River Cities' Reader - Issue 800 - March 15, 2012

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River Cities’ Reader ã Vol. 19 No. 800 ã March 15 - 28, 2012 Business ã Politics ã Arts ã Culture ã Now You Know ã RiverCitiesReader.com Slug_0-7 Title: 1st insert: Version: Pubs: Color/B&W: Pickup ref: Live: Trim: Bleed: Gutter: Scale: Art Director Copywriter Project Mgr Print Prod Studio Mgr Buddy Check Creative Dir Acct Mgmt Proofreader Legal Client Product Info 2-3-2012 1:37 PM Updated: Printed at: PUBLI CI S & HAL RI NEY SAN FRANCI SCO Approvals EPro: Production notes: Job: 6768CON20
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  River Cities’ Reader  ã Vol. 19 No. 800 ã March 15 - 28, 2012  Business ã Politics ã Arts ã Culture ã Now You Know ã RiverCitiesReader.com Things we want you to know: While supplies last. Requires new account activation and a two-year agreement (subject to early termination fee). Agreement terms apply as long as you are a customer. Credit approval may apply. Regulatory Cost Recovery Fee applies; this is not a tax or government-required charge.Additional fees, taxes and terms apply and vary by service and equipment. Promotional phone subject to change. Smartphone Data Plans start at $30 per month or are included with certain Belief Plans. Application and data network usage charges may apply when accessing applications. Bill Credit: To receive $100credit, customer must register for My Account or, if already registered for My Account, log in to My Account within 14 days of activation. Trade-In Offer valid through 3/31/12. To be eligible, the Smartphone must power on and cannot be pin locked. Smartphone must be in fully functional, working condition without anyliquid damage or broken components, including, but not limited to, a cracked display or housing. See store for details or visit uscellular.com/Tradein. Kansas Customers: In areas in which U.S. Cellular receives support from the Federal Universal Service Fund, all reasonable requests for service must be met. Unresolvedquestions concerning services availability can be directed to the Kansas Corporation Commission Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection at 1-800-662-0027. Limited-time offer. Trademarks and trade names are the property of their respective owners. See store or uscellular.com for details. ©2012 U.S. Cellular. Why switch to U.S. Cellular? Text SCAN to 43588 to downloada QR reader—and find out why. To learn more, visit uscellular.com or call 1-888-BUY-USCC . BREAKING UP CAN HAVE AN UPSIDE— UP TO $ 250. Switch to U.S. Cellular  ® and get a $100 bill credit when activating any device—and $50 to $150 morewhen trading in a qualifying smart phone. MOTOROLA ELECTRIFY TM an Android-powered phone HTC HERO S TM an Android-powered phone See our selection of the latest  Android TM -powered devices, including:  River Cities’ Reader  ã Vol. 19 No. 800 ã March 15 - 28, 2012  Business ã Politics ã Arts ã Culture ã Now You Know ã RiverCitiesReader.com “We The People” Solutions: PeacefulParticipation to Save the Bill of Rights D o any of us really believe it is a coincidence thatCongress and the president are fast-trackingspecific legislation and executive orders that,when viewed in their entirety, destroy the Bill of Rights?Three months ago, Congress passed the alarming NationalDefense Authorization Act (NDAA), allowing indefinitedetention of U.S. citizens without due process – meaningwithout probable cause, criminal charge, benefit of counsel, or a trial. This treatment of U.S. citizens wasoutlawed after the Civil War, only to resurface now in aneven more egregious manner, especially since back then,citizens had to at least be charged with a crime.In the shadow of this shocking legislation, last week Congress almost unanimously passed another horrifyinglaw that criminalizes protesting on or near any federalproperty, or merely being in the vicinity of either (a) anevent of national significance, or (b) a person under theprotection of the Secret Service. The Federal RestrictedBuildings & Grounds Improvement Act repeals our rightto peacefully assemble and petition the government withour grievances. In fact, it is now illegal to assemble in frontof Congress if even one member might be inside.Three hundred eighty-eight congressmen voted infavor of this attack on the First Amendment, includingevery Iowa legislator. This unconscionable betrayal by Representative Bruce Braley (D) and Senators Chuck Grassley (R) and Tom Harkin (D) requires that thesepoliticians answer for abdicating their oaths of office onsuch a fundamental level. Come November 2012, votershave an opportunity to unseat Braley, but Grassley andHarkin need recall proceedings, if nothing else. Thecombination of offenses is over the top and points to anunprecedented breach of trust, let alone of law.Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Joe Lieberman(I-Connecticut) co-sponsored the NDAA and are nowseparately introducing cyber-security bills: the SECUREIT Act and the Cybersecurity Act, respectively. Bothare highly intrusive, and have no measured applicationother than to “encourage” private Internet companiesto “share” any citizens’ information with military spy agencies, including the National Security Agency, if thereis a perceived threat to cyber-security. What qualifiesas a “cyber-threat” is wide open for interpretation. TheInternet companies, which are currently obliged by law toprivacy standards, will be given immunity for breachingthose standards. Again, the government is looking to spy on U.S. citizens with the the help of the private sectorwithout cause or due process. A “good-faith belief” is allthat is required to spy on any one of us. (See RCReader.com/y/cybersecurity.)Last week during a Senate budget hearing, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta openly admitted that the presidentand defense agencies no longer seek congressionalapproval for military engagement, but instead look to international law and the United Nations for theirpermissions. It was a stunning revelation, leaving Senator Continued On Page 17  Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) visibly shaken. (See RCReader.com/y/panetta.) Just days later, House ConcurrentResolution 107 was introduced in committee that wouldmake it a treasonous act and an impeachable offense forthe president to engage in military actions without theexpress approval of Congress. It’s about time someonestepped into this issue and retrieved the constitutionalauthority for taking America to war!Meanwhile, just this week, yet another nonlethalweapon was unveiled to the Pentagon that arguably hasfew uses in military combat but would deploy moreeffectively as a crowd-control device: the Active DenialSystem, which emits an extremely painful 95-gigahertzheat ray from as far away as 0.6 miles. (A microwave is onegigahertz.) The heat-ray gun boasts an automatic turn-off safety feature to limit the shooter’s ability to accidentally seriously harm victims. (See RCReader.com/y/heatray.)Add this to the an ever-growing list of crowd-controlweapons that can be found in police departments’ arsenals– including debilitating sound canons, excruciating Tasers,toxic gases, and drones that can spy on (and, in the future,shoot preprogrammed) targets – and a community’s policedepartment becomes a fully armed domestic military force, specifically prohibited by the U.S. Constitution butsummarily being ignored by the very people who took oaths to protect it, including lawmakers, judges, and law-enforcers. Are you getting the picture yet?Based on the rubber-stamping that characterizes theentire Scott County Board of Supervisors, residents betterpay attention to budgets and spending to make sure suchweapons are not being purchased in our county. This samecaution holds true for all our Quad Cities, because eachhas its own police force.Please read  the laws that permit these dangerousconstitutional breaches by allowing for the use of suchweapons against Americans. Somebody needs to, becauselegislators, whether local, state, or federal, are on-the-record freely admitting that they certainly don’t. We’veall seen or heard the numerous media clips confirmingas much.Even Scott County Board of Supervisors ChairTom Sunderbruch admitted, prior to a public hearingon the county’s $83-million budget, that (a) the actualbudget figures are not published online until after they are approved, and (b) “We have budget analysts wholook at this stuff for us.” (Watch Reader  Publisher ToddMcGreevy questioning the board during the publichearing at RCReader.com/y/countybudget.) Since whendid taxpayers agree to pay for advisors to do the work weelect – and pay – supervisors to do? Attend or view online(YouTube.com/scottifatv) one county-board meeting, andyou will see for yourself the typical lack of engagement thatfollows bureaucrats and politicians who are ceremonial versus effective stewards.What I seem to consistently underestimate is folks’ by Kathleen McCarthykm@rcreader.com WORDS FROM THE EDITOR  River Cities’ Reader  ã Vol. 19 No. 800 ã March 15 - 28, 2012  Business ã Politics ã Arts ã Culture ã Now You Know ã RiverCitiesReader.com ILLINOIS POLITICS D espite a long Illinois tradition of sup-porting them, it’s not exactly news thatRepublican members of the GeneralAssembly no longer like voting for taxes of any kind. And that attitude created a couple of some-what absurd positions last week.Let’s start with the “roll your own” bill.Legislation has beenproposed to tax agrowing practiceof allowing peopleto use commercialmachines to roll theirown cigarettes inconvenience storesand gas stations.The stores sell theircustomers loose, bulk tobacco and then thecustomers dump theproduct into specialrolling machines,which cost several thousand dollars each. Theresult is a per-carton sale price that is about half the price of a pre-rolled carton of brand-namecigarettes, mainly because the taxes on loosetobacco are much lower than on commercialcigarettes.Several states are confronting the issueafter the machines started appearing in stores.Legislatures in Indiana and Virginia areconsidering bills to up the tax on loose tobaccoused in the machines, for instance. Wisconsin’sDepartment of Revenue told the stores lastOctober to start paying taxes on the tobacco as if they were selling actual cigarettes.Critics say these stores with the machines arelittle more than cigarette factories set up to avoidhigh cigarette taxes. Defenders say they’re notdoing anything different from coffee shops thatallow customers to pick specific blends, grinds,and brands.Tobacco giant Philip Morris is just one of the companies backing the Illinois bill. Thecompany is worried that the roll-your-ownmachines will eventually eat into its profits.The tobacco company’s lobbying team is alsowarning that if the bill doesn’t pass, PhilipMorris and other tobacco companies willlikely jump into the machine-rolling businessthemselves, which could potentially cost thestate hundreds of millions of tax dollars a year.But the Republicans on the Senate ExecutiveCommittee balked at backing the measure, andit was “shelled out” last week by an amendmentand moved to the Senate floor as basically anempty bill. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan), said last week that he doubtedhe could come to an agreement with theopponents and would likely propose very similarlanguage in the next few weeks.Republicans admitted privately that they backed away from voting for anything thatmight look like a tax increase. They also say they’ll probably support the bill after theprimary ends because of the very real negativerevenue consequences for the state.Then there’sthe proposal by state Senator ToiHutchinson (D-Olympia Fields) tocharge a $5-per-headentrance-fee taxon strip clubs thatsell alcohol. Themoney generatedwould be sent to thestate’s Sexual AssaultPrevention Fund. Theproposal sailed outof the Senate PublicHealth Committee last week on a unanimous vote, but there was a catch. Actually, there weretwo catches.The bill has generated a bit of controversy,but it apparently presented a unique dilemmafor a couple of Republicans who sit on thePublic Health Committee. Possibly harming thebusiness interests of “immoral establishments”might be a plus. But voting to tax thoseestablishments still meant voting for a tax.So two Republicans in hotly contested GOPprimaries – Shane Cultra (R-Onarga) andChristine Johnson (R-Shabbona) – discreetly left the hearing room just before the committeebegan voting on what some have jokingly calledthe “pole tax.” The bill passed unanimously butwithout those two votes.Johnson’s primary opponent, Dave Syverson(R-Rockford), also sits on the Public HealthCommittee, but he voted for the bill. Johnsonhas been running television ads blastingSyverson for favoring tax hikes and toutingherself as the true social and fiscal conservativein the race.Cultra, the other walkout, is also the moresocially conservative candidate in his Republicanprimary race against state Represenative JasonBarickman (R-Champaign).As I mentioned earlier, things are expected tocalm down a bit after the March 20 primary. TheRepublicans will still oppose most taxes, but themere mention of the word probably won’t spook them so badly once they get past their elections.Maybe then everybody can grow up and startacting like adults. Rich Miller also publishes Capitol Fax (a daily political newsletter) and CapitolFax.com. by Rich MillerCapitolFax.com Republicans Spookedby a Pair of Tax Bills  Harming the businessinterests of “immoral establishments” might bea plus. But voting to tax those establishments still meant voting for a tax.       A         L     W    A    Y   S  S M O  K   E    -      F      R     E      E       !                 I-280 and Hwy 92, Exit 11-A,ã Rock Island, IL309-756-4600 ã 800-477-7747 ã Open 7am-5am daily If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referralservices can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537).   L   m a reerra   37). NOW OPEN! A superb addition to the Q.C. dining scene! 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