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Mailer Shows Off Rauner’s Political Muscle PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 19 July 2015 05:24

House Speaker Michael Madigan told reporters earlier this month that he’d had a “frank discussion” with Governor Bruce Rauner, “and I gave him good, solid advice.”

Word is that advice had two parts.

First, the governor needs to find a way to get himself out of this long overtime-session, no-state-budget mess.

Second, if the governor thinks he can get himself out of this mess by somehow breaking the speaker’s will, he’s mistaken.

But the governor isn’t giving up. In fact, he’s doubled down.

Keep Your Hands Off My Raisins: Court Invalidates Antiquated Raisin Grab PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by John A. Sparks   
Friday, 17 July 2015 08:03

Laura and Marvin Horne are raisin farmers. Early one morning in 2002, a truck appeared at their business, and the drivers demanded a whopping 47 percent of their raisin crop. The truck was sent by the federal government, and those demanding the Hornes’ raisin crop claimed to be operating under a “marketing order” first put in place in 1937 as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s effort to shore up agricultural prices. Amazingly, this antiquated scheme lasted for more than 65 years – well past the agricultural crisis of the Great Depression.

By 2002, the Hornes had endured enough of these raisin grabs. They refused to turn over nearly half of their crop. The federal government assessed a fine of $480,000 for the missing raisins and another $200,000 in civil penalties against the Hornes. The Hornes fought the government through the courts and finally landed in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Dueling Realities of the Budget Stalemate PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Monday, 13 July 2015 09:56

After staring at my computer screen for more than an hour, I realized that my goal of providing a succinct and thoughtful analysis of what happened on a very weird day last week in Illinois government was impossible.

Instead, we’re going to have to take this in pieces.

The court case. C.J. Baricevic was one of the lawyers representing a host of unions in their successful St. Clair County lawsuit to force the state to pay its employees without a budget. The victory Thursday came just two days after a Cook County judge ruled that paying employees without an official state budget was a clear and total violation of the Illinois Constitution.

Why was St. Clair County’s ruling so different?

Well, Baricevic happens to be the son of the county’s chief judge, John Baricevic, who was once the county-board chair and is regarded as one of the most powerful Democrats in the region. The younger Baricevic is the local Democratic choice for Congress against freshman Republican U.S. Representative Mike Bost. According to Ballotpedia, the judge in Thursday’s case also appears to be up for retention next year in the heavily unionized county.

Hey, I’m not saying nothing bad about no judges. I visit that fine county every now and then. I’m even told the judge in the case isn’t the type to be sensitive to such pressures. “He’s just a pro-labor guy at heart,” explained one area politico, who added that I was “reading too much” into the local political angle.

I’m just saying.

Fight the Rules-for-Us/Rules-for-Them System PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
Thursday, 09 July 2015 05:19

Halfway through 2015 already, and the stunning lack of oversight for increasing lawlessness remains unchanged – and it’s arguably even more rampant. It is hard to fathom how the children of the ’60s and ’70s – the ones who objected loudly enough to end the Vietnam War, who forced the resignation of a president, and who history will show as the last generation that exceeded the standard of living of their parents – are the primary culprits in this devolution of the rule of law.

We have mostly fossils running the travesty that is government partnering with monster corporations – the industry leaders who control all aspects of infrastructure manufacturing, as well as primary services such as finance, health care, insurance, academia, and media, thereby virtually eliminating meaningful competition in America.

Americans need to admit that capitalism is no longer the economic model here, and hasn’t been for decades. Capitalism depends on competition to succeed as an economic model first and foremost. Once government enters the arena with legislation and regulations that favor certain corporations and enterprises over others, capitalism is corrupted and morphs into something else. The better descriptor is fascism, where a small percentage of private-sector interests own, but government controls, most of a nation’s resources. Socialism differs only in the ownership, leaving government owning and controlling those resources.

America is fast departing from its founding governing principles as a republic under the rule of law with a free-market capitalistic economic model as its underpinning. Administrative law is the largest contributor to this erosion, providing a massive set of rules and regulations administered by the executive branch at the federal and state levels, with counties mostly responsible for local implementation, to enforce broad legislation that is rarely read by the legislators who approve it. This behemoth of an unaccountable governing apparatus, no longer able to justify itself by any measure as representative of the people, derives its authority under a different primary directive altogether – known as “continuity of government.”

Democrats Finding Wedges to Use Against Rauner PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 05 July 2015 12:23

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is proving to be quite adept at skirting responsibility for the current Statehouse impasse and impending government shutdown.

He has relentlessly painted himself as the good guy, even to the point of blatantly abandoning his previous stances.

For instance, Rauner has righteously slammed the Democrats’ “unconstitutional” unbalanced budget, even though his own proposed budget was also billions of dollars out of balance.

Rauner trashed that Democratic budget even after he signed the part that funded schools, thereby ensuring that he avoided blame if schools didn’t open on time.

Rauner warned in April that the state had no money to bail out Chicago, then offered $200 million a year in “found money” for the Chicago Public Schools to keep it from going belly up.

He often refers to the state employee union AFSCME as “AFSCAMMY” and told the Chicago Tribune editorial board that the crisis of a state fiscal meltdown “creates opportunity” to get his non-budget issues passed. But last week he pledged to work arm-in-arm with the unions to make sure those poor state workers got their paychecks, even though the lack of a budget means there is no legal appropriation to do so.

He’s a clever dude, that one. He’ll say just about anything to shift the focus off of him and on to the Democrats.

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