Bernie’s Benghazi/Biden Bump: Dark Horse 2016

The pundits are shills for the DNC, part of the continuing effort to convince or control Americans against making a choice for a non-establishment candidate like Bernie Sanders. The announcement Wednesday by vice president Joe Biden that he would not run for president on the democratic ticket was widely seen as a boost for Hillary. A CNN poll last week asked voters to rate support for Hillary and Sanders with and without Biden in the race. A significant number of Clinton voters opted for Biden. In fact, 3/4 of Biden’s theoretical support came from Clinton voters. The question becomes, why were so many Hillary voters willing to jump so quickly to Biden?

By midday during the partisan taxpayer funded attack on Mrs. Clinton paraded as a Benghazi investigation the presidential hopeful and establishment candidate for the DNC was taking a bludgeoning by republicans. Skewed by corporate media, she is certain to lose momentum in the hearings. Sanders, it appears will go into New Hampshire still trailing Clinton, but likely not with the deficit predicted, or constructed, by pundits. What all of this shows is more likely that Hillary has been able to capitalize on the name and the legacy and the weight of media coverage relative to the near total blackout of Bernie Sanders. That ship may be turning.

Sanders may have stumbled slightly last week attempting to define Democratic Socialism, and to build a brand nearly from scratch against long held misconceptions, outright falsehoods and ignorance about that moniker, but he stumbled into the right direction with more credibility and confidence than the #Black Lives Matter issue some weeks ago.

The question for Hillary is why so many assumptive supporters were so quick to jump to Biden. That seems to indicate discontent in the Hillary camp and a lack of absolute confidence that she is the best person for the job in 2016.

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JFK should have been assassinated in Benghazi

It is difficult to believe anything that comes out of the mouth of Benghazi investigation chairman Trey Gowdy after co-conspirator Representative Kevin McCarthy’s comments to FOX News’ Sean Hannity that the purpose of the hearings was to disrupt Hillary Clinton’s campaign. His speech today as the hearings began had all the hallmarks of a hit man’s eulogy at a mafia funeral.

Interesting that tea Party obstructionist republicans, like Gowdy, would cut small grants to educational and cultural institutions because they assert the nation is bankrupt, but who have wasted more than $100 million on what rightly should have been paid for by political donors for commercials we can turn off or fast forward through, rather than tax payer dollars.

It should be noted that the investigation in the assassination of a sitting US president, with indications of potential foreign involvement, possible links to the defense department and the mafia, and lingering questions whether Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole assassin still persist. Indeed, the investigation into what the US government knew about the September 11 attacks in 2001 did not receive this much attention, again despite lingering questions.

There has never been any interest or actual investigation into the death of the American Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Raphel and General Herbert M. Wassom, the head of the U.S. Military aid mission to Pakistan, both killed in a suspicious plane crash in Pakistan in 1988 during the Reagan Administration, and just months before the first George Bush took office. Ambassador Chris Stevens, it should be noted, who died in Benghazi, succumbed to smoke inhalation after becoming separated from other embassy staffers. His calls for additional funding and security was denied because of massive Republican cuts.

Maybe if the Twin Towers and the 3100 victims had been in Libya, or if President Kennedy had been gunned down in Benghazi by a Liberal 14 year old Muslim from Texas wearing a Planned Parenthood tee shirt and carrying a #Black Lives matter sign we might have gotten to the bottom of this, but only to find out it was still Hillary Clinton’s fault anyway, at least until the election is over.


Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray with Jack Hammond and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com

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Inside Outside

Rush Limbaugh is right, it is the media. Of course, he is a very consequential piece of the messaging system of the corporate and power elite. Call it the advocacy media. My good friend, Sid Yiddish, differs with me on just how much influence Limbaugh actually has. But there is a reason media corporations, like Salem and Clear Channel/iheart media gobbled up radio and television stations following Reagan’s abolition of the Fairness Doctrine and Bill Clinton’s Telecommunications Act of 1996. Limbaugh makes over $40 million annually, speaking for the regular folks. Despite being a ratings drag. KEIB in Los Angeles is 37 behind 4 college stations and a Polish language station, WABC in New York dropped from 3rd to 22nd in the market and KFI dropped listeners in droves the instant he hit the airwaves.

It isn’t about ratings, though. It is about saturation. Salem overseas a media empire of more than 2500 stations, including affiliates. Clear Channel owns 800 outright and affiliates to over 3000 others. There are almost 8000 rightwing and conservative stations out of 15300 overall in the nation. There are fewer than 200 so-called progressive stations, despite often high ratings for shows such as Thom Hartmann and Stephanie Miller. It’s called Return on Investment. Limbaugh is not a charitable contribution. Keep that all in mind for the time being.

Many of us make the same mistake, depending upon political orientation, that the media is either too liberal or too conservative.. It is neither. It is a function, a tool, the messaging component of a much larger system comprised of many people who have no idea they are actually part of that system. That system survives and thrives on maintaining the illusion of the team sport of Right and Left politics. The consumer is necessary to maintain that system. Understanding the function of the media is critical to understanding what is befalling electoral politics in America, A neighbor resisted that notion. Her resistance is likely more a sense of betrayal over a part of American lore she held as sacrosanct. Fundamentally it is as simple as any business plan. Scott Walker’s dropping out of the race suddenly only supported what I have been saying since February.

There is no actual Right or Left in US politics. There is only insiders and outsiders. Insiders may be nominally republicans or democrats, though their ultimate function is in selling the game to the rest of us outsiders. Outsiders are partisans who rarely understand the backroom deals while they are scrapping out on the field. Evidence the distractions in the media of this celeb or that scandal or sudden media alarm over the high price of yogurt, only to discover that a key treaty or trade deal or law had been passed to the benefit of the 1% and the detriment to the average American while everyone was distracted.

When attempts to co-opt Occupy by the DNC going into the 2012 election failed the group was targeted, marginalized and attacked. By contrast, the Tea Party was created by Insiders like Dick Armey and Karl Rove. It was then franchised out to give the illusion of grassroots, while serving and affirming, either directly or indirectly the hegemony of the power elite. Occupy was scattered. The Tea party serves a function.

Trump and Sanders are outsiders, to a degree. Trump is more of an outsider. Sanders has been in those circles of power and speak directly to more of them than most others. Because he knows, and rails against what he knows he is ignored almost completely by the corporate media. Bernie, in the present system, will not be the Democratic candidate, not without massive outrage and action. Insiders will not all that to happen. Trump serves a far different function. He is not a man of the people, but a man to control the people. Trump is for sale to his ego, which the Right has fed. He is a better tool than talk radio to inject rightwing policies directly into the mainstream. Rightwing policies are a means of control to protect the corporatist centers of power controlled by the Insiders. Trump is far more effective in messaging than Limbaugh these days.

Scott Walker was never intended to be the nominee in 2016. He has shown that he is for sale to the highest bidder, and will pander if power and prestige are the goal. He was being vetted, gaining experience for 2020 or 2024. The others are functionaries as well. Carson, Rubio, Fiorina and the rest are intended to dominate the message in the media against any true discourse of pressing and critical topics(Hint: immigration and ISIS are not Critical). The other purpose is simply to generate vast sums of cash to feed the media machine. FOX has made it a cyclical industry.

Jeb Bush will be the candidate. He is the consummate insider. He knows too much about the theft of the election of 2000 and the disenfranchisement efforts of millions of voters. Like Hillary, Bush wants the job and he will have it. The rest of us a just living in his family’s country. The media, as it did with McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012, both deeply disliked candidates, will consolidate and persuade voters of the necessity for supporting Bush. Bush’s abysmal poll numbers are meaningless.

On the Left, so to speak, Hillary’s ascension has likewise been decided. She also assumes the presidency is her Right, the voters a means to an end. DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, reportedly deeply invested in corporate prisons, is running interference for Hillary by tightly controlling debate schedules. If Hillary’s liabilities prove too great the DNC is already teasing the idea of a Joe Biden run, with Liz Warren as the running mate meant to bait and switch Bernie Sanders supporters, and to soothe the betrayal of Hillary fans. Despite being clearly the strongest candidate on the Left, the refrain in the halls of the DNC remains, “Bernie who?”

In the end, which ever candidate ultimately steps into the presidency, they will pander on token issues to partisan constituents. Both will continue the same incremental corporate takeover of the nation and the government begun under Reagan and continued unabated by every president since. Still, hopeless as it sounds there is always one way to beat this corrupted system; Voting and activism. They both go hand in hand. The Question is whether the American people will show in sufficient numbers, taking over events like the Black Lives Matter, Code Pink and Immigration and LGBTQ activists have done while also showing up as never before to the polls.


Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com

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Why Donald Trump is just Dreamy

I have decided to dump Bernie Sanders and take up the fight to elect Donald Trump. Let’s face it, Trump is America. He represents most of America, and isn’t that what being president is all about? A man of the people. Since most people in the country watch “The Apprentice,” “Duck Dynasty” or “Houswives of # City,” than watch the news or read books, Trump is the candidate for the 21st Century. Besides, compared with the others, except Scott Walker, the Koch brothers Zygote Android.koch

Let’s face it, Bernie Sanders, just wants to talk about boring old issues like student debt crippling the economy, corporate welfare, race relations, the economy: Yaaaaaaawwwwnnnnn! Where is the entertainment value in that? There isn’t any, and the Americans people demand to be entertained; relentlessly, endlessly, unstoppably entertained. Give the people what they want. They want YV, they want a reality show (that isn’t really reality) and they want Trump!

Trump is surging in a new NBC poll ahead of Thursday’s FOX News totally unbiased debate, which is being marketed by the way as a Reality TV show, with faux controversy, scripted arguments and false news releases about the very Blond and Perky Megan Kelly (Will we be able to see her legs, or will she hide them behind a desk, and will she cross and uncross them for us a few times-there must be a vagina in there somewhere.) picking on Donald Trump. Host, Kelly is the moderator, Rudy Giuliani swears it isn’t true. A Trump spokesperson responded with a long tense moment of lingering silence.

I’ll be watching. I wouldn’t miss it for a million bucks. I want to hear every crystalline syllable fall from the Donald’s mouth. Don, what would you do about abortion after Roe vs Wade, which made a woman’s right to choose a constitutionally protected right? Shall back alley abortions, or self induces abortions result in felony manslaughter or homicide? How do we monitor every woman in America? (Maybe ISIS and the Saudis can be instructive here) What do we do with Mexicans, except the ones you import to work in your businesses and on the lawns of your many homes? Would you bomb Iran, even if they comply with the latest agreement your first day in office. What about those Europeans poisoning America with all their socialism? Isn’t healthcare a privilege? School is a privilege for those who can afford it, right? How else will the American worker compete against low skilled, low wage Mexican immigrants if we don’t invest in creating a new generation of low paid American workers? And all of the Christian, god fearing oil companies and frackers; American was built on oil (Also slavery, wagonry and drowning witches), shouldn’t we ban all of that obnoxious green energy stuff stealing profits from our oil and gas heroes? China’s gonna pay, and Russia and Mexico, and Canada I’m looking at you too. What kind of country has a Maple Leaf for a national symbol. Our eagle will crap on your leaf (Beat chest and holler here)!

Honestly, when was the last time a president of the United States of America had the guts to flip someone off at a press conference, or grab his package, or pick a media insult fight with a woman? Aren’t we all tied of people with manners and decorum? Time for someone just as thoughtless and boorish as much of the rest of the nation. Books are for fags. That’s right I said fags, because I can in Trump America. Respect for others is for sissies, and the feminists, teachers and scientists have made American men sissies and queers. Trump will call in the national guard and stop all that, god willing!

My hope is that with Donald as president we can streamline the nation. The courts and the laws are for losers: You’re fired!(Canned laughter) We can get rid of that cumbersome bureaucracy congress and just go to dial in numbers for laws at the end of the ultimate TV reality show “Donald goes to Washington.” Now that’s must see TV.trump-combover


Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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DARK HORSE: Bernie Sanders 2016- Death of a Soldier

22.

The number of veterans who commit suicide daily in the US, according to the Veterans Administration is 22.

In November 2013 CNN reported that the figure might be low. The VA figure was based upon data from 21 states and did not take into account deaths from three of the five largest states, Illinois, California and Texas. Considering the VA figures take into account only 40% of the nation, the reality indicates a daily suicide number in excess of 50 veterans daily, or an annual figure of an astounding 18,ooo annually. By comparison there were 14.748 homicides of all types in the US in 2010, and yet the tragedy of suicides among the nation’s veterans has gone largely ignored.

In April 2007 Afghan veteran Levi Derby, haunted, according to his mother, by seeing an Afghan child blown apart by a landmine as he handed her a bottle of water hanged himself. According to CNN, Illinois does not send data on suicides, like Derby, to the VA. In September 2014, Iraq and Afghan Veterans Against the War, #IVAW activist, who had served three combat tours in Afghanistan Jacob David George committed suicide, the ultimate therapy for sufferers of the aftermath of combat, violence and trauma. George, who struggled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD was critical of treatment by the VA, saying in an speech that the VA, “isn’t designed to address the depths of the wounds we have. They don’t really look at the soul and how the soul has been injured in war.”

The irony is that in a society which was relatively untouched by the war, and in which reporting on the war was filtered and sanitized, American veterans may be more susceptible to suicide than countries where warfare has occurred. A study titled, “Suicide in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the city of Sarajevo” found no significant increase in the number of suicides pre and post war (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24197489). Bosnia was involved in a bloody civil war, with its capital Sarajevo besieged, from April 1992 until April 1995. Bosnia’s overall official suicide is moderately low, according to worldlifeexpectancy.com. who takes its data from the World Health Organization, UNESCO and other databases (http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/suicide/by-country/). While the numbers coming from Bosnia are suspect, the author’s experience in more than 20 years in the Balkans indicates a cultural ‘understanding” that indicates shared trauma on a community-wide scale. They all suffered through the war and now commiserate in its aftermath, even after more than 20 years. There is no such understanding on a national level in the US. As with Vietnam and Korea, veterans return to a nation with little or no understanding of the traumas and moral transgressions of war veterans must confront.

It was only in the last several years that tens of thousands of veterans, dishonorably discharged for PTSD related behavior could apply to upgrade their discharge in order to receive VA benefits. The Pentagon did not formally recognize PTSD until 1980. Indeed, the culture of the military still is far behind in understanding, let alone dealing with PTSD. In 2012 Blue Star Families, an advocacy group for military family members, in a report s aid that inadequacies in treatment were to blame for the high number of suicides among veterans. They also pointed to the military culture as well, and a system of soft retribution for soldiers admitting to PTSD.

Congress has been painfully slow in action regarding the PTSD crisis. While there has been legislation regarding mental health care and quality of life issues for veterans facing lifelong disabilities, it has continued to ignore the unique characteristics of PTSD (http://mic.com/articles/3400/despite-combat-ptsd-act-congress-is-falling-short-in-providing-for-veterans-with-ptsd). For veterans the primary issue is one of trust in the therapy and the therapist. PTSD is unlike other mental illnesses, in that there are multiple dimensions to the disorder from a myriad of causes and is highly individual in its nature. Compounding the disorder is the social nature of PTSD as family, friends and coworkers feed and become part of the disorder for a returning veteran. PTSD becomes community. True lasting an substantive therapy should combine individual psychological and physical therapy with family therapy as well. America must become part of its war making process and be a full agent in its aftermath. Currently it is not. Uncertainty, such as Joblessness and the economy factor greatly in the long term recovery of soldiers and civilians suffering PTSD. Insolated, isolated from warfare and its horrors, propagandized by a burgeoning and greed-centered defense industry and harboring jingoistic notions of war and violence, the nation has created a climate encouraging suicide rather than minimizing it.

Donald Trump did indeed call attention to veterans’ issues, though not in the way he believes. Trump, in assaulting and insulting the not just McCain, but all former American Prisoners of War, as well as veterans overall. What he did was to underscore the ultimate ignorance of the American government, the Pentagon, lawmakers and the American people regarding the plight of veterans, who are all but forgotten once they return home from war.

Trump is all but out of the race. Since his candidacy was far more about his ego than about the country, and based upon defiant comments to critics, and a refusal to back down at all over the McCain comments, Trump won’t leave quietly. Supporters flooded phone lines equally redoubling support for Trump as well as supporting his attacks on McCain’s service. Within that narrative is a glimpse into the direction the Tea Party and hardliners are taking the GOP. To observers it is no secret that support for veteran’s issues is a populist ploy to further corporate and power interests. To be accurate, the DNC has pandered here as well, both parties using the military as a gateway into the heartland while promoting policies that ultimately are anti-vet, anti-minority and anti-poor.

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DARK HORSE: Bernie Sanders 2016- Trump on a Dime

PART ONE
“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said flippantly of Arizona Senator, former prisoner of war and fellow republican John McCain. “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”

He was speaking before a crowd of about 3000 supporters on Saturday January 18th in Ames Iowa. Condemnation by fellow republican candidates was swift and predictable. Unlike the immigration issue, and Trump’s comments that Mexican immigrants were mostly “murderers” and “rapists”, saying that “some, I assume, and good people” the republican field quickly split with Trump. Rick Perry called him unfit to serve as president. He was alone in condemnation of Trump the candidate. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker couched his criticism, simply saying that Trump should apologize.

The following morning, on FOX News, an unrepentant Donald Trump pretended he was the victim, and that he alone was responsible for reigniting first the immigration debate and second the plight of veterans in the US. Perhaps Trump missed, at least the past 5 years of near constant debate and political blustering over both issues. Recall during the 2014 midterms both the VA scandal regarding medical treatment for veterans and the immigration issue, particularly with the so-called flood of young immigrants to the border, figured prominently. The media was oversaturated with those stories to the detriment of other economic, international and social issues, specifically the Ukrainian crisis, Greece and growing discontent over the general mismanagement of the economy at home in the US. FOX News was cordial and served functionally as the spin machine for rightwing causes.

This week Donald Trump emerged as the frontrunner in public opinion polls of republicans. That was based more on his media fame than by donor support. Jeb Bush was drawing strong financial support, well north $120 million, mostly through wealthy industrialists and foreign interests, like Saudi Arabia funneling money through Super PACs. Scott Walker also has stronger financial backing from the Koch Brothers than the financially leveraged Trump, who raised less than $100.000 Dollars while loaning his campaign at least $1.4 million.

Apart from Perry, who remains so marginal in polls that he has nothing to lose by assailing Trump was the only candidate universally condemning him. The rest have afforded enough wiggle room for maximum political advantage, knowing full well that Trump’s supposedly unguarded statements enliven the base. It may prove however a mixed blessing, as this rhetorical Godzilla may well begin to believe he actually has a chance of getting the republican nomination. Like big business discovered with the evangelically stained Tea Party, the monster you make may not be the monster you keep.

Trump, born to wealth and privilege did not serve in the military. Eligible for the draft during the Vietnam War, he avoided serving through a series of deferments. Like the immigration issue, Trump believes his attack on McCain’s service will enliven the veteran’s issue, doubtlessly attempting to capitalize on the recent shooting by the apparent Islamic extremist in Chattanooga Tennessee. Nowhere in that discussion, however, there has not been any substantive discussion on the policies and hypocrisy leading to many of the issues faced by veterans, and by many millions of other Americans as well.

On Sunday July 19th, The Los Angeles Times (http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-ptsd-report-20140621-story.html) cited a new Congressional report on the Pentagon and VA’s ineffective treatment of PTSD, the report calling it “ad hoc, incremental and crisis driven”. There have been no recriminations on getting into future wars that would place extraordinary burdens on the US economy, both through the execution of the war and through the long term hidden costs of medical treatment for disorders like PTSD as well as physical disabilities from combat. The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars cost the nation and estimated $2 trillion. Afghanistan alone was costing the US taxpayer an estimated $6.7 billion monthly, (http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/military/2010-05-12-afghan_N.htm) with as much as another $4-6 trillion in medical costs and effects on the economy and US foreign policy over the coming decades.

Paul Solman, explored the emerging cost in 2007 on NewsHour on PBS:

PAUL SOLMAN, NewsHour Economics Correspondent: The cost of the Iraq war, it’s a far cry from the original estimates.
DONALD RUMSFELD, Former U.S. Secretary of Defense: The Office of Management and Budget estimated it would be something under $50 billion.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, Host, “This Week”: Outside estimates say up to $300 billion.
DONALD RUMSFELD: Baloney.
PAUL SOLMAN: The $50 billion estimate turns out to be a modest fraction of what the war has actually cost thus far, the out-of-pocket, mainly military costs.
GREG SPEETER, National Priorities Project: We’re averaging, over the period of the war, about $275 million a day.
PAUL SOLMAN: Greg Speeter runs the National Priorities Project and its costofwar.com Web site, which tracks the spending per second. At this point, says Speeter, the total is close to $450 billion.
GREG SPEETER: That gives you some indication of just how expensive this war is.
PAUL SOLMAN: But, no, it really doesn’t, according to those who’ve looked at the numbers more broadly. As economist Linda Bilmes explains…
LINDA BILMES, Harvard University: Even if we withdrew all of our troops from Iraq tomorrow, the war would still keep costing us money for many, many years to come, because there are several long-term costs which are not included in the running costs of the war.

Even at those conservative numbers, back in 2007, that still puts the cost to over $1.7 trillion. The United States government, primarily the Bush administration, borrowed hundreds of billions to finance the war. That has an impact, a dramatic impact on a struggling economy. Veterans, like working poor families and many minority and poor white communities, communities from which many of our nation’s military are drawn, are the first and hardest hit in difficult economic periods.

On December 14th 2014 the national debt grew beyond $18 trillion. While that historically immense number is fodder for media pundits and partisan candidates on both sides, who routinely draw comparisons to Greece, mostly to assail social welfare programs the comparison falls rat her flat. While it is the US has the highest debt in the world it also has the largest economy and the greatest nominal GDP. While US debt is around 106% of GDP, that number is still lower than the UK at 405% of GDP, Switzerland at 229%, Germany with 145%, to name a few. To battle that rising debt, however the US has essentially created a shell game.

The US, banks, corporations and the wealthy profit off the creation of national debt. But in reality that profit is a sort of theft. Since the US owns ¾ of its debt (China and foreign investors the other 1/3), payment and interest on that debt is akin to taking $7 from the left pocket to pay the right pocket, then loaning $5 Dollars back to the left pocket again. One factor deciding that rate of repayment are interest rates, which have been kept historically low in an effort to drive economic growth, like small businesses and consumers who, it is expected, will spend enough to help refill the Left pocket. Raising interest rates while consumer spending and the overall economy is slow runs the risk of draining the left pocket (http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2014/01/08/Rising-interest-rates-will-slam-Federal-Budget).corporate-profit-margins

Consumer confidence was at an all time low since the CCI began measuring data in June of 1997 at the end of 2008 before Barack Obama was elected and for a year following taking office, which most economists would agree was due to the impact of the global financial crisis. While consumer confidence has rebounded substantially, reaching and exceeding the CCI for much of the Bush administration, consumer confidence is much lower than the peak years during the Clinton administration from 1997 to 2000 (http://future.aae.wisc.edu/data/monthly_values/by_area/998?grid=true).

Those peak years were the years in which deregulation and trade agreements like NAFTA began draining manufacturing jobs from the US. Wages have been driven down by US corporations who use the media and elected officials to propagandize to the American people a policy of driving down wages to compete with foreign workers. This comes as corporate profits are at historic highs, particularly relative to collapsing middle and working class wages (http://www.businessinsider.com/profits-versus-wages).

The loss of manufacturing jobs to countries like China cannot be overstated. According to Bloomberg, China’s wages rose between 10-15% in 2014, while average hourly wages for US workers grew by less than 2%, a full percentage point behind annual average inflation. That describes, in fact, negative wage growth for US workers. Meanwhile, corporate profits have skyrocketed (https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?id=CP).wages-to-gdp

The mismanagement and abuse of the American economy is clear. For Hillary Clinton, posturing judiciously to stave off Bernie Sanders’ substantial challenge, her rhetoric often does not match her policies. While courting corporate and financial/banking donors, the very same donors her husband championed to the detriment of workers under NAFTA, for example, she appears to pander to the progressive/liberal base. But there is more that impacts veterans and tens of millions of other Americans struggling at the margins. We will explore that in the next post.


Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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DARK HORSE: Bernie Sanders and the Democratic Field (Part 1)

Going into July 2015 4 Democrats, including Sanders, shedding his Independent moniker for expediency and inclusion, had announced their candidacy for presidency. Jim Webb had not yet officially announced. Vice President Joe Biden was sending signals that he would openly challenging the notion held by the Democratic party aristocracy that someone could challenge Hillary Clinton without committing party sacrilege. Biden has the name recognition and the party support to prove a contender, but Sanders should never lose sight of the fact that his one true adversary is Clinton. Through the convention and nomination, no other candidate from any party matters for Sanders but Hillary Clinton.

The first week of July Sanders stunned the race by attracting thousands in standing room only audiences in Minneapolis Minnesota and Madison Wisconsin. Thousands were turned away from the packed Minneapolis rally. The Clinton camp certainly took note that Sanders not only drew far more than they could, but that there was so much energy and excitement. For the time being, for Clinton, Sanders is her primary concern.

Those numbers, representing many times more who support Sanders but could not attend, portends not a small number of potential voters. Common among many of them is a distrust and even dislike for Clinton. Whether or not all of those Sanders devotee will actually come out to vote in primaries, let alone the general, is uncertain. Voters on the Left are a fickle bunch, and tend to be more opposed to the bipolar parties. That should concern both the democratic establishment and Hillary Clinton. It should also concern the Clinton camp that these voters might abandon a Clinton presidential ticket or refuse to turn out to vote at all. That could represent, given the early and unprecedented excitement for Sanders enough voters to cripple Democratic hopes for a 2016 win.

There are critical weaknesses within the party itself, some driven by the sort of politics, either real or perceived, Hillary Clinton reportedly practices. Clinton is accused of having a history of retribution against fellow democrats who oppose her or who fail to fall in lock step. On Lawrence O’Donnell’s MSNBC program at the end of June, Thom Hartmann explored that while recommending Elizabeth Warren needed to endorse Sanders.

That seemed unlikely for the time being, given that making the wrong choice at this juncture could draw that feared retaliation from Clinton. That describes a serious problem within the democratic party which is far less of a burden for republicans within their ranks.

It describes a hierarchy to the democrats that wields undemocratic amounts of power. That power was more than apparent as far back as 2014 when it had all been decided by the democratic media elites and the democratic establishment that Hillary would be the candidate. It describes a party that dictates to its constituency rather than engages and listens to it. Many progressive and liberal voters scoffed, and either threatens to opt out of voting for Clinton or who may look to other candidates like Rand Paul or to the Green Party. At the beginning of July that attitude about an assumptive Hillary coronation was still prevalent and even dominant within the party and the media.

Besides Sanders there isn’t a great deal left to choose from for democrats. With ex=republican Lincoln Chafee, whom few have heard of, or Martin O’Malley who would engender the disdain of Black voters after the Baltimore unrest in April, or Joe Biden and Jim Webb, the field begins to resemble the dismally dull offering by democrats in 84 and 88.

Of course the confused opposition on the Republican ticket doesn’t look very good either Still, there is cause for concern. The issue with the confederate flag, rather than rightfully shame those captivated by a symbol of disunity, hate, slavery and rebellion, it could well backfire on hopes for democrats in the south. We’ll explore the Republican field next.


Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers. .

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DARK HORSE: Bernie Sanders 2016

He is unassuming and professorial in appearance, with brushed white hair and wide eye glasses. At a glance one might almost expect that with rolled up shirt sleeves and loosed tie that Bernie Sanders, born September 8th 1941, just three months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, that he just finished grading a stack of English papers, or concluded a patient exam. He slouches a bit and talks with his hands in a way reminiscent of a conductor conducting and orchestra. Those unfamiliar with Sanders say he should smile more. His smile is warm with a hint of irreverence. His words are chosen with great economy, but without hesitation. Like an aural roadmap of his life, Sanders ubiquitous Brooklyn accent is softened and tempered from nearly a half century in his adopted home of Vermont. Sanders is decidedly non political, perhaps the only current elected official in Washington DC never to run a negative ad. He is the biggest political story of the 2016 Presidential election.

Prior to March of 2014 most Americans knew little of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. While Republican candidates were lining up for the GOP ticket the Democrats were growing ever discontent over the prospect that Hillary Clinton had been ordained as the sole Democrat candidate. On May 26th Sanders officially announced his candidacy from Vermont to a virtual media blackout. Almost no one carried the announcement live in contrast to republican Rick Santorum a day earlier or Marco Rubio in April whose speeches were carried live on FOX News and on conservative radio talk shows around the country.

The national media relegated Sanders to a long shot. Almost two months into his rapidly growing grassroots campaign, they still show him little respect, instead the media clings to the Hillary brand. Maybe that is a good thing for now. He was dismissed and derided as a nobody and a socialist. Social media picked up and drove his story. Sanders was not just saying what progressives and liberals alike wanted to hear, like other candidates. Unlike those other candidates his record and actions mirrors his rhetoric.

“I voted against the war in Iraq, he told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz on May 28th 2015, “I believe in a nation in which someone who works 40 hours per week should not live in poverty. I believe in a nation in which everyone gets a fair shot, in which we don’t have massive income inequality.“

All of this happened amid a bitter political fight in Washington over the Trans Pacific Partnership trade pact and an effort by the Obama administration to fast-track the TPP through the House and Senate, avoiding lengthy debates over the specifics of the agreement. Clinton, courting Union votes was inconsistent on her position regarding the TPP. Unions and a great majority of Progressives and Liberals vehemently opposed both fast track and the TPP, which many dubbed NAFTA on steroids, referring to the North American Free Trade Agreement championed by Clinton’s husband, President Bill Clinton.

While the Obama administration asserts that the TPP will improve working conditions and wages for workers in Asia-Pacific countries-the agreement excludes China-the experience of other similarly structured agreements would tend to discredit that possibility. Though the actual text of the TPP has been kept a secret, including from lawmakers, parts of the text have been leaked and posted to Wiki-leaks on the internet. Less talked about are the ISDS or “investor-to-state dispute settlement “ courts which would allow corporate run arbitration boards to decide and impose damage awards against states and the federal government or to overturn US law, including constitutionally “protected” civil rights.

Far-fetched? Wording similar to that found in other pro-corporate trade agreements is reported to be found throughout the TPP. Critics and observers point to growing abuse by corporations in ISDS courts to the detriment of workers and sovereign governments. For example, a Swedish company is currently suing Germany for a decision to begin phasing out nuclear power in favor of clean and renewable energy sources.

Egypt’s decision to raise its minimum wage was met by a lawsuit from a Multinational company, the Veolia Group, according to France’s Le Monde Diplomatique. Veolia decided that the increase in the minimum wage was simply too much. Under the NAFTA agreement, the Canadian Company Methanex sued the government when California decided to prohibit the use of a gasoline additive. The government ultimately prevailed in the case, but at a monumental cost in court and legal fees.

These are just three of numerous examples of the sort of corporate assault against the treasury and the constitution the United States might face in ISDS courts. There is well placed concern about environmental and human rights abuses which could result from the agreement. It is conceivable, and even likely, as with the Egyptian minimum wage case, that the government could be sued and journalists jailed for writing or reporting pieces that could be argued resulted in lost revenue for corporations.

Moreover, the TPP was touted as producing jobs for Americans, yet lawmakers could not agree on a key provision of the fats track bill which would set aside one billion Dollars for US workers displaced by TPP. Even more, it could have a disastrous and destabilizing effect on other global markets, particularly emerging markets like Africa. It was that duplicitous nature which hardened many Americans against the agreement, a position that Sanders has remained very consistent and very clear about his distrust for the agreement.

Recall that many refer to TPP as NAFTA on steroids. NAFTA itself had disastrous effects on both the US and Mexico. In 2011 Dustin Ensinger wrote in Economy In Crisis that,”
highly subsidized corn flooding the Mexican market has displaced millions of rural farmers…” and that, “Mexican officials had promised that NAFTA would result in the “export of goods, not people.” That, however, has turned out to be far from reality. Since NAFTA was signed into law, illegal immigrants in the U.S. has increased to 12 million today from 3.9 million in 1993, accounting for an overall increase of over 300 percent.

There is ample reason to believe TPP will prove at least as damaging to the US economy and to be detrimental to foreign workers as well. Sanders, then an Independent representative from Vermont noted no on NAFTA, a position he has never waffled over. (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/01/01/1255736/-NAFTA-at-20-An-Unhappy-Birthday-and-a-Look-at-the-Roll-Call-Votes-on-Free-Trade-Deals)

Last February on the Senate floor sanders was unequivocally opposed to both NAFTA and TPP:

I think it’s obvious for anyone who has taken a look at this issue that is the TPP is just a new, easy way for corporations to shut down in America and to send jobs abroad. The United States, it is estimated, would lose more than 130,000 to Vietnam and Japan alone if the Trans Pacific Partnership goes into effect.
…and the reason for that is my understanding is that the minimum wage is 56 cents an hour — 56 cents an hour. when you’re dealing with a country like Vietnam…Corporate America has said we want these trade policies and the leaders of both parties have said, yeah, that’s what we will do. I think it is time to say enough is enough. This country is in a major race to the bottom. Workers are working longer hours for lower wages. No American worker should be force to compete with desperate workers around the world who are making pennies an hour…

Beyond the obvious issues and details of TPP which the Obama administration and many republicans and democrats alike support, the way this agreement has been hidden from scrutiny and debate speaks directly to the way this nation is governed and how it responds to its constituents. More than 2000 grassroots organizations and tens of thousands of Americans called congress voicing their displeasure over TPP and the fast track vote. The vote defeating the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) bill, which also halted the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) fast track bill from reaching President Obama’s desk was 126-302. Most observers were quick to point out that the defeat of TAA and TPA were hardly victories for those opposed to TPP. Many of the republican nay votes were more likely partisan in nature, continuing the obstructionist tactics characterizing much of Obama’s presidency. Congress and the senate were quickly at work on a compromise bill. In truth both parties ignored the voice of the people, not over prudent judgment, but in favor of smaller but far better funded special interest groups.


Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers. .

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Escape to the Future

Let’s face it, the present sucks, so I am escaping to the future. Not far in the future, but far enough that the present past doesn’t piss me off. That way I can look back on the present in the future and remember the present later with a certain whimsical melancholia. It’s okay, I get to look back on Governor Rauner in Illinois before he went to jail. For all of you in the present0-past, keep watching in the next 6 months, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Wink-Wink. I’ll recall with a mischievous smirk a time before Sarah Palin looked, after massive tucks and plastic surgery, like the love child of a post mortem Nancy Reagan and Chucky from that Child’s Play horror movie.

I shouldn’t give away too much. I went back to the present recently and let slip a billion dollar mega-ball jackpot to a couple of friends. Well, they played those numbers and started a dictatorship by forcing everyone to dress in Star Trek outfits. then they started a religion around William Shatner and marched across new England until all Dr. Who fans were in brutally horrid concentration camps guarded by thickly brogue-ished guards all cruelly named Scottie. So I returned and emailed the numbers to a half billion people. Future saved.

A few of the other surprises:

1.Afghanistan is now the new silicon valley of southern Asia, with real estate prices Jim Buffet could barely afford.
2. Jimmy Buffet is still alive many years into the future, finding a secret elixir.
3. Henry Kissinger also is apparently immortal, although, it seems, after a barter deal with Satan.
4. Rush Limbaugh’s passing…well, it saved him the indignity of a trial.
5. ISIS, after a long a terrible war now controls a greater share of the online shopping market than Amazon.
The Olsen Twins became California’s first twin governor.
6. The nation of Comcast won a blood 14 year war against Google, but was destroyed in a suicide attack by the sovereign republic of Netflix

Hardly anyone expected that once robots became self-aware, long about 2023, they just couldn’t stand us and left for the stars, leaving humanity with all the retarded robots as torture, such as those annoying robot dogs and dinosaurs. as for the 2016 presidential race: You knew. We all sort of knew. Didn’t we? 2024, however; holy crap, could anyone have predicted that outcome? I do miss winters, but I have a better tan in the future-all year round! I’m writing this in January, and the wife and I are on the patio. It’s 84 degrees, which isn’t bad for Chicago in January these days. It’s 4:30am, the coolest part of the day, and I haven’t put out the ice baths for the cats yet.

There’s more. I’ll tell you all about it later. For now the wife and I are off to North Korea for vacation. Oh, it’s a hedonists paradise now, not like the People’s Republic of Canada. Until them my present-past friends, from the future, well…later.


Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “Shoot Down: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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