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River Cities' Reader Issue 822 - January 24, 2012.pdf

River Cities' Reader Issue 822 - January 24, 2012.pdf

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Published by River Cities Reader
River Cities' Reader Issue 822 - January 24, 2012.pdf
River Cities' Reader Issue 822 - January 24, 2012.pdf

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Published by: River Cities Reader on Jan 24, 2013
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Maximum Obfuscation
 R o c k  I s l a n d  C o u n t T h e  T a x p a e r s
Rock Island County Asks Voters for a Blank Check.You’d Never Know It from the Referendum. - Page 5
Art in Plain Sight: ‘St. Anthony Church Pioneers’ – Page 15
 
Art in Plain Sight: ‘St. Anthony Church Pioneers’ – Page 15
 C o u r t h o u s e ,  O f f i c e  B u i l d i n ,  W h a t e v e r  . . . 
 A p r i l  9 ,  2 0 1 3 .
Fools for Love: QCTheatre Workshop’s‘Private Eyes’ – Page 10It Takes a Vile Witch toRaise a Child: Schulzon ‘Mama’ – Page 11 Jambalaya (On the Bio):Circa’s ‘Hank Williams:Lost Highway’ – Page 7Ride It ’Til the Wheels FallO: Newcomer Nikki Hill atRIBCO – Page 14
#822
Volume
20
• January 24 - February 6, 2013
 T e x t  “ Q CA T o d a y ”  t o  9 9 0 0 0  a n d  W i n F a r r a d d a y ’ s
 
River Cities’ Reader 
• Vol.
20
No. 822 • January 24 - February 6, 2013
2
Business • Politics • Arts • Culture • Now You Know • RiverCitiesReader.com
 
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River Cities’ Reader 
• Vol.
20
No. 822 • January 24 - February 6, 2013
3
Business • Politics • Arts • Culture • Now You Know • RiverCitiesReader.com
of the fiscal-cliff debates, the presidentsigned into law two pieces of legislation,the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act(FISA) Amendments Act and the NationalDefense Authorization Act of 2013 (NDAA),both of which further erode our most basicconstitutionally protected rights by reauthorizingsweeping police powers to be used by the federalgovernment.FISA allows the federal government to spy on Americans who communicate with peopleoverseas, whether they are journalists, family members, or business associates, while theNDAA reauthorizes the military’s ability toindefinitely detain American citizens, a provisionthat first reared its head in the 2012 NDAA.While the invasive powers bestowed uponthe federal government by FISA and the NDAAshould be cause for alarm, they have becomepart of the unchallenged post-9/11 paradigmthat disguises itself as representative governmenttoday. This matter-of-fact, all-in-a-day’s-work erosion of our freedoms is no less appalling thanthe routine, relatively uncontested renewal of legislation, passed without debate or questionyear after year, that flies in the face of every fundamental principle of individual liberty on which this nation was founded. Such is the
The Magician’s Con: Renewing FISA and the NDAAUnder Cover of the Fiscal Cliff Debates
political playbook being used to chart the nation’scourse these days.Obama’s decision to sign the NDAA, quietly and without much fanfare, while the fiscal-cliff debate took front-stage is a perfect exampleof political theatre at its finest. The NDAAestablishes a colossal $633-billion budget for themilitary at a time when the nation is drowningin debt, the deficit is skyrocketing, our military empire is overextended, and America is allegedly ratcheting down its presence in the Middle East.Despite a late-November threat to veto theNDAA 2013, Obama signed it into law whileon vacation with his family in Hawaii. Similarly,the year before, despite his claimed personalobjection to the indefinite detention of Americancitizens and his insistence that his administrationhad “worked tirelessly” to amend offendingprovisions and would “oppose any attempt toextend or expand them in the future,” Obamasigned the NDAA 2012 into law on December31, 2011. Sadly, this year’s passage didn’t evenmerit that much protestation or concern overits indefinite-detention provision from thecommander-in-chief or his cohorts in Congress.Obama may have sailed into the White House
“If the broad light of day could be let in upon men’sactions, it would purify them as the sun disinfects.” – Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis
W
hat characterizes American govern-ment today is not so much dys-functional politics as it is ruthlessly contrived governance carried out behind theentertaining, distracting, and disingenuouscurtain of political theatre. And what politicaltheatre it is, diabolically Shakespearean at times,full of sound and fury yet in the end signifyingnothing.Played out on the national stage and eagerly broadcast to a captive audience by mediasponsors, this farcical exercise in political theatrecan, at times, seem riveting, life-changing, andsuspenseful, even for those who know better.Week after week, the script changes – thepresidential election, the budget crisis, the fiscalcliff, the Benghazi hearings, the gun-controldebate – with each new script following on theheels of the last, never any letup, never any relief from the constant melodrama.The players come and go, the protagonistsand antagonists trade places, and the audiencemembers are forgiving to a fault, quick to forgetpast mistakes and move on to the next spectacle.All the while, a different kind of drama isunfolding in the dark backstage, hidden from view by the heavy curtain, elaborate stage sets,colored lights, and parading actors.Such that it is, the realm of political theatre– with all of its drama, vitriol, and scriptedtheatrics – is what passes for “transparentgovernment today, with elected officials,entrusted to act in the best interests of theirconstituents, routinely performing for theiraudiences and playing up to the cameras whiledoing very little to move the country forward.All the while, behind the footlights, thosewho really run the show are putting into placepolicies that erode our freedoms and undermineour attempts at contributing to the workings of our government, leaving us none the wiser andbereft of any opportunity to voice our discontentor engage in any kind of discourse until it’s toolate. It’s the oldest con game in the books, themagician’s sleight of hand that keeps you focusedon the shell game in front of you while yourwallet is being picked clean by ruffians in yourmidst.President Barack Obama, no different fromhis predecessors, is particularly well versedin how to use the theatre of politics to hisadvantage. Consider that amidst the cacophon
Continued On Page 15
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