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  • Rauner Should Be Able to Work with Madigan PDF Print E-mail
    Illinois Politics
    Written by Rich Miller   
    Sunday, 16 November 2014 05:23

    Last December, Bruce Rauner appeared on a WLS Radio talk show and revealed that he planned to form a new campaign committee to counter the power of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

    “We’re gonna raise a PAC, we’re gonna raise a fund dedicated to the state legislature, members of both parties who take the tough votes,” Rauner said. “We’ve gotta protect the members who take tough votes.”

    “Right now,” Rauner continued, “Madigan controls the legislature from his little pot of cash. It isn’t that much money. And he runs the whole state government out of that pot. We need a pro-business, pro-growth, pro-limited-government, pro-tax-reduction PAC down there in Springfield working with the legislature for those who take tough votes.”

    Word is that Rauner’s new legislative PAC will be launched relatively soon – perhaps after the governor-elect’s transition committee has finished its job.

     
    Iraq War Stories: An Army Nurse’s Perspective PDF Print E-mail
    Editorials
    Written by Kathleen McCarthy and Ann Hochhausen   
    Thursday, 13 November 2014 11:02

    Retired Lieutenant Colonel Ann HochhausenOn November 9, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Davenport hosted a most compelling presentation by retired Lieutenant Colonel Ann Hochhausen – Colonel Ho as she is affectionately called. This 27-year veteran in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps shared her experiences and perspective as chief nurse of the 28th Combat Support Hospital (CSH) in Tikrit, Iraq, during 2003 and 2004.

    Colonel Ho’s one-year odyssey included serving as one of two chief nurses, in split operations, in large canvas-tent hospitals resourced and manned for 200 beds. This all took place in a hostile desert where they performed more than 1,000 surgeries over just the first four months. The 28th CSH provided care for more than 21,000 coalition military personnel and Iraqi civilians and prisoners of war in the course of its one-year deployment. With her specialty skills in obstetrics and gynecology, Colonel Ho was a rarity in that theater, and she was awarded the Bronze Star for her care of pregnant Iraqi women and their unborn children.

    Most Americans cannot fathom the harsh and brutal environment in which the 28th CSH provided compassionate and expert medical care for U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians and combatants alike. Our notions of war have been glorified and sanitized to prevent triggering the American people’s collective outrage for such impossible conditions and horrific results.

    Colonel Ho’s perspective is critical in conveying the feelings and realities that our military personnel deal with – not just during service, but for the rest of their lives.

     
    Quinn’s Doomed Strategy Gave Rauner an Easy Win PDF Print E-mail
    Illinois Politics
    Written by Rich Miller   
    Sunday, 09 November 2014 05:48

    Bruce Rauner out-performed fellow Republican Bill Brady’s 2010 gubernatorial-election performance in every region of the state last week. As I write this, with less than half a percent of the vote yet to be counted, Rauner has a 5-point margin over Governor Pat Quinn and appears to have won a majority vote in a three-way election.

    The national headwinds against the Democratic Party surely played a role in the Quinn loss. But Rauner did better than other Republicans on the ticket. Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka is widely considered one of the most popular Republicans in Illinois, and yet she under-performed Rauner. At this writing, GOP state Representative Tom Cross and Democratic state Senator Michael Frerichs are just about tied in the treasurer’s race. And Republican Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier appears to have narrowly survived an attempt to oust him.

    Rauner scored just above the magic 20-percent number in Chicago, a point at which – with a significant advantage in the rest of the state – a Republican can win a statewide election.

    But he didn’t really need it. He out-performed Brady’s 2010 campaign in suburban Cook County by 6 points, outdid the Downstater in his own region by a point, and dwarfed Brady’s 2010 numbers throughout the collar counties.

     
    The FBI: America’s Secret Police PDF Print E-mail
    Guest Commentaries
    Written by John W. Whitehead   
    Thursday, 06 November 2014 10:00

    Every regime has its own name for its secret police. Mussolini’s OVRA carried out phone surveillance on government officials. Stalin’s NKVD carried out large-scale purges, terror, and depopulation. Hitler’s Gestapo went door-to-door ferreting out dissidents and other political “enemies” of the state. And in the U.S., it’s the Federal Bureau of Investigation that does the dirty work of ensuring compliance, keeping tabs on potential dissidents, and punishing those who dare to challenge the status quo.

    Whether the FBI is planting undercover agents in churches, synagogues, and mosques, is issuing fake emergency letters to gain access to Americans’ phone records, is using intimidation tactics to silence Americans who are critical of the government, or is persuading impressionable individuals to plot acts of terror and then entrapping them, the overall impression of the nation’s secret police force is that of a well-dressed thug, flexing its muscles and doing the boss’ dirty work.

    It’s a far cry from the glamorized G-men depicted in Hollywood film noirs and spy thrillers. The government’s henchmen have become the embodiment of how power, once acquired, can be so easily corrupted and abused.

     
    Fee for Service Is Not the Problem PDF Print E-mail
    Guest Commentaries
    Written by Sean Parnell   
    Thursday, 06 November 2014 09:07

    If you go to your doctor with severe pain or some other symptom suggesting a serious injury or illness, do you want him or her to have a financial incentive to treat you, or would you rather the doctor have a financial incentive to withhold care?

    Although few will admit it, a sizable number of health-care policy wonks seem to prefer the latter, having apparently diagnosed doctors being paid for the care they provide patients as one of the problems with the U.S. health-care system.

    This view was perhaps best expressed by President Barack Obama back in the summer of 2009, when he was pushing for what ultimately became the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. “You come in and you’ve got a bad sore throat, or your child has a bad sore throat or has repeated sore throats,” Obama said at a press conference. “The doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, ‘You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid’s tonsils out.’”

    The heart of this allegation is what is known as fee-for-service medicine. Essentially, this means doctors are paid for the treatment they provide patients, no more and no less. In other words, pretty much the same way most of us pay lawyers, accountants, mechanics, hair stylists, and anybody else who provides a service for us.

     
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