Illinois Republicans have long complained that House Speaker Michael Madigan’s campaign organization doesn’t just beat you; it destroys you. Madigan doesn’t set out to merely win; he wants to make sure he doesn’t ever have to deal with you again.

Madigan’s own Democratic primary race was a good example. He posted yard signs all over his district urging his constituents to vote against “convicted felon Jason Gonzales,” and his cable-TV and direct-mail ads ceaselessly pounded home that very same message. His captains also reportedly had volunteers holding those signs at the entrance to voting locations.

Gonzales is, indeed, a convicted felon. But that happened two decades ago, and he was pardoned by former Democratic Governor Pat Quinn. To hear the Madigan campaign tell it, however, you’d think the guy just walked out of prison.

Or take a look at what Madigan did to Katelyn Hotle. The House speaker’s operation dropped at least nine negative mailers on the little-known, lightly funded candidate in the Quad Cities-area Democratic primary to replace retiring state Representative Pat Verschoore (D-Milan). The gist of the attacks was that Hotle, a Rock Island city-council member, profited personally from her shoddy government service, but none of it was true.

They also smeared Hotle in the media for being a “plant” of Governor Bruce Rauner. Why? The only real explanation is that she was the lone female in a four-way primary, so she could do well on demographics alone and they had to take her out. For good.

Given all the hoopla surrounding the presidential campaign, it’s easy for people to conclude that the big fight for the future of America is between Democrats and Republicans. Not so. When it comes to fundamental principles, Republicans and Democrats are on the same page. They both believe in socialism, interventionism, and imperialism, as reflected by the joint devotion to such programs as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies, education grants, immigration controls, trade restrictions, the drug war, invasions, occupations, wars of aggression, assassinations, torture, and foreign aid to dictatorships.

The only real fight between Democrats and Republicans is over who is going to be in charge of the welfare/warfare state programs. Who is going to get to distribute the welfare largess? Who is going to get to orchestrate the invasions, the assassinations, the bombings?

No, the real fight for the future direction of the country is between libertarians, who wish to move America in the direction of freedom, peace, and free markets, and the Democrats/Republicans, who wish to continue moving our nation in the direction of more killing and more isolationism.

Scott County's Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle

Our federal government has been taken over by globalist bankers. Our federal government no longer represents the interests of Americans. Elections cannot solve these problems as they are rigged. They have poisoned our air, food, water, medicine, education, media, economy, and culture. I will not belabor these facts. If you don’t already know this, you soon will.

I take these assaults very personally, as you should. As the criminals in our federal government employ you to assist them in our destruction, I must extend an olive branch before it is too late.

The Obama administration has purged the military of any constitutional generals and is now training the military to fight the American citizens. They are militarizing, federalizing, and now globalizing you – the local police – to assist.

“How do they sleep at night?”

It’s a question I’m asked a lot these days. The inquirers always wonder how Governor Bruce Rauner, House Speaker Michael Madigan, and their more full-throated enablers on both sides can live with themselves as they watch big chunks of state government’s responsibilities crumble before their very eyes during the months-long governmental impasse.

As far as I can tell, they’re sleeping pretty well. And both sides appear to be using almost the exact same coping strategies.

A name from the past has been leading the charge for Jason Gonzales’ Democratic-primary campaign against Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Blair Hull, the hugely wealthy but unsuccessful 2004 Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, directly accounts for $100,000 of the $300,000 that the Illinois United for Change PAC has raised since late January (and maybe double that, because it’s unclear who controls a company responsible for another $100,000). The independent-expenditure committee has so far reported spending money only on Gonzales.

I was able to reach Hull through an intermediary to ask him why he decided to get involved against his fellow Democrat Madigan in the primary. He would only communicate by e-mail, and didn’t respond to a follow-up question.

Hull said he believes Gonzales gives the state “an opportunity for a fresh start” and predicted his candidate, an entrepreneur who received an MBA from MIT, would be a “true statesman” in the General Assembly.

There are always two audiences for formal gubernatorial addresses: legislators who actually attend, and everyone outside the Statehouse who watch it or read about it later.

Governor Bruce Rauner’s budget address last week seemed far more designed for people outside the building, most of whom don’t really care about the intricacies of government finance. Most do, however, want to see everyone finally get along and end this eight-month governmental impasse, despite what you may read in online comment sections.

That’s probably why Rauner barely even talked about the budget. It’s no surprise why. For the first time since Illinois became a state in 1818, a governor has submitted a budget for the next fiscal year without having passed a budget for the current fiscal year.

The failure is not just an embarrassment. Tens of thousands of the most vulnerable Illinoisans are paying dearly. No budget means the state can’t help homeless teens, assist women with the trauma of a brutal rape, or help addicts kick heroin.

Tens of thousands more may have to drop out of college because state universities and a special scholarship program aren’t being funded. The majority African-American Chicago State University is perilously close to shutting down, as are Western Illinois University and Eastern Illinois University.

Even Rauner’s lines that some described as an “olive branch” to the Democratic legislative majority seemed aimed more at the folks back home.

Why? Well, words, even very kind words, are not going to be enough to get this done. The sides are simply too far apart, and now that election season has cranked up again, I’m not sure how this thing is going to be resolved.

Scott County Board of Supervisors Chair Jim Hancock needs a stern reminder of whom he serves as a supervisor: the public. Clearly he has forgotten, evidenced by his tirade during the February 9 Board of Supervisors Committee of the Whole/budget meeting after Supervisor Diane Holst again proposed recording the county’s meetings. Hancock vehemently objected to recording meetings, this time citing cost as his objection. This is a red herring considering that no cost for recording meetings has been proffered to date.

In fact, the county already has the capacity to record meetings to cassette tapes, and it does so during all its closed sessions. So what stops the supervisors from hitting the record button during any of their other proceedings, considering current technology eliminates any barriers to converting this system to simple MP3 files that can be posted to the county Web site? Hubris and an unacceptable disregard for transparency. It begs the question: What do they have to hide? It should be noted that Holst records most meetings and posts portions of many of them to her Web site for public consumption as part of her ongoing commitment to more-transparent government.

My sincere thanks to Scott County Supervisors Diane Holst and Brinson Kinzer for supporting recording Scott County Board meetings, making them accessible to everyone with a television or Internet access. They are taking the people’s side in cond...

Almost right from the start of his address last week to the Illinois General Assembly, President Barack Obama seemed to admit – discussing the need for a more-civil politics – that he probably wouldn’t sway his audience, which has been bickering amongst itself for over a year.

Obama talked about his first Illinois Senate speech, after which Republican Senate President Pate Philip “sauntered” over to his desk, slapped him on the back, and said, “Kid, that was a pretty good speech. In fact, I think you changed a lot of minds. But you didn’t change any votes.”

Frankly, after months without any progress in Springfield, I’d settle for a few changed minds. But I’m not even sure a single mind was changed. Instead, the speech gave people on both entrenched sides just enough ammo to bolster their cases against the other.

Predictably, Obama weighted the argument in favor of his own policy views, bringing up his support for union collective bargaining, which Republican Governor Bruce Rauner has repeatedly attacked.

But he threw just enough bones at the Republicans to allow them to issue statements such as the one from GOP state Representative Barb Wheeler: “The president reiterated what the governor and others have said before, [that] without compromise we cannot govern.”

Last week, a reporter said to Governor Bruce Rauner that Secretary of State Jesse White had suggested that Rauner bring in former governors, including George Ryan, to help break the long governmental impasse that has prevented the state from having a budget for more than seven months.

Rauner laughed and said, “Uh, wow.”

The governor clearly did not take the suggestion seriously.

“I’m not gonna talk about the failures of the past that created this mess,” Rauner said through chuckles. “I focus on the future. I don’t live in the past. We’ve had failure in our elected government for decades. This mess didn’t happen overnight. And what we’re not gonna do is reproduce the dynamic that created it.” The governor laughed throughout most of that last sentence.

Bringing in graybeards has been tried before without success. Governor Rod Blagojevich asked former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and then-Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard to town to help him pass his massive construction proposal that Speaker Michael Madigan refused to agree to. It didn’t work. The two men left town as soon as they realized how hardened Madigan’s position had become against Blagojevich.

While former governors have been through similar troubles, nothing really compares to today’s self-inflicted disaster. Madigan and Blagojevich played hardball, but the game is exponentially meaner now.