Buying Power: A Wealthy Governor and His Friends Are Remaking Illinois

The richest man in Illinois does not often give speeches. But on a warm spring day two years ago, Kenneth C. Griffin, the billionaire founder of one of the world’s largest hedge funds, rose before a black-tie dinner of the Economic Club of Chicago to deliver an urgent plea to the city’s elite.They had stood silently, Mr. Griffin told them, as politicians taxed too much, spent too much and drove businesses and jobs from the state. They had refused to help those who would take on the reigning powers in the Illinois Capitol. “It is time for us to do something,” heimplored.Their response came quickly. In the months since, Mr. Griffin and a small group of rich supporters — not just from Chicago, but also from New York City and Los Angeles, southern Florida and Texas — have poured tens of millions of dollars into the state, a concentration of political money without precedent in Illinois history.Their wealth has forcefully shifted the state’s balance of power. Last year, the families helped elect as governor Bruce Rauner, a Griffin friend and former private equity executive from the Chicago suburbs, who estimates his own fortune at more than $500 million. Now they are rallying behind Mr. Rauner’s agenda: to cut spending and overhaul the state’s pension system, impose term limits and weaken public employee unions.

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Massive rallies for the climate, but violence in Paris

Hundreds of thousands of people rallied around the world Sunday on the eve of a Paris summit aimed at averting catastrophic climate change, but violent clashes in the French capital soured the show of people power. The global protests, including an emotional linking of hands near the heart of this month’s terror attacks in Paris, were aimed at building grassroots pressure for an historic deal at the UN talks to limit global warming. As US President Brack Obama and other world leaders began flyin

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NSA Spying on Americans would not have been Curtailed without Edward Snowden

Does anyone believe NSA’s bulk collection spy program would have been curtailed without Edward Snowden? If you do I have a bridge to sell you. Obama lied when he said that he was working on legislation to limit spying on Americans. It just so happens that the legislation came to be right after Snowden blew the whistle. But that hasn’t stopped the same people who gave this unconstitutional program from falsely accusing Snowden for the terrorism we saw 2 weeks ago in Paris. Even defenders of the NSA spying can’t point to an instance in where a terrorist act was prevented through this program:

The U.S. intelligence community on Sunday will cease its bulk collection of telephone metadata.

The government will move to a more “focused and targeted” approach in gathering intelligence, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a statement. The shift comes more than two years after details about the program were leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

President Barack Obama in June signed a reform measure that took away the National Security Agency’s authority to collect in bulk the phone records of millions of Americans.


Elizabeth Warren for Vice President in 2016

We won’t have Elizabeth Warren for President come 2017. But we could have her as Vice President. But in order for that to happen either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton must choose her. And, of course, we also need Warren to go along with the idea. I would like for someone in the press to ask the Democratic candidates the question. We need to put the candidates on record. I would be particularly curious to hear Hillary’s response. No, it’s not enough for Sanders and Clinton to pay lip service to the idea; they must take it seriously. How about making a pledge? There is no excuse for her not to be on the ticket. Warren is clearly the most beloved politician in the Democratic Party. There are some who would argue that Warren would alienate some pro-business interests. But if you are truly committed to bringing change to the business as usual culture in Washington, then Warren must be on the ticket.