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The U.S. Supreme Court: Architects of the American Police State PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 10:16

“The unspoken power dynamics in a police/civilian encounter will generally favor the police, unless the civilian is a local sports hero, the mayor, or a giant who is impervious to bullets.” – Journalist Justin Peters

From time to time throughout history, individuals have been subjected to charges (and eventual punishment) by accusers whose testimony was treated as infallible and inerrant. Once again, we find ourselves repeating history, only this time, it’s the police whose testimony is too often considered beyond reproach and whose accusations have the power to render one’s life over.

In the police state being erected around us, the police can probe, poke, pinch, taser, search, seize, strip and generally manhandle anyone they see fit in almost any circumstance, all with the general blessing of the courts. Making matters worse, however, police dogs – cute, furry, tail-wagging mascots with a badge – have now been elevated to the ranks of inerrant, infallible, sanctimonious accusers with the power of the state behind them. This is largely due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Florida V. Harris, in which the court declared roadside stops to be Constitution-free zones where police may search our vehicles based upon a hunch and the presence of a frisky canine.

This is what one would call a slow death by a thousand cuts, only it’s the Fourth Amendment being inexorably bled to death. This latest wound, in which a unanimous Supreme Court determined that police officers may use drug-sniffing dogs to conduct warrantless searches of cars during routine traffic stops, comes on the heels of recent decisions by the court that give police the green light to taser defenseless motorists, strip-search nonviolent suspects arrested for minor incidents, and break down people’s front doors without evidence that they have done anything wrong.

 
General Assembly Faces Difficult Questions on Concealed Carry PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 24 February 2013 05:04
Illinois House Democrats were told during a private caucus meeting in Springfield last week that, despite what Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez says, inaction on concealed carry would have very serious consequences.

A federal appellate court has given the General Assembly until June 8 to pass a new law allowing some form of public carrying of loaded weapons. After that deadline, Illinois’ laws against public carrying would be struck down. Illinois is the only state in the nation that totally bars concealed or open carry by citizens.

However, an aide to Alvarez told the House Judiciary Committee last week that the federal appellate ruling means nothing to the state.

 
Knowledge Is Power PDF Print E-mail
Editorials
Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 09:16

It is glaringly obvious that the tragedy surrounding the Aurora, Colorado, and Newtown, Connecticut, shootings is being grossly objectified to achieve a political agenda of disarming Americans.

I am no lover of weapons. In fact, I abhor any violence, including the disgraceful warfare the United States is currently engaged in. I despise the weakness that characterizes our lack of civic will in the 21st Century to hold our governments accountable for perpetuating both warfare and welfare upon the people.

We are truly a pack of sheep when it comes to preserving our legacy as a republic governed by the rule of law. Let’s be crystal clear, folks: America was not founded as a democracy. America was founded as a republic. There is a huge difference that needs clarification – again.

 
Governor’s Bad Week Includes Horrible Polls, Key Departure PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 17 February 2013 05:39

“Off topic? I can’t imagine what that would be,” cracked Governor Pat Quinn last week during a press conference. Just hours before, his lieutenant governor had announced that she would not be his 2014 running mate.

Quinn usually does a pretty good job during his press conferences of convincing reporters to wait to ask off-topic questions until all questions about the subject at hand have been asked. Last week was no exception.

Quinn was holding a presser with U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss her conditional approval allowing Illinois to move forward with an online health-insurance exchange – a major step toward implementing the president’s national health-care plan.

“You could get caught by stray bullets,” Quinn jokingly warned the folks who had gathered with him to make the announcement. “You don’t have to be part of the firing squad,” he added with a laugh.

He knew what was coming. Earlier in the morning, the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute had released a poll showing that Quinn was badly trailing Lisa Madigan in a hypothetical primary matchup. By mid-morning, the late Senator Simon’s daughter, Sheila, had announced that she wouldn’t be running with Quinn again. Simon’s aides said she didn’t know about the poll from her father’s think tank, but the irony wasn’t lost on those of us who watch these things.

 
The Fallacy (and Challenge) of “Our Illinois” PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 10 February 2013 05:39

Governor Pat Quinn used the phrase “our Illinois” (or a variation) almost 30 times last week during his State of the State address

“In our Illinois, everyone should have access to decent health care.”

“In our Illinois, working people find good jobs not just for today but for tomorrow.”

“In our Illinois, we find a way to get hard things done.”

In our Illinois, we are a “community of shared values.”

While the phrase was mainly just a rhetorical device for a constitutionally mandated annual address, it is important to point out that Illinois isn’t really “one” and doesn’t have all that many “shared values.”

“Our Illinois” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

Imagine trying to govern a state so diverse that it included both Boston, Massachusetts, and Richmond, Virginia.

 
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