As the sheriff of Carroll County I don’t often get involved in state or national politics. However, when something surfaces politically that impacts the people of Carroll County and the surrounding area, I’m not going to sit quietly with my mouth shut.
Recently, Representative Bobby Schilling decided to contact elected officials and the media urging people to contact Sen. Durbin to not allow Gitmo prisoners to be relocated to the Thomson prison. For the life of me I cannot figure out why the representative would reinsert this issue into the as of yet to open prison. This issue was laid to rest over a year ago when the Department of Justice took the option of Gitmo prisoners off the table…in writing…and Congress passed a law to that effect.
Senators Durbin and Kirk worked in a bipartisan manner to advance the sale and ultimate opening of the prison. It has continually been Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va. that has held up the funding for the prison to open.
So my suggestion to Representative Schilling is to get on the bipartisan bandwagon and represent us, your constituents. Please stop playing politics at the expense of the people of Carroll County. We’ve had our fill of it. You can do so by pushing Rep. Wolf and Rep. Boehner to stop blocking the sale and move forward in getting Thomson open.
Carroll County Sheriff
California, Without the Beach
Here in the vast debt-swept plains of Madiganistan, our state Treasurer has released a position paper on our state’s financial position. http://www.treasurer.il.gov/news/PositionPaperonDebt.pdf
In a nutshell, we’re broke. Remember that “temporary” tax hike? Well, remove “temporary” from your vocabulary: With the tax hike, personal income tax revenue is $12 billion, and we still had an actual structural annual budget deficit of $12 billion. This math is really easy – just double the current “temporary” income tax rate, and, presto, deficit problem solved. It would be like living in California, without the beach. But we get blizzards, and license plates hand-crafted by our governors!
We’re not yet done, as a simple tax hike doesn’t cover any of our outstanding debt obligations! Mr. Rutherford did that math for us: If each household in the state makes a one-time payment of $40,000 it’s all fixed! If you’re really astute, you’ll realize paying off the debt will reduce that $12 billion somewhat since we won’t be paying interest. No worries, our legislators have plenty of new spending plans in the hopper to gobble up those savings.
Our legislators have been putting on quite a show, dancing around these issues, passing the blame, and kicking this beat-up, rusty can down the road; they even came up with a lame scheme to punt part of the debt down to local school boards. What kind of idiots do they take us for? …never mind…
Are you still reading this? Put down the paper, pick up the phone, get out a pad and pen, or e-mail Jim Sacia, Tim Bivins, Pat Quinn, and Sheila Simon, and tell them in no uncertain terms: “My household doesn’t have your $40,000, and I can’t afford twice as much taken out of my paycheck. FIX THIS!”
Contact information can be found at http://stephensonteaparty.org/links.html
Veterans are Constituents too.
Recently there have been several letters to the editor complaining about Congressman Schilling’s success in helping veterans and that that seems to be his primary focus. I would like to remind those who decry this aspect of his representation that veterans are also constituents.
In fact, according to the Veterans Administration there are nearly 55,000 veterans in the 17th District and that number is growing daily. Veterans currently makes up 7% of the overall population of the district.
And if we factor into that 55,000, the wives, children, and extended family members, the population served is well over 100,000. I might add that the entire population is best served when our veterans are cared for, as they were promised. The War On Terrorism veterans have endured more years of actual mortal combat then any other era’s veterans, to keep us safe!
As a veteran I’m thankful to finally have someone who cares this much about veterans and actually stands behind his words and puts into them action, unlike his Democrat predecessors.
I might also add that Congressman Schilling has voted for the thirty job creating bills that have passed the house with bi-partisan support, only to die at the hands of Sen. Reed, our own Sen. Durbin and the rest of the Senate Democrats.
For those of you who condemn Congressman Schilling at every turn, and that includes Mrs. Bustos, I would suggest you contact Senators Reed, Durbin and the rest of the Democrats, and ask them to pass the thirty bills the Republicans have sent them, and demand they stop playing games with people’s lives.
You may not like Congressman Schilling, but your dislike seems to be spilling over to include our veterans as well. We’ve seen this before, when the Vietnam Veterans, who We The People sent to war for us, came home to abject derision, neglect and slander! Don’t make the same mistake with these brave, patriotic young people who really need or understanding and caring, committed assistance to return to a normal life after serving US!
Semper Fidelis My Brothers and Sisters.
Wayne N. Hill Sr.
East Moline, IL
Wood’s Morrison City Council Notes
June 11, 2012 Morrison City Council met at 7:00 pm. A full house of residents along with 7 council members, Mayor Drey, Administrator Wise, Attorney Zollinger were present. Treasurer Huling, City Clerk Shroeder and Ron Kallemeyn were all absent.
Public Comment: Harvey Zuidema commented on the possible refinancing of Series 2008 General Obligation Bonds for the Sports Complex. The city has already paid $345,000 but when refinancing would be asking for that amount added back on to the $2,000,000 loan and adding 9 years onto it.
Public Comment: Ken Kophamer stated that the Morrison Trust for Revitalization for Historic Preservation would be putting in a bid for 101/103 West Main. They purchased Morrison Elevator for $1.00 and think they found a buyer, which they would be using the proceeds to work on the main street building facades in preparation for other investors to finish.
Baxter and Woodman did a presentation on upgrading/or building a new wastewater treatment plant and building. Either way it will be over $12,000,000. It would take up the present ball park at Waterworks Park. (Is that in the flood plane?) No grants available, just IEPA loan at a possible 2.295 interest rate which 100% of money could be borrowed. It would be great if the Administrator and Mayor would fill in the aldermen and the public as to where Morrison is on the waiting list for an IEPA loan for this type of project. What is the time frame that the upgrades have to be in place? Is it years? We had a $10,000,000 Bond available several years ago. We were approved, tapped it, then it was gone. Where did it go????
Only one bid on 101/103 was presented. It was for $1.00 for each building from the Trust group. Beth Rice stated the Trust has a plan for the downtown issues. An ordinance for the sale of the property is to be drawn up. I commented that in the future, the council should really think before we spend over $600,000 and get a return of $2.00. Dave Rose said he thought the money was well spent by saving the buildings. What do the residents of Morrison think??
Discussion on Certified Local Government took place. I stated that I have heard about different programs eligible for towns with certified local government, but I did not know what “certified local government” is. I still am not sure what it is. I voted ‘no’ due to lack of definition. As far as I know, it has something to do with Historic Preservation and possible grants.
I made a motion to allow Sunday Liquor Sales for Taverns. It was voted down 4 - (Hayenga, Blean, Sullivan, Zuidema) against – 3 - (Wood, Rose, Thorndike) to allow. I still feel it is unfair to those businesses to deny them being open on Sundays since other establishments are allowed to be open. I had emailed Mayor Drey, who is also the liquor commissioner, and suggested it would be a good idea for him to hold a “liquor commission meeting” for all businesses that sell liquor. I felt that it would be good for the people involved in that type of business to be involved in any decision pertaining to them. He did not respond nor did that happen.
The bid for the Electrical Aggregation choice is delayed until the next meeting due to lack of information.
Under other items for consideration, I brought up an issue that has been going on since July 14, 2011. The aldermen (including me) were told by Administrator Wise that no persons other than an elected official, city employee or family of the three administrative staff in city hall were allowed behind the service counter or in staff office area. I had an appointment scheduled with Shelli, Leo, Harvey, and myself prior to the email. July 19, 2011-I called and confirmed that the meeting was still okay. It was.
On July 20, 2011 Leo Sullivan, Shelli Sibley, Harvey Zuidema and myself were to meet in the city building. When Harvey arrived, Melanie Schroeder would not let him enter the meeting. I went to CA Wise’s office door and asked what was going on since we had prearranged the meeting. He said he was not going to split hairs and that Harvey was not allowed to come into the meeting. Harvey and I were both very upset about this.
Now, months later, I witnessed resident, Barb Bees, just walk into the very area of the city building that only employees, elected officials or relatives of the office staff were allowed. I emailed Mayor Drey to see if the policy had changed. I also asked if this resident met any of the aforementioned qualifications to be in that area. I did get a response but no answers to the very simple questions I asked. He never answered any of those three questions. He sent me a page of information that had nothing to do with not following the rules that Administrator WISE put in place, not me. I said I felt that Harvey deserved an apology for the treatment he received at City Hall. During the council meeting Mayor Drey was very demeaning to me about the situation. He stated that I have been asking questions for 4 years and just do not like the answers I receive. I said, I would not keep asking if he actually answered the question being asked. I still did not get an answer from Mayor Drey, Administrator Wise or Attorney Zollinger if that particular resident was a city employee, elected official or a relative of one of the administrative staff. I just want to know if there are exceptions to the rules or if the rules only pertain to certain people.
The next Morrison City Council Meeting is June 25, 2012 at 7:00 pm at the County Board Room.
Quote of the week - If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” – Mark Twain
A Morrison Taxpayer
Morrison Clean Up Day Thanks
The Morrison Chamber of Commerce would like to sincerely thank everyone for their participation in the 2nd Annual Morrison Community Clean-up and Recycling Day on Saturday, June 16, 2012.
It took many hands to have everything run so smoothly and thanks all around to our wonderful volunteers and collectors representing some great businesses and organizations within our community: Boy Scout Troup #96; First Presbyterian Church and Morrison Christian Reformed Church Volunteers for Self-Help; Auric Endeavors; Morrison Tire Center; Morrison Auto Supply and grandchildren; Morrison Lions Club; Morrison Police Department; Morrison American Legion Post 328; KAS e-Recycling, and Valvoline Express Care.
A special thanks to the entire Roggy family, Susan Gomez, and Curt Bender for all of their assistance. This event would not have been possible without the additional cooperation from FS Fast Stop; Ruth Gundlach State Farm Agency; Mr. & Mrs. Spencer Knox; Mary’s, and Pete Harkness Auto Group.
Everyone pitched in to help where they could, which made the event another great success.
All the best,
Morrison Chamber of Commerce &
Morrison Area Development Corporation
Volcker Rule Is a Step in the Right Direction
JPMorgan Chase, one of the nation’s largest banks, announced that it lost over $2 billion in trading over the last few months. This has emboldened supporters of the Volker rule, which prohibits banks that enjoy government support from making risky investments other than loans. The Volker rule is a step in the right direction of reducing the risk that banks take with their asset portfolios.
Why should banks be treated differently than other financial institutions? Financial intermediaries, including banks, take risks so that investors can earn higher returns on their money. Banks, however, differ from other financial intermediaries, such as mutual funds and brokers, in that deposit insurance makes it possible for them to guarantee that depositors won’t lose their money, regardless of how much risk the banks take. Investors whose money is at risk will put pressure on a financial institution to limit risk, but insured depositors have little motivation to monitor the riskiness of a bank’s portfolio.
Many banks, as well as other financial institutions, invested in too many risky assets prior to September 2008, which led to the financial crisis. The financial crisis and government’s response to it are why we have a stagnant economy with persistently high unemployment four years later. If government had not stepped in to rescue bankrupt firms, the economy would have recovered more strongly from the recession. A capitalist economy works well if firms that use resources efficiently make profits and those that use resources inefficiently lose money and eventually sell their assets to others who will find a more valuable use for to them. This process of creative destruction plays a vital role in promoting economic growth and prosperity as resources are continually redirected toward those uses that most satisfy the demands of consumers.
Rather than receiving bailouts, it would have been better if American International Group (AIG), General Motors and Citigroup were left to resolve their own financial problems, which would most likely have meant bankruptcy and liquidation. Citigroup, however, is different than AIG and GM in that a substantial share of its liabilities were deposits, which were insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Investors in corporations like AIG and GM are warned that they might lose some or all of their investment. Banks, by contrast, promise to return all money deposited, and depositors have confidence in this promise.
The government grants banks privileges that other businesses do not have, including deposit insurance and the power to create legal tender money. As my fellow economist, Dr. Shawn Ritenour, pointed out, MF Global got into big trouble for using money from its customers’ accounts for its own trading, yet banks do this legally all the time. If banks are going to lend out their customer’s money, they should lend it as safely as possible, so there is little question that it will be paid back. A bank, unlike MF Global, can get away with trading using its customers’ money because the FDIC, which ultimately is backed by the Federal Reserve, guarantees that customers will get their money back, even if the bank does not have enough in reserve to meet requests for withdrawal. Regardless of how much money the FDIC needs to bail out bank depositors, the Federal Reserve can create it.
Not only are depositors covered by insurance, but the federal government has a longstanding practice of not allowing large banks to fail, providing bailouts at taxpayer expense. It would be better if government did not rescue failing banks and if deposit insurance were scaled back to cover only accounts of small value. If banks did not have the implicit or explicit backing of the federal government, the need to attract depositors and creditors would limit the risks they would take. If deposit insurance only applied to small accounts, the risk to taxpayers would be much less, and large depositors would put pressure on banks to limit the riskiness of their investments.
It may be unrealistic to expect the government to scale back deposit insurance or stop bailing out large banks that are on the verge of failure. For that reason, the next best alternative is to implement the Volker rule to prohibit proprietary trading by banks as well as maintaining more stringent controls over the size and composition of banks’ loan portfolios. This will greatly reduce the likelihood of another financial crisis like what we have just been through.
Dr. Tracy C. Miller is an associate professor of economics at Grove City College and fellow for economic theory and policy with The Center for Vision & Values. He holds a Ph.D. from University of Chicago.
Are the President’s “Kill List” Activities Constitutional?
By Dr. Harold Pease
Two things have brought drone warfare to public attention in an amplified way the last few days: our assassination of Abu Yahya al-Libi, Al-Qaida’s second-in-command, and The New York Times release of classified information showing that President Barack Obama, on a weekly basis, reviews a “kill list” and personally authorizes each kill. Is this Constitutional?
The paper revealed a “top secret ‘nominations’ process to designate terrorists for kill or capture” but that there is little interest in capture because of a hidden “take-no-prisoners” policy. In the last three months 20 “presumed terrorists” have been assassinated, 14 in Yemen and 6 in Pakistan. It complicates things when they have to be sent to Guantanamo Bay, thus only one person on the list has been sent to the Island prison. Killing them frees us from those messy practices of “enhanced interrogation” (torture) and “rendition” (exporting torture to foreign nations, called “black sites,” less squeamish about screaming victims), practiced under the George W. Bush administration. Under Obama the dead do not need rendition, military commissions, and indefinite detention, the paper infers (Secret “Kill” List Tests Obama’s Principles, New York Times, May 29, 2012).
Moreover, the Obama Administration also got rid of the messy civilian casualties problem by defining all “military age males in a strike zone as combatants … unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.” They would not be in the area if they were not also terrorists—guilt by association—they reason. Therefore the Administration can argue, “that not a single noncombatant had been killed in a year of strikes.” One administrative source said, “They count the corpses and they’re not really sure who they are.” Unfortunately for The Administration, The New York Times noted, “Videos of children’s bodies and angry tribesmen holding up American missile parts flooded You Tube, fueling a ferocious backlash that Yemeni officials said bolstered Al Qaeda.” Sometimes our actions create our next wave of enemies.
The case of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, an Al Qaeda propagandist hiding in Yemen, presented the President with Fifth Amendment “due process” problems which were quickly swept under the rug. Killed with him, however, was his 16 year-old-son and “Samir Khan, an American citizen who was not on the target list but was traveling with him.”
The President’s reaction to The New York Times disclosure, “First, I’m not going to comment on the details of what are supposed to be classified items… Second, as commander-in-chief, the issues that you’ve mentioned touch on our national security or critical issues of war and peace, and they’re classified for a reason” (Obama ‘Offended’ by Leak Allegations, New York Times, June 8, 2012).
So, are any of these practices Constitutional? Not one!! All military powers are housed under the Legislative branch Article I, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution except for one. These include all power to declare and finance war, “make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces,” and even determine the land that the military can have for training purposes. The only power left to the president is as “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States… ,” notice this, “when called into actual Service of the United States” which constitutionally can only be done by Congress. The totality of his authority can only follow theirs.
As far as I am able to determine there exists no declaration of war by Congress on Yemen or Pakistan (actually on no country presently) calling into “actual service” the military. Instead, our attacks are acts of war on these states. Imagine drone strikes on our enemies in Russia or China. They, being much stronger countries, would be returning fire. Nor is there a specific two-year funding limitation on this “Drone War” as constitutionally required. Moreover, Congress clearly has been nullified in making the “rules for the government and regulation of land and naval forces” in this no end conflict.
Recent presidents have usurped all of the military powers of Congress unto themselves. It is a dangerous slippery slope and clearly exceeds Constitutional authority regardless of who inhabits the White House, more especially when the kills are American citizens who are executed on the say so of just one man, in the Situation Room, thousands of miles away. Executed without the accused having benefit of judge, jury, trial or any of a series of other constitutional rights. Whatever happened to the presumption of innocent until proven guilty? Tell Congress that you want them to adhere to the Constitution with respect to all military conflicts.
Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.
By Jim Sacia, State Representative, 89th District
My good friend Bob Stretton, the retired Chief of Police of Savanna, Illinois, often sends me comments. There is little doubt that Bob and I are like minded on issues such as the second amendment right to keep and bear arms and our commitment to the concealed carry passage.
This takes me to an assertion I shared openly over the past year, that we would pass concealed carry this legislative session. In mid May Bob asked me how it looked for passage. As a co-sponsor of HB148, concealed carry, which is authored by an outstanding legislator and friend, Brandon Phelps (D-Norris City), I assured Bob and others, “all looks good”. “Wrong” for reasons only he can articulate, but I can speculate, to quote Brandon, “the Speaker put a brick on it”.
My speculation is that because it’s an election year. Speaker Madigan is well aware that many of his fold may want to vote for the bill, but remember Speaker Madigan is from Chicago where concealed carry is not that popular. He doesn’t want his people voting on a controversial bill so close to the election. My new opinion is (yes I was wrong before) we’ll now see it at Veto Session in November, after the election.
I received an email over the weekend from a gentleman stating he had just heard I was now against concealed carry. Where does this stuff come from? Totally untrue! It may have had something to do with SB1034. This bill changed the reporting requirements on gun sales. Any of you receiving emails from the NRA and the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) recognize that they vilified this bill right out of the gate. They put out information that was totally incorrect. Here are the facts – I am a life member of the NRA. I am a member of the ISRA. They both got this one all wrong.
I proudly co-sponsored the bill with my good friend Cynthia Soto (D-Chicago), (do you see the problem here folks – a liberal Democrat teaming up with a conservative Republican).
The Illinois State Police brought us this bill with an explanation of why its passage was crucial. Due to a recent federal audit it was determined that Illinois was out of compliance with federal law dealing with mental health adjudications and commitments that prohibit individuals from possessing or receiving firearms.
Both the NRA and ISRA put out bulletins and alerts of how evil this bill was and it was nothing but a liberal agenda to grab your guns. In the end, with some minor verbiage change and many of us talking it through, all 118 members of the House voted yes on the bill as did the Senate.
Very unfortunately it pitted the State Police against the NRA and ISRA. These three agencies are typically on the same page of music so some soothing was required. Once again harmony prevails.
Allow me to apologize to area newspapers. Recently I wrote, “we all have an obligation to be informed. The media has an obligation to be factual. Seldom do both occur.” Our area newspapers do a tremendous job of reporting “the facts”. It was an unfortunate choice of words on my part.