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Latino Voting Power Could Soon Translate Into Legislation PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 02 December 2012 05:12

Five years ago, most Illinois House Republicans, including House GOP Leader Tom Cross, voted against a bill that would’ve allowed undocumented immigrants to obtain state driver’s licenses. The conservative rhetoric against the legislation was very harsh. Even so, it was approved by the House but never called for a floor vote in the state Senate.

Back then, the legislation was seen as political suicide by many Republicans fearful of a backlash within their own party. But because November’s election results showed that a heavy Latino turnout may have swayed several races in favor of the Democrats, Republicans have suddenly become far more interested. Cross, for instance, called the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights (ICIRR) the day after the election, offering to work with the group. The ICIRR now considers that the driver’s license bill will be a “down payment” on whether the parties want to make a “good-faith effort” to work with it in the future. And Cross is supporting it.

 
Can You Trust the President, Congress, or the Courts to Protect Your Privacy Rights? PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Wednesday, 28 November 2012 14:05
“The game is rigged, the network is bugged, the government talks double-speak, the courts are complicit, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” – David Kravets, reporting for Wired

Nothing you write, say, text, tweet or share via phone or computer is private anymore. This is the reality of the Internet-dependent, plugged-in life of most Americans today.

A process that started shortly after 9/11 with programs such as National Security Agency (NSA) wiretapping and Total Information Awareness has grown into a full-fledged network of warrant-less surveillance, electronic tracking, and data-mining, thanks to federal agents having been granted carte blanche access to the vast majority of electronic communications in America. Their methods generally run counter to the Constitution, but no federal agency, court, or legislature has stepped up to oppose this rapid erosion of our privacy, and there is no way of opting out of this system.

Consequently, over the course of the past 12 years, Congress, the courts, and the presidents (both George W. Bush and Barack Obama) have managed to completely erode privacy in America. Complicating matters further is the fact that technology is moving so rapidly that we often find ourselves making decisions (or subjected to decisions) whose consequences we can scarcely comprehend.

 
A Government Guided by Peace and Tolerance PDF Print E-mail
Editorials
Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
Wednesday, 21 November 2012 05:36

The media cartels, currently the public-relations arm of politicians (and their bureaucracies) and the corporate elite, lend their full cooperation in censoring ideas that inform political debate in America. Why? Because an informed populace is an anathema to the two-party system so critical to the current political power base. This self-perpetuating system enriches the global elite through strategic and privileged partnerships that confiscate and consolidate the world’s wealth and resources.

There can be no question that America is now in an era of authoritarianism, and we, as a people, are on the brink of facing extreme tyranny in our lifetimes. (And your locally elected officials and officers stand idly by forsaking their oaths of office, under the pretense of violating your rights in the name of security and arrogantly determining that they are providing you a quality of life you deserve. But I digress ... .)

From the militant police state to the invasion of your privacy to the violation of your personal liberties, we have published articles for nearly 20 years documenting our circumstances that resemble what many have referred to as a slowly boiling frog: It does not know it’s being cooked until it’s too late.

Last week, U.S. Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) delivered his farewell speech on the House floor, putting a bookend on his 23-year career as arguably the most fervent, principled, and consistent defender of the Bill of Rights. Below are the text (from his House Web page) and video of Dr. Paul’s speech, well worth noting for reminding us that the original intent of America’s founding documents was to govern the government, not govern the people.

 
Civic Committee Leader Pushes Himself Out of the Pension Debate PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 18 November 2012 05:46

For the past few years, the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago has been one of the most feared participants in the state’s pension-reform debate.

Ty Fahner, a former Illinois attorney general who heads the Civic Committee, managed to convince both parties to elbow each other for a position of favor with him and his group.

When Fahner ended up siding with the House Democrats back in May and endorsing their pension-reform plan, including shifting costs to school districts, the House Republicans were furious and disappointed. They had been assiduously courting Fahner, and figured that since the Civic Committee is composed of several top Chicago business leaders, they’d be the natural ally of choice.

Not to mention that Fahner also formed a political action committee (“We Mean Business”) to back up his word. Everybody wanted that money, so the PAC gave his position additional strength.

But those days appear to be behind us, at least for now. Fahner’s histrionics last week over what he claimed was an “unfixable” pension problem have all but cut him out of the Statehouse mix. “He’s made himself irrelevant,” said one top Democratic official who is intimately involved with pension reform.

 
Latinos Key to Several Election Upsets in Illinois PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 11 November 2012 05:44

Back in 1992, Latinos made up about 8 percent of Illinois’ population, yet only 1 percent of that year’s total election-day voter pool was Latino. The trend continued for years. Latinos just didn’t vote.

Twenty years later, things have changed in a big way. According to exit polling, 12 percent of Illinois voters last week were Latino – compared to the 16 percent of Illinois residents who are Latino.

That high participation contributed to many of last week’s electoral surprises.

 
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