from the League of Women Voters Candidate Forum held today [updated]

[due to a frozen fuel injector, i could not make it to the forum on Sunday, my apologies to all involved,,this post will be kept on top and periodically updated w/new content,,i've purposefully not put in links in this post (save the ones where i quoted someone else) as i'm following the lead of my father: when i was growing up, i used to ask him how to spell a word and he said, look it up, i ask that you do the same; most all of the content here can be found using the google or the various links under 'frequent reads' on the right of this page]

I would like to thank to the League of Women Voters of Lake County and the Daily Herald for holding and the Grayslake Community High School District #127 for hosting this forum and those present today that will report back to their family, friends, and coworkers that could not make it here, so that they too can make an informed decision in the upcoming election.

My name is Jonathan Farnick, an 18 year resident of Illinois who moved to Woodstock and the 8th district 8 years ago. My wife Melissa, who is a nurse working at a non-profit faculty foundation in the city, and I have been together for 21 years and this month will celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary. Together, we have a 17 year old son, Dylan, who is a senior at Woodstock Public High School. We share our home with three wonderful German Shepherd dogs. My full time job since 2002 has been as a computer consultant. For the previous four years I worked at various Kraft Foods facilities in the area and for the immediate past four years at UOP, a division of Honeywell, located in Des Plaines. I don't do the design or development, the manufacturing or delivery, the management or direction of the company, but I make sure that the tools the employees use for their various jobs are in functional form, and would do the same in Washington. We're not sent to Congress to do your work, but make sure of a safe and functional framework for individuals and business to thrive in their own chosen lives and professions. Thru the wonderful machinations of the electoral process in Illinois, I am again a write-in candidate on the Democratic ballot for the Congressional Representative in Congress for the 8th District. I've never before held public office.

I am running for this seat as I've come to the conclusion that our present representative has a proven record of helping pass some of the worst pieces of legislation since she went to Washington and continues to do so to this day. An earlier Congress passed NAFTA. If you derive your income from dividends from the corporations that saved money by moving jobs offshore, all's well, if you used to have one of those jobs, not so much. Instead of addressing the problems of that legislation, they doubled down and passed CAFTA, by a one vote margin in the House. If enough people who had good paying jobs lose them, you might get into a situation where mortgages around the country could go into default and it is my contention that this was one of the mitigating factors in the credit crisis we are still fighting thru (the other being fundamentally no enforcement of existing regulation of the credit market). There's been plenty of critical comment on the earlier enaction of the Patriot Act and how the freedoms and liberties that our men and women are ostensibly fighting for, take a back seat to perceived protection, it's renewal in 2005 was passed, again, by a one vote margin in the House. Ben Franklin would not be proud. The previous administration was found to be wiretapping Americans without a court order. Instead of investigating those allegations, Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 that blocked any investigation and gave immunity to those involved. In 1215 the concept of habeas corpus was enshrined into law. The King then, or our Government now, can arrest anyone they want, but they have to allow for that person to have their day in court, that they have the right to defend themselves of the charges leveled against them. With the passage of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, it stated that "No person may invoke the Geneva Conventions or any protocols thereto in any habeas corpus or other civil action or proceeding to which the United States...is a party". In 2008, the Supreme Court found in Boumediene v. Bush that the MCA constituted an unconstitutional encroachment of habeas corpus rights. We should not hope that bad laws passed by Congress get overruled in the future. They shouldn't have been passed in the first place.

I will not be spending my days on 'K' Street or my nights on 'C' Street. I will not and have not accepted any money from any one for any reason. I want your vote, not your money. I have not taken a dime from any Financial Services companies. I have not taken a dime from any Energy Concerns. I have not taken a dime from any Telecommunications Providers. I have not taken a dime from any Military or Prison or Media or Intelligence or Security Industrial Complex.

There have never been any advertisements on this web site or calls for contributions or a "Donate Here" button. The concept of “politically feasible” only means that others have given more money, better luck next time. That has to stop. Drafting otherwise good legislation that includes obvious deal-killers means a NO vote. I will not vote for legislation that benefits the few at the expense of everyone else and say this is the best we can get, deal with it. We need to take the money out of politics, I will vote for any and all reasonable campaign finance reform and advocate for public financing of elections. The interests of liberal or Democratic minded donors to people on my side of the aisle, or conservative or Republican minded donors to the challengers in this race, could come into conflict between those special interests and lobbyists and the constituents we'd be elected to represent. That conflict or any hint of impropriety will not be an issue with me. The bills we'd be voting on should be weighed on the basis of constitutionality, necessity, and whether it benefits the county, the state of Illinois, and the people of the 8th district, not who gave the most money to our respective campaigns. My voting record would reflect the likes of Rep. Ron Paul and his respect for the Constitution and Rep. Dennis Kucinich and his respect for the people who live under it. If they should split on an issue, I’d seek council with the likes of Rep. John Conyers. I'd put the interests of labor before capital and the interests of the shoppers at Wal-Mart before the owners of it. Show me a Republican who wants lower taxes and a smaller government, and I’ll show you a conservative who doesn’t derive most of their income thru a GSA number and a government contract.

I would like to see a real public option and/or an expansion of Medicare that would allow people to freely join into it. At the very least, allow Rep. Kucinich's exception to ERISA to let states to set up their own on a state-by-state basis. The public option would put an elected, accountable public servant charged with the delivery of care in between you and your doctor instead of an unelected, unaccountable private corporation bureaucrat charged with stopping the delivery of care to make more of a profit for their employer and potentially a bonus for themselves if done right. Passing legislation like the Terry Schiavo bill would put the government between you and your doctor. Removing the profit motive that limits the delivery of care and the anti-trust exemption of insurance companies would not. Allowing reimportation of drugs would lower the cost to the consumer. Allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices would lower the cost to the taxpayer.

The business of war is the massive redistribution of wealth to politically connected defense contractors. I will vote no on any bill containing language that continues to fund the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. Or new wars in Iran. Or Yemen. Or North Korea. The interests of this country are benefitted by helping the Afghanis and others. Not by bombing them into submission. The people fighting us overseas dislike us for what we do, not who we are. They dislike us for our occupations of their lands and of our support for dictators in countries in the area, not for our freedoms. al-Qa'ida did not remove your habeas corpus protections. Congress did. The Taliban did not allow the Government to read your email and listen in to your phone calls. Congress did. Ansar al-Islam did not create National Security Letters. Congress did. Do not listen to people who say that they hate us for our liberties, because those same people are the ones who are taking them away from you. Finding out why they have issue with our actions and addressing that is what needs to be done. Eviscerating the Bill of Rights and invading those far off countries are not.

The republicans will tell you the answer to every problem is lowering taxes. Conservatives on the radio, TV, and in print incessantly talk of President Reagan’s tax cuts in the early eighties and how revenue to the government went up. What they conveniently omit is all the tax bills he signed into law afterwards. They'll tell you of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (ERTA) and how one of the provisions in it dropped the top income tax rates from 70% to 50%, and that magically, without any other actions, revenues to the Treasury increased. But what he did was to shift the existing tax burden from the wealthy to the rest of the country. Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (TEFRA) was the biggest tax increase between 1968 and 2006, it in part increased the employer's Federal Unemployment Tax wage base and tax rate. The Highway Revenue Act of 1982 temporarily increased gasoline excise tax from 4 cents to 9 cents. The Social Security Amendments of 1983 accelerated scheduled increases in Social Security payroll tax rate, instituted taxation of some Social Security benefits and it raised self-employed OASDHI rate to combined employee-employer rate. The Railroad Retirement Revenue Act of 1983 added $1.2 billion. The Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 reduced tax benefits for property leased by tax-exempt entities and temporarily extended telephone excise tax. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 permanently increased cigarette excise tax to 16 cents per pack. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 added $2.4 billion. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 repealed the investment tax credit; limited deduction for non-business interest; repealed the second earner deduction; limited passive losses; repealed sales tax deduction for individuals. The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 added $600 million. The Continuing Resolution for 1987 added $2.8 billion. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 temporarily extended telephone excise tax and eliminated ESOP estate tax deduction loophole. The Continuing Resolution for 1988 added $2 billion. The total of all these added $132.7 billion in new personal and business taxes, increased existing taxes, or removed certain credits or deductions.

The taxes on high income earners went down, but the taxes on everyone else went up. Many of these things what Congress did with these and other bills were appropriately designed to hopefully simplify and close the many loopholes in the tax code and lower some taxes in general, and I'm not opposed to these things, but do not say, lowering taxes increases revenue. All eight of the major tax bills enacted between 1993 and 2006 have reduced revenue to the federal government, and our ever increasing deficit is the result. Medicare Part D, passed by a Republican controlled Congress and signed into law by a Republican President, added $17.2 Trillion to our long-term liabilities. As a result of all these things (unrestrained spending, ever increasing tax cuts), we are now over $12 trillion in debt. Lowering some spending and raising some taxes will be necessary to address this. I'll vote to hold spending at present or reduced levels of every single aspect of existing Government functions except for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

We do need some tax relief. For those that need it. For example, Social Security was started in 1937 (taxed at a rate of 1% up to $3,000 of income; now 6.2% up to $106,800) and Medicare was started in 1966 (at .35% up to $6,600; now 1.45% to an unlimited income amount). The Social Security and Medicare tax rate only went up a combined 1.38% (from 6.13% to 7.51%) during President Reagan’s tenure, but because of the increase in the amount subject to tax (from $25,900 in the last year of Carter to $45,000 the last year of Reagan), if you earned enough to be subjected to the maximum, the average increase of the amounts paid for just these two taxes went up an average of 10.05% a year. Every year. I'd like to see the Social Security Tax (OASDI) lowered from 6.2% to 5% on income up to $125,000 (on both the employee and employer) and that same rate newly applicable to all income over $250,000. It would lower payroll taxes of every single person making under $250,000 a year and make the tax as a whole less regressive.

We do need to tax increases. For those that can afford it. 99.5% of all households (those that now make $413,300 or less) didn’t have income gains from 1979 to 2005 that kept up with the rate of inflation. Most everyone lost ground, even if their income went up. The middle class had NO income gain in the entire decade that just passed. The wealthiest .01% had income gains that doubled the rate of inflation. The haves and the have mores did very well. Those that have the most and make the most can afford to pay more. Everyone else is tapped. Taxing people who make ten times or more what the average worker will still leave them with an extraordinary income, but taxing the benefits of the average workers whose income hasn’t kept up with inflation is not the way to go. In 1979, the top .01% of income earners made 101 times the average income (middle quintile). In 2005 it was 484 times that amount. All the productivity gains have gone straight to the top. Taxing them more is not unreasonable. Remember, we are $12 trillion in debt. For every dollar not collected by, say the estate tax – applicable to 1 out of 500 families – means everyone else’s share will be that much more.

Congress has not been reflective of what this country wants. We wanted an end to the war in Iraq; we got a surge of troops instead. We wanted to impose windfall taxes on the extreme profits of the oil companies; we gave them tax breaks instead. We wanted the banks that were too big to fail to be broken up; we gave them money to get bigger instead. We wanted a strong consumer protection agency to look after our interests; we ended up with a bill that has virtually no enforcement mechanisms instead, many of the most productive elements that could have been in it were left on the House Banking sub-committee floor, they never even made it into the bill.

Thank you for your time and consideration, and again, I’m Jonathan Farnick, write-in candidate for the 8th Congressional district on the Democratic ballot for the upcoming February 2nd primary.


Reasons you should vote for a Democrat for this office and not a Republican or Rep. Bean:

The nonpartisan National Journal ranked house members
Rep. Bean is ranked #210 of 230 Democratic members, please do not for a minute believe she is a 'liberal'.

Rep. Bean has taken more money from Wall Street interests than almost any other Democratic member of the House in Congress

Various votes over the years by Congress:

North American Free Trade Agreement of 1993:
58% of the Democrats in Congress voted against it, 76% of Republicans voted for it

Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002:
57% of the Democrats in Congress voted against it, 96% of Republicans voted for it

Central America Free Trade Agreement of 2005:
89% of the Democrats in Congress voted against it, Rep. Bean joined the 85% of Republicans who voted for it

USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005:
82% of the Democrats in Congress voted against it, Rep. Bean joined the 92% of Republicans who voted for it

Act for the relief of the parents of Theresa Marie Schiavo of 2005:
76% of the Democrats in Congress voted against it, Rep. Bean joined the 67% of Republicans who voted for it

Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act on 2006:
84% of the Democrats in Congress voted against it, Rep. Bean joined the 86% of Republicans who voted for it

Military Commissions Act of 2006:
82% of the Democrats in Congress voted against it, Rep. Bean joined the 95% of Republicans who voted for it

FISA Amendments Act of 2008
55% of the Democrats in Congress voted against it, Rep. Bean joined the 94% of Republicans who voted for it


Don't forget the naughts, because this decade, no matter what anyone on the right might say, was conservatism on trial. You want less taxes? You got less taxes. You want less regulation? You got less regulation. Open markets? Wide open. An illusion of security in place of rights? Hey, presto. You want unlimited power given to military contractors so they can kick butt and take names? Man, we handed out boots and pencils by the thousands. Everything, everything, that ever showed up on a drooled-over right wing wish list got implemented -- with a side order of Freedom Fries.

They will try to disown it, and God knows if I was responsible for this mess I'd be disowning it, too. But the truth is that the conservatives got everything they wanted in the decade just past, everything that they've claimed for forty years would make America "great again". They didn't fart around with any "red dog Republicans." They rolled over their moderates and implemented a conservative dream.

What did we get for it? We got an economy in ruins, a government in massive debt, unending war, and the repudiation of the world. There's no doubt that Republicans want you to forget the last decade, because if you remember... if you remember when you went down to the water hole and were jumped by every lunacy that ever emerged from the wet dreams of Grover Norquist and Dick Cheney, well, it's not likely that you'd give them a chance to do it again.

Because they will. Given half a chance -- less than half -- they'll do it again, only worse. Because that's the way conservatism works. Remember when the only answer to every economic problem was "cut taxes?" We have a surplus. Good, let's cut taxes. We have a deficit. Hey, cut taxes even more! That little motto was unchanging even when was clear that the tax cuts were increasing the burden on everyone but a wealthy few. That's just a subset of the great conservative battle whine which is now and forever "we didn't go far enough." If deregulation led to a crash, it's because we didn't deregulate enough. If the wars aren't won, it's because we haven't started enough wars. If there are people still clinging to their rights, it's because we haven't done enough to make them afraid.

Forget the naughts, and you'll forget that conservatives had another chance to prove all their ideas, and that their ideas utterly and completely failed. Again.


Is the GOP in a worse position than a year ago? On the surface, no, it isn’t. Once we get past the surface, however, the same stagnant, intellectually bankrupt, unimaginative party that brought our country to its current predicament is still there and has not changed in any meaningful way in the last three years. Why would it? The party’s leaders have no clue, its pundits are reveling in the luxury of opposition, and its rank-and-file has been whipped into such a state of agitation over their own impotence that they cannot see that they are led by people who will ignore and abuse them the moment they are no longer needed to win elections. It may seem that the GOP has derailed the majority’s agenda, but in reality it is the GOP that went off the rails long ago and has yet to begin to recover.

The 8th district may have been 'conservative' in years past, but has consistently moved 'blue' over the past 4 election cycles, if only we had a representative in Congress that reflected that:

in 2002, 404 precincts went for the Republican candidate, 82 for the Democrat
in 2004, 169 precincts went for the Republican candidate, 324 for the Democrat
in 2006, 67 precincts went for the Republican candidate, 376 for the Democrat
in 2008, 60 precincts went for the Republican candidate, 416 for the Democrat

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