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A ‘new neo-con game is afoot’

The conspiracy of the neo-cons is back. The connection between Steve
Bannon, the president and his threat to fire Gen. John Nicholson, commander
in Afghanistan; abetted by Jared Kushner’s behest to Erik Prince, the founder
of Blackwater and brother to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, to develop
plans to totally replace regular U.S. troops in Afghanistan with private contractors
tells us a new neo-con game is afoot.
The hidden agenda is to drain the U.S. Treasury and the money meant
for our legitimate armed forces and funnel our tax-money meant for defense
more directly and efficiently into the pockets of private corporations.
It’s meant to provide a perpetual source of profit to support a perpetual
non-winnable war bypassing our constitutionally designated defenders.
It’s the Rumsfeld-George W. Bush-neo-con con all over again.

Marion J. Reis, Lombard

Nybo responds to Senate action on school funding bill

State Sen. Chris Nybo (R-Elmhurst)
released the below statement
following the Senate overriding
the governor’s amendatory
veto to a school funding reform
bill that fails to address sweeping
school funding inequities across
the state.
“I could not support the school
funding plan presented in the Senate
today because it does not equitably
address funding for all Illinois
students. It should not matter
where a child is born; every single
student has an equal right to earn a
quality education.
“The governor’s amendatory
veto made changes to the school
funding bill that were both fair
and equitable to all 852 school districts
in Illinois, and does not unfairly
tip the scale toward Chicago
schools at the expense of every
other school district-like has been
done in years past. Senate Bill 1
was not the product of bipartisan
negotiations, and that is extremely
unfortunate because I truly believe
good-faith negotiations and bipartisan
progress were possible.”

Marathon Madigan breaks the record

Columnist for the Illinois Policy Institute

House Speaker Mike Madigan’s
prowess for political longevity is
unmatched in modern America.
In his 17th term leading the Illinois
House of Representatives,
Madigan has broken the record as
the longest-serving House speaker
in modern U.S. history.
Madigan has now controlled
his chamber as speaker for more
than 11,900 days, surpassing South
Carolina lawmaker Solomon Blatt.
Blatt was speaker of the South Carolina
House of Representatives for
roughly 11,894 days.
It’s difficult to know whether
any 18th or 19th century politicians
bested those marks, but it’s highly
implausible, according to the National
Conference of State Legislatures.
Madigan spokesman Steve
Brown gave a muted response to
the occasion, telling the Chicago
Tribune the record “didn’t come
up—I haven’t discussed it with
But Madigan’s actions belie such
modesty. At the start of this year’s
legislative session, the speaker
handed out crystal clocks to his
caucus members with the inscription:
“The honorable Michael J.
Madigan. Longest serving Speaker
of a state House of Representatives
in United States history.”
Madigan doesn’t just wear the
longevity crown; he’s also the most
powerful House speaker in the nation.
No other state grants its House
speaker so much control over the
legislative process. And it is with
that power Madigan has muzzled
debate on issues such as term limits.
In addition to his speakership,
Madigan has been the state Democratic
Party chairman since 1998.
In fact, he’s the only House speaker
in the nation who also serves as a
state party chair, according to the
Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.
Every two years since 1970, a
relatively small group of voters on
Chicago’s Southwest side have
elected Madigan to the House. His
fellow House members in Springfield
then elect their speaker.
They chose Madigan for the first
time in 1983 after he drew an unprecedented
legislative map heavily
favoring Democrats, and have
continued to choose Madigan all
but once since then, when Republicans
briefly held a House majority.
Not a single sitting House Democrat
has ever voted for someone
other than Madigan for the speakership
(setting aside the 1995 vote,
when Republicans controlled the
In January, state lawmakers
faced heavy scrutiny during the
typically routine vote for the speakership.
Democratic state Rep. Scott
Drury of Highwood voted “present,”
the first time a House Democrat
had cast such a vote for the
speaker in 30 years.
Since Madigan first gripped
the speaker’s gavel in 1983, the
U.S. House of Representatives has
had eight speakers. Michigan’s had
11 House speakers in that time. Ditto
Missouri, followed by Wisconsin
(10 State Assembly speakers), Iowa
(nine), Indiana (seven) and Kentucky
(six) to round out Illinois’
neighboring states.
Despite drawing the state’s
legislative map, Madigan last
year lost his supermajority in the
House, dropping four Democratic
seats on net.
But if Madigan simply retains
his majority following the 2018
elections, it’s very likely he will
retain the speakership as well.
The speaker’s daughter, Illinois
Attorney General Lisa Madigan,
announced in May she will seek
re-election to a fifth term in 2018.
This would extend her record as the
longest-serving attorney general in
Illinois history.
The prevailing political wisdom
in Springfield is that Lisa Madigan
will not run for governor as long
as her father stays in his position
of outsized power. Her re-election
announcement may signal the elder
Madigan does not plan to leave office
anytime soon.
The next record on the horizon?
Longest-serving state lawmaker in
Illinois history. That’s currently
held by the late Republican state
Sen. Richard J. Barr, according to
the Council of State Governments.
He was a member of the Illinois
Senate for 48 consecutive years.
Madigan will seize Barr’s title
should he stay in office for two
more years.
And if this milestone is any indication,
Illinoisans won’t be celebrating.