Right-wing Illinois governor censors criticism in quest to become ‘dictator’

Bruce Rauner became governor in 2015. © Jim Young
The quest to become a dictator has a number of key steps and Illinois’ new (almost) billionaire governor Bruce Rauner can mark a few off his list.

Amass great fortune through the misery of others. Check.

Hang photos of yourself everywhere immediately after getting elected. Check.

Censor criticism about you within the government. Check.

Rauner checked the third item on the list last month when flyers hanging in state offices were removed for inviting workers to a rally titled ‘Take it to the Capitol. Rauner is wrong.’

Illinois Working Together posted the flyers last month in relation to the rally held this Wednesday at the State Capitol.

A memo sent to agency “ethics officers” telling them to remove the flyer which had “no appearance of impropriety or partiality.”

“The union bulletin board is not a public forum, nor does the union have unfettered use of the board,” the memo read, clarifying that advertising a rally was allowed, but stating that an elected official is wrong engages in political activity, which isn’t permitted on notice boards.

Anders Lindall from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees told the Sun Times that accusations the flyer was political organization are untrue and the memo was “an attempt by the governor’s office to silence public service workers.”

Illinois Working Together were not silenced though, instead releasing a second flyer that adhered to Rauner’s rules. Titled “Censored is hurting Illinois” Rauner’s name was replaced with “Censored” several times in the new flyer ensuring his plan backfired.

Judging by the turnout of more than 8,000 people to Wednesday’s rally, according to WLS-TV, a lot of people have concerns over “Censored” and his effect on the state.

Rauner has been on a warpath against unions since being elected governor last year, using $27.3 million of his own money for his campaign.

The former private equity investor worth almost $1 billion dollars moved quickly to diminish the labor movement’s power in the Land of Lincoln after becoming elected, trying to pass a so-called ‘right to work’ law.

The bill was rejected by an overwhelming majority one year ago this month, but since then, Rauner keeps trying to reduce the workers' rights.

He vetoed a bill this week that would have forfeited his authority to negotiate with unions if no resolution is in sight.

Illinois is currently the only state in the US without a budget, thanks to a stalemate that leaves them less than two weeks to work out a budget for both 2016 and 2017.

The 10-month-long dispute has led to 64 state workers suing Rauner for $100 million over unpaid services, an amount he could afford to pay out of his own personal fortune.

Many of those involved in the lawsuit work with children, homeless, and those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

The all-powerful Speaker of the Illinois House Michael Madigan told the State Journal Register that Rauner was putting his “personal agenda first and attacks the wages and standard of living of the middle class,” calling his actions a "roadblock."