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November 2017 Newsletter – Unmasked

Tenth Dems November Newsletter

Please follow the link to view our November newsletter as a pdf file:

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In this issue of Tenth News:

Lake County Republicans Raffle Assault Rifle to Finance Campaigns

Julie Morrison: A State Senator Who Works for Her Constituents

Broadway? Wait Until You See the Highland Park Players’ Production of The Pajama Game!   

A Conviction Does Not Have to Be a Life Sentence

Congress Watch: Your Democratic Representatives Are Your Voice in Congress

Despair or Optimism? Tenth Dems and Moraine Township Democrats Cosponsor Let’s talk Politics

 

Lake County Republicans Raffle Assault Rifle to Finance Campaigns

By Lee Goodman

The headline says it all.  Don’t local Republicans understand the harm people suffer from gun violence?

Julie Morrison: A State Senator Who Works for Her Constituents

By Mark DeBofsky

The list of 29th District State Senator Julie Morrison’s accomplishments is quite extensive.  The highlights are definitely worth reading about.

Broadway? Wait Until You See the Highland Park Players’ Production of The Pajama Game!   

By Tom Recht

This is the last weekend to see Pajama Game in Northbrook. As our reviewer confirms, all who attended with Tenth Dems were blown away by this professional-level production of the classic Broadway musical that celebrates labor.  A few tickets are still available from Tenth Dems at our reduced price of $20.18.  Click here.

A Conviction Does Not Have to Be a Life Sentence

By Barbara Altman

During the Waukegan Coalition to Reduce Recidivism’s annual luncheon, Tenth Dems volunteers staffed a worthy project.

Congress Watch: Your Democratic Representatives Are Your Voice in Congress

By Dr. Laurence D. Schiller

Despite being in the minority, Illinois Democrats in the House and Senate continue to fight every day to better the lives of their 10th District constituents, and all Americans. This month’s Congress Watch enumerates many of their accomplishments.

Despair or Optimism? Tenth Dems and Moraine Township Democrats Cosponsor Let’s talk Politics

By Maxine Bonn

There was lots to talk about when Dems got together in early October for another session of Let’s Talk Politics.

Lake County Republicans Raffle Assault Rifle to Finance Campaigns

By Lee Goodman, organizer, Peaceful Communities

Less than two weeks after the shooting massacre in Las Vegas, the Lake County Republican Party raffled off an assault rifle and other guns in order to raise money for their campaigns. More than 100 outraged residents showed up in the Village of Kildeer on very short notice to protest this grotesquely insensitive disregard for public safety. When a reporter asked whether the protest was partisan, my response was “No.” I explained that if the Democratic Party had held a similar event, I and many others would be at that protest, too. But, I added, the Democratic Party in our area does not give guns out to whoever holds a winning ticket, and I feel confident that it never will. The Democratic Party is in touch with the desires of the vast majority of Americans here and all over our country who want fewer guns in circulation and more effective laws to prevent gun violence.

Immediately after the worst mass shooting in recent history, the White House and the NRA were quick to say that we should not talk about solving the problems that guns cause in America. They said that it would be politicizing the tragedy. But their own Republican Party had no hesitation to go ahead with its gun raffle to raise money for political campaigns. Despite a public clamor to cancel the raffle, they persisted. The chairman of the Lake County Republicans told reporters that he believed, as the NRA does, that there is no way to prevent shootings.

In the Trump era, many Republican voters like to pretend that they are more moderate than their party is. But the leadership of the Republican Party in Lake County has, by their intransigence on the issue of guns, shown that it is solidly aligned with the anti-social policies their party promotes at the national level. It would have been easy to cancel the Lake County raffle, but they refused.

Some people question the value of protests. In this instance, the protest attracted the attention of virtually all area news outlets. The result was that the Republican Party had to publicly answer for its actions, on the record. Voters who care about the damage guns are doing to our country now have the facts, and they can be expected to hold accountable all Lake County Republican candidates, because all of these candidates are benefiting from and supporting a party that auctions off guns like carnival prizes.

Broadway? Wait Until You See the Highland Park Players’ Production of The Pajama Game!

by Tom Recht

Last Sunday afternoon, October 22, I found myself at an absolutely terrific production of the stage musical, The Pajama Game. This great 1955 Tony Award winner has been brought back to glowing life by Highland Park Players at the Northbrook Theater, so close to where I live that the excellence of the production was startling.

Because the romantic comedy pits labor against management, and the finale celebrates the union’s obtaining a 7 ½ cent raise, Tenth Dems organized a group to see the show, with a director’s talk-back to follow. The entire audience, including many hardcore Broadway musical aficionados, was vocally appreciative of the performance—nearly giddy with delight.

The story of a labor dispute at the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory over a raise in hourly pay provides a neat backdrop for the romance between Sid, a new supervisor, and Babe, the head of the union grievance committee. Of course, it also contributes plenty of comic material for the other pajama factory employees – all oddballs of one sort or another. The songs are, every one of them, catchy and memorable, even to those who may not have heard them before, although some will be surprised to hear old favorites they didn’t know were from this show. And if you’re looking for resonance with today’s issues, think not only of the fight to increase the minimum wage, but also of our growing awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace.

You won’t find many surprises in the plot, for we’ve all seen this one’s scaffolding a hundred times before—boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy and girl reconcile and marry. So it’s up to the actors to bring these characters to life, and the Highland Park Players cast is brim-full of marvelous actor-singer-dancers who do just that. In the main roles, Trevor Vanderzee as Sid and Hannah Rose as Babe have fantastic voices and tons of charm. The, secondary roles are all played by excellent character actors who evoke lots of laughter and sing beautifully, too. And the entire ensemble does a remarkable job of nailing both the intricate choreography and multi-layered vocal arrangements.

Did I mention that there’s a live, orchestra with 18 musicians? Led by musical director Aaron Kaplan, they’re terrific. The choreography by Dina DiCostanzo is outstanding, too. Costumes and sets are simple and perfect with a polished, professional look. The director, Dominic Missimi, has done a highly commendable job of pulling all these parts together into a unified and compelling whole.

The production runs only through November 5th, so I strongly recommend that anyone interested get tickets now!

Growing together–September Newsletter

Tenth Dems September Newsletter

Please follow the link to view our September newsletter as a pdf file:

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In this issue of Tenth News:

Trump vs. the Constitution

Tenth Dems Founding Chair Honored by Statewide Democrats

Summer Interns Bring Talent, Energy, and Enthusiasm to Tenth Dems   

A Night of Social Justice Songs

Brad Schneider Kicks Off His 2018 Campaign

Run For Office Yourself

Join Us for The Pajama Game

 

Trump vs. the Constitution

By Dr. Laurence D. Schiller

The latest Tenth Dems University event featured prominent Northwestern University law professor Martin Redish addressing one of the most important issues now before our nation in light of the Trump presidency: the ways in which our Constitution protects us from tyranny.

Tenth Dems Founding Chair Honored by Statewide Democrats

By Randi Kugler

Tenth Dems Founding Chair Lauren Beth Gash recently received a prestigious award from statewide Illinois Democrats.  We not only report on the annual luncheon at which Lauren was honored but also link to a video of her acceptance speech.

Summer Interns Bring Talent, Energy, and Enthusiasm to Tenth Dems

By Orli Sheffey

 Meet some of the 2017 Tenth Dems class of summer interns, yet another group of outstanding future leaders.     

A Night of Social Justice Songs

By Kasia Kondracki

There was music in the air August 5, as people of all ages from all over the 10th Congressional District gathered at the Lake County Federation of Teachers building in Gurnee to sing and dance to songs of social justice.

Brad Schneider Kicks Off His 2018 Campaign

By Barbara Altman

It’s definitely not too early to be thinking about the 2018 election, and on September 9, Congressman Brad Schneider kicked off his reelection campaign in front of an enthusiastic crowd of supporters.

Run For Office Yourself

By Tom Recht

A How to Run for Office forum, sponsored by Tenth Dems University, was held September 9 in Libertyville, and there were plenty of experts on hand to provide valuable information for those in attendance.

Join Us for The Pajama Game

Winner of Best Musical and, 50 years later, Best Musical Revival, The Pajama Game is a musical comedy about the employees of a pajama factory who are trying to unionize.  See the show and stay for a talk-back with the director.  Details inside.

Trump vs. the Constitution

By Dr. Laurence D. Schiller, Dean, Tenth Dems University

On Sunday afternoon, September 17, Tenth Dems University presented Trump vs. the Constitution, a lecture by Martin H. Redish, Louis and Harriet Ancel Professor of Law and Public Policy, Northwestern University School of Law.  Hosted by Lake Forest College, the event, which aptly fell on Constitution Day, drew a near capacity crowd of more than 150. Constitution Day commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution 230 years ago, on September 17, 1787.

Professor Redish began with a list of what he termed  six “methods of tyranny,” which he reviewed against the actions of President Donald Trump:

  1. INTIMIDATION OF THE PRESS
  2. INTIMIDATION OF THE JUDICIARY
  3. CLOUDING THE TRUTH
  4. PORTRAYING THE LEADER AS SAVIOR
  5. APPROVAL OF AUTHORITARIAN LEADERS AND INTEREST GROUPS
  6. SCAPEGOATING OF VULNERABLE MINORITIES

The professor then turned to the reasons why he is cautiously optimistic that our democracy will survive this presidency as he closely examined the U.S. Constitution’s safeguards against tyranny.

As Professor Redish reminded the audience, our Constitution was constructed specifically to prevent the rise of tyranny. The founders understood that an executive is necessary for the practical implementation and enforcement of the laws that the legislature enacts and for overseeing the military, but they also recognized that the history of previous republics shows that the greatest threat of tyranny comes from that branch of government. So they devised a well thought-out governmental structure that would rein in the executive.  In addition, they created federalism, our system of reserving some powers of government to the states.

With reference to The Federalist Papers, Professor Redish ticked off some of the specific characteristics of what he called the American Constitutional structure as tyranny avoidance:

First, unlike the British from whom America’s founders had just successfully broken, the founders created a written constitution that could not be interpreted or neglected on the whim of King or Parliament.

Second, because they basically did not trust anyone not to seek absolute power, the founders created three co-equal, separate, branches of government.  Each branch would have defined functions that would act as a check on one another:  Congress legislates and controls appropriations; the President executes and enforces the laws passed by Congress, spending the funds Congress appropriates.  The President also manages foreign policy but only Congress can declare war. And the ultimate check on presidential power is the independent federal judiciary.  Insulated from politics by lifetime tenure, federal judges can nullify laws or executive actions that violate the Constitution. As Chief Justice John Marshall wrote in Marbury v. Madison (1803), the Constitution is a check on the political branches, without which there would be no stopping their accumulation of power. Ever.

Third, Article 5 of the Constitution allows for the amendment of the Constitution but only by means that require super majorities. This prevents tyranny by the simple majority. Neither the President, the Congress, the states, nor the people by themselves can change the Constitution and the protections it gives.

Fourth, protections for individuals are written into the first eight amendments to the Constitution, which, with the next two, we call the Bill of Rights. Unlike the British unwritten constitution, these rights are stipulated in black and white. And our independent judiciary protects these individual rights from the executive and legislative branches’ excesses.

Fifth, while the states are subordinate to the federal government, they are yet autonomous in that they have rights that may not be overridden nor subsumed by the power of the federal government. This provides yet another check on the potential tyranny of the center of power. So, for example, the Trump Election Commission could not constitutionally control the process of elections, because this power resides with the states. Still, the federal government, as it did in 1964 with the Voting Rights Act, may legislate to ensure that no state deprives anyone of the right to vote on the basis of race.

Professor Redish concluded his talk with more specific examples of Trumpian threats to these constitutional protections, including the Muslim ban and disrespect of the judiciary.  For example, in Professor Redish’s view the pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio threatens the power of the judiciary, because Arpaio’s crime, that Trump’s pardon excused, was to defy a court order that he cease engaging in specific unconstitutional activities.  Professor Redish’s New York Times op-ed on this topic can be accessed at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/24/opinion/trump-arpaio-pardon-arizona-sheriff.html?mcubz=0&_r=0

The afternoon ended with a lively question and answer session.