ashamed that my party leadership would authorize distribution of flat out lies made against a fellow Republican. How do I sell the Republican Party to the voters of my precinct when they see this kind of vicious dishonesty on display?  The side of the mailer with the woman and her house in foreclosure is downright disgraceful. It is reminiscent of the attacks Democrats made on Paul Ryan where they said his budget was pushing grandmothers off of cliffs.

In the event you believe that I am mistaken, I am also attaching the real Matune voting record along with quotes from the District 99 board meeting minutes and Tribune stories where it is perfectly clear that he did not vote to raise the property tax levy. I will be spending the remainder of the primary season setting the record straight with as many voters in the 81st district as I can. My job to get out the vote for Republicans is harder now. People are not stupid. The question I am getting now is “If Republicans will lie about their own, what else will they lie about?”

I respectfully ask that a public retraction be made regarding the lies made about Keith Matune. Short of that, I can only say the disappointment and disillusionment that I and other die-hard Republicans have for what should be a stellar leadership team will grow.

Respectful and kindest regards,

Ron Brzoska – Precinct Committeeman – DGTRO – 104

Matune Tax Vote Facts

By Ron Brzoska

Today we are one more step towards a monarchy. Today Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats chose the “nuclear option” and changed the senate rules on filibusters to allow a simple majority to close a filibuster rather than requiring 60% for the Senate to close debate and call for a vote on judicial appointments. Democrats argue that this is necessary to stop the Republicans from spitefully blocking President Obama’s nominees from appointment. They argue that this stops gridlock and speeds up the business of government.

They are correct. They are correct because you can’t have gridlock without debate. They are correct about speeding up government, because you can’t stop if you remove the brakes. You may still wonder why we should be concerned. Doesn’t this make government more efficient? Doesn’t this stop the senseless bickering? Isn’t it ok because the same rules will apply when Republicans are in charge?

If by being efficient, you mean that there are no longer any checks and balances on presidential appointments, then yes, you would be correct. Going back to my earlier analogy about removing the brakes, does removing the brakes from your car make for a better car, or one that just blows through stop signs? You are not safer. This is not better government. This is a rubber stamp. This means that the only thing that can stop an Obama appointee from confirmation is scandal. The healthy debate over the course of policy in our country will not take place. This is what John Locke referred to as tyranny of the majority. All appointments will be made along party lines. The people are not being considered; agendas are.

But why? Why would the Democrats do this? Why would they have been so much against this in the past that they would do a 180 now? Where did this come from anyway? The truth of the matter is that President Obama will be making judicial appointments soon. In order to stave off the challenges to the executive orders and other overreaches his administration has put in place, he will need a very like-minded activist court that has an evolving interpretation of the Constitution. The ability to filibuster nominations forces President Obama to nominate more moderate judges to these posts in order to avoid filibusters and fill the vacancies. It is not a lock that a moderate judge will agree with the Obama Administration’s interpretation of the constitution and may vote in favor of a more Republican traditional interpretation. By taking away the filibuster, Harry Reid allows the president to appoint the most progressive judicial candidates, thereby insulating their policies from challenge.

If you agree with the policies of President Obama and Senator Reid, then you might tell me that it’s too bad. My side lost, get over it. This is what happens when you win elections. I respond by saying that winning and losing elections is not the point. American government is not supposed to be so knee-jerk. The United States is a representative republic. We cannot deny a party their right to participate. Would it be right if Mitt Romney had won Republicans were behaving the same way? No. It is not about the letter next to the Senator’s name. This is about consensus and cooperation forming policy, not partisanship. President Obama promised to be a post-partisan president. Today’s actions in the senate make him a hyper-partisan president.

capitol

I have a game to play with you today. It’s called “Which Lie Is Worse?” I will give you two situations where a politician or apparatus of government lied. It is up to you to decide which lie was worse. I’ll change the names to protect the guilty, but the photos I’ll use in this post will probably give them away.

rahm2The first is a lie told by the mayor of a town that begins with “C”, ends with “O” and has a “hicag” in the middle. (Anyone remember the super-fans out there?) For the purposes of this game, I will call him “Tahm” Emanuel. Mayor Emanuel (shucks, I gave him away) created a new speed camera system in Chicago that places cameras a certain points in the city that are in the vicinity of schools for the purposes of catching speeders near schools that may be endangering children. It just so happens that the radius being monitored near schools encompasses about 90% of the city of Chicago. That isn’t the lie. That’s just an unfortunate (if you are a lead foot) circumstance. The lie comes from where the money collected from the speeding tickets is supposed to go. See, Mayor Emanuel sold the speed camera concept on the promise that the money collected from the fines would go into a special fund for the children of Chicago. A few days ago the mayor unveiled his 2014 budget. Strangely, there was no line item in his budget for a fund for children. Instead, nearly $70 million dollars will go into the general fund. I guess that’s one way to get people to vote for their own tax increases. Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-rahm-emanuel-speed-camera-funds-1119-20131119,0,7114410.story?r=5779D8151256F1Y

censusThe second lie comes from the “Consensus Bureau.” The Consensus Bureau takes a census every month (Doh! Did I give it away?) of people and their employment status each month. This data is used to help create our monthly unemployment report that we hear on the news outlets. It turns out that for some time, the bureau had directed one of its people to fabricate data used to create the unemployment statistics. This fabrication escalated as we got closer to the presidential election. This resulted in a 3 point drop just before the election that made it appear that President Obama’s economic policies were working. It can be strongly argued that these better unemployment figures stole an election and changed history. Source: http://nypost.com/2013/11/18/census-faked-2012-election-jobs-report/

 

So we have a tough one here. You decide which one is worse: Raising taxes in the name of children and using the money elsewhere, or lying to a nation in order to steal an election.
nixon

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