Jack Roeser Blog

Thoughts, views, and observations forged during a long, active life, 83 years, by Jack Roeser- inventor, engineer, manufacturer, soldier, racing sailor, pilot, entrepreneur, classical liberal (conservative) activist, father and husband, and proud American.

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Jack Roeser is Chairman and founder of Otto Engineering Inc. a manufacturer of electronic control and communication switches for aerospace, medical and industrial uses. Otto’s success is marked by the high precision and quality of its products. Jack has received over 50 patents in Electrical, Mechanical, Machinery and Marine products. In 1994, he ran for Governor in the Republican primary, receiving 26% of the primary vote. For over 25 years, Jack has been an advocate of education reform through the application of free market principles and of school choice. Jack's sport is sailing; he has won the Chicago - Mackinac race among many others.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Who’s your Daddy?

This month’s general election brought huge losses for the so-called “moderates. Recently, Governor Edgar tried to explain this debacle by saying, “We’ve got to move to the left; that’s where the Democrats are and they keep winning.” These “moderates” just want to get into politically powerful positions and take care of themselves.

In the meantime, the Libertarians have this idea that a world-wide economy is the way to go, and they don’t want to fool around with the social issues like Right-to-Life, marriage, family, morality or homosexuals. None of that stuff plays into their theme at all. But in fact, this makes them only half a party. With regard to economics, their view is very good; the financial freedoms they advocate have unleashed a much better functioning market economy. But what Libertarian philosophy misses is that a whole lot of the spending done by our government is on the social things, whether its welfare or health or education. They are focusing on the economic stuff but neglect the big spending engine that is driven by all the social stuff.

Then we’ve got the so-called Conservatives who really have a broadband view of all of this. It includes businessmen who are very interested in the mathematics of the economy, many of them are libertarians to a degree. But conservatives also share strong views about the importance of social institutions such as marriage, the family, and the fact that the family has been our culture’s foundational institution for generations.

Now you’ve got this whole bunch, largely in the Democrat Party but also these imitators in the Republican Party, that are pushing for the government to become “your daddy” through such programs as universal health care, and mandatory pre-school and socialized prescription medicine. Well lots of luck with that one. That reminds me of the familiar quotation: “I’m from the Federal government and I’m here to help you.”

If the government- Federal, state, or township- is your new daddy, you’ve got a real problem. Now you’re going to be the kid and he’s going to run you. You’re looking at a socialistic economy with your freedom out the window and the government using its taxing authority to take your money away.

Running any thing from the top, as proven by the collapse of Socialism and a number of Communist governments, is doomed to fail because it ignores the bridge between economics and social values. You have to take both these factors into account. Conservatives are the only ones that seem to have an integrated philosophy that handles all of that.

The Republican Party is supposed to be based on such a complete philosophy. But until it gets back to those concepts that encompass both the economy and decent social structures, it isn’t going to work very well.

These “moderates” that just got defeated in the general election took the whole nation down the path of defeat with their clever brand of political expediency. Karl Rove is really the ultimate “moderate,” a modern-day Rasputin to our President. He outsmarted himself by forsaking sound political principle and going with an ill-founded strategy. Here in Illinois, we have his buddy “Big Bob” Kjellander as well as the “Gay Brigade” which occupies so many positions of influence within the state party and within Hastert’s congressional office. They are carrying us down a road that doesn’t give any recognition at all to the importance of social institutions. You don’t have to be an “extremist” to recognize the fact that the family and social programs are driving a big expensive financial engine that is taxing our prosperity away from us.

Lots of luck with “Big Brother,” the old name for “Who’s your Daddy.”

We better make sure we continue the cleanout of our state and our national government and get rid of these moderates that don’t have the sense to see the whole dimensions of the social and financial problems and how each of these two factors influences the other.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

An Education Ground-Breaker

A historic occasion took place last month in Pingree Grove, here in our local District 300. There was a ground breaking ceremony for the new charter school that will open up at the start of the next school year. This is historic because it’s the first charter school of any size that has been started as part of a newly developed community. The Cambridge Lakes Development Company did something creative and innovative, something that did not require higher property taxes to support student growth. They are building a charter school right in the middle of the new community they developed. This project will be a tremendous benefit to the entire district. It’s really good business when you can find a way to profit your corporation, increase customer satisfaction with your product, and help the taxpayers.

This is an icebreaking move away from the difficult, union-controlled operating system in the public K-12 school system. The present system has a tremendous capital investment. Many people are supportive of public schools because that is what they grew up with, but they don’t fully understand how inadequate they have become in educating students as compared to other countries. In fact I have often described the present K-12 system as being the most dysfunctional organization in the State of Illinois. While the charter school system is not totally ideal, it certainly is a big step forward in improving the present sad condition of public education.

The charter school solution has both financial and academic benefits. Financially it means that the operators of the charter school system in this case will get about $7,000 dollars per pupil for each school year. Since D300 gets about $10,000 a year from various tax sources- federal, state, and local- per child, they profit by about $3,000 for every child attending the charter school. Academically, charter schools are proven to provide a better level of education to its students while operating on much less.

The Cambridge Lakes Charter School is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2007 and will eventually serve up to 1,000 students. We hope its success will be the ground-breaker for many more such innovative solutions for providing a higher quality of education to a growing population of students WITHOUT raising taxes, either locally or statewide.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Today, U.S. Senator Barrack Obama is enjoying an astounding boom of publicity ever since he was selected to make a speech at the Democrat National Convention last year. To hear the media tell it, particularly the Chicago Tribune, Obama delivered the greatest political speech of all time, and he’s the kind of guy we’ve got to have- a wonderful speaker, intelligent and well-spoken- perhaps a future President of the United States!

But has Mr. Obama actually done anything really noteworthy? He spent about 8 years in the Illinois Senate. Some might say it was quite an accomplishment to even get elected Senator. But those who know anything about Illinois politics realize that the Cook County Democrats selected him as their senator not because of any superior ability but as a reward for loyal service to their political machine. His sponsors were the flint-eyed Democrat pol Rahm Emmanuel and the now-indicted Tony Rezko.

Once in the Senate, what did Obama do there? Well after 8 years, there is no noticeable product. He does have the reputation, according to recent newspaper accounts, of being a pretty good poker player that spent a lot of time at Wednesday night card parties with his cronies, oddly enough some of them Republicans, including Senator Bill Brady. Brady and Obama reportedly spent a lot of time at those poker sessions and not much time working on polishing up on legislation.

Obama was also a professor at that tree full of owls down on 55th Street known as the University of Chicago. The U of C is known for people like Milton Freedman, famous for his Noble Prize in economics and for his Freedom Foundation that works very hard to bring vouchers to education so it can be operated in more of an American enterprise effort.

Compare him with Senator Peter Fitzgerald who preceded him as U.S. Senator and as a state senator. Peter Fitzgerald was a real reformer that went after corruption in the casinos. He also took on Republican rain-maker Bill Cellini, who got one of the first casinos and two big hotels without paying for them. When Peter Fitzgerald declared he would run for U.S. Senate, the cry went up in Springfield, “He’s gonna blow the whistle!” As a U.S. Senator, Fitzgerald took on the Mayor, his airport project, and gave us U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald who is cleaning house in both parties. Senator Peter Fitzgerald has a record of significant accomplishments.

From the standpoint of accomplishments, Mr. Obama is what we operational types call “an empty suit,” the result of a tremendous publicity blitz by the Chicago media but with zero to show for all his years in public service. With his fine education and his opportuntities in the Senate, he has left no mark of improvement in his state or his city. And for all his years in the Illinois legislature and his status as an educator, Mr. Obama has done nothing to improve the education opportunities for kids in Chicago neighborhoods. He has never championed an unpopular cause or taken a political risk. He’s just a slick guy that through reverse discrimination, has become the darling of the liberals and the media- a testimony to the bankruptcy of leadership in the Democrat Party. It’s no credit to him, no credit to the Tribune, and no credit to anybody else who wants to pick up this fellow to run for President of the United States. That job requires leadership and a record of effective accomplishments.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Combine Endorses Topinka

Ex Governor Edgar is frequently seen on TV endorsing Topinka running for Governor, saying that she’s the best person for cleaning up corruption in government. Consider how strange this really is.

When George Ryan was running for Governor, the US Attorney at the time, a Democrat, issued a statement saying George Ryan was not a target of his investigation. Well we all know that when we got a good US Attorney in there in the person of Pat Fitzgerald, George Ryan got indicted and convicted. That same Democrat U.S. Attorney also failed to continue with any prosecution of Governor Jim Edgar in the famous MSI scandal where state contractors got their service contracts modified extensively so they became instant millionaires in the second year of the contract. During the trial that resulted in the conviction of those contractors, Edgar was called to testify in that case but couldn’t seem to remember if he ever met with these fellows when in fact he’d gone out to dinner with them numerous times, they were heavy donors to his campaign and they had given him a computer for his home worth $15,000.00. Apparently Edgars gratitude for all these things fell victim to his short memory

It must be said that Edgar was not convicted of anything even though these were somewhat strange circumstances, but the fact that this hung over his head may have had something to do with his decision not to run for Governor again.

In the absence of any official legal consequences, Edgar’s public reputation seems unsoiled to many Illinoisians. So now he’s using it in this effort to overcome the very negative opinion that the public has of Topinka for Governor.

People sometimes speak of honor among thieves. This is a mistaken description of the fact that crooks have a mutual culpability which prevents them from ratting out on each other. This same culpability can be found among unethical or illegal activities by politicians as well. According to Tribune columnist John Kass, there exists in the State of Illinois a “bipartisan culture of sleaze” where you’ve got a great many politicians in both parties who have been working together to re-elect each other no matter what strange circumstances may be puzzling the public voters at the time.

A great many politicians have already been convicted by US Attorney Pat Fitzgerald and there’s quite a string of them that are among the as-yet-unindicted co-conspirators. There are also many others whose activities could be called only unethical and not exactly illegal. In the public’s opinion, all this unethical and illegal mess of politicians has given them nothing but high taxes and very poor services. That is why they have a very low opinion of all of these politicians. While public opinion on this is very clear, it’s also notable that very few of these highly placed politicians in either party will dare speak out against the miscreants in their own party. Republican candidates are glad to speak about the foibles of the Democrats but can’t bring themselves to say that we have some very un-Republican candidates that messed around with the public for years. They can’t bring themselves to say that those Republicans aren’t really following the Republican platform.

It’s really disappointing to see Governor Edgar trying to salvage Judy Baar Topinka’s reputation and rescue her from being held accountable by the public. Edgar diminishes his own reputation by this foolish endorsement of Topinka. Yet when Senator Peter Fitzgerald was coming up for re-election, Edgar never came to his rescue or defended him against the political insiders that didn’t want him to stay in that office. Nothing unethical or criminal was ever mentioned regarding Fitzgerald, but the sleazy insiders wanted to get rid of him for bringing in Patrick Fitzgerald (no relation) as U.S. Attorney.

In defending Topinka, Edgar identifies himself squarely among this bunch of ethically-challenged dinosaurs that will certainly be no help in cleaning up the mess in Illinois politics. Reform-minded voters will have to just concentrate on their local elections and hopefully we will be rid of these people at the top that have perpetuated the problems in this State. After tomorrow, Topinka and the remains of the old combine will hopefully pass into history.