“Gentle Dave,” an on line reader, commented on the PA newspaper and web site - www.pacc-news.com - August 2, 2012:
I’m an old newspaper journalist who currently writes for a local community newspaper in one of Chicago’s neighborhoods. I’d like to compliment and congratulate your newspaper, I truly enjoy reading it.
In these days and times a newspaper like yours is vital in order to inform the public of what really goes on in this world, even if locally. Too much of the public believes exactly what is written in most newspapers, and as you know, most newspapers have their own agenda and don’t always report the truth.
I particularly enjoyed reading of the new Illinois state laws that took effect January 1, 2012. I have not seen any Chicago or metropolitan newspapers publish such a list which is so vital to the public.
Congratulations and keep up the good work, you have a new reader and supporter!
Thomson Correctional Center
I get it now.
Maybe the rest of the nation is also tired of politics as usual, Illinois style.
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Virginia) continues to block the sale of Thomson and now several other Senators and Representatives from other states have joined him with additional reasons for not funding Thomson. Wolf thinks Obama is pulling the wool over our eyes and still will bring GITMO prisoners to Illinois. The other Senators and Representatives sight the (4) new federal prisons already built, but not opened. They are located in Yazoo City, Miss., Berlin, N.H., Aliceville, Al., and Hazelton, W. Va.
The Associated Press, in a study trying to determine the cost of private prison companies over a 10 year period, found three private companies, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), The GEO Group, and Management and Training Corporation. CCA was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2000 according to the AP study. Loss of contracts, management problems, and lawsuits were sighted. In 2011 CCA earned $162 million in net income with 43% of that income coming from the Federal Government. GEO net income rose from $16.9 million to $78.6 million.
These three companies have spent at least $45 million on campaign donations and lobbyists at both state and federal levels. (My lightbulb just came on!)
Here’s my thoughts using a little common sense. (We all know how far that seems to go in politics).
Opening Thomson as an Illinois Department of Corrections facility:
1) Could create 600 real jobs with real pay checks spent in the local economy.
2) Illinois could house Federal prisoners and State prisoners, relieving over-crowding.
3) Create jobs for returning vets.
4) Save the Federal Government $165 million.
5) Actually show bi-partisan cooperation.
Jo-Carroll Energy could offer an incentive on electric and gas rates if Illinois would pay the bill on time. Failure to pay on time sends them back to regular rate. I think the design of Thomson compared to most Illinois prisons will show the lowest energy usage in the state. That could become even more efficient if an Iowa Wind Generator were installed.
Did you know the Federal Government requires a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, not over 37 years old, and mandatory retirement at 57? Illinois requires a high school diploma. Federal has over 20,000 applications on file.
How can we lobby so the little guy (like Thomson, IL) can grow?
(Publisher’s Note: At a July 19 rally in Springfield, prison employees described a spike in inmates punching, spitting on and biting guards, saying the incidents worsened in recent years because of overcrowding. And a July 24 report documented what a union representative described as “a riot,” fueled by understaffing and overcrowding, at a minimum-security prison in East Moline during a power outage. And the State says we are not overcrowded.)
Just Who Is Endangered?
I’m happy for Mr. Greg Wahl, CEO of Wahl Clipper Corp., that his “threatened species” will be protected. I just wish that the zoning panel cared as much for the human beings that they are condemning to a miserable existence on their own land, if indeed, they will be able to continue living there.
Nobody on these panels seems to have a conscience about what they are doing to their neighbors. Mr. Mike Crowley surely doesn’t have one–$12,000 has bought and paid for his “opinion” that property values won’t be affected when the wind turbines come in. I bet he sleeps just fine.
It’s sad we “little people” don’t have taxpayer subsidies to buy someone to tell the truth of the matter—not that the panels would listen or care anyway.
Appraisal consultant Mike McCann, of Chicago, IL, whose resume includes zoning evaluations, value impact studies, analysis of wind turbine generating facilities, and evaluation of eminent domain real estate acquisitions, advises residents bluntly, that no permits should be issued on any wind generation project without a property value guarantee for homeowners in the turbine area of influence.
He said the impact zone of a wind farm is two-to-five miles with value loss up to 40% depending on distance away from turbines. Not to mention the losses of those forced to walk away from their homes. “The mass erection of wind turbines near people’s homes is a form of taking from the property owner and giving to the wind developers,” he added.
Why isn’t wind-turbine noise getting more attention from the EPA? They have plenty of resources to plague the natural gas and oil sectors. Meanwhile, the wind industry is getting a free pass.
Sleep well, those of you we have voted for and trusted to protect our way of life.
(Publisher’s Note: See more details from the Chicago Tribune article at this link: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-06-19/news/ct-met-turbine-endangered-species-20120619_1_wind-turbines-american-wind-energy-association-renewable-energy)
One World Government, United Nations Agenda 21
Question: Are some of our innocent citizens, our county, and city (Freeport) involved in U.N. Agenda 21 through NIDA (Northern Illinois Development Alliance) and Prospering Together?
“One World Order” was stated many times by President George H.W. Bush and reiterated by President Bill Clinton. When you hear terms like Prosperity for All, Sustainable Development, Biodiversity, Social Equity, NGO (Non-Governmental Organizations), PPP, Smart Growth, Growth Management, Comprehensive Planning, Green Ways, Rails to Trails, or Grants - which always have strings attached - then you better listen. When you hear of groups like ICLE (International Center for Leadership in Education), ICMA, Brownfields, and Vision 20/20, you had better do some research.
The term Sustainable Development first originated in a report, “Our Common Future,” that was produced by the U.N. World Commission on Environment and Development, authored by Gro Harlem Brundtland, vice president of the World Socialist Party. The term was first offered as official U.N. policy in 1992 in a document called U.N. Sustainable Development Agenda 21.
More than 178 nations adopted Agenda 21, and President George H.W. Bush signed the document for the United States. By endorsing it, he and every nation that did so, too, pledged to adopt its goals. In 1993 President Bill Clinton also “signed on.” The federal bureauacracy is to work jointly with state and community systems to “reinvent” government.
If this is successful, U.N. laws will supersede our state laws. This has already been proven with the shutdown of Gibson Guitar Company because they broke an India law for using some of their unfinished wood in 2011. Gun owners also beware because the Obama administration/ Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is working on a U.N. Arms Trade Treaty.
With the assistance of groups like ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives), Sustainable Development is showing up in every county in the nation. With the government teaming up with NGOs such as NIDA and Prospering Together (mentioned above), transparency of dollars and actions become a problem.
Every municipal board member should want to become more informed about this. Learn how many counties pulled out of Agenda 21 as well as the Republican National Committee on January 24, 2012. The Stephenson County Tea Party will show a 45-minute documentary that tells about Agenda 21. David Martindale will then follow with his eye-opening research on how both Stephenson County and Freeport may be involved with Agenda 21. I believe our leaders mean well, but they should at least be aware of what may be transpiring.
Stephenson County Tea Party meeting will be August 9th at Dietz’s Old School Apartments, 111 E. Mason Street, Lena, at 6:30 PM.
Anthony Glosson, with the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI), wrote concerning a Letter to the Editor that was written by IPI Executive VP Kristina Rasmussen. The letter ran in the July 25, 2012 edition of the Prairie Advocate, but when it was printed the name was mistakenly listed as Kristina Tobin.
The Prairie Advocate regrets the error. For the sake of clarity and our archived issues at www.pacc-news.com, the letter with correction is reprinted below:
A Letter to Citizens
Obama’s now infamous “you didn’t build that” speech may possibly be his most classist and collectivist rhetoric to date. What’s more, this speech was delivered after his administration put an end to welfare reform as we know it:
“There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”
At first blush, this all probably sounds reasonable to the average observer. But if you’re able to see through the smoke and mirrors, you recognize two euphemisms: “somebody,” which is really “government,” and “give back,” which is really “pay taxes.”
According to Obama, we owe our success to the state, the collective, and we should willingly “give back” out of appreciation. What the president fails to understand is the government doesn’t have any wealth of its own, except what it forcibly takes from individuals and businesses through taxation.
Milton Friedman wrote, “To the free man, the country is the collection of individuals who compose it, not something over and above them. He is proud of a common heritage and loyal to common traditions. But he regards government as a means, an instrumentality, neither a grantor of favors and gifts, nor a master or god to be blindly worshipped and served.”
As we approach the 100th birthday of Friedman, we still believe America is great because free men and women are willing to risk everything to pursue their dreams. Not because of the state. And the Institute will continue to promote self-suffiency — the antithesis of government dependence.
Here’s to the free man. The individual.
Executive Vice President
Illinois Policy Institute
Guest Commentary . . .
Sell Thomson Prison for $165 Million, Not a Penny Less
By Mike Jacobs | Illinois State Senator
36th Legislative District
It’s just like Illinois Republicans to cheat Illinois taxpayers.
Years ago the Republican cronies got the state to bankroll a hotel in Springfield. When it went under, the taxpayers got hit with the tab as GOP officials tried to sell their failed investment for pennies on the dollar.
Now the GOP is at it again, this time with Thomson prison.
We have a modern, efficient and secure facility just waiting to be used. Our price should be going up. Instead, local Republicans want the state to sell the taxpayers’ investment for pennies on the dollar to appease another GOP big wig.
Look, there’s a process to follow here. An independent assessment pegged the prison’s price tag at $165 million.
If the federal government needs a new prison, that’s the starting bid, not a penny less. It’s not only good business sense, it’s the law. For too many years, too many Republican cronies cheated the state on real estate deals. That’s why we require an outside assessment on deals like this, to protect taxpayers from being undercut.
How dare local Republicans like Bobby Schilling suggest it’d be a good deal to sell it for $70 million less. Rather than selling out Illinois taxpayers, Rep. Schilling should buy a one-way ticket to Virginia, give GOP Congressman Frank Wolf a visit and start sticking up for Illinois taxpayers and their investments.
You see, Mr. Wolf, the vaunted chair of some exaggerated U.S. House subcommittee, gets to play puppet master with the federal prison budget. His tinfoil-hat politics would have you believe there’s some grand conspiracy behind the Thomson prison plans, so he won’t let the provision pass through his committee, and, to date, Mr. Schilling and the other brave GOP defenders of Illinois tax dollars are afraid to stand up to him.
Instead, they suggest lowering the purchase price so the deal doesn’t have to go through Wolf’s committee. Doesn’t it just scream good government and wise use of taxpayer dollars? These guys will probably offer you a bridge if you give them the time.
I’m all for opening Thomson Prison. Whether it’s federal jobs or state jobs, this area needs good jobs. But there’s a balance that must exist. The value of this prison, its technological sophistication and efficiency certainly hasn’t decreased. Thomson is the state’s most modern prison. Perhaps it’s ahead of its time. But its time is coming and selling it on the cheap to appease some GOP crony is the last thing we should be doing in Illinois.
I say Illinois should stand its ground, stick to its price and not bow to the sellout shenanigans of GOP Rep. Wolf and Rep. Schilling.
By Jim Sacia, State Representative, 89th District
“We are challenged on every hand to work untiringly to achieve excellence in our life work. Not all men are called to specialized or professional jobs; even fewer rise to the heights of genius in the arts and sciences; many are called to be laborers in factories, fields, and streets. But no work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence. If a man is called to be a street-sweeper, he should sweep even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street-sweeper who did his job well.” Those immortal words are from the late great orator and leader, The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
What prompted me to share this quote with you? I’m well aware that many of you are familiar with it. In a recent column I wrote of John Stossel being amazed at the numbers of jobs available if a person is willing to do work at a job they perceive as “beneath them”.
I wrote asking the question, are we becoming an entitlement society? My email, phone and personal contacts exploded, or as they say, “went viral”. Of the hundreds of responses that I received a total of seven were negative, hundreds profusely thanked me for writing it. Many of the comments came from prominent individuals working in the human service industry pointing out the abuse of the system that they see each day. These were the most uplifting, knowing I was right on target. One person wrote of their late grandfather who after losing his job took work that he hated but he refused to accept any hand out or government assistance.
My point then, and certainly the point of Dr. King is work has dignity and never should be below you. I often get comments like “what do you expect me to do work at Walmart or McDonalds”? The short answer is “yah”. Two of the greatest success stories in American history – Sam Walton and Ray Kroc – two gentlemen who pulled themselves up by their shoe laces and built empires and many of their employees have grown to great achievement either within those organizations or using them as a springboard to build amazing lives. I would proudly work for either business.
I continue to ache for those who struggle to make ends meet. I joined my dear friends Bobbie Yount, Mayor Gaulrapp, and Pastor Dr. Charles Washington at Mt. Calvary Church of God in Christ on Saturday morning as they distributed food to the needy. Not one person in that line, in my opinion, was abusing the system.