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How Can the People Be Protected From the Police? PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Tuesday, 25 February 2014 10:36

“We live in a small, rural town. Moved here in 1961. I don’t remember what year the State Troopers moved a headquarters into our town. Our young people were plagued with tickets for even the smallest offense. Troopers had to get their limits for the month. People make jokes about that, but it has been true. Every kid I knew was getting ticketed for something. But now it is so much worse. I raised my kids to respect police. If they did something wrong and got caught, they deserved it and should take their punishment. But now I have no respect for the police. I feel threatened and fearful of them. They are aggressive and intimidating. They lie and are abusive, and we do not know how to fight them. I am not a minority here, but people are afraid if they speak out they will be targeted. We are just a small town. I just don’t care anymore if they do target me. I am afraid they are going to kill someone.” – letter from a 60-year-old grandmother

The following incidents are cautionary tales for anyone who still thinks that they can defy police officers without deadly repercussions, even if it’s simply to disagree about a speeding ticket, challenge a search warrant, or defend oneself against an unreasonable or unjust charge. The message they send is that “we the people” have very little protection from the standing army that is law enforcement.

For example, Seattle police repeatedly Tasered seven-months-pregnant Malaika Brooks for refusing to sign a speeding ticket. While Brooks bears permanent burn scars on her body from the encounter, police were cleared of any wrongdoing on the grounds that they didn’t know that Tasering a pregnant woman was wrong.

 
GOP Rivals Looking Up at Rauner PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 23 February 2014 05:17

Illinois state Senator Kirk Dillard told Chicago radio station WLS last week that Republican county chairs ought to try to get Bill Brady and/or Dan Rutherford out of the governor’s race so he could have a clear shot at wealthy front-runner Bruce Rauner. Dillard claims he is building strong momentum with recent endorsements, including the powerful Illinois Education Association (IEA).

But two polls taken last week showed that Dillard isn’t even winning the DuPage County state Senate district that he has represented for more than 20 years.

A Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll taken February 20 had Rauner leading in the district with 36 percent; Dillard had 30 percent. Brady polled 10 percent, and Rutherford was at 2 percent. Another 22 percent were undecided. The poll of 614 likely Republican voters had a margin of error of 3.95 percent. Twelve percent of the calling universe was cell phones.

I didn’t commission the poll to be a jerk, but because somebody slipped me results of a Strive Strategies tracking poll taken February 18, which had Rauner at 33 percent and Dillard at 26 percent in Dillard’s own district. The margins between the two men are almost exactly the same in both polls, so this is pretty solid evidence that Dillard is, indeed, losing his own Senate district, which he has represented since 1993.

What the heck is going on? Well, millions of dollars in campaign ads on Chicago TV by Rauner and pretty much nothing by Dillard is the simplest answer.

 
Treasurer’s Investigation Smells Like a Cover-Up PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 16 February 2014 11:19

Treasurer Dan Rutherford delivered a forceful, even believable defense of himself last week during a suburban press conference hours after he was hit with a federal lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and coerced campaign work.

Gubernatorial candidate Rutherford made a strong case that at least some of the accusations are untrue. There were some holes in his argument – some bigger than others – but it seems obvious that some of the charges are overblown.

For instance, accuser Ed Michalowski claims in his lawsuit that all the campaign and sexual pressure from Rutherford directly resulted in “leakage of cerebral spinal fluid in the brain,” which seems more than a bit of a stretch. Michalowski also takes a joking text message between himself and Rutherford’s campaign manager completely out of context. And Rutherford laid out Michalowski’s numerous financial troubles in an attempt to demonstrate that the plaintiff’s need for money was driving much of the lawsuit.

That said, I’ve had some real worries about Rutherford’s so-called “independent” internal investigation of these allegations. Rutherford announced the investigation weeks ago when he let the media know about the potential lawsuit.

 
Putting Big Brother in the Driver’s Seat: V2V Transmitters, Black Boxes, and Drones PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Thursday, 13 February 2014 13:27

It’s a future where you don’t forget anything. ... In this new future, you’re never lost. ... We will know your position down to the foot and down to the inch over time. ... Your car will drive itself; it’s a bug that cars were invented before computers. ... You’re never lonely. ... You’re never bored. ... You’re never out of ideas. ... We can suggest where you go next, who to meet, what to read. ... What’s interesting about this future is that it’s for the average person, not just the elites.” – Google CEO Eric Schmidt on his vision of the future

Time to buckle up your seatbelts, folks. You’re in for a bumpy ride.

We’re hurtling down a one-way road toward the Police State at mind-boggling speeds, the terrain is getting more treacherous by the minute, and we’ve passed all the exit ramps. From this point forward, there is no turning back, and the signpost ahead reads “Danger.”

Indeed, as I document in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, we’re about to enter a Twilight Zone of sorts, one marked by drones, smart phones, GPS devices, smart TVs, social media, smart meters, surveillance cameras, facial-recognition software, online banking, license-plate readers, and driver-less cars – all part of the interconnected technological spider web that is life in the American police state, and every new gadget pulls us that much deeper into the sticky snare.

In this Brave New World awaiting us, there will be no communication not spied upon, no movement untracked, no thought unheard. In other words, there will be nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

We’re on the losing end of a technological revolution that has already taken hostage our computers, our phones, our finances, our entertainment, our shopping, and our appliances, and now it’s focused its sights on our cars. As if the government wasn’t already able to track our movements on the nation’s highways and byways by way of satellites, GPS devices, and real-time traffic cameras, government officials are now pushing to require that all new vehicles come installed with black-box recorders and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, ostensibly to help prevent crashes.

 
Allegations Against Treasurer Might Be the Tip of the Iceberg PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 09 February 2014 05:41

One of the reasons people near Treasurer Dan Rutherford are so nervous these days is because of the possibility that other employees might come out of the woodwork with even more allegations.

As I write this, the publicly revealed facts are still quite thin. A now-former employee of Rutherford has claimed, without producing any hard evidence as of this writing, that he was sexually harassed and told to do political fundraising work. Rutherford has flatly denied the allegations, claiming they are politically motivated and part of a shakedown attempt that’s being pushed by Bruce Rauner, his Republican-gubernatorial-primary opponent. The former employee, Rutherford claims, demanded $300,000 through his attorney to remain quiet. Rauner has denied any involvement.

The treasurer’s office has negotiated two previous severance agreements, a fact that the accuser’s lawyer alluded to last week when she told WLS Radio’s Dan Proft: “Their standard MO is to work out standard severance agreements. That’s what they do, and they’ve been doing that the last two or three years with employees.”

 
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