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Rand Paul’s NSA War and the Invisible Liberals PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by Ted Rall   
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 09:45

Way back when, Democrats such as George McGovern opposed wars of choice. And Democrats such as Frank Church exposed the CIA. It later led to an executive order – by President Ronald Reagan, of all people – that banned political assassinations.

A Democratic Congress held impeachment hearings against U.S. President Richard Nixon – partly because he tapped the phones of a few hundred Americans and, in so doing, violated their privacy rights. Back then, millions of liberals marched against the Vietnam War without blinking. It didn’t matter a bit that the president at the time was a Democrat.

But look what’s going on now.

As I write, we have a so-called liberal president in the White House. Yet he and his Democratic congressional allies aren’t fighting the good fight. They’re committing the worst crimes of anyone.

 
Governor Tries to Reassert His Power with Appeal PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 29 September 2013 05:35

A bipartisan chorus seemed to rise as one last week to urge Governor Pat Quinn not to appeal a ruling by a Cook County judge. The judge ruled that the governor had violated the state Constitution when he vetoed lawmaker salaries this summer. Quinn said he vetoed the appropriations because he was tired of waiting for legislators to finish a pension-reform plan.

Despite urgings by both Democrats and Republicans to drop the whole thing, Quinn forged ahead, issuing a defiant statement in which he vowed to pursue an appeal of Judge Neil Cohen’s decision voiding the veto and ordering lawmaker paychecks to be processed “immediately.”

 
Brady Leads by Staying to the Right PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 22 September 2013 05:19

For a moment, let’s flash back to a poll I commissioned last month. The August 13 Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll surveyed 1,102 likely Republican-primary voters.

The poll found that 74 percent of Republicans wanted GOP gubernatorial candidates to choose a running mate who was “more conservative” than the candidates themselves. Another 18 percent said ideology made no difference, and a mere 7 percent said they wanted a more liberal running mate.

The poll found that 73 percent of Republican women and 75 percent of men wanted a more conservative running mate. Seventy-nine percent of seniors, who tend to dominate GOP primaries, wanted a more rightward pick. Seventy-seven percent of collar-county Republicans, 73 percent of suburban Cook and Downstate Republicans, and 69 percent of Chicago Republicans wanted the candidates to look to their right when picking their lieutenant-governor candidates.

As you probably already know, Illinois changed its laws on running mates. Before, lieutenant governor candidates ran independently in primaries. Now, candidates for governor are required to choose a running mate before they begin circulating nominating petitions.

Fast-forward to today. So far, anyway, the gubernatorial candidate who has by far heeded this poll result the most is state Senator Bill Brady, who was, socially anyway, the most conservative candidate in the race to begin with.

 
Why Rodney Blackwell Thinks He Has a Play in the Davenport Casino Game PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Tuesday, 17 September 2013 16:28

Local developer Rodney Blackwell clearly got the Davenport City Council’s attention with a $250-million casino-development proposal on September 7. But from the outset it didn’t appear there was any path forward for it.

The Isle of Capri (IOC) has, through October 15, an exclusive negotiating agreement with Dan Kehl’s Scott County Casino company to sell its Rhythm City property. And, as Blackwell readily admits, even if it didn’t, the Isle wouldn’t want to negotiate with him and his partner, the Canadian company Clairvest Group.

So the city council’s 9-1 vote on September 11 to table a development agreement with Kehl appeared to be little more than a delay. Kehl has said he’ll complete the sale by the October 15 deadline. And the Riverboat Development Authority (RDA) – which holds the Rhythm City gaming license – on September 16 approved an operating agreement with Kehl’s company. (All these agreements are steps toward actually building the casino, and beyond them is approval from the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission.)

The message of Kehl’s comments and the RDA’s action is that the train has left the station, and Blackwell isn’t on it. As RDA Chair Gary Mohr told the Quad-City Times: “The RDA will keep its commitments. I don’t know if people don’t understand it or they just don’t like it.”

But Blackwell thinks he has a play. He said in an interview last week that he believes the city council can kill the Kehl deal, and that it further has the leverage to force the Isle of Capri to negotiate with him and Clairvest. Alternatively, the city could use its power to push Kehl to make a larger investment than the $110 million he has pledged to spend on a new casino and hotel complex. (Kehl said the three-phase development will total $200 million.)

 
Licensed to Kill: The Growing Phenomenon of Police Shooting Unarmed Citizens PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Tuesday, 17 September 2013 16:25

Here’s a recipe for disaster: Take a young man (or woman), raise him on a diet of violence, hype him up on the power of the gun in his holster and the superiority of his uniform, render him woefully ignorant of how to handle a situation without resorting to violence, train him well in military tactics but allow him to be illiterate about the Constitution, and never stress to him that he is to be a peacemaker and a peace-keeper, respectful of and subservient to the taxpayers, who are in fact his masters and employers.

Once you have fully indoctrinated this young man (or woman) on the idea that the police belong to a brotherhood of sorts, with its own honor code and rule of law, then place this person in situations where he will encounter individuals who knowingly or unknowingly challenge his authority, where he may, justifiably or not, feel threatened, and where he will have to decide between firing a weapon or – the more difficult option – adequately investigating a situation to better assess the danger and risk posed to himself and others, and then act on it by defusing the tension or de-escalating the violence.

I’m not talking about a situation so obviously fraught with risk that there is no other option but to shoot, although I am hard-pressed to consider what that might be outside of the sensationalized Hollywood hostage-crisis scenario. I’m talking about the run-of-the mill encounters between police and citizens that occur daily. In an age when police are increasingly militarized, weaponized, and protected by the courts, these once-routine encounters are now inherently dangerous for any civilian unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

 
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