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Secret Service Incident Highlights Double Standard PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by Roderick T. Long   
Friday, 20 March 2015 08:08

Imagine the following scenario: You’re driving along one fine evening, pretty thoroughly drunk, and ram your car through police tape and into a barricade. Suppose further that the barricade you’ve smashed into is in front of the White House. For good measure, let’s add that the police tape you broke was marking off an active crime scene – an ongoing bomb investigation, which you’ve now dangerously disrupted.

The cops quickly approach your car. What are your chances of avoiding arrest, or worse?

Oh wait. I forgot to mention that you’re a Secret Service agent. So it turns out you don’t get shot, or Tased, or roughed up, or slapped in jail, or even detained. You just go home.

Precisely this scenario unfolded on March 4, with two seemingly intoxicated Secret Service agents crashing into a barricade at the east entrance to the White House grounds, nearly running over a suspicious object that agents on the scene were in the course of investigating as a possible bomb.

 
Child-Care Savings Based on “Magic Assumptions” PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 15 March 2015 05:06

Buried deep within Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget plan for next fiscal year is yet another claimed “savings” that might not actually save any money, and could easily wind up costing the state more.

The governor proposes to save $108 million by discontinuing child-care services provided by relatives in the child’s or relative’s home.

At first glance, that cut might look prudent. Why should the state pay grandma to babysit her own grandkid? Is that some sort of scam? Go to any right-wing blog, and you’ll occasionally see stories bashing this whole idea.

But those payments are designed to help low-income parents go to school and work their way out of poverty. So by pulling those payments, “grandma” could lose her income and may very well have to find a different part-time job, meaning the parent then has to search for another provider and the state saves no money.

 
Total Recall: Bad for the Working Poor PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by Thomas L. Knapp   
Tuesday, 10 March 2015 19:31

It seems like a common sense, life-saving proposal: U.S. Senators Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) want state motor-vehicle agencies to require completion of automakers’ safety-recall repairs before issuing license plates.

Their justification, of course, is safety. But on a closer look, the bill is just a sop to the auto industry. Its biggest effect will be to hurt working people.

Pop quiz: Of the top three causes of auto accidents, where does “failure to get recall items fixed” rank?

Answer: It doesn’t.

 
Rauner Gets Frigid Reception for “All or Nothing” Budget-Fix Demand PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 08 March 2015 05:53

Governor Bruce Rauner has met with dozens of state legislators both individually and in small groups since his election. By all accounts, every meeting has been cordial, and he has scored lots of points with legislators who aren’t accustomed to this sort of gubernatorial attention.

Then he had the Senate Black Caucus over to the governor’s mansion for breakfast.

It started out well enough, but things turned south in a hurry when Rauner said he couldn’t accept the Senate Democratic majority’s stand-alone proposal to patch about $600 million of the current fiscal year’s $1.6-billion budget deficit with transfers from special state funds. He wanted, he said, an “all or nothing” solution.

 
Forced Blood Draws, DNA Collection, and Biometric Scans: What Country Is This? PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Wednesday, 04 March 2015 08:35
“The Fourth Amendment was designed to stand between us and arbitrary governmental authority. For all practical purposes, that shield has been shattered, leaving our liberty and personal integrity subject to the whim of every cop on the beat, trooper on the highway, and jail official. The framers would be appalled.” – Herman Schwartz, The Nation

Our freedoms – especially the Fourth Amendment – are being choked out by a prevailing view among government bureaucrats that they have the right to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, Taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

Forced cavity searches, forced colonoscopies, forced blood draws, forced breath-alcohol tests, forced DNA extractions, forced eye scans, forced inclusion in biometric databases – these are just a few ways in which Americans are being forced to accept that we have no control over what happens to our bodies during an encounter with government officials.

Worse, on a daily basis, Americans are being made to relinquish the most intimate details of who we are – our biological makeup, our genetic blueprints, and our biometrics (facial characteristics and structure, fingerprints, iris scans, etc.) – to clear the nearly insurmountable hurdle that increasingly defines life in the United States: We are all guilty until proven innocent.

 
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