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Insider Threats PDF Print E-mail
Editorials
Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 08:43

The most rudimentary research on the U.S. government’s illegal mass surveillance of Americans will reveal that this unconstitutional practice has been ongoing since at least J. Edgar Hoover’s days. History openly details the chilling effect his secret file-keeping had on the politicians of that time, not to mention the control he exerted as a result. Don’t believe for a minute that such activities stopped when he passed. In fact, collection of sensitive, private information on all Americans – including politicians, bureaucrats, military personnel, and public-sector employees across the spectrum of government – has ballooned beyond even his comprehension.

Last issue’s Reader cover story “The War on Whistleblowers” provided a small list of whistleblowers who have made enormous contributions to our open society. Missing from that list were Gregory Hicks, Christopher Pyle, and James Bamford.

Gregory Hicks was the exemplary deputy chief of missions at the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, when Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three American Marines were murdered. He testified that the Africom military-response team under General Carter Ham was told to stand down, allowing four Americans to needlessly die. He has suffered reprisals and demotion for telling the truth to Congress. Meanwhile, National Intelligence Director James Clapper, who recently admitted lying to Congress when he previously denied that his agency was spying on Americans, has experienced zero consequences for his crime.

Christopher Pyle was the U.S. Army Captain who, in the 1970s, exposed the military’s spying campaign, COINTELPRO – a program to infiltrate and report on the legal activities of groups and individuals protesting the Vietnam War.

 
Bill Daley Targets Madigans with Poll Leaks PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 23 June 2013 05:32

I think a lot of people believed that if Bill Daley ran for governor, his campaign would be as bland and vanilla as his public persona has been over the decades.

Instead, he’s turned into the most fiery candidate in the race so far. Daley is even “out-angering” wealthy Republican financier Bruce Rauner, who has tried to position himself as the “We’re not gonna take it any more!” choice for 2014.

Daley has attacked Governor Pat Quinn’s pathetic leadership, slammed the General Assembly for its ridiculous inaction, and made it clear that he’s not afraid to go on the attack against the Madigan family by releasing unflattering poll results earlier this week that showed the House speaker could harm his daughter’s potential gubernatorial bid.

Daley has been selectively releasing responses to a poll taken in April for his campaign – back when few thought he would actually run. All of the responses released so far have dealt with Attorney General Lisa Madigan and her father, House Speaker Michael Madigan. None of the numbers released so far has showed any actual Daley strength.

 
Lopsided Democratic Race for Guv Tightens PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 16 June 2013 05:53

In a sign that some truly awful publicity for her father may be hurting her possible gubernatorial bid, Attorney General Lisa Madigan has seen her poll numbers plunge in the past several months. And Bill Daley has considerably improved his standing since he announced his candidacy.

Back in January, a We Ask America poll had Madigan leading Governor Pat Quinn in a Democratic primary by 25 points, 51 percent to 26 percent. A Public Policy Polling survey taken in November had Madigan stomping Quinn by 44 points, 64-20.

But the newest Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll, taken June 13, had Madigan’s lead over Quinn at 11 points, 44-33. That’s still a big lead, but not nearly the cremation many were expecting.

 
Lack of African-American Support Dooms Gay-Marriage Bill PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 09 June 2013 05:17

There’s more than enough blame to go around regarding the failure of the gay-marriage bill during the final days of the General Assembly’s spring session, which ended May 31.

Governor Pat Quinn knew that African-American House members were reluctant to support the bill, mainly because of pressure from their churches. So, why did he pick a nasty fight with the Black Caucus over Medicaid? Quinn was offering projects to Republican legislators to entice them to flip, but he couldn’t find a few million Medicaid dollars to help poor people get wheelchairs and preventive dental care? That late-session fight over Medicaid spending was counterproductive. Instead of using the disagreement to his advantage, Quinn dug in his heels and so did the Black Caucus, which also initially refused to support a gay-rights measure several years ago after being cut out of a gaming-expansion bill.

Senate President John Cullerton said he didn’t regret passing the gay-marriage bill out of his chamber in mid-February, before the House votes were lined up. Back then, the House roll call was reportedly in the 40s. (Sixty votes are needed to pass.) Usually, proponents try to wire these things so they pass both chambers quickly. Cullerton said he feared opponents would begin gearing up and believed the bill needed to be passed as quickly as possible. But passing that bill without first making sure the House was ready to deal with it energized opponents and gave them time to organize.

 
Audubon School Should Be Saved PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by Alexandra Elias   
Tuesday, 04 June 2013 08:04

(Editor’s note: After this commentary was submitted, the Save Audubon School coalition announced developer interest in the site.)

Does the Statue of Liberty pay her own way? Does the Chicago Public Library make money? The Rock Island City Council would have you think they ought to. Despite hearing overwhelming testimony in favor of retaining Audubon School, six council members voted on May 13 to destroy a 1923 historic treasure that has educated five generations of students in Rock Island. The building had been designated a city landmark until the city council stripped the designation to make way for a chain grocery store. This is terribly short-sighted and ignores this site’s value to the neighborhood that surrounds it and to the entire city. The school must be saved.

 
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