Evanston Democrats suffer party leadership exodus

The DPOE office at 821 Chicago Ave.

The Democratic Party of Evanston office at 821 Chicago Ave.
A third of the directors of the Democratic Party of Evanston have quit the group in the past several weeks in a dispute with local elected officials over the group's direction.
Former executive director Toni Gilpin, who started the exodus at a board meeting Feb. 21, says the elected officials were looking for a more traditional party organization, where the elected officials set the goals and the party's work focused mainly on the officials' own re-election.
By contrast, Gilpin said, the board had been trying for the past four years to build "a truly grass-roots, bottom-up operation."
She said she saw the organization's role as advancing the progressive agenda, not just in Evanston, but where volunteers could have the most impact, locally and nationally.
She said party volunteers had been active in the nearby 10th Congressional District in 2010 and had played an important role in recruiting volunteer attorneys to fight efforts to disenfranchise voters in battleground states in national elections.
"We had a fundraising and consciousness-raising event last September that drew people in who'd never been to one of our events before," she added.
In all, 10 of the board's 29 members have quit since Feb. 21
Adam Finlayson, who resigned as board president, said the board members who left "wanted to broaden our focus beyond just electoral politics," but that because the elected officials "have the power of the purse" the board was constrained in doing that.
Gilpin said the group raises about two thirds of its funds from membership dues from its several hundred members and from other contributions, but that it gets the other third of its funds from elected officials who represent Evanston.
One of those officials is State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, who, while he's resigning from the senate at the end of this term, plans to retain his role as the party's township committeeman.
Schoenberg did not respond to calls Thursday seeking his comments for this story.
But another elected official, County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, dismissed the resignations. "There's always a natural amount of turnover, especially around primary or general elections," Suffredin said. "I don't think there's a story there."
Suffredin said the issue is making sure there's a balance between organizing for party success in local elections and being involved at the national level.
But Gilpin said that in Evanston, "where progressive Democrats enjoy comfortable re-election margins," many on the board believed the group could focus on broader goals.
Gilpin added that she has nothing but support for the elected officials in their legislative roles. "They are progressive heroes for many folks, and me, too."
But she said she's now trying to figure out whether there's a market "for the kind of work we've been doing, for a truly active, progressive organization that serves the community."

Comments

Schoenberg's role in D65 referendum

It should also be noted that the Democratic Party of Evanston's sample ballot included a "yes" vote for the D65 referendum and specifically indicated that it was the recommendation of Jeff Schoenberg, committee chair.
Many voters used those ballots as "cribsheets" in the voting booth. Without Schoenberg's intervention, the D65 referendum could have come out with an even higher percentage of "no" votes.

still on the D65 referendum?

I would hope that those voters who received the DPOE sample ballot were intelligent enough to read the fine print and realize that those were not DPOE recommendation but only those of Schoenberg.
However, that raises some questions:
a) If the DPOE as a group did not endorse many of the candidates (I believe only those in larger bold type), why did their "central committee" or equivalent allow a "lame duck" to endorse?
b) If DPOE did not endorse or support a referendum item, why print a bulletin or ballot that implies they did?
c) How many sheep or lemmmings bought into that "endorsement" circular and why if, as Evanstonians, let alone as Democrats, they consider themselves intelligent and well-read if not well-informed.?
Given the vote count, I would hate to believe, despite your theory, that it made much of a difference to have that sample ballot.
What is most surprising, however, is the final outcome given that no organization, that I saw, had big "NO" yard signs and all the effort, money and endorsements were from the "YES" groups, including any number of elected Democrats whose clout or coat tails appeare to be very minimal or shredded.

I saw the DPOE circular and

I saw the DPOE circular and thought the organization was supporting all three referendums.  Schoenberg deserves some flack for his support of the D65 bond issue.

The DPOE's sample ballot

For the record, the Democratic Party of Evanston sample ballot for the election this past Tuesday was produced after I and the Board members who have resigned had left the organization. The DPOE had taken no position on the D65 referendum. The previous sample ballot, for the November 2010 general election, featured a different design (done by then Communications Chair Rene Rivera) that drew a clearer distinction between the candidates endorsed by the DPOE and those who were the personal selections of Committeeman Jeff Schoenberg. The ballot used this time around returned to an older design.
It had been my view, shared by many Board members, that to properly inform the electorate, and to ensure the DPOE’s integrity, the sample ballot should be fully transparent in delineating between those candidates (or positions) endorsed by the DPOE through a membership vote at its endorsement session, and those that were backed by the Committeeman but had not received the organization’s endorsement. This was one example of the differences between many members of the DPOE Board, and some of our local elected officials, that led to the recent resignations.

Weighing in on the current state of the DPOE

Wow! I'm not sure what else I can add to what's already been said but let me try . . .
First, I am definitely in favor of what the DPOE was doing and how they were organizing and influencing the political arena under the leadership of Toni Gilpin and the Board. As a 30-year veteran of working in corporate America and a dedication to and passion for effective leadership and communication in organizations, Toni is one of the best leaders I've ever encountered. I say that because she was welcoming, inclusive, inviting, organized, inspiring, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, made people feel like they mattered and were appreciated and that what they were doing was making a difference . . . and she got results! It goes without saying, given the roles Jeff, Larry and Jan have played in this breakup, that they lack those same leadership skills!
And another mark of a great leader is the people with whom they surround themselves. Toni assembled a Board that has been unmatched in the history of the DPOE relative to their integrity, commitment, vision, collaboration, open-mindedness, progressive thinking, strategic approaches and ability to make things happen. I salute all of you and only wish we volunteers could have done something to support you in ways that would have avoided this breakup.
That being said, I definitely am someone you can count on to support you to create a new organization founded on the principles you brought to the DPOE that our elected officials seemed unable to recognize as being ultimately in their best interests.
I have so much respect and appreciation for how articulately and comprehensively you have explained your stands for principle! We are lucky to have people such as yourselves in our midst, willing to contribute and make a difference in a political process that is so fractured nationally right now.
And to those who are upset that Obama has not done more, I ask you to consider the incredible "ignorant" and irrational forces he is facing as reflected by the Republican candidates and their supporters. In all my days of politics, I have never seen such a roster of "stupid" candidates, like it's not just that I disagree with their positions -- I disagree with how they think (or don't).  I'm really concerned about their lack of intelligence and how ego-driven they all are.
To those who say to throw them all out, I respectfully invite you to consider that you are overlooking that President Obama is probably one of the best educated, most thoughtful, rational, objective presidents we have ever had and could do so much more if only we didn't have a population that is so "uneducated" and influenced by people like Rush Limbaugh. And think about it, Romney truly would be an Etch-A-Sketch president -- I used to say he was a Ken doll, he was so lacking in substance. But now I think Etch-A-Sketch describes him perfectly (Etch-A-Sketch btw  wasn't ever even a very effective toy!) But it certainly represents how he stands for nothing except his own ego gratification!

The arrogance and gall of some Democrats

According to Dianne Michels, Republicans, conservatives and the
Republican presidential candidates are "stupid, ignorant, irrational,
ego driven and lack intelligence."
Mitt Romney graduated cum laude from Harvard with a joint MBA and law
degree. He spent 30 months voluntering at an overseas missionary, and
last year gave 15 percent of his income to charity - something he has
consistently done over the years. In comparison, Obama last year gave
1 percent and Vice President Joe Biden gave something like $650 to
charity.
Ron Paul is a medical doctor.
Gingrich is an history professor.
Santorum has an MBA and law degree.
And Michels blames an "uneducated population" for failing to see how
rational and smart Obama is.
The statements made by Michels displays the arrogance of many
Democrats today. They know better than you.  If you don't agree with
their politics you're stupid, ignorant, etc. I give her credit, she
didn't call them racists.
I guess that's progress for a progressive.

DPOE open house and phone bank Thursday

In 2008, Obama supporters from all across Illinois lent a helping hand to our friends in nearby battleground states -- and it worked, President Obama won every state we helped organize. This time around, the election will be even closer – and once again, we will play a critical role in helping battleground states get ready for November. We can't do it without you.
Sign up to phone bank and help us educate undecided voters in a crucial battleground state for the President. Bring your cell phone, charger, and desire to continue to move our country forward. We’ll provide the scripts, lists, training and anything else that you might need.
There's no second chance to win this election.
Sign up throught the Obama Campaign here:
https://my.barackobama.com/page/event/detail/gpy2t7

No, thank you

Not a chance, I respectfully do not support President Obama now or for re-election. 
Thanks for the invite, though!
 

Also, NO THANK YOU

Thanks, but no thanks.
I would think that only a very foolish person would support Obama's failed first term with a second term. To many people do not want to hear or see the facts, and will just try to re-elect this trainwreck for another 4 years.

Good luck Skip...

because I would think only a very foolish person would support any of the Republican primary candidates, and even more foolish to select a Libertarian. Seems too many people do not want to hear or see facts and will just try and elect someone other than Obama no matter what their views are.
But that's the beauty of this country...we all get a say in who we would like to represent us. It's just up to each individual to excercise that right.
Good luck come November.

Then........

like what appears to be the majority of this country, we can agree, almost anybody other than Obama.

It won't be close, Alex

"This time around, the election will be even closer –"
Alex - I don't think that this election will be close. Looks like the Republicans are going to nominate Mittens, who is kind of like a younger, less likeable   version of John McCain or Bob Dole  (minus the Purple Hearts) -  and he will probably have to choose someone who is completely crazy to satisfy the 'conservative wing' of the Republican party (i.e., the totally bonkers looney-bin unenquiring fringe element).
I think that Arizona and Georgia might even be in play for Obama this time around.  Wouldn't that be nice?  ..."let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia."

An alternative organization

I was very sorry to learn about this rift within the DPOE. However, I understand the decision of those who have left.
I hope the members who have left will find a way to continue working together on progressive issues. In this situation, I believe forming an alternative organization is warranted, perhaps one focused more on local, non-electoral work.
 

I'd be more likely to pay

I'd be more likely to pay dues to a grassroots organization than I would to one that is just a cog in the party machine.  I support our progressive local eleced officials, but also appluad the stand taken by Ms. Gilpin and Mr. Finlayson.

Volunteering for progressive movement

I have regularly volunteered at the DPOE for the last 4 years and have always enjoyed the grassroots effort we were making to move the country in a more progressive direction.  My suggestions about what directions to take in which ways we could be most effective both locally and nationally were always respected and often helped in making decisions on our next steps.  I am very disappointed to have heard about how the rug has been pulled out from under us as we are now expected to volunteer in what I see as just serving the elected officials' interests.  As a volunteer I can no longer work for such an organization and would be willing to join and help create an alternative group that preserves the integrity and respect of its members.

"It is time for change within DPOE..."

Being a former member of DPOE's Board, I can appreciate a thrust for change within this petty orginazation.
Currently, I avoid participation in DPOE because it lacks representation and interests from of local communities of color. I have some grave concerns about our current elected Democratic officals... and support new faces and focusing within these elected position.
Time is not on our side...
 
John Barfield
 
 
 

Why I Resigned

I hope this comment will bring some more light into this story as I think it is important for people to understand what goes on in the political structure that is supposed to represent them.
I am one of the, currently, ten board member that resigned. The resignation of more than a third of any organization should always raise alarms about the structure of that organization. But to put it clearer context, the resignation of six out of the eight volunteer members of the Executive Committee of such an organization should make you question the legitimacy of that organization. Taking the step of resigning was difficult and took a lot of thought. It is always hard to abandon the foundation of something you have worked towards for years.
I left for one basic reason; it became clear that building a truly representative organization was not, and never will be, the goal of the Democaratic Party of Evanston as long as it primarily serves the interests of the elected officials who happen to be board members. There is of course a longer explanation I gave as part of my resignation. And being the former Director of Communications I felt it important enough to post that longer explanation for the larger community to read (here <http://dpoe.org/theleft/2012/03/07/vote-me>, and here <http://www.facebook.com/groups/46255309358/permalink/10150738867974359/>).
Rene Rivera

My resignation

I am a former board member who has recently resigned.  This resignation was not part of a general amount of turnover during an election season, but rather a decision to pursue work that is truly grassroots and truly democratic after realizing that the DPOE would not give me that opportunity. Here is the letter that I wrote upon resignation:
 
After processing the events and discussions of the past few weeks, I unfortunately feel it is necessary for me to resign my position on the board of the Democratic Party of Evanston.  I am not making this choice out of any allegiances or favoritism, but because I no longer feel that this organization will be allowed to pursue the vision that motivated me to join the DPOE in 2009.  I apologize in advance for the length of this message, but I do think it is important to share why I have come to this conclusion.
As a recent college graduate and the youngest member of the DPOE board, I’m often asked by campaigns, candidates, and even volunteers what can be done to get the youth involved in politics.  In reality, I can’t sincerely speak on behalf of “the youth.”  I wasn’t a typical college student.  For me, politics was about more than getting an internship that looks good on a resume, or even making connections for future employment.  Instead, it was a way to merge my values with something larger than myself.

Although I understood from an early age that politics and policy were very important, I was not involved in political campaigns until I got to college.  The first campaign I worked on was in 2008.  The first campaign work I ever did was passing sample ballots on the Northwestern campus at 6am on a freezing February morning for the Democratic Party of Evanston.  Only a handful of people walked into the polls during that time, and even though I was filled with youthful enthusiasm, it was hard to see how I had made any difference.  Frankly, if it had not been for my discovery of a fledgling group of Obama supporters on campus, my involvement in the campaign might have stopped there.

But instead, my involvement in the campaign only grew after I was given the opportunity to travel with other students to Missouri and Indiana during primary season. I was given the position of campus coordinator for Students for Obama, and was re-introduced to the DPOE that summer.  I spent the summer helping coordinate trips to Iowa and going on several of them myself.  I felt important.  I felt that the work that I was doing, personally, was reaching voters who otherwise might not be engaged in the process.  Most importantly, when Northwestern students returned in the fall, I saw these feelings of empowerment transferred to hundreds of other students as they woke up early on Saturday mornings and piled on buses headed for Iowa, anxious to talk to potential voters and make a difference in a swing state.

In the years that followed, I helped get over 100 students to vote in the 2010 Democratic primary, and used what I learned to help set up an institutionalized voter registration program on campus that will ensure that every single incoming freshman at Northwestern will be given the opportunity to register to vote as they pick up their student ID during orientation week.  I’m proud of those accomplishments, and even if I couldn’t always wear my hat as a DPOE board member while working on those projects, there is no doubt in my mind that the number of Democratic votes cast in Evanston and in swing states will be increased because of that work.

But last week, I was told by their representative that our elected officials are embarrassed by our board, and the work that we’ve done in the last few years.  I’ve been told that it isn’t enough.  And just as other board members are hurt and angered by this response from our elected representatives, I too feel let down and disenchanted.  I believed that by joining the Democratic Party of Evanston in 2009, I was being given the opportunity to create something new and innovative.  I believe that that is the only way we will reach young people.  We can’t just ask for (or worse, demand) their vote.  We need to give them a reason to care, and a reason to engage in the process.  They know where their time and votes will be wasted.  The old way is not going to cut it. 

I don’t want to be overly rhetorical, but this situation reminds me of a great quote from Inherit the Wind, a play based on the Scope’s Monkey Trial; Drummond, defense attorney for the science teacher put on trial for teaching evolution, says to his old friend, Brady, an advocate for the prosecution, “All motion is relative. Perhaps it is you who have moved away—by standing still.”  I don’t think that the work of our board has moved away from the fundamental democratic or electoral goals of the Democratic Party, but I do think that the staunch adherence to the old way of doing politics is misguided, and will keep us from reaching those “apathetic” and disenchanted members of the electorate.  Measurements of success for the Democratic Party have to be based on more than the number of volunteers passing out sample ballots on a primary morning in a blue state.  We need true, authentic engagement with people beyond the usual suspects, and I will continue to volunteer my time in other endeavors that realize that necessity.
 
I would like to commend my fellow board members on the hard work that they have put into this organization in the past three years.  I have certainly learned a lot from you, and have been inspired. 

DPOE

In 2000 and 2004, when I approached the DPOE to volunteer, I found a lackluster little office with a tired, disorganized feel to it.
That changed in 2008, when Toni Gilpin arrived as executive director. The 2008 DPOE operation was a hub of activity, with well-organized weekly phone banks and weekend trips to Iowa, where people canvassed for Obama.
Since then, Toni and other board members have tried to expand the DPOE's activities. In fact, an event had been planned for the end of February to bring in new activists and energize people. When this idea was presented to Jan Schakowsky, she said, "Tell 'em to write a check."
It is this attitude that turns off so many would-be activists. Is the DPOE an organization of progressive, thoughtful people or just part of an arrogant machine? Especially when Schakowsky and other locally elected officials enjoy such a comfortable majority here in Evanston, where people vote Democrat 9 to 1, can't the DPOE take on a role beyond simply getting her re-elected?
Larry Suffredin's comment in this story is so far off the mark. This was not business as usual, normal turnover, but a reflection of deep philosophical differences on the board. Now I fear the 2012 DPOE operation will go back to being a poorly organized little private club run by a series of oddballs.
Guess I'll go up to New Trier to volunteer. By the way, it is at least in part Schakowsky's fault that we lost Obama's Senate seat to Mark Kirk. She endorsed Alexi Giannoulias, one of the worst candidates every. Thanks Jan.

What happened?

All of these board members, who ar clearly passionate, resigning at the same time?  Why?    From what is sounds like- you all  realized that the politicians only care about themselves? 
Is this such a shock?  
Have you all heard of the book "Throw Them ALL Out"? http://www.amazon.com/Throw-Them-All-Peter-Schweizer/dp/0547573146
It is an account of how career politicians, both left and right, enrich themselves through insider trading deals, while hanging the rest of us out to dry. (Yes, they are pushing through a bill now to curb this activity- WIll be interesting to see what loopholes are put in...)
Do you really think volunteering at a different office is going to be any better?  And no, I"m not advocating for joining up with the republicans- LIke they're any better!
Who finances the parties?  If you look at who financed the 2008 candidates (www.opensecrets.org), you'll see that GOldman Sachs was a top donator to both Obama AND Mitt Romney.      Do you really expect these men to do lead differently when it comes to the $$?   (Yes, there are differences on social issues.)
How about organizing a grass roots movement to take back our constitutional  freedoms instead of organizing to get people elected? 
How many constitutional rights must we lose, at the hands of both parties before we realize that career politicians are not on our team? FOr example-
National Defense Authorization Act- SIgned Jan. 1- giving government the right to detain citizens without representation indefinitely
 Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order -  March 16th, which gives government ability to exert martial law over any property  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-garrison/martial-law-under-another_b_1370819.html)
Or thank god this one got stopped-   Stop Online Piracy Act- While advertised as giving government right to stop piracy, would also give government the ability to censor any foreign website that they deem terrorist in nature.
Or How about putting back the GLass-Stegall laws back into investment banking so that bankers can't gamble with commerical deposits and get bailed out by the government when they lose.  HOw about reducing leverage so banks can only take risks with the money that they have in their vaults!      All this push for more fines and regulations on banks, but politicians are not even talking about the ones that really matter! Why?  Because the people who have benefitted from getting rid of GLass Stegall and increasing leverage are running the Treasury department! (and they ran it under REpublicans too- no difference)   http://www.cftech.com/BrainBank/SPECIALREPORTS/GlassSteagall.html
Throw them all out!

DPOE

I received a sample Democratic Party of Evanston ballot at home. Though I am an attorney, when I read the ballot I thought that the Democratic Party of Evanston was endorsing a number of candidates for judge as well as the three referendums.
This belief was confirmed by the representation on the ballot that Senator Jeff Schoenberg and the Evanston Democrat's Top Five included recommendations for three judges.
I was more than miffed when somebody told me that I needed to read the fine print on the ballot because in fact the party had not endorsed any of the judges or the referendums but this was only the personal opinion of Jeff Schoenberg.
The sample ballot is misleading. It is apparent that this was not inadvertence. The picture accompanying this article show that in the window of the office there is a sign supporting the school referendum. The clear implication of that signage is that the Democratic Party of Evanston support the school referendum which is not the case. 
I would suggest that in the interest of fair play that sample ballots should be drafted in a non misleading fashion.
-- Stanley Parzen

Obama is not who he said he was

Obama may be well educated, but he is not looking out for the 99.9% . I voted for him too, because he promised hope and change from past politicians.
Here is a list of just a few reasons why I will not vote for him again-

1. Obama appointed Monsanto's vice president as senior advisor to the FDA.  Why is this a problem?  Monsanto controls over 80% of the GMO market.   The FDA is there to regulate foods, and Monsanto is the biggest producer trying to get around regulations. GMOs are illegal in most countries in the EU.

2. Obama let the USDA tell us that "genetically modified" food is fine and safe- the latest outcome of this is allowing "pink slime" to make it to school lunch meat. WHat is pink slime? It is connective tissue and animal by-products, essentially dog food.   Pink Slime is banned for human consumption in the UK. McDonald's and Taco Bell won't even allow it in their food.

3. Obama appointed Tim Geitner to head of US Treasury, yet another Goldman Sachs employee running the money, just like before-   Who pushed for deregulating Wall Street in the first place?  If you have not seen the award winning documentary "the inside job" this movie makes it very clear why this is a problem.
 
4. Obama did not veto: National Defense Authorization Act nor the Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order-  Both of which nullify some very basic constitutional freedoms like the right to attorney and property rights

5. Obama promised reductions in military spending, but he actually increased the budget (the “cuts”  were only reductions from the crazy high Republican “projected” budget, not actual cuts in the real budget-  http://www.newsmax.com/DickArmey/Obama-Military-Budget-cut/2012/01/11/id...

6.  Obama has done more than any president in history to deregulate the way the US sells arms.  The Obama administration was selling arms to Iraq while our soldiers were there fighting, and no one was ensuring that the arms didn’t end up in the direct hands of the “enemy” insurgents- - http://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthompson/2012/01/02/obama-makes-arms-sa...

7.  Obama put oil sanctions on Iran- but he exempted BP.   Sure helps to be connected to power, don’t it!     http://blogs.wsj.com/corruption-currents/2012/01/23/congress-could-exemp...
 
8.  Obama campaigned on reforming Wall Street- including reducing leverage to the banks   He has done NOTHING.  (also covered in the Inside Job). He didn’t cause the 2008 crash, but he didn’t do anything to change the behavior on Wall Street either.

9.  For me personally though my #1 reason to never vote for Obama is again is his connection to Jon Corzine, former head of MF Global.   Jon Corzine stole over 1 billion dollars of customer assets from his Chicago based clearinghouse in Chicago this past November.   He is currently under federal investigation for wrong-doing.   Obama has yet to return a penny of Corzine’s campaign contributions, and Corzine is once again listed as one of Obama’s top bundlers for 2012- http://cnsnews.com/news/article/corzine-list-top-obama-2012-campaign-bun...
 
Why is this a problem?  Tell it to all the farmers in Montana who lost everything and are currently sueing COrzine.   Tell the independent (as in not-working for the “too big to fail banks”) traders at the Chicago Merc.  that their kids college funds are gone- for some, their entire life savings was stolen.  If Obama cared so much about these people, you think he'd tell Jon Corzine to beat it.
So yes! I want to throw out Obama too- and Rush LImbaugh has nothing to do with it. 
 

Remember what he is doing for Green Energy

He wanted green energy and has moved to that by making gas at the 'full-cost' price.  He realized that only when the price charged covers the cost of the fuel, cleaning-up the pollution it causes, pay for the roads, etc..  That will be about $10 a gallon and then other green energy sources will finally be competitive.   Until that happens we won't get off of the high oil usage.

Solyndra

Yeah, I remember what he's doing for green energy. He's pissing away hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on failures like Solyndra and Abound.

Green energy

The true average cost of green energy is equal to a little over $ 12 a gallon of gasoline. The Obama administration is doing it's best to get prices higher but it will take his reelection to get there. I think it would be better to stop propping up energy supply companies, green and non-green, and investing that money in energy research, green and non-green. It doesn't do any good to subsidize green energy supply companies that produce a very expensive product using the current technology available.
There are many more reasons not to vote for Obama than wasting our tax dollars.
Also, the Chevy Volt is not going to be a good car if:

  • You cover your garage solar cells to charge it. It would increase the time to full charge the batteries from 13 to 35 hours.
  • You place a windmill on the roof. It would have a negative on the battery power.
  • You get a pig to hold a pinwheel out the car window. While this would not make any difference to any improvement to the battery power but you might get free auto insurance from a certain company.

Obama and his interventions with the price of oil

You are right that if the price of oil went up, people would go green because it would make economic sense.
However, if Obama was trying to make the price of oil go up for green reasons, he would not have continued direct war (Iraq), influenced war (Libya), or economic war(Iran).
What do all these three places have in common?
Oil- not only the physical material but the price and currency of trade.
    You may all already know this- but since 1971, the US dollar has been the only currency used to trade oil. Every time foreign countries exchange their currency for dollars, our currency gets a boost, like a broker in a deal. However, as the federal reserve continues to print money, the dollar is losing value. Other countries now see that exchanging their currency for dollars is a losing trade for their people.
What is the outcome?
Iraq; Before the sanctions and ultimate war, Saddaam Hussein proposed moving away from the US dollar to use gold as a method of exchange.
Libya: Gaddafi was also proposing moving away from US dollar exchange. He proposed uniting the countries of African and using a gold African dinar as a means of exchange.   If you watch our western media coverage, you get the impression that Gaddafi was a ruthless dictator who impoverished his Libyan people. Yes, he was a dictator, but it is a different culture. Consider what Gaddafi did for his people. Every person at age 18 was given a free apartment. Health care and education was free for everyone. All students received a stipend. Any person who wanted to go abroad for education was given full tuition. Gas cost $0.14 cents a gallon and every person was given a free car.  Any person who wanted to be a farmer was given land and a stipend to start. Yes, he was a dictator- But watch how the people embraced him- http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XorKTwkFPDU
Obama financed the Libyan rebels to overthrow Gaddafi.  Many Libyans believe that without the US intervention,  the Libyan rebels would not have won.  What makes this even more perverse is that our own US soldiers fought these Libyan rebels in Afghanistan and Iraq.  
Iran: Currently, Iran has also been proposing moving away from the US dollar. (If you believe the same “terrorist” propaganda that was used by Bush to bring us to war with Iraq, open your eyes to the propaganda of Obama in Iran!) In fact, several weeks ago, India already started trading with Iran using gold. If you’ve never seen the Chinese perspective on all of this- Here it is: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/22/us-china-iran-idUSBRE82L05L201...
Let’s look at the price of oil adjusted for inflation by using the price of silver: In the 1950s, it cost roughly $0.25 cents to buy a gallon of oil. It also cost $1.00 to buy an ounce of silver. Today, it will cost you $32.00 to buy an ounce of silver(and rising as the fed. prints more money). Without intervention into the price of oil through military policies, oil should cost around $8.00 a gallon (granted means of production has improved, but relatively speaking this is about the price).
Now, I personally have very mixed feelings on all of this because I live in America, and I have many family members who have served honorably in the armed forces. I also know that every recession in recent history begins with rising oil prices. In a way, Obama and Bush before him are acting in the interests of the American people by all of these above actions. The average American wants to have a big home and cars. We want to fly on airplanes for cheap deals.  We want to  buy lots of cheap products shipped from China. We like buying our organic grapes flown in from Chile- All of which requres oil to transport.
Perhaps in Evanston we talk about being green, but many of us still live a relatively BIG lifestyle in comparison to other nations, and we need oil to sustain this way of life. I am no better than any other average American, and I have questioned deeply what changes I need to make in my own life to not only talk the talk but walk the walk- Right now, I'm just another green wannabe, like Al Gore going on about being green while living in a lavish palace and flying around on private jets (for me minus the palace and the jets :)  Our government has chosen to continue allowing all of us to lead our AMerican lifestyle by printing money.
 However, I also see the realities of what our sanctions and war have done to foreign countries. For example, after the Iraq sanctions, the standard wage of living for the Iraqi people was sliced in half. Over a half a million children died as a result of starvation. On 60 minutes, Madeline Albright was asked “you know, more children were died in Iraq due to sanctions than were killed in Hiroshima. Do you think it was worth it?” She said yes!!!
Many have attributed the acts of 9/11 as an act of blowback for arrogant statements such as this, as well as actions of the US abroad- See her say it here for yourself- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ftnw7YlDwQ
Now, are we as a people ready to make a change in lifestyle? Are we ready to stop intervening in how other countries choose to trade for oil? Are we willing to allow oil prices rise, which will undoubtedly put our country into a recession? 
If we are not, vote again for Obama, Romney, Santorum, or Gingrich. They will all undoubtedly keep the military strong overseas, so that we can continue living our American dream. If you are ready for real change, look at Ron Paul. He is the only one advocating for a change in foreign military policy.

Half Truths

Jen,
You sound like somebody has occupied your brain. You remind me of a high school teacher I knew. He wrote a 20 point article for the school newspaper. 19 out of 20 points contained half truths, mixing true statements with false statements and making it sound creditable. I complained to the school that his writings would falsely mislead the students and that the school should explain this to the students.
The school arranged a meeting and after making my case he admitted that if he didn't use half truths, he could not make his political points. The school directed him apologize to the students and they let him finish the last 6 weeks of the school year.

He was fired, not for lying but for providing false information about his citizenship, he was an illegal Irish immigrate.

I don't think you are intentionally lying. You sound like you really believe what you have written but I think you need to find other sources than Richard Gere, Rosie O'Donnell, etc....
 
 

prove me wrong

Honestly, I would love it if you could prove me wrong.   I really do not want to be right about all of these things. .  I'm not sure why you say that I get my news from celebrities? 
  I want to believe everything that the mass media tells us, but I have been reading closely and following with a questioning eye.  I see what our leaders are really doing.   
I can not with a good conscience sit by and say nothing to anyone.    I see here that people on this website have been questioning our leadership.  So question deeply. Look for the truth beyond the pages of the corporate controlled NY TImes, Wall Street Journal, Economist Magazine, or Fox Media sources.  Look at the US from a foreign perspective, for news media outside the US/Europe. Look to independent media sources for another opinion.  See our story with fresh eyes. . .
 ANd just to be perfectly clear, I do not blame the soldiers for any of this.  Several of my own cousins have fought in the wars I listed, and they agree with me on the realities of the wars.   Why do you think that ROn  Paul gets more money from military personnel than all the other candidates combined?   This is a fact- YOu can search the donor database at www.opensecrets.org  Why do you think Ron Paul is getting so much support from the under 30 crowd?  They get their news from independent web-based sites.  They still question authority.  So be young in your vision and question.  
Prove me wrong, and I will literally sleep better at night knowing that my tax dollars are not fueling unjust wars.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Green energy

What will your car run on, hot air??? And remember, carbon-based fuels are used to generate the electricity needed to fuel your new Volt!!! Hope you like this change.

Hot Air

If your car can run on hot air, vote for democrats and you get plenty of fuel. Obama has made America a much worse place to live in the last 3 years because of his spend spend policies. They have failed for America as they failed for FDR back in the 1930's.

Dems- Repubs- no real difference

The mistake of your argument is that Obama has caused all these issues.  He alone is not responsible, but he has not done anything to change the trajectory either.
 This past week, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) met to discuss moving off the US dolllar as the world reserve currency. This received little press in the US. THe only coverage showed the problems of the group and the lack of direction.  
However, if you watch this news from NEw Dehli, you'll see an entirely different story-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=tznt-Q9Uf58
The significance of this discussions is staggering to the US.  IF these countries move to an alternative world currency, it removes the ability of our Fed to print money to hand to foreign lenders. It literally is just a big house of cards about to fall.
There is only one politician predicting this crash- Ron Paul-  America is facing extremely hard times as the world market removes our printing press. I don't want a savior. I just want someone smart enough to see the problems and have a solution.
 
 

Obama

Jen, I'm sympathetic to your concerns, but not sure what you think our electoral system is about.  Are you looking for a presidential candidate or a savior?  Governing is incredibly complex and you make it seem simple, which falls into the Tea Party and FoxNews trap, I believe.
I recommend focusing more on getting rid of Tea Party representatives in Congres and building a strong coalition for progressive change that will push Obama to do the right thing - not to undermine him in favor of ideological hucksters and their notions of purity and perfection.
In case you didn't notice, this country is in serious trouble. Do you really want a leadership void at the top - a void that will be happily filled by Tea Party?  Anger is great, but not when it takes us farther from solutions.