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Governor Quinn Issues Executive Orders to Support President Obama’s Immigration Action in Illinois PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Dave Blanchette   
Wednesday, 07 January 2015 15:03

Creates Initiatives to Help Undocumented Immigrants Apply for Federal Administrative Relief and Improve Public Safety in Illinois Communities

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today issued two executive orders to help support the state’s undocumented immigrants in their integration into communities across Illinois. The orders create the Governor’s New Americans Welcoming Initiative and the Governor’s New Americans Trust Initiative to help undocumented immigrants apply for federal administrative relief and to improve cooperation between immigrants and law enforcement agencies. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to support comprehensive immigration reform and make Illinois a welcoming place for all people.

“Illinois is committed to supporting President Obama’s immigration action and helping eligible residents apply for federal administrative relief,” Governor Quinn said. “In Illinois, we want everyone to have the opportunity to succeed. By supporting our immigrant community and building trust with law enforcement, we continue our efforts to make Illinois the most welcoming state in the nation.”

The Governor’s New Americans Welcoming Initiative will coordinate state efforts to assist those in Illinois seeking federal administrative relief. The initiative will help applicants obtain necessary records to verify state residency such as immigration, medical, employment and school immunization records. State agencies will provide information on how to obtain records and designate a liaison to coordinate agency efforts. Illinois’ 10 Welcoming Centers will serve as information centers for administrative relief applicants and include translators to assist applicants. An estimated four percent of Illinois’ population may be eligible for temporary administrative relief.

A second executive order creates the Governor’s New Americans Trust Initiative, which will improve cooperation between the immigrant community and law enforcement. Under the new initiative, state law enforcement agencies may not stop, arrest, search or detain a person based solely on the individual’s immigration status or on the basis of an immigration detainer or administrative immigration warrant. Law enforcement agencies will also provide training to state police officers on U and T nonimmigrant visas and other remedies for immigrant survivors of criminal activity. These measures are intended to improve public safety across the state by protecting victims and encouraging more people to report crimes.

Copies of both executive orders are attached.

Governor Quinn has worked to make Illinois the most welcoming state in the nation for people of all races, ethnicities, religions and nationalities. In 2012, the Governor signed legislation to ensure that undocumented immigrants in Illinois are able to obtain a driver’s license. Governor Quinn, a strong supporter of comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level, also fought for the Illinois DREAM Act, a historic law that is opening educational opportunities for Illinois children.

The Governor has long advocated for immigrants’ rights by working to ensure that everyone takes full advantage of health insurance, job training and foreclosure prevention programs, creating and pushing multilingual awareness campaigns so that no one misses out. He also expanded his Office of New Americans Welcoming Centers as immigrants settle communities throughout Illinois. Under Governor Quinn the number of Welcoming Centers has grown from one to 10.

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Gov. Branstad issues statement on passing of Art Neu PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Friday, 02 January 2015 11:36

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today issued the following statement after learning that former Iowa Lt. Governor Arthur (Art) A. Neu passed away.

“Iowa lost a dedicated public servant today with the passing of Art Neu,” said Branstad. “I had the honor of succeeding Art as lieutenant governor of Iowa. Art’s passion for his home community of Carroll was always evident. I offer my deepest condolences to his family.”  

 

Neu served as lieutenant governor of Iowa from 1973-1979. Prior to being elected lieutenant governor, Neu served in the State Senate from 1967-1972. He served on the Iowa Board of Regents from 1979-1985 and as Mayor of Carroll, Iowa, from 1982-1985. A photo of Neu can be found here.

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Governor Quinn Statement on the Passing of Rosemary Mulligan PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Dave Blanchette   
Friday, 02 January 2015 10:47
CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today issued the following statement regarding the passing of former State Representative Rosemary Mulligan:

“Rosemary Mulligan was an inspiring leader who was never afraid to reach across the aisle to get the job done. Today we mourn her loss.

“As a member of the House, Rosemary was a true public servant who fought for the people of Illinois. She was a respected voice on a wide range of issues from human services to early childhood education, victims’ rights and transportation.

“Rosemary was an energetic bridge-builder who made Illinois a better place. She will be greatly missed.

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‘You’re Either a Cop or Little People’: The American Police State in 2014 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by John W. Whitehead   
Tuesday, 30 December 2014 14:36

“You’re either a cop or little people.”—Police captain Harry Bryant in Blade Runner

For those of us who have managed to survive 2014 with our lives intact and our freedoms hanging by a thread, it has been a year of crackdowns, clampdowns, shutdowns, showdowns, shootdowns, standdowns, knockdowns, putdowns, breakdowns, lockdowns, takedowns, slowdowns, meltdowns, and never-ending letdowns.

We’ve been held up, stripped down, faked out, photographed, frisked, fracked, hacked, tracked, cracked, intercepted, accessed, spied on, zapped, mapped, searched, shot at, tasered, tortured, tackled, trussed up, tricked, lied to, labeled, libeled, leered at, shoved aside, saddled with debt not of our own making, sold a bill of goods about national security, tuned out by those representing us, tossed aside, and taken to the cleaners.

As I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, we’ve had our freedoms turned inside out, our democratic structure flipped upside down, and our house of cards left in a shambles.

We’ve had our children burned by flashbang grenades, our dogs shot, and our old folks hospitalized after “accidental” encounters with marauding SWAT teams. We’ve been told that as citizens we have no rights within 100 miles of our own border, now considered “Constitution-free zones.” We’ve had our faces filed in government databases, our biometrics crosschecked against criminal databanks, and our consumerist tendencies catalogued for future marketing overtures.

We’ve been given the runaround on government wrongdoing, starting with President Obama’s claim that the National Security Agency has never abused its power to spy on Americans’ phone calls and emails. All the while, the NSA has been racing to build a supercomputer that could break through “every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business and government records around the world.” Despite the fact that the NSA’s domestic surveillance program has been shown to be ineffective at preventing acts of terrorism, the agency continues to vacuum up almost 200 million text messages a day.

We’ve seen the police transformed from community peacekeepers to point guards for the militarized corporate state. From Boston to Ferguson and every point in between, police have pushed around, prodded, poked, probed, scanned, shot and intimidated the very individuals—we the taxpayers—whose rights they were hired to safeguard. Networked together through fusion centers, police have surreptitiously spied on our activities and snooped on our communications, using hi-tech devices provided by the Department of Homeland Security.

We’ve been deemed suspicious for engaging in such dubious activities as talking too long on a cell phone and stretching too long before jogging, dubbed extremists and terrorists for criticizing the government and suggesting it is tyrannical or oppressive, and subjected to forced colonoscopies and anal probes for allegedly rolling through a stop sign.

We’ve been arrested for all manner of “crimes” that never used to be considered criminal, let alone uncommon or unlawful, behavior: letting our kids walk to the playground alone, giving loose change to a homeless man, feeding the hungry, and living off the grid.

We’ve been sodomized, victimized, jeopardized, demoralized, traumatized, stigmatized, vandalized, demonized, polarized and terrorized, often without having done anything to justify such treatment. Blame it on a government mindset that renders us guilty before we’ve even been charged, let alone convicted, of any wrongdoing. In this way, law-abiding individuals have had their homes mistakenly raided by SWAT teams that got the address wrong. One accountant found himself at the center of a misguided police standoff after surveillance devices confused his license plate with that of a drug felon.

We’ve been railroaded into believing that our votes count, that we live in a democracy, that elections make a difference, that it matters whether we vote Republican or Democrat, and that our elected officials are looking out for our best interests. Truth be told, we live in an oligarchy, politicians represent only the profit motives of the corporate state, whose leaders know all too well that there is no discernible difference between red and blue politics, because there is only one color that matters in politics—green.

We’ve gone from having privacy in our inner sanctums to having nowhere to hide, with smart pills that monitor the conditions of our bodies, homes that spy on us (with smart meters that monitor our electric usage and thermostats and light switches that can be controlled remotely) and cars that listen to our conversations and track our whereabouts. Even our cities have become wall-to-wall electronic concentration camps, with police now able to record hi-def video of everything that takes place within city limits.

We’ve had our schools locked down, our students handcuffed, shackled and arrested for engaging in childish behavior such as food fights, our children’s biometrics stored, their school IDs chipped, their movements tracked, and their data bought, sold and bartered for profit by government contractors, all the while they are treated like criminals and taught to march in lockstep with the police state.

We’ve been rendered enemy combatants in our own country, denied basic due process rights, held against our will without access to an attorney or being charged with a crime, and left to molder in jail until such a time as the government is willing to let us go or allow us to defend ourselves.

We’ve had the very military weapons we funded with our hard-earned tax dollars used against us, from unpiloted, weaponized drones tracking our movements on the nation’s highways and byways and armored vehicles, assault rifles, sound cannons and grenade launchers in towns with little to no crime to an arsenal of military-grade weapons and equipment given free of charge to schools and universities.

We’ve been silenced, censored and forced to conform, shut up in free speech zones, gagged by hate crime laws, stifled by political correctness, muzzled by misguided anti-bullying statutes, and pepper sprayed for taking part in peaceful protests.

We’ve been shot by police for reaching for a license during a traffic stop, reaching for a baby during a drug bust, carrying a toy sword down a public street, and wearing headphones that hamper our ability to hear.

We’ve had our tax dollars spent on $30,000 worth of Starbucks for Dept. of Homeland Security employees, $630,000 in advertising to increase Facebook “likes” for the State Dept., and close to $25 billion to fund projects ranging from the silly to the unnecessary, such as laughing classes for college students and programs teaching monkeys to play video games and gamble.

We’ve been treated like guinea pigs, targeted by the government and social media for psychological experiments on how to manipulate the masses. We’ve been tasered for talking back to police, tackled for taking pictures of police abuses, and threatened with jail time for invoking our rights. We’ve even been arrested by undercover cops stationed in public bathrooms who interpret men’s “shaking off” motions after urinating to be acts of lewdness.

We’ve had our possessions seized and stolen by law enforcement agencies looking to cash in on asset forfeiture schemes, our jails privatized and used as a source of cheap labor for megacorporations, our gardens smashed by police seeking out suspicious-looking marijuana plants, and our buying habits turned into suspicious behavior by a government readily inclined to view its citizens as terrorists.

We’ve had our cities used for military training drills, with Black Hawk helicopters buzzing the skies, Urban Shield exercises overtaking our streets, and active shooter drills wreaking havoc on unsuspecting bystanders in our schools, shopping malls and other “soft target” locations.

We’ve been told that national security is more important than civil liberties, that police dogs’ noses are sufficient cause to carry out warrantless searches, that the best way not to get raped by police is to “follow the law,” that what a police officer says in court will be given preference over what video footage shows, that an upright posture and acne are sufficient reasons for a cop to suspect you of wrongdoing, that police can stop and search a driver based solely on an anonymous tip, and that police officers have every right to shoot first and ask questions later if they feel threatened.

Now there are those who still insist that they are beyond the reach of the police state because they have done nothing wrong and have nothing to fear. To those sanctimonious few, secure in their delusions, let this be a warning: the danger posed by the American police state applies equally to all of us: lawbreaker and law abider alike, black and white, rich and poor, liberal and conservative, blue collar and white collar, and any other distinction you’d care to trot out.

The lesson of 2014 is simply this: in a police state, you’re either a cop or you’re one of the little people. Right now, we are the little people, the servants, the serfs, the grunts who must obey without question or suffer the consequences.

If there is to be any hope in 2015 for restoring our freedoms and reclaiming our runaway government, we will have to start by breathing life into those three powerful words that set the tone for everything that follows in the Constitution: “we the people.”

It’s time to stop waiting patiently for change to happen and, as Gandhi once advised, be the change you want to see in the world.

Get mad, get outraged, get off your duff and get out of your house, get in the streets, get in people’s faces, get down to your local city council, get over to your local school board, get your thoughts down on paper, get your objections plastered on protest signs, get your neighbors, friends and family to join their voices to yours, get your representatives to pay attention to your grievances, get your kids to know their rights, get your local police to march in lockstep with the Constitution, get your media to act as watchdogs for the people and not lapdogs for the corporate state, get your act together, and get your house in order.

In other words, get moving. Time is growing short, and the police state is closing in. Power to the people!

This commentary is also available at www.rutherford.org.

 
Notice of proposed rulemaking by U.S. Coast Guard focuses on seafarers' access to maritime facilities PDF Print E-mail
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Written by U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters   
Tuesday, 30 December 2014 14:27

WASHINGTON — The Federal Register Monday published a notice of proposed rulemaking by the U.S. Coast Guard to implement section 811 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-281).

This proposed rule would provide clear regulatory requirements for each facility owner or operator to provide seafarers associated with a vessel moored at the facility, and other individuals, access between the vessel and facility gate without unreasonable delay, and at no cost to the seafarer or other individual.

Generally, transiting through a facility is the only way that a seafarer or other individual can egress to shore beyond the facility to access basic shoreside businesses and services, and meet with family members and other personnel who do not hold a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC).

Also, this proposed rule would provide facility owners and operators flexibility to implement a system to provide seafarers' access that is tailored to each facility. Facility owners and operators also would be required to amend and document their access procedures in their Coast Guard-approved facility security plans within one year of the publication of the final rule.

In particular, the Coast Guard seeks comment on:

  • Whether one year is an appropriate timeframe to implement the system.
  • Whether this proposal provides an appropriately-inclusive list of individuals who should be allowed access to a vessel.
  • Whether the approach provides the necessary flexibility for a diverse regulated population to ensure that timely access is reasonable in each case.
  • Whether the proposal provides an appropriately-inclusive list of methods for providing seafarers' access.
  • The Coast Guard's estimated non-compliance rate of MTSA-regulated facilities with respect to providing seafarers' access.
  • Whether the cost estimates for Facility Security Plan amendments and changes to facility operations to implement the proposed rule's provisions.
  • Other regulatory alternatives to this proposed rule.

You can read the NPRM at this link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-12-29/pdf/2014-30013.pdf.

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