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In the September 2013 edition of the Illinois Tenth Congressional District Democrats Newsletter, Brad Schneider supporter, Steve Sheffey, wrote an article titled The Top 10 Reasons to Reelect Brad Schneider. From past experience, it's my understanding that a rebuttal article would not be welcome in the newsletter or on their site. I archived my old blog last year. But, I am and have been a Kos Diarist for many years. So, I park my rebuttal here. If Tenth Dems wants to give me space to add it (and I sure provided them a lot of content when they needed it) somewhere on their media, here it is below the fold.

In his article Sheffey lists two co-sponsorships of legislation written by others, and some "he supports" stuff. If true, and I'm I'm not arguing he does not support these things, or at least pays lip service to them, it is important. I do not downplay the importance of environmental issues, women's rights, LGBT issues, and voting issues. I do not argue that on many occasions Brad Schneider's votes are ok. My argument is that none of it will matter in the long run if we don't have a stable economy to support reform. There are no enduring rights, liberties, or good and nice things if there is no economic security or justice. Homeless people don't get to exercise their rights. Hungry people don't dream big, enjoy or work for increasing liberty and justice. Hopeless people are easily turned against each other.

Schneider's pet progressive issues are predestined to fail when we enact his pet economic plans that pull billions of dollars out of the economy and leave most Americans in survival mode. Cutting the social safety net pull dollars out of the economy and consumers out of the market.

History teaches us that the quickest way to end civil rights, civil liberties, and general protection of people and the planet is to create a severe economic crisis. Hunger, unemployment, food insecurity, homelessness... that's the stuff two world wars and more than one genocide were made of. Today, several unstable governments in the Middle East sit atop unstable and unjust economies. Since the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, we know that there's no better way to recruit terrorists than to give the young people nothing to do, nowhere to go, and nothing to eat. Neither Sheffey, nor Schneider, have addressed these thruths.

Let's take a look at one of Sheffey's specific claims. In his newsletter article, Sheffey states that Schneider "helped introduce" the American Manufacturing Efficiency and Retraining Investment Collaboration Achievement. I don't know what he means by "helped introduce." Was the bill heavy? Did Brad carry boxes to the office where they introduce bills? Anyway. The point is that Schneider didn't come up with this thing.  It's a retread of a 2010 bill. But, more important, the bill is not economic stimulus, but corporate welfare and failed trickle down economics. Under the bill, the government pays for employee retraining when corporations cut their workers loose to pull out more profit for CEO salaries and large shareholder profits. Companies may (or may not) see fit to hire anyone new or anyone back.

I remember when companies paid for their own training programs. I know this because I'm the product of a corporate training program. The program no longer exists, and the skills I learned are not being taught to younger workers, although they are still useful and valid today. The product that company makes is certainly of lesser quality, and is now created by people who are paid less, and have far less job security than I had back in the day. This heavy bill that Brad assisted introduce is not a job creation or a job security bill. It does not stimulate business so there will be customers, business, and the stuff that creates paid work and moves dollars around the economy. It's just government paying for something corporations used to pay for, and more tax dollars shifted to those who are already wealthy in exchange for no meaningful promise to employ people.

Sheffey's final plea for Schneider includes a claim that there is a stark contrast between Schneider and his Republican predecessor, Bob Dold. If you have read my earlier Kos posts on Brad Schneider, you may know, that he recently voted against Obamacare, and now partners with Pete Peterson's Fix the Debt, through a related group called the Concord Coalition that mostly exists to hide the fact that it is Pete Peterson and Fix the Debt. He's bringing this group to the district next week, under the guise of a "bipartisan" "collaboration" to scare people into giving up Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Is that so very (starkly) different from the time Bob Dold did the exact same thing?

Yes, Bob Dold is fine with ending Obamacare, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Guess what? Brad Schneider is too, and is doing exactly what Dold did to help end these programs. Think about what your life will be without them. Think about your parents, children, extended family and neighbors will do without them. Will you be able to send the kids to college if you have to take care of your parents or worry even more about your own retirement? What if a parent needs nursing care? Will your family be able to pay for it, or will you have a sick parent in the spare bedroom without the care he or she needs, in unsafe conditions, and cutting in to your ability to work, or even leave the house? These are the realities of the proposed cuts.

Let's not forget that Social Security and Medicare are paid for by the users; they are not charity foolishly promised by an arrogant tax and spend society. They provide genuine help to well-deserving, hard working middle class Americans, and put money back into the economy, freeing up workers to be workers, and consumers to be consumers. Medicaid helps the neediest of people, and frees up their family members to work and live their lives. You have to do your own gut check on ending these programs, and please be realistic when doing so.

Further, I ask you to think about what Brad Schneider's work against traditional Democratic values means for the greater political atmosphere of this country. Social Security is an old program. The bill authorizing it was signed in 1935. The first contributions were withheld in 1937. and the first payments were made in 1940. The program was, and still is, wildly successful, and does not contribute one cent to the deficit, by design. It should be non-controversial. Talk of cutting it or ending it should be seen as extreme. Now, the talk of cutting and eventually ending the program is mainstream, almost inevitable if you ask Brad Schneider.

Medicare is a younger program, enacted in 1965, and effective the next year without too much drama. It's also very successful. It was always intended for expansion to cover Americans of all age, but now we have Democrats like Brad Schneider making the argument against it. Suddenly, what was mainstream for years is controversial and I've heard that Tammy Duckworth and Bill Foster have done the same). Now, the planned extension is simply out of the question. Even the meager replacement, Obamacare, is highly controversial, enough to shut down the government if you ask Republicans. Brad Schneider's pissing and moaning about that this week, forgetting to mention that he voted with the Republicans against it a few short weeks ago.

Medicaid? Oh, that program that helps the lazy and undeserving poor if you ask Schneider and friends, except if you consider that most of it keeps grandma and grandpa in nursing care and off the street.

What used to be considered extreme arguments made by crackpots against a very necessary and proper social safety net is suddenly mainstream conversation, and future policy. That is the conversation Brad Schneider will be hosting on September 24th. The same conversation Bob Dold hosted just last year.

But, never mind. Steve Sheffey assures us that Brad is "on our side," and that not reelecting him will give the House back to Boehner. I was not aware Boehner had lost the House since... well, earlier today, but maybe I'm misinformed.

The argument for Brad Schneider is that he is the lesser of two evils. They tell us that he'll make a peep for some basic rights. But, since he won't support the economic security and economic justice needed to protect those basic rights, and since he works to move the national dialogue further to the right, where's the lesser in all this evil?

And, where does it leave us on the political dialog in the country? Who will talk about the social safety net and demand side economics? When Tenth Dems supports the foe of both, they won't be talking about either. They won't host  another one of those We Won't Be Fooled Again Social Security educational programs while they support a candidate who has decided to devote his time in office to working against it. You won't find articles in their newsletters, or on their blogs supporting progressive economic programs when their leading candidate works against them. If not the Democrats, who will talk about progressive economics? When there's no one left to talk about it, how will it survive against the huge mainstream media onslaught against it? What does the lesser of two evils mean when it causes us to close our eyes to evil, and to stand down on our core values?

If we cannot do better than pay lip service to rights that won't be exercised when people devolve into survival mode, and we won't even discuss trying to do better, then what are we doing in politics other than taking souvenir pictures with elected officials, and posting them on the Internet next to cat videos.

Ok. That's my argument. I'm done worrying about Brad Schneider, and worrying about you and your children. People live with their choices. I have no problem living with my decision to withhold my support from Brad Schneider. He has Wall Street multi-billionaire Pete Peterson. He doesn't need someone like me, and when you get down to it, isn't that really the underlying problem with Brad Schneider. He does not see us as his constituents any more than Bob Dold did, or Mark Kirk did before that.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    Using my free speech while I still have it.

    by ebgill on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 05:36:12 AM PDT

  •  So, who's his primary opponent? (0+ / 0-)

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 05:45:41 AM PDT

    •  Our district is notoriously inept at finding (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CwV, Box of Rain, Railfan

      good candidates, but more than that, there is an increasing push to make discussion of it out of the question. I'm trying to persuade people to open up that discussion.

      Using my free speech while I still have it.

      by ebgill on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 05:47:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why not find the candidate yourself... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Railfan, Odysseus

        ...with the help of whatever progressive network you've got in the area, and then join together to put that candidate on the ballot and on the map?

        Sometimes there's a benefit in just going ahead and doing rather than waiting for "discussion."

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 06:39:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  our district is one of the most expensive (0+ / 0-)

          to run in, if not the most expensive. I've been involved in candidate search and it's very difficult to find candidates. I've been involved in candidate recruitment and I just don't see anyone willing to run without the backing of Tenth Dems when so many already turned it down with the backing.

          Using my free speech while I still have it.

          by ebgill on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 02:19:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  We had an excellent candidate in the last primary, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe

        Ilya Sheyman, a true progressive. Should he decide to try again, Mr. Expat and I will again support and work in Ilya's campaign. In his first campaign, he lost to Schneider by 8%.  If we are to elect a progressive dem, we must get out the vote!

        "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's the thing you know for sure that just ain't so." Mark Twain

        by Expat Okie on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 08:00:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think losing the primary (0+ / 0-)

          is excellent proof that you lost the primary. I was very disappointed Ilya did not parlay his loss into a run for a lower office. He needs to work his way up and his insistence that he's too important to run for lower office speaks poorly of his character.

          Using my free speech while I still have it.

          by ebgill on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 02:20:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  you say you don't downplay gay and women's (0+ / 0-)

    rights, and then you go right ahead and do so.

    •  intentionally missing the point is not ok (0+ / 0-)

      I'm saying that these rights do not occur when people are economically insecure.

      Using my free speech while I still have it.

      by ebgill on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 06:18:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rights depend on respect to be activated. n/t (0+ / 0-)
      •  rights are never activated (0+ / 0-)

        when people are in survival mode. If you think there will be continued work for gay rights, women's rights etc when people are starving, you are dreaming. All of the advances in rights from the Magna Carta to the present came hand in hand with the rise of the lesser nobles, the rise of the merchant class, and the rise of the middle class workers.

        Using my free speech while I still have it.

        by ebgill on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 02:22:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If people are starving it is because they are (0+ / 0-)

          being intentionally deprived to serve as an example of what happens to people who don't obey.
          Global food production is currently adequate to nourish nine billion people, even though there are only slightly over six. That means, since some people are starving, that fully one third of what is produced is going to waste and that doesn't include the food that is intentionally thrown out after being tasted.
          Part of the current kerfuffle over food stamps is actually prompted by the proposal to revamp the school lunch program and do away with individual qualification for children resident in economically depressed areas. The idea that households won't have to jump through hoops and that children won't be segregated on the basis of their parents' economic status is driving some people in Congress crazy. So, in typical Con fashion, they're directing their ire at SNAP. They may even be thinking "if the children get fed breakfast and lunch, why should the parents get money for food, as well." Never mind that neither dollars nor debit cards are edible and the money actually goes into the coffers of merchants and industrial food producers, with a little extra for advertising.

  •  I really don't have a dog in this fight but (0+ / 0-)

    if you could show some examples of how Schneider is for ending Medicare and Social Security you will have a stronger case.

  •  Agreed. (0+ / 0-)

    The Democratic party has a bad habit of letting party operatives select candidates and expecting the voters to fall in line on election day. The Chamber of Commerce, on the other hand, provides multiple copies of the same general product on primary day and prays for a poor turn-out on election day. Both strategies aim to secure politicians whose relationship to the electorate is thin.

    However, I'd like to suggest that you add to your repertoir of considerations the fact that all dollars originate in Washington, are spent into the economy by Congress and are kept circulating at a good rate by being returned (as revenue) to the Treasury by being taxed.
    As was recommended 2000 years ago, that which is Caesar's (in the 21st Century that's he citizenry) ought to be given to Caesar. What's due to God is compliance with the ten Commandments, including "honor thy father and thy mother" (in the 21st Century that's Social Security and Medicare).

    Using dollars to coerce compliance with irrational demands is what the Congress has been up to. Indeed, the sequester is just a new moniker for an old habit of rewarding compliant workers and voters (e.g. in the defense industries) and penalizing the resistant (e.g. in the education establishment) and, at every opportunity, making the point that "there is no free lunch." Do what you're told or don't expect to eat.

    Talk about lip service. The original Constitution was a perfect example. And that's why the originalists want to return to it. Doing it behind the shield of money and the law just makes it less obvious.

    "In the name of the nation and of the dollar and of the rule of law, all of your children shall be sacrificed." That's the triumph of the secular state.

  •  Well argued. This is very important stuff you're (0+ / 0-)

    doing. I'm afraid it might be too late for a primary opponent. With the primary only 6 months away. It would be tough for someone with no infrastructure to fundraise and organize against an incumbent with so little time.

    I think the only way he could face an opponent would be if one of 2012's opponents Tree/Bavda/Sheyman were to run again. They would at least have a base of support to build on. But, if one of them were interested, I can't imagine it would have been a secret.

    •  I think even worse than Schneider in Congress (0+ / 0-)

      is the effect it's having on the grassroots. It's stifling debate and dissent. STFU and support Brad. I've been told that more than once today. I'm also wondering what this guy is going to do next. He's really thrown himself into the fake bipartisan world of Fix the Debt, Third Way and No Labels. This is really bad stuff, and pushed to the masses by hiding what it truly is. I cannot think of a more despicable way to work with the district.

      Using my free speech while I still have it.

      by ebgill on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 02:28:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another Kos diarist gives us a glimpse of what to (0+ / 0-)

    expect at Brad's events for Pete Peterson and Fix the Debt:

    Using my free speech while I still have it.

    by ebgill on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 06:51:29 AM PDT

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