Rahm isn't the gangster he wishes he was. He's a punk.

On this week's edition, Dan Proft sits down with Greg Livingston, Founder & CEO of Coalition for a New Chicago, the organization leading the charge to recall Rahm. Is it possible? Who and what comes next? After 180 years of doing things one way, is Chicago ready for a new paradigm? Livingston has a lot to say on these and other topics. He offers his insights and good humor on this installment of Against The Current.

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Reaction to Rahm Should be Peaceful, but Not Calm


A special Op-Ed from Illinois State Rep. Peter Breen A few weeks ago, the nation watched the video of a police officer firing 16 shots at Laquan McDonald, a young black man, armed with only a small knife and walking away from police. Two of those shots were fired at McDonald while he was standing, with the remainder ripping through his body after he fell to the pavement.

None of the at least five other officers on the scene attempted medical assistance for the young man as he lay on the ground. Witnesses were “shooed away” from the scene, without their contact information even being taken. Numerous other police vehicles were on scene, but none of their dashboard video or audio has been released—and may have been destroyed. Even the security video from the local Burger King, which officers demanded password access to in the aftermath of the shooting, has a void in its footage during the critical time of the shooting.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was in the midst of a tough re-election campaign in October 2014, desperately needing the support of the City Council’s Black Caucus to defeat his Latino challenger. As details slowly emerged from whistleblowers about the shooting, the City steadfastly refused to release the video. Once the Mayor—and those who supported him—were clear of the April 2015 election, the City Council agreed to pay the family of the young man $5 million, with the further caveat that the video not be released. But an independent reporter sued and, over a year after the shooting, finally forced the City to release the footage.

This video would’ve made national news, whenever it was released. But for the people of Chicago and of Illinois, it’s not merely the killing but the cover-up that has shaken us. This incident has laid bare how far our elected officials will go to protect the established political power structure in our state.



State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez was informed of the relevant facts and had the video much earlier, but decided to charge the officer involved 13 months later, only after she knew that the video would be released. Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office dragged its feet on enforcing the Freedom of Information Act against the City of Chicago to release of the video, even allowing the City to violate Illinois law in thwarting the legal review process under the Act. And when Madigan’s office did finally issue a decision, it was issued as “non-binding,” which against the City of Chicago, meant the decision was not worth the paper it was printed on.

Mayor Emanuel has now fired the police superintendent and is trying to focus the attention on State’s Attorney Alvarez, who is up for re-election in March 2016. However, it’s reported that Speaker Mike Madigan will support Alvarez in the next election, so as to shore up his Latino and suburban Cook County vote.

In any other structure, whether public or private, you’d fire every single person involved and start over. But not in Illinois. At least not up to this point in Illinois.

Fortunately, the people are outraged. The press is on the attack. Some have urged “calm” in the wake of this video, but that’s not quite right. Peaceful, yes, but we should not be “calm.” Any person with a conscience and a sense of right and wrong should be furious about this entire situation: both the tragic unnecessary killing of a human being, and the deep corruption of a political system to the point that people will do anything to protect their power and elective offices.

Moreover, this outrage isn’t—and shouldn’t be—limited to folks in the City of Chicago. The same people who covered up the killing of Laquan McDonald hold vast influence over our entire state and its politics. The way forward from here will not be driven by calm, but by that special sort of righteous anger that drives positive change: the type of feeling and thought which throughout history has inspired political movements and revivals.

We have a long road ahead to turn Illinois around, but it starts with a people who are disgusted by the status quo and ready for a new way.

Peter Breen is a State Representative for Illinois’ 48th House District. He also serves as a public interest lawyer with the Thomas More Society, specializing in defense of free speech and religious liberty rights.

Dan Proft & Amy Jacobson Interview Rev. Gregory Seal Livingston

Rev. Gregory Livingston, Coalition for a New Chicago, on effort to #RecallRahm with a message for POTUS: #BarackComeGetYourBoy

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Republicans Should Take Lead to Recall Rahm

In the immortal words of Judge Smails in Caddyshack, “Well, we’re waiting!”

We’re not waiting for Danny Noonan to make a putt at Bushwood Country Club. We’re waiting for bush league Illinois Republicans to stop puttering around and seize the moment.

Every single one of the 67 Republican superminority state legislators should sign on as a co-sponsor to the legislation filed by State Rep. LaShawn Ford, an African-American West Side Democrat, to recall Chicago’s feudal lords in general and its present mincing mayor in particular.

Retweeting #RecallRahm is not sufficient.

For the first time in at least three decades Republicans have a chance to regain relevance in the governance of the City of Chicago and simultaneously begin to reshuffle the political allegiances of minority families in the state.

Five years into Rahm’s rule and two of the core institutions in the city, the police and the schools, are disintegrating to say nothing of the underlying Enron-ian city finances undergirding the whole system.

For Rahm Republicans, this is the opportunity to do penance for their sin of supporting the Shetland scammer.

We have a recall mechanism for Illinois’ governor. Why shouldn’t we have one for Chicago’s mayor? More former governors are convicted felons, yes. But that doesn’t mean as many former mayors weren’t just as deserving.

So spare us the rationalizations and cop-out capitulations.

Who would come next? What if they’re worse?

I am happy to have that discussion on the occasion of Rahm’s head on a spike in front of City Hall.

What about the structural reforms needed in Chicago? Just replacing the mayor isn’t enough.

I refer you to my answer above.

A former radio colleague of mine Deborah Rowe enlightened me long ago as to the answer to the question, how can Republicans do a better job of attracting African-American families to their ranks?

Rowe told me, one of the things we need to see is Republicans standing up when they should stand up.

This is that moment.

Illinois Republicans have a choice. They can either stand up and speak with moral clarity against the injustices of the day or they can settle into the superminority for many generations to come.

But House Speaker Mike Madigan will never call the bill so what’s the point?

Maybe he will. Maybe he won’t.

Public pressure is a funny thing. It can force outcomes once thought unimaginable.

Regardless, Republicans who are content to predict what will happen rather than work for what they would like to see happen will be seen for the cowards they are.

As C.S. Lewis observed, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”

If the Illinois Republicans Party is not a courageous party it cannot be a virtuous party and it will never again be a majority party.

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