Saturday, March 28, 2015

Another Response From Durbin RE: Patriot Act

March 24, 2015
 
 
 
Mr. William Rosen
----------------------------
Lombard, IL 60148-1176
 
Dear Mr. Rosen:
 
Thank you for contacting me about the PATRIOT Act and Section 215. I appreciate hearing from you.
 
Over the years, my biggest concern with the PATRIOT Act has been Section 215, which can be used to obtain the personal information of Americans without any connection to a suspected terrorist or spy. Section 215, which the government may use to conduct phone records collection, will expire in June 2015 unless Congress decides otherwise.
 
Leaks revealing details about surveillance programs have raised significant questions about innocent Americans’ privacy. The government should obtain the useful information gathered under these programs with other, less invasive, surveillance tools. More information about these programs should be declassified to Congress, and the American people can debate the balance we are striking between security and liberty.
 
It is my obligation, along with my fellow Senators, to help ensure that the federal government protects and defends the people of the United States while preserving the civil liberties that have helped to make the United States the greatest and most enduring democracy in the world.
 
Thank you for contacting me. Please feel free to keep in touch.
 
Sincerely,
Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator

Thursday, March 12, 2015

We're Still Here: CGMC Celebrates Sondheim at 85

We're Still Here: CGMC Celebrates Sondheim at 85

We're Still Here: Stephen Sondheim at 85
Come meet our new Artistic Director Jimmy Moorehead as we celebrate the 85th birthday of Stephen Sondheim and use his profound work to reflect on where CGMC has been and where we’re going!
Hear songs from Company, Follies, Anyone Can Whistle, Into the Woods and more!
Season: 
2014–2015 [#33]
Saturday, May 16, 2015 - 8:00pm
North Shore Center for the Performing Arts
9501 Skokie Blvd
SkokieIL 60077
Saturday, May 23, 2015 - 8:00pm
Harris Theater
205 E Randolph St.
ChicagoIL 60601
Sunday, May 24, 2015 - 3:00pm
Wentz Concert Hall
171 E Chicago Ave.
NapervilleIL 60540
- See more at: http://cgmc.org/event/2015/were-still-here-cgmc-celebrates-sondheim-85#sthash.CmHkrWny.dpuf

Message From Senator Durbin RE: Iran

Mr. William Rosen
--------------------------
Lombard, IL 60148-1176
 
Dear Mr. Rosen:
 
Thank you for contacting me about diplomatic negotiations with Iran. I appreciate hearing from you.
 
In November, Secretary of State John Kerry announced an agreement to extend talks with Iran on its nuclear program for an additional seven months. This extension allows for a continuation of the existing interim agreement, which relieves roughly $700 million a month that had been frozen abroad as a result of sanctions. Ayatollah Ali Khameini, Iran’s supreme leader, recently announced support for an extension of the talks.
 
I cosponsored S. Res. 40, which supports these ongoing negotiations with Iran. This resolution states that while the Senate is prepared to enact additional sanctions, this should only be done in the event that negotiations fail, Iran violates the Joint Plan of Action, or Iran violates any final comprehensive agreement on its nuclear program.
 
The possibility that Iran intends to develop or acquire nuclear weapons presents the United States and the international community with very real national security concerns. It also threatens any diplomatic relationship with Iran.
 
The United States and our allies should use the diplomatic tools at our disposal to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. We should also work to encourage Iran to adhere to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and support peace and stability in the region, especially because it borders both Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
 

I will keep your concerns in mind as Congress considers U.S. policy toward Iran.
 
Thank you again for contacting me. Please feel free to stay in touch.
 
 
 
Sincerely,
Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator
 
RJD/kp

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Senator Dick Durbin Responds To My Letter RE: Militarization Of Local Police Departments

March 9, 2015
 
 
 
Mr. William Rosen
-------------------------------
Lombard, IL 60148-1176
 
Dear Mr. Rosen:
 
Thank you for contacting me about Department of Defense (DOD) equipment provided to local law enforcement agencies. I appreciate hearing from you and share your concerns.
 
DOD operates the 1033 Program, through which the Defense Logistics Agency provides excess military equipment free of charge to state and local law enforcement and the 1122 Program, which allows local law enforcement agencies to purchase excess military equipment.
 
In September, I wrote to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel urging an examination of DOD programs that supply such equipment. DOD must implement oversight mechanisms for the use of tactical equipment provided under the 1033 Programs. DOD must also ensure that local law enforcement agencies receive effective training for the use of this equipment and establish a complaint resolution procedure for communities where the equipment is being used.
 
Our communities need and deserve the safeguards, accountability, and oversight that would come with transparency and evaluation of these programs. I will keep your concerns in mind as Congress considers this issue in the future.
 
Thank you again for contacting me. Please feel free to stay in touch.
 
 
Sincerely,
Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator
 
RJD/kp

Dear "Breathtakingly reckless" GOP Senators Who Wrote The Letter About Iran

Dear 47 GOP Senators (you know who you are):
Sincerely,
Americans United for Change
with help from:
Originally posted on the Americans United for Change Blog

From the office of Senator Tom Cullerton RE: Fracking

Senator Cullerton
Dear Friend,
I'd like to start by thanking you for reaching out to my office with issues that are important to you, I wish more of my constituents reached out about their concerns and I appreciate that you took the time to contact our office.
Hydraulic fracturing is a highly talked about issue in the General Assembly, and one I do not take lightly when making decisions. I appreciate you sharing your information and concerns with me as they will be most helpful in going forward in this General Assembly.
I hope to continue hearing from you on this issue as well as any others that concern you.
Sincerely,

Senator Tom Cullerton
23rd District – Illinois
District Office:
338 South Ardmore Ave
Villa Park, IL 60181
Email Senator Cullerton
Office: (630) 903-6662
Fax: (630) 903-6643
Capitol Office:
M118 State House
Springfield, IL 62706
Office: (217) 782-9463

Rep. Duckworth Responds AGAIN To My Letter Regarding Human Rights Reform in Saudi Arabia

March 11, 2015
 
Dear Mr. Rosen,

Thank you for contacting me about the need for human rights reforms in Saudi Arabia. I appreciate you taking the time to make me aware of your concerns on this important matter.
On January 22, 2015, Saudi Arabia's King, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz passed away at the age of 90. King Abdullah was an important U.S. partner in advocating for peace in the Middle East. He also made some critical reforms to improve freedom in his country. He worked to increase access to education for all Saudi Arabians and created the country's first coeducational university, initiated judicial reforms, proposed easing the ban on women driving and lightened some restrictions on freedom of expression and religion. 
Despite the progress made so far, the oppression of freedom of speech and religion continues to plague Saudi Arabians and the country is consistently ranked as one of the worst in regards to women's rights. I believe that as King Abdullah's brother, Salman bin Abdulaziz, transitions into power, the U.S. has an important opportunity to advocate for important human rights and democratic reforms in Saudi Arabia. The United States has a long history of supporting people all over the globe by promoting economic prosperity, strengthening democracy and human rights, reinforcing food security, improving global health and advancing environmental sustainability. We must continue our work with Saudi Arabia and make it a priority that they address the human rights issues facing its citizens. No groups or individuals should feel threatened because of who they are, where they are from or what they believe. Rest assured that I will work with my colleagues in Congress to promote and protect basic human rights around the globe.
Thank you again for contacting me on this important issue. If you would like more information on my work in Congress, please visit my website. You can find upcoming events in the district, sign up for my newsletter, access my voting record and see what I am doing to address today's most important issues. I hope that you will continue to share your views and opinions with me and let me know whenever I may be of assistance to you.
Sincerely, 
The Honorable Tammy DuckworthMember of Congress
Illinois' 8th District

My Rep. Tammy Duckworth Responds To My Letter Regarding Military Force By Law Enforcement


March 11, 2015
 
Dear Mr. Rosen,

Thank you for contacting me in regards to the use of Military force by law enforcement. I appreciate you taking the time to make me aware of your concerns on this important matter. 
Like you, I was shocked to see the scenes that unfolded after the tragic death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Reports of police brutality against protestors and journalists and sights of a Suburban American town resembling a war zone were unacceptable. That is why I was glad to see President Obama announce that his administration would be reviewing the 1033 program which was responsible for the heavily armed response.
This program, enacted by Congress in 1990, provides local law enforcement agencies with excess military equipment. Since its reauthorization, over 8,000 law enforcement groups in all 50 states have been beneficiaries of the program. This has included firefighting equipment and ambulances to small municipalities that otherwise couldn't afford them. Though I understand that in some circumstances this equipment can help law enforcement respond to emergencies and help fill gaps for cash-strapped law enforcement agencies, Ferguson was a reminder that it can be very dangerous if misused.
The House Armed Services Committee, of which I am a member, is currently planning a hearing on the 1033 program. I look forward to having the opportunity to ask questions and voice my concerns about the current state of the program and the militarization of police.
In addition to reviewing the 1033 program, more needs to be done to reestablish the confidence of law enforcement within their communities. That is why I recently sent at a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to provide federal assistance for the use of body cameras by law enforcement agencies. In pilot programs around the country the use of cameras has been shown to reduce excessive force complaints and increase the trust of the public in their police departments.
I believe that the relationship between police and the community they serve should be one of trust and support. As we await the President's review of the 1033 program and continue to debate this critical issue in Congress, rest assured that I will keep in mind our shared concern about the militarization of police.
Thank you for your interest in this critical issue. Please stay in touch by visiting my website at www.duckworth.house.gov, where you can sign up for my email list, access my voting record and get additional information on important issues facing our country. If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Sincerely, 
The Honorable Tammy DuckworthMember of Congress
Illinois' 8th District

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Have you ever made a phone call, sent an email, or, you know, used the internet?

Have you ever made a phone call, sent an email, or, you know, used the internet? Of course you have!
Chances are, at some point over the past decade, your communications were swept up by the U.S. National Security Agency's mass surveillance program and passed onto Britain's intelligence agency GCHQ. A recent court ruling found that this sharing was unlawful but no one could find out if their records were collected and then illegally shared between these two agencies… until now!
Because of our recent victory against the UK intelligence agency in court, now anyone in the world — yes, ANYONE, including you — can find out if GCHQ illegally received information about you from the NSA.
Join our campaign by entering your details below to find out if GCHQ illegally spied on you, and confirm via the email we send you. We'll then go to court demanding that they finally come clean on unlawful surveillance.


Friday, February 13, 2015

My New House Rep Tammy Duckworth Responds To My Letter About Netanyahu


February 10, 2015
 
Dear Mr. Rosen,

Thank you for contacting me about Speaker Boehner's invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress. I appreciate you taking the time to make me aware of your concerns on this matter. 
Israel is one of our strongest allies and our greatest partner in the Middle East. Our two nations share an unbreakable bond and friendship built on our common values and mutual economic and security interests. I have repeatedly supported efforts to strengthen our relationship and ensure Israel's safety by voting to fully fund Israel's missile defense system, Iron Dome and supporting legislation to further strengthen sanctions against Iran. I have followed the nuclear negotiations carefully and on several occasions have sent letters to both Secretary Kerry and President Obama expressing concern about the potential for a nuclear armed Iran, their lack of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and their failure to release information and meet negotiating deadlines. I am very concerned, however, about the recent developments surrounding Speaker Boehner's invitation for Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress.
As you know, Prime Minister Netanyahu has spoken to Congress twice before. These previous invitations were in coordination with the White House and represented strong, unified support of Israel from our government. In fact, I was one of nearly 100 Members of Congress who wrote a bi-partisan letter to House Leadership last year urging them to extend an invitation for Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress during his visit to Washington. However, this invitation by Speaker Boehner was made without the Administration's knowledge. Circumventing the Executive Branch in dealing with a foreign head of state in this way is a significant breach of U.S. protocol, and it undermines our foreign policy objectives on a sensitive issue at a critical time. Unfortunately, these actions not only reflect poorly on our government on the international stage, but also have the potential to harm U.S. – Israeli relations; and this relationship is too important to place in the middle of a politically motivated disagreement.
Thank you again for contacting me on this important issue. If you would like more information on my work in Congress, please visit my website. You can find upcoming events in the district, sign up for my newsletter, access my voting record and see what I am doing to address today's most important issues. I hope that you will continue to share your views and opinions with me and let me know whenever I may be of assistance to you.
Sincerely, 
The Honorable Tammy DuckworthMember of Congress
Illinois' 8th District

My New Senator From Illinois Responds To My Letter

January 26, 2015
 
 
 
Mr. William Rosen
----------------------------
Lombard, IL 60148-1176
 
Dear Mr. Rosen:
 
Thank you for contacting me about the protection of gray wolf populations in the United States. I appreciate hearing from you.
 
The Endangered Species Act of 1966 (ESA) has played an important role in the preservation of many species threatened with extinction. The gray wolf was one of the first species listed under the Act’s provisions. Beginning in 1995, an experimental population of gray wolves was reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park and in parts of Idaho. The decision to reintroduce the formerly native wolves was fraught with controversy, and the wolves’ release and protected status sparked several lawsuits. The reintroduced gray wolves have thrived in the region, but as the population grows, these animals have come into increasing conflict with livestock operations.
 
Over the years, the U.S. Department of Interior has drawn criticism from both environmental groups and animal rights organizations for its management of gray wolf populations.
 
After three decades of successful management undertaken by federal, state, and local partners the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to remove the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
 
The Fish and Wildlife Service is currently reviewing public comments received during the public comment period which ended on March 27, 2014, before it releases a decision on removing the gray wolf from ESA protection.
 
I share your view regarding the importance of protecting endangered species and understand your concerns. I will keep your thoughts in mind if this issue is discussed in the Senate.
 
Thank you again for contacting me. Please feel free to keep in touch.
 
Sincerely,
Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator
 
RJD/kl