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Every 20 years, Illinois voters get to vote on whether to hold a constitutional convention to rewrite or amend our state constitution.  I was more or less ambivalent to this (only vaguely aware the vote was goign to take place) until I saw this piece on Progress Illinois that lays out the discussion nicely.

To be fair, we have a dramatically incompetent governor who is unfortunately a democrat.  He was elected after the previous republican governor went to jail for corruption that ended getting dozens killed.  Republicans are in minorities in both chambers of our legislature as well as this state has long since realized the destructiveness of their ideas.

That is why it was with shock and horror I realized that a convention is being driven by the right and no one in the progressive community has called them out on this yet.  It's not just any republican, but it is radically right-wing psychopath, John Bambenek, who is leading the effort to rewrite our state constitution.  

The name of John Bambenek should be familiar to the people of this site because he once tried to get the FEC to shutdown the Daily Kos.

Apparently, Bambenek has founded a group called the Illinois Citizens Coalition and even wrote a book called Illinois Deserves Better.  And this entire time the press and the groups he has spoken to apparently haven't caught on.

Let's see how we'd fare under a constitution written by John Bambenek.

First, women's rights.  I think this covers Bambi's views on women nicely.  We'd be lucky if all we lost was the right to choose if Bambi had his way.

Second, free speech and press.  Well, Bambi's forays with the FEC show him to be more than willing to use the government to shut down views he disagrees with.

Third, separation of Church and State.  Bambi ran for the local school board once (and got embarassingly slaughtered, Alan Keyes style)... part of his campaign... you guessed it, Intelligent Design  So science will get shellacked and we'll have Bambi's religious views slammed down our throats.

Last, let's talk about civil rights for those accused of criminal behavior.  Bambi has been a vociferous supporter of the Bush administration's suspension of civil rights for those accused of terrorism.

Having a constitution written by John Bambenek would be a nightmare... the kind of nightmare that only begins with the burning of the Recihstag.  Progressives everywhere need to stand up to prevent this coert attempt to hijack our state constitution before we wake up and its too late.

Originally posted to indigo5 on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 12:39 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Amending the constitution (7+ / 0-)

    can be very dangerous - because depending on the language - instead of just amending one thing -

    it can be used to rewrite any number of other things at the same time.

    And with republicans anywhere near - I would say NO to amending the constitution.

    "Proud to proclaim: I am a Bleeding Heart Liberal"

    by sara seattle on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 12:43:49 PM PDT

  •  Holly Cow, I Am An Illinois Resident (7+ / 0-)

    and kind of a political junkie and wasn't aware of this. But alas I live outside of St. Louis on the IL side so I feel more like I live in MO than IL.

    Also, and lets not mention his name, our governor sucks!

    Let us not forget New Orleans. Visit Project Katrina.

    by webranding on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 12:44:38 PM PDT

    •  Our gov (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, luckylizard

      Certainly is a disgrace... I just fear that a convention could simply be a reaction against him and end up giving the keys to wackos like Bambenek...

      •  Too many hurdles to "give the keys" over... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        peglyn, Randall Sherman, JeffW
        1. First, the voters have to approve a ConCon.
        1. Then, if approved, the Dem-controlled legislature determines how to set up a convention.
        1. Then, any convention would naturally include more than one political perspective and would have to come to some sort of consensus to move so much as a comma; let alone rewrite the thing.
        1. Then, if a consensus is reached, the revised (or rewritten) document still has to go back in front of the voters for approval or rejection.

        ...It'd be darn near impossible for an outsider on the fringe, like Bambenek or his comrades, to "get the keys" to the Constitutional candy store -- especially given points 2 thru 4, all things considered.

  •  That's a change (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryb2004, indigo5, luckylizard

    That is why it was with shock and horror I realized that a convention is being driven by the right and no one in the progressive community has called them out on this yet.  It's not just any republican, but it is radically right-wing psychopath, John Bambenek, who is leading the effort to rewrite our state constitution.

    Huh, that's different. 20 years ago it was Pat Quinn.

    You know, the present Lt. Gov.

    If he's not on board with this, then that makes me feel immensely better. If he is, better get ready for another convention.

    And if you do, for the love of God, make sure you include:

    - A real version of the 1st Amendment; - A real version of the 2nd Amendment.


  •  On the other hand (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    if the progressives organize, maybe they can use the opportunity to make the constitution better.

    Amendments can often be a good thing.

    Help me raise money for Jay Nixon, the next Democratic governor of Missouri

    by maryb2004 on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 12:51:34 PM PDT

  •  Wouldn't any changes to the state constitution (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Randall Sherman

    that contradict the US Constitution simply be thrown out by the courts?

  •  Yes, Bambi's wacky. No, he can't hijack Illinois. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peglyn, Randall Sherman, JeffW

    Bambi is but one among many leading various efforts. He's getting some support/help/lending-a-hand from fellow conservative partisan Bruno Behrend and others on various points in order to talk up the idea of a convention.

    With the State Senate having defeated a move to put recall on the ballot, they think they have more ammo with which to pursue a ConCon.

    On the left, Illinois liberal activist Daniel Johnson-Weinberger -- among others -- is part of a ConCon group that started back in 2004. All are welcome to join (and yes, Bambi is a member).

    Have conservative partisans started organizing in anticipation of an Illinois Constitutional Convention? Yes. But given the hurdles involved it's highly unlikely either extreme -- lib or con -- would be able to "hijack" anything.

    Hurdles include: getting voter approval for a ConCon; if approved, having the Dem-controlled legislature decide how to set up a ConCon; creating enough consensus to actually revise (let alone revamp) the state Constitution during any such convention; and finally having the voters then approve (rather than reject) any revised or even rewritten Constitution....

    (c/p Illinois Reason)

    •  Don't worry about this guy. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      He reminds me of the milk you might buy at the supermarket.  Both of them are at 2%.

      Right-wing kooks can rant all day here in Illinois, but it won't do them a bit a good.  We may approve a Con-con in November (I'll be voting for it), but the delegates that will be elected to the convention will be overwhelmingly Democratic.  

  •  Question (0+ / 0-)

    I notice there's a group called The Alliance To Protect The Illinois Constitution that's opposing Bambenek.

    They don't have a website, let alone a blog.

    Are they just going to rely on the state legislature, the machine, and the chambers of commerce? Because if they are, that's a mistake.

  •  Misleading title: business as usual for cons (0+ / 0-)

    Conservatives do not have a constituency beyond their own selves anymore, if they ever did. When they're not resorting to extralegal means to get their way, they fly under the radar, misrepresenting themselves and their intentions from the very beginning.

    As for the press "not catching on": they know, and their job is to bury this issue and deflect any attention that might be paid to it. Did you honestly expect them to behave any differently?

    The Collapse is coming; be prepared -

    by Visceral on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 01:33:13 PM PDT

  •  You've given no indication this is a real threat (0+ / 0-)

    Here in California we have ourt crrazies, like Howard Jarvis, who constantly try to force his perverse views on the people. Once in a while he creates a serious threat, like this year's Prop. 98. Every year we have to decide if his garbage requires organized resistance.

    The threat in Illinois is not at all clear. What kind of support does his movement have? What are polls showing? Having spent 17 years on the South Side of Chicago I am interested in what is going on, but have seen no evidence at all that this is a serious threat. My relatives in Chicago say it isn't on the radar.

    So if you want attention here, you need to explain why this is likely to be a real threat, not just a potential development.

    Don't you think John McCain looks tired?

    by MakeChessNotWar on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 02:01:15 PM PDT

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