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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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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Anne Shaw recognized with the 2015 Vanguard Award

As we are heading into the final fifteen days of my campaign to be the 1st Asian American Women elected to the Chicago City Council I was humbled and honored to receive a call from Sanju Oomen Green, President of the Asian American Bar Association notifying me that I will be awarded with the distinguished Chicago Bar Association’s Vanguard Award on April 2, 2015. The Vanguard Award is given each year “to those lawyers, judges and institutions that have made the law and the legal profession more accessible to and reflective of the community we serve.”

My years of work in the both the Greater Chicagoland Community and in the 1st ward have provided me with so many opportunities to work with amazing people and to participate in making a difference on behalf of everyone in my community. And I’m so very honored to have the support of so many of my friends, neighbors and constituents of the 1st ward as we head toward February 24th.

Together we have all made such a difference in the 1st ward and with your help I hope to be a strong voice of leadership on the city council. With just 15 days left before the election our campaign will need just $15,000 more to be able to complete our campaign plan toward victory and with your help I am confident we can get there.

If you could please consider a contribution of $50, $100, $250, $500 or any amount you are able to do today it will truly help us succeed. This journey has been amazing to take with all of you and I continue to be honored to have earned your support.

Sincerely,
Anne

Anne Shaw is a candidate for Alderman in the First Ward of Chicago.

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Law for the People 2014: NLG National Convention September 3-7, Crown Plaza Chicago Metro

Chicago 9/3/2014 – The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Chicago is proud to host the 2014 Law for the People Convention, September 3-7 at the Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro, 733 W. Madison St.
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The NLG Annual Convention is attended by attorneys, law students, and legal workers. Hundreds of participants from across the country are expected to attend this year’s gathering in Chicago. Workshops and panels include the following subject areas: civil rights, constitutional law, criminal defense, environmental law, human rights, labor & employment, immigration, LGBTQ rights, police misconduct, and prison litigation. More information can be found in the conference brochure and schedule. Attorneys who attend the Convention have the opportunity to earn up to 24 hours of Continuing Legal Education credits.

Keep up with conference attendees on social media by following @NLGNews and #Law4thePeople on twitter.

Conference Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/781824438502576

The press is invited to attend the following event:

Thurs 9/4/2014: Keynote Speaker – Chicago Teacher’s Union President Karen Lewis

7:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m., Metro Ballroom

Karen Lewis is an American Chicago Public Schools teacher and labor leader. She is the current president of the Chicago Teachers Union, and is considering running for mayor.

Please check in at the Chicago Chapter Table in the Hotel Lobby when you arrive at the Crowne Plaza to ensure that you will be provided access to the event.

Chicago hosted the first NLG convention in 1939. Since then, Guild members from Chicago have been at the forefront of the battle for social justice, resisting the repression of radical movements ranging from the Black Panthers, to Vietnam War protesters, to anti-NATO demonstrators and beyond. On August 2, 2014, a Chicago NLG Legal Observer was arrested while documenting ongoing police violence in Ferguson, MO. Three additional NLG-trained Legal Observers were arrested in the town in the days following.

The NLG is dedicated to the need for basic change in the structure of our political and economic system. We seek to unite the lawyers, law students, legal workers and jailhouse lawyers to function as an effective force in the service of the people, to the end that human rights shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests.

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Mike Quigley, Congressman for the Illinois 5th Congressional district helped set the stage for the Malaysian Airlines catastrophe in Ukraine. It was laudable to stand with pro-reform protesters in Ukraine before the conflict erupted into Civil War. It was not justified, however, to pander and take sides as the US government abandoned true diplomacy, and amid the chaos of violence began working nationalist angles. They are using the people of Ukraine as chess pieces in a game against Russia,(Russia played too). Quigley hid among the headlines, then took a taxpayer funded trip to Ukraine and declared “We’ll send sleeping bags!”(Interviewed on AM560 May 2014). Quigley represents a purposeful US effort to manipulate and even profit from the Ukraine crisis. Quigley and the administration allowed money to become the priority. Hunter Biden, the Vice President’s son joined a Ukrainian gas and oil company. Quigley joins State Department official Victoria Nuland and Senator John McCain in siding with the Ukrainian government NOT as a means of supporting democratic institutions, but as a crass and dangerous hedge to destabilize Russia. Evidence a lack of real focused negotiations to end violence in Ukraine, even on a level seen during the Bosnian Conflict. 298 people died when MH-17, a civilian airliner, was shot down by pro-Russian rebels and still not a single concerted call for a ceasefire. With a large Ukrainian constituency in the 5th district, that silence is most deafening from the Quigley office, but then more and more the evidence shows he votes and speaks only when told. Toying with the lives of innocent people should not be American foreign policy. In American 2014 apparently that’s considered leadership.

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WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: 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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