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Just Shoot: Turning Search Warrants into Death Warrants and SWAT Teams into Death Squads PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Monday, 09 June 2014 05:59

“A government which will turn its tanks upon its people, for any reason, is a government with a taste of blood and a thirst for power and must either be smartly rebuked, or blindly obeyed in deadly fear.” – John Salter

How many children, old people, and law-abiding citizens have to be injured, terrorized, or killed before we call a halt to the growing rash of police violence that is wracking the country? How many family pets have to be gunned down in cold blood by marauding SWAT teams before we declare such tactics off-limits? And how many communities have to be transformed into military outposts – complete with heavily armed police, military tanks, and “safety” checkpoints – before we draw that line in the sand that says “not in our town”?

The latest incident happened last month in Atlanta, where a SWAT team attempting to execute a no-knock drug warrant in the middle of the night launched a flash-bang grenade into the targeted home, only to have it land in a crib where a 19-month-old baby lay sleeping. The grenade exploded, burning his face, lacerating his chest, and leaving him paralyzed. At the hospital, he was put in a medically induced coma.

If this were the first instance of police overkill – if it were even the fifth – there might be hope of reforming our system of law enforcement. But what happened to this baby, whose life will never be the same, has become par for the course in a society that glorifies violence, turns a blind eye to government wrongdoing, and sanctions any act by law enforcement – no matter how misguided or wrong. As I detail in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, this state-sponsored violence is a necessary ingredient in any totalitarian regime to ensure a compliant, cowed, and fearful populace.

Legislative Session Produced a Few Winners PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 08 June 2014 05:56

There were lots of losers during the state legislative session that ended last month. But there were a few winners, so let’s take a look at them.

First up: Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner.

Never before has a political party nominated a gubernatorial candidate who had more impact on a legislative session than Rauner did this year. The gazillionaire’s unlimited supply of money and his constant threats to “shake up Springfield” clearly put legislators of both parties on edge all spring – even before he won the primary.

“Kick the Can” Budget Plants a Time Bomb PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 01 June 2014 05:21

On the bright side, you could argue that the budget passed last week by the General Assembly will lead to the largest tax cut in Illinois history come January, when the 2011 income-tax increase partially expires on schedule.

But that’s about the only bright side. And, really, pretty much nobody expects that some sort of tax hike will be avoided after the election, no matter who wins in November.

Vote Diane Holst for Scott County Supervisor in June 3 Primary PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 10:11

Every blue moon the stars align to produce a candidate for public office who is the real deal. Taxpayers are fortunate enough to have just such a candidate for the Scott County Board of Supervisors in Diane Holst.

I have marveled at Diane’s tenacity in staying engaged as a concerned citizen. Over the past four years, she has attended more than 100 meetings where Scott County business has been discussed, heard, and voted on. (Some meetings were held in private for more than four years before she proved that the state’s open-meetings law was being violated.) She is eminently qualified to serve on the Board of Supervisors.

What Happens When You Cross the Speaker PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 25 May 2014 05:10

There’s an old Statehouse saying that House Speaker Michael Madigan cares mostly about two votes each Democratic legislator makes: one to re-elect him speaker, and the other for his chamber’s operating rules.

Some, such as Representative Elaine Nekritz, have gotten away with voting against Madigan’s rules. Nekritz explained to Madigan why she voted against them, and he was impressed with her thoughtfulness. She’s since moved up the ladder to become one of the House’s hardest-working members who also carries some major legislation.

But nobody ever gets away with voting against Madigan for speaker.

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