Exelon digging deep…in your pocket

One point six Billion dollars. We’ll get into the numbers in detail in a bit, but we’d prefer if you didn’t punch your computer just yet before you hear the details.

Jim Chilsen, Communications Director for Chicago’s Citizen’s Utility Board, a consumer watchdog group dealing with public utilities was adamant the deal would be disastrous to small businesses, fixed income households and working families if Illinois agreed to pay a profitable company $1.6 billion Dollars. The company, Exelon, wants a state bailout that would cost Illinois taxpayers, hit public services and schools, which are already cash strapped and struggling. Chilsen made those comments Saturday on the Revolution and Beer show, heard Saturdays from 11am-1pm on Que4 radio, AM1680.

For the moment forget the purposeful maze of numbers intended to confuse, dilute and distract from the core issue, this is really about market economics and if big business, like Exelon, the parent company of Commonwealth Edison, are far too cozy with government officials to the detriment of the average taxpayer. Business graft advocates like the Illinois Policy Institute regularly argue that all aspects of economics, politics and your kids’ after school bake sale are beholden to these never fully defined market imperatives. Indeed, too many large companies, from coal and oil concerns to banks and public utilities do not live and die by market dynamics, instead they have learned that using the government as a middleman and enforcement mechanism to fill their ever deepening coffers if far more profitable than actually doing business in a fair and real market place.

Think of it this way; it is as if the balloon industry realized that they could no longer compete with those new upstarts, the Wright Brothers and their aero planes. Instead, the balloon industry, unable and unwilling to compete in that changing marketplace went to William McKinley and asked the taxpayers to bail them out. Exelon, still reaping profits from 6 nuclear power facilities in Illinois, sees the writing on the wall about the changing marketplace, but want you to pay for it. They are the balloon people. Use that visual any way you choose.

Now, let’s say the balloon people partied at the same club with ole Bill McKinley. And let’s say that you couldn’t get invited to that club to clean the bathroom. And you definitely can’t get to McKinley to plead your case, but the balloon people can. That might just be enough to make an anarchist go a little crazy. And let’s call this club the Commercial Club. Coincidentally there is a Commercial Club of Chicago. William McKinley isn’t a member, but Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, and Governor Bruce Rauner are, along with the CEO of the Balloo, er, um, Exelon is. Bruce Rauner, critical of untoward influence by unions in negotiating contracts is silent on a rate increase and bail-out bill for Exelon, which is backed by….Exelon!

Speaking of the CEO of Exelon, now for the numbers. First this one; CEO Christopher Crane got a 69% raise last year. Don’t worry, the very sympathetic Chicago Tribune let readers know that “in the Marketplace” Mr. Crane was underpaid, and that part of the raise, giving him a total compensation package of over $17 million, was a correction. Did I mention the Tribune was well represented in the Commercial Club too?

Just as an aside, the average Exelon worker makes annually about $45,000. It would take each of them roughly 380 years to make what Crane takes home in a year. Oh, yeah, they, or you gave him an additional $3 million to keep him around because in a market (there’s that word again) that saw an overall increase last year of 30%, he steered Exelon to a loss of 3.8%. You can see why they wouldn’t want to lose him.

In 2007 Illinois passed the Renewable Portfolio Standard, to much fanfare, parades and fireworks (sic). That legislation mandates that the state’s energy needs should be met by renewable sources, like natural gas, wind and solar. Last week Crane, along with the Koch Brothers and ExxonMobil pressed congress to crush wind power, asking legislators to kill subsidies for wind energy.

“If the government believes that they’re improving the environment by subsidizing wind, they are wrong…It is going to shut nuclear plants down.” He told the Chicago Tribune

Exelon, in a cynical twist of truly comedic irony, says that it is anti-subsidy not anti wind. That disconnect, and hypocrisy highlights a fundamental shortcoming by Exelon. Wind power is not the enemy here, any more than tiny mammals posed a threat to dinosaurs. It is their apparent inability to recognize and adapt to a changing market. In a 2013 article in Forbes Fracking for natural gas was heralding the decline and even eventual demise of Nuclear energy. Investors were realizing that eventuality and fleeing from Nuclear energy. Say what you will about fracking and natural gas, both of which are dangerous to the environment, but they were one of the forces changing the energy market fundamentally.

In may 2014 Revolution and Beer reported on promising and exciting breakthroughs in solar power, in an article titled “Endless Solar! The end of Fracking and Coal.” The piece describes strategies that could transform the nation, provide endless solar power and could spur a renaissance for the big energy companies for distribution. We definitely don’t have the marketing and R and D capabilities of Exelon. Then again what made dinosaurs, dinosaurs was their inability to adapt, except now those dinosaurs sip champagne in exclusive clubs with politicians who can write massive checks from your money.


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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Climate Criminals

It’s time to treat Climate Deniers as international criminals and issue warrents for their arrest. Start with Rush Limbaugh and James Inhofe. Fracking and oil lobbyists.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/an-arctic-ice-cap%e2%80%99s-shockingly-rapid-slide-into-the-sea/ar-AA8wgqG?ocid=U146DHP

http://blog.heartland.org/2015/01/sen-inhofe-uses-heartland-poster-to-debunk-climate-alarmism/

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. 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


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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Ferguson, the FBI and the Media’s Dangerous turn towards Violence

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/fbi-warns-ferguson-decision-lead-violence-extremist-protesters/story?id=26980624

The media, ahead of the verdict of whether or not to indict Officer Darrel Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown has taken a dangerous turn. That turn, in the view of many concerned Americans risks a perversion of the First Amendment by nakedly enflaming tensions, creating terror among civilians and seeking to directly affect events rather than report on or reflect them. Worse, there is growing evidence that the government, in particular the FBI and law enforcement are acting in collusion, or sympathy with the corporate Press; the endgame, a Boston-bombing style assault on civil liberties.

Rightwing hosts and so-called journalists (re: propagandists) like Breitbart and others purposely skewed and obtusely reframed dissent by activists and residents nationwide as looming violence. Their reporting, which largely targets white demographics seemed specifically intended to accomplish three fundamental points: Encourage gun sales, drive a stronger rightwing agenda and to undermine voices on the Left, particularly at a time when key issues like the XL Keystone pipeline, Net Neutrality and Trans Pacific Partnership are being decided. Republicans, while losing the pipeline vote in the Senate yesterday by a single vote, while reintroduce the bill in January when their chances are better for a victory in both houses.

Statements by activists regarding efforts to protest and rally, pursuant to their fundamental constitutional right were repeatedly skewed and reframed by the media as violent and threatening. There was no effort for balance, no counterpoint and no effort at correction. The strategy was clear, frighten the American people. But that has been the tactic of the rightwing media, except that the Left also made no effort to counter message with the truth, or by bringing activist and protest voices to the airwaves. That media message worked in tandem with deliberately inflammatory and irresponsible statements by the FBI. An FBI bulletin to law enforcement, and distributed widely by the media read in part:

“The announcement of the grand jury’s decision … will likely be exploited by some individuals to justify threats and attacks against law enforcement and critical infrastructure…This also poses a threat to those civilians engaged in lawful or otherwise constitutionally protected activities…Those infiltrating and exploiting otherwise legitimate public demonstrations with the intent to incite and engage in violence could be armed…The FBI assesses those infiltrating and exploiting otherwise legitimate public demonstrations with the intent to incite and engage in violence could be armed with bladed weapons or firearms, equipped with tactical gear/gas masks, or bulletproof vests to mitigate law enforcement measures.”

There have long been allegations that law enforcement agent provocateurs have infiltrated peaceful protests around the country to undermine protected public dissent for political and economic purposes. Those economic reasons always protect specific corporate interests outside the law and the wishes of the vast majority of Americans.

In the aftermath of the Boston marathon bombing, and the subsequent manhunt for a single suspect constitutional rights at all levels were brazenly violated in martial-law style house to house searches, with residents ordered from homes at gunpoint, and an entire American city locked down. There was virtually no reaction and no civil right inquiries following Boston. It is alleged that Boston was a convenient experiment for mass public control by law enforcement. Spying and data collection on a mass scale against activists and civilians alike continued and expanded greatly in the time since Boston. The media was a key partner in that effort.

Ferguson is the next major step in a broader effort to roll back civil liberties and exercise greater control over dissent and citizen activism. With Boston the media had to play catch-up to the government. Here they are, or seem to be working in a dangerous partnership. In the next article I will tell you the endgame for this effort, who is behind it and why it is structured this way…


CAM00236WC 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


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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The Price of Gas: Bigger than you think

James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma is now the new chair of the Senate Environmental Committee. That’s sort of like making Adolph Eichmann manager of a Kosher food company. What does that have to do with the price of gas? I’m getting to that.

First, before you think the current low price of gas is a good thing, you should know why. There are a lot of forces right now struggling over the price of a barrel of crude oil. A collapse in the price of oil is dangerous to global piece, and the world is precariously at the brink of just that. For example, in a previous article Brian and I discussed the superpower struggle over Crimean and Ukrainian gas and oil reserves, and how that contributed to the shootdown by pro-Russian rebels of Malaysian Air Flight 17, killing all 298 aboard. Russia’s still fairly rudimentary economy is almost exclusively based on oil. To keep his nation running comfortably Russian President Putin needs the cost per barrel to be just around $110. You may have read about massive Russian air incursions over Europe. Putin is attempting to sway the crude oil market and drive the price up by maintaining tensions. That’s a dangerous game. So is the potential collapse of the Russian economy, or massive unrest. One of the Obama administration’s strategies has been to manipulate the market and drive the cost of oil down to punish Russia for its actions in Ukraine. And you thought that it was all about the dictates of the marketplace guiding the cost of oil and gas. Bless your heart.

But wait, there’s more! The Saudis have been glutting the market with oil to drop the price as well. Why? Two reasons. ISIS is selling so much cheap oil on the blackmarket that legitimate markets are feeling the sting. One of the biggest buyers of ISIS illegal oil is our friends, and NATO and European Union member, Turkey. In my opinion for that and their pro-ISIS belligerence with the Kurds, Turkey should be expelled by the EU and NATO and face punishing sanctions. The other pressure on the Saudis is Fracking in the US and Canada of that filthy, polluting tar sands crude. The Saudi’s goal by lowering the price of oil is to make it far too expansive for Frackers and tar sands producers.

The benefit, it might appear is for consumers. Consumer spending accounts for about 70% of the US economy. When the price of gas drops, the ability to spend by consumers goes up, although it appeared that the debt burdened US consumer, with stagnate wages might have exceeded its debt to income ratio, as spending dropped .2% in September. The concentration of wealth system strangling the economy currently creates a false market. It creates consumer puppets who are merely cash machines to government coffers and ever more wealthy corporations. They do not want you to have any control over the marketplace or economy, but only to remain manipulated for their profit. In that system the consumer has no control.

The good news is that the working class needs time to adjust to lower energy prices, and that might become evident in the October figures, although the price of gas was inching up going into November. If they rebound to August and early September levels any consumer gain would be lost. The slow bleeding of high transportation costs would continue apace for working class and poor families.

The first important thing to realize about the US economy, indeed the world economy, is that it is not structured around any particular economic theory, and no universal marketplace ideal. The economy of the world is a mad patchwork of cobbled together ideas, emotions and trust levels, all broadly bound by a complex set of assumptions. But at the end of all that one thing is universal, and that is the basic notion that if consumers have more money, they will generally buy more stuff. If fuel costs are low enough then the money consumers might otherwise spend on energy needs is diverted and spread throughout the economy.

The more of that income that is discretionary, that is not going directly to survival needs, the more power resides with the consumer. That is the reason behind the wealth disparity in America. It is by design. With less money moving freely in the engine of the economy, debt is increased and those who control the assets control the consumer. But because we know that when prices are lower, spending goes up, and when gas prices are lower that the economy improves, why not extend that argument, and take it to the logical conclusion. The key lies in energy, and the American consumer has power to drive down the costs of energy. That would also directly assail the economic hegemony of the 1%. Here’s how.

Despite dramatic improvements in solar and wind power, 85% of America’s energy consumption comes from fossil fuel. Agricultural production eats up most of that, through wasteful manufacture of artificial fertilizers and pesticides, and in canning. Simply eating fresh vegetables, locally sourcing as little as a 1/3 of your vegetables and cutting meat consumption by 10%, or about 18 pounds of meat per year, would lower your medical costs, help the environment, spur local economic growth and force greater efficiency in the market. Nationally, savings in health care from a cleaner economy are estimated at almost $100 billion annually. An enormous amount of energy is wasted in packaging, processing and storing food.

James Inhofe has openly expressed his disdain for hybrid and electric cars. But Inhofe is bought and paid for by major corporate donors, including big oil. He works for the 1%-ers who want you to be a faceless, manipulated consumer. By switching to or supporting hybrid and electric cars the gas and oil royalty of the country and the world would finally be deposed, and once again we would have some say in the marketplace instead of mere victims, or fish swimming against an ever increasing current of manipulation, control and corruption. Just a thought…


CAM00236WC 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


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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Obama’s misteps as tension mounts between NATO and Moscow. An excerpt from the upcoming book, “A TRAGIC FATE: Politics, Oil, the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17and the Looming Threats to Civil Aviation” by Revolution and Beer’s WC Turck

One could not concoct a better scenario for conspiracy and intrigue. The scope and spectrum of the international impact bespeaks the integration of world markets with politics and the micro dynamics of men killing men on an obscure battlefield. The sheer timing of events that Thursday, July 17th 2014 is the stuff of conspiracy, and could not have come together more precisely. Immediately it called to mind the curious and still unexplained activity in the stock market immediately prior to September 11, 2001, when massive bets were made that United Airlines and American Airlines stocks would drop. Stocks sank precipitously for both airlines, which had each lost 2 aircraft in the September attacks.

The problem with history is most often the failure of proper perspective. The trouble with conspiracy or at least the appearance of conspiracy, sometimes is a consequence of a lack of true context, or that it is simply an intentional tool for partisanship. Which isn’t to negate the fact that true conspiracies do occur, and in the aggregate that may well prove true for the tragedy surrounding the shooting down of MH-17. Setting that aside for the moment, what is critical is a consolidation, as best as can be amassed of the context, the events and the human scope of a terrible tragedy and perhaps a criminal act of war.

At the very least, the tragedy indicts all of the parties involved in the conflict. It indicts the Russians and their Ukrainian separatist proxies in eastern Ukraine. While the West may be blamed for missing or even exploiting Russia’s territorial anxieties, Russia cannot simply pander to those anxieties if they expect to interact equitably on the international stage.

Russia is as complex and filled with contradictions as any nation or individual, but basic assumptions can be drawn. These descriptors are illustrative in gaining some understanding of the Russian heart and mind. It is in that understanding that the gaps to building strategies, finding solutions and overcoming issues like the current crisis in Ukraine may be bridged.

There is an exuberant pride tempered by melancholy and stoicism and deepened by the fatalistic resignation to hardship, rooted by a strong and linear traditional heritage. Russia is, by and large, a patriarchal society, with hardly more than a generation, at the time of the MH-17 incident, since the end of the Cold War and opening of the Berlin Wall.

The population of Russia itself, plagued by emigration, poverty, low birth rates and alcoholism has been in decline since that period. Life expectancy for men has remained relatively stagnate since 1959. An April 2012 article in Forbes noted that while Moscow has more billionaires than London and New York, that nearly 20 million Russians lived below the poverty line. Percentage wise in comparison to the United States, the basic number same about the same, however, the standards in either country are much different.
There is a rejection by Russians of the notion of a once great nation broken by the West, and yet that notion nonetheless haunts that rejection. For many Russians the question of who actually won and lost the Cold War is a deeply arguable point. _h0_w628_m6_otrue_lfalse

What all of this argues is that the West has consistently misread and misunderstood Russia and the Russian mind, to the detriment of true progress between nations. In Ukraine, despite the lofty slogans and machinations of democratic principles and sovereignty, Russia feels more than compelled to maintain its interests and security.

The Russians have also acted every bit as bullishly as the West in pursuit of interests outside its own borders, especially with countries it shares a border with. With Ukraine, and the lusty appeal of oil and gas riches in Crimea, the stakes for Russia could not be higher. Add to that an ethnic Russian constituency in strategically import regions of Ukraine and Crimea and the mix becomes volatile. When Russian forces moved into Ukraine on August 29th, 2014 in support of rebel forces fighting Ukrainian forces in key coastal towns on the Sea of Azov, the ultimate strategy was nakedly transparent. The move would consolidate Russia’s direct control over the Sea of Azov, and provide unfettered access to Ukraine along a key road.

From the start of the crisis in Ukraine the West acted out of a mixture of short-sighted greed and fundamental ambivalence to the Russian perspective. Russia acted like a dog chasing a not-too-distant bone. Caught in the middle, on the ground and in the skies are civilians.

In August 1999, former President Clinton met then Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s handpicked successor for the first time. Yeltsin, the son of a mining engineer. Like his predecessor, Yeltsin understood that rebuilding the fracturing Soviet economy was a lost cause without fundamental political and social reforms. Yeltsin was a true reformer, and championed the cause of battling government corruption. His decision to pick a young and politically astute former KGB agent named Vladimir Putin was hardly a rash or ill-informed action for the ailing reformer, Yeltsin. Putin’s record as he rose through the ranks of Russia’s volatile politics reflected at once one of reform, strength and vision.

Clinton noted in his memoir, My Life, that “Putin presented a stark contrast to Yeltsin. Yeltsin was large and stocky; Putin was compact and extremely fit from years of martial arts practice. Yeltsin was voluble; the former KGB agent was measured and precise. I came away from the meeting believing that Yeltsin had picked a successor who had the skills and capacity for hard work necessary to manage Russia’s turbulent political and economical life better than Yeltsin could, given his health problems; Putin had the toughness to defend Russia’s interests and defend Yeltsin’s legacy.”

The final point is debatable, but Putin had a tough uphill battle to defend or reform a system and society far different from the West. In the vacuum created by the collapse of the Soviet system, corporatism and a rise of an exceedingly wealthy and powerful oligarchy wrested control of the economy and with it the reigns of true power. By 2008, according to Forbes, there were 87 billionaire’s in Russia, with a net worth of half a trillion Dollars. Despite Putin’s efforts at reforms, poverty remains an issue, while the quality of life of the average Russian has stagnated or declined. Former defense secretary Robert gates summed up in a January 2014 interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt his perception of Putin’s shortcomings:

“I think Putin is bad for Russia. And I think right now, it’s the Russians that are paying the greatest cost for him being in power, and he potentially could be president of Russia until 2024. And his refusal to open the country up politically, his refusal to encourage, and provide predictability for foreign investment, his regard of all the natural resources as a kind of a natural patrimony, so not any encouraging foreign investment there, and frankly, stealing from Western companies by expropriating what they’ve invested. Russia just has a number of problems. I think that former President Medvedev, who is now again the prime minister, had a pretty good idea what was wrong with Russia and what needed to be done to fix it. But Putin pushed him out of the way. And my own view is, as I say in the book, is Putin’s a man of the past. He’s all about lost glory, lost empire, lost power. And he’s, while he will cooperate with us in certain areas, and one example is he did let the sanctions on Iran go through the U.N. He did agree not to provide the S-300, very advanced air defense system, to the Iranians. And he did let our military equipment go across the Trans-Siberian Railroad to Afghanistan. Even with all that, he’s not going to miss an opportunity to embarrass us or create problems for us.”

But the fact that Medvedev could be brushed aside by Putin is evidence that is was not the right leader to reign in the oligarchs, battle rampant crime and corruption and satisfy flagging Russian national pride as their patriarchal icon. That speaks to Gate’s over simplification that Putin is a man of the past; about lost glory, lost empire, lost power. In national security, national pride and ego are equally important components. Likewise they are critical to forging a national focus, whether political, social or economic, and that is the key to Putin’s power and perspective.

But the blame is hardly all on the West’s side. Putin also has shown a fundamental ignorance of the Western perspective. From the short-term gains of defense spending and arms sales to exports of gas and oil, while Putin has used these as rudimentary peasant-like marketplace tools to maintain or wield power. He seems not to understand or care that the West, and particularly the Obama administration, convolutes vague notions of freedom with unfettered or predatory market economics. Russian banks are bludgeon tools to the state run defense and oil concerns, spinning their wheels in a bid with China and other nations to create a new monetary alternative, or simply keep the Ruble afloat with the burden of 21st Century oil and gas realities around its neck.

The Russian market reforms of the 1990s saw the privatization of certain sectors of the economy. The exceptions were in defense and oil, which remained solidly, strategically and predictably in the state’s hands. It belies several differences, socially, economically and politically from the West and the United States. The first is that Russia and its economy are ties to the production, refining and sale of oil and gas far more than the US. An estimated 40% of Europe’s gas needs are pipelined from Russia through Ukraine, and some 70% of the country’s exports are oil and gas. A correlation can be made between the rise of oil prices since the mid 1990s and the precipitous rise of Russia’s gross domestic product, GDP. When, following US led sanctions in the wake of the downing of MH-17, Putin remarked that they did not even consider the vast oil and gas reserves in the Crimea region, even the average observer would have believed it a work of fiction.

That, for a nation so animated historically over the vehement, often blind defense of its borders, as in the cases of KAL 902 and 007, the near monopolistic dependence on oil and gas exports is a supreme and potentially disastrous liability. It is that weakness which the Obama administration sought to exploit with sanctions beginning in the winter 2014 over Crimea, and mounting that summer over MH-17, Russian military incursions and rebel support in eastern Ukraine.

At a fundraiser for her eventual 2016 presidential bid, Hillary Clinton was quoted in the Long Beach Press Telegram that Putin’s actions in Crimea sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the ’30s, All the Germans that were … the ethnic Germans, the Germans by ancestry who were in places like Czechoslovakia and Romania and other places, Hitler kept saying, They’re not being treated right. I must go and protect my people,’ and that’s what’s gotten everybody so nervous.”

Nor is Putin, as the hawkish Arizona Senator John McCain described on FOX News in August, a thug with aspirations of reawakening the Russian bear.

Both were ridiculous statements. What Vladimir Putin is not is Hitler and he is not a thug. Crimea is not Czechoslovakia or the Sudetenland. But Putin also cannot be absolved of violations of international law. The recognition of sovereign national borders is a tenant of 21st Century international stability. There can be no dispute that Russia and Putin have failed to adequately respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine in a grab for oil, gas and strategic resources, but then neither has the West. In the case of Ukraine, both Russia and the West are guilty of violating international law with respect to Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence. Putin’s willingness to use the cover of so-called ethnic and national sympathizes is cynical and antithetical to the interests of Russia and its people. Sadly, he is left with few options.

Still, the lessons of history cannot be ignored. The sanctions and pressure from the US and the West may have enlivened many of those old Russian anxieties. Vladimir Putin, who entered the KGB in the dangerous years of the mid-1980s would not have been immune from pervasive, even obsessive fears of a US-led first strike against the Soviet Union. There are indications some of those old Russian fears about outside threats began to surface with Putin. Germany’s Bild Newspaper reported on a telephone conversation between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Obama in which she reportedly wondered whether Putin was “still in touch with reality.”

By July Merkel seemed to have amended those views, which may revealed a moment of frustration for the German leader. Meeting before the World Cup soccer finals in Brazil on July 13th, days before the shoot down, there seemed some small movement towards progress. Spokesman for Putin, Dmitry Peskov told Reuters that both leaders had “stressed the necessity to urgently resume the work of a contact group on Ukraine, possibly in the format of a video conference. It is their common opinion that, in order for the contact group to resume its work, a ceasefire needs to be declared as soon as possible.”

Additional blame in the Ukraine crisis must be leveled directly at the Press. It was natural that the Russian press would side with Putin. In the United States the growing crisis became something far less predictable. A partisan, decidedly anti-Obama American press helped to stir a substantial component of egotism which became a part of the impasse and competition between Obama and Putin, and by extension; the US and Russia. The effect was to convolute the facts of what was happening in Ukraine and to undermine the public’s opportunity to understand the stakes involved in the crisis.

Throughout the winter and spring of 2014 that so-called anti-Obama Press resounded with base and insulting comparisons and contrasts about the two leaders. Charles Krauthammer called Putin and Obama mismatched in favor of President Putin. The level of commentary from sources such as FOX News and others descended quickly from there. Broadcasters gleefully talked about Putin’s manliness in contrast to Obama in the most obtuse and latently homo-erotic manner. Talk host Sean Hannity, with KT McFarland described Vladimir Putin’s “rock-hard abs.” One site put it this way:

On one hand you have the former KGB agent, Putin, who is seen as an uber masculine machine and a picture of physical strength and stamina. Photos have surfaced on the internet with him (shirtless) riding on the back of a horse and a photo shopped grizzly bear in the wild; an image that would suggest he’s a real manly man. He is a proud Russian with a large ego and is precise about what he says and means and does what he says he will do. On the other hand, you have Obama, the former community organizer who is seen as a mom-jeans-wearing “Steve Urkel” type. Instead of horses and bears, he prefers a Daisy 3 speed bike and a safety helmet as his means of transportation…http://clashdaily.com/2014/03/putinobama-phenomenon-james-bond-vs-steve-urkel/

Former Presidential candidate Allen West even went so far as to demean the first lady Michelle Obama’s appearance in comparison to Putin’s wife: “Putin married this soft-spoken beauty…Obama…..well….”

But it may all have been a ruse, or at least a broader effort to delude or confuse the public about what was really at play over Ukraine. At the very least criticism of the Obama administration seemed designed to make broader arguments in support of the Keystone XL pipeline debate in the United States and to shift European dependence on Russian gas with dependence on American gas, or at the very least Ukrainian gas which was more and more under nominal, if not direct US control. In early March Fox contributor and big-energy advocate KT McFarland offered Obama advice on dealing with Putin and the Russians.

“We can do what we did in the 1980s,” she said, “push down the price of oil, in this case by fracking and use our abundance of natural gas resources that we’ve had just in the last few years and start selling them to Europe. What would that do for Putin? If he can’t have high oil prices and high gas prices to Europe, he can’t meet payroll. If the cost per barrel goes below a hundred dollars per barrel Putin is in trouble…”

McFarland was referring to manipulations in the market and a collapse of quotas under OPEC in 1985 that had a devastating impact on the Russian economy, which was emerging as the world’s biggest oil and gas producer at the time. For McFarland, who regularly blusters about the so-called “free market” unburdened by government interference and regulations, the statements seemed a glaring contradiction.

It was already obvious, as the world reacted to Russia’s annexation efforts of Crimea, in early 2014 that the Russian Ruble was Putin’s Achilles heel. It was too closely dependent on oil, of which the total Russian economy was dependent. That would have been obvious to the Obama administration as well. Just three days after McFarland’s remarks Businessweek published an article connecting Ukraine and the viability of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Soon after Senator Mary Landrieu, democrat and chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, began making the case that the pipeline would offer a solution to Europe’s gas worries.

On March 27th,, in the wake of Washington’s first round of sanctions on individuals, many connected directly to Russia’s energy concerns, Landrieu released a statement following passage of a bill authorizing $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine:

“Today’s vote to provide $1 billion in loan guarantees to help stabilize Ukraine’s economy is a good first step toward helping the millions of Ukrainians and Eastern Europeans affected by the tyrannical ambitions of Vladimir Putin. I am committed to bolstering this effort. As Chair of the Senate Energy Committee, I will continue my work to increase domestic energy production and make the US a global leader in energy exports. America can and should be an energy superpower that helps our allies across the globe. One of Putin’s greatest weapons is the gas that Russia produces and sells to countries like the Ukraine and Lithuania. By entering the market and giving these nations someplace else to buy gas, we will break the stranglehold of despots like Putin, who use their energy stockpiles to crush the freedoms of neighboring nations. The last thing President Putin and his cronies wants is competition from the United States of America in the energy race, and I look forward to playing a leading role to bring energy security and independence to America and its democratic allies around the world to advance the cause of freedom. ”

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 98-2. A strong case can be made that the Ukrainian people were not the primary reason for the vote.

That spring, on nervousness regarding Russian troop concentrations on the Ukraine border, Crimea and disruptions in oil helped drive the price of oil to around an average of$105 per barrel. The price dropped, unseasonably, and with additional concerns over Islamic State successes in Iraq and Syria to under $95 a barrel; odd given the inherent emotional uncertainty in investors who generally reacted on far less than the market was facing during the summer of 2014. The weakness in the oil market was great news for the US public and helped to spur consumer spending. It also benefitted Halliburton, actively engaged in Ukraine, making its stocks more attractive and accessible to investors.

The price per barrel of oil is a key factor here, for both Russia and the US. Russia budget’s its economy based on an average per barrel cost for oil of around $114. Below that, given their near monopolistic reliance on oil, the effects of lower oil costs begin strangling the economy very quickly. The effect is opposite that of Europe and, in particular, the United States, in which a drop in oil prices can have a benefit to the economy, particularly on the consumer side. Russia’s best card to play in that dangerous game was to maintain heightened tensions and the threat of direct military intervention in Ukraine, which is exactly what happened at the end of August. In part on rising tensions, reports of Russian regulars fighting in Ukraine and Kiev’s fears of a full scale conflict, the price of crude oil had climbed above $103 per barrel.

The downing of MH-17 changed everything. And there is reason to believe that the Russian leadership was just as shocked by the tragedy as the rest of the world. That eve3ning, meeting with economic advisors he released a statement, which was translated by the Associated Press:

You know that a terrible event occurred today in the sky over Ukraine, an awful tragedy — a civilian plane was killed, 285 people, according to preliminary information, were killed.
On behalf of the Russian leadership and the Russian government, we express condolences to the bereaved families, the governments of those countries whose nationals were on that plane. I ask you to honor their memory.
In this regard, I want to note that this tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land, if the military actions had not been renewed in southeast Ukraine. And, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy.
I have already given instructions to the military departments to provide all necessary assistance in the investigation of this crime. And I also ask the government of the Russian Federation through the available civilian agencies that have the capability to do everything for a thorough investigation of this event. We will do everything — everything that depends on us, anyway — in order that the objective picture of what happened is part of the public domain here, in Ukraine and in the rest of the world. This is an absolutely unacceptable thing, and no one has the right to let this pass without the appropriate conclusions and without all of us having objective information about the incident.

But what other consequence could the use of violence and force by both the US-backed Kiev government and the Russian-backed rebels have? MH-17 was a tragedy waiting to happen.

Regardless of who fired the missile the US and Russian leadership had created the environment which allowed the tragedy to take place. All the parties to the conflict had been distracted in the rush for resources and in the folly of what amounted to a national pissing contest that no one was concerned for the safety of international civilian air travel. The airlines placed their trust in authorities whose facilities and priorities lay elsewhere. What appeared at first appeared to be an open window for peace, from those casual discussions between Chancellor Merkel and Putin in Brazil, and which might have prevented the destruction of MH-17, had been extinguished in the blink of an eye.

By late August those strains were showing once more. As Ukrainian forces pressed their assaults in the east and against Luhansk and Donetsk. While government forces appeared to advance in the north east, Russian-backed rebels had suddenly opened up a new front along the northern coast on the Sea of Azov. Putin’s statements on the 29th appeared defiant, but betrayed a growing pressure for the Russian leader as he compared Ukrainian military actions against Luhansk and Donetsk to the Nazi siege of Leningrad during the Second World War.

“Small villages and large cities surrounded by the Ukrainian army which is directly hitting residential areas with the aim of destroying the infrastructure,” Putin said. “It sadly reminds me the events of the Second World War, when German fascist … occupiers surrounded our cities.”

The statement was imprudent; theatre for ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine and Crimea, and for the folks at home. It also illustrates that pillar of Russian national identity and its inherent insecurity forever mired in a past defined through centuries of invasion. It may be an oversimplification in the Russian mind, but what becomes culture and heritage for any nation is of a history and choosing all its own.

As the current figurehead of that culture and history, there are differing views of Vladimir Putin. They are all subjective. What is not in dispute is that he is Russian, and his prime motivation will be towards the security and prosperity of his homeland, and to that task he seems singularly focused.

CAM00236WC 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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Endless Solar! The end of Fracking and Coal…A Revolution and Beer exclusive

“Struggling coal company Patriot Coal (PCX) has filed for bankruptcy, citing a coal industry “transformation” that made its financial position untenable… Patriot Coal’s bankruptcy comes as the coal industry faces major challenges including high debt, slumping natural gas prices, and new emissions regulations that have made it a less economic energy source for utilities…” Source: http://www.thestreet.com/story/11609935/1/patriot-coal-prepares-for-bankruptcy-report.html
solar
There are two fundamental questions to the issue of replacing one technology with another: The first is, can the new technology succeed and become as sustainable as the one it is replacing, and second, are those currently making money willing to concede that their cash cow is obsolete. In modern America the answer to the second question is not one of logic, but politics. Dead, destructive and dirty technologies like coal have seen their logical conclusion and are prime to be replaced by clean technologies, except that their opulently wealthy patrons have a stranglehold on government as a means of perpetuating their absurdity.

Too harsh? In 1985 57% of all power generated in the US came from coal. Last year that number fell to about 35% or almost in half, while natural gas produced nearly 35%, up from 24.6% in 1985. One finite and filthy source of energy hammered towards the brink by a new one. And there is one word that is never uttered, despite it being a near perfect source of energy: Solar.

You might have missed the news. IBM, you know that liberal, commie tech company, announced a breakthrough in solar technology. A research team is working on a solar dish with the potential to collect and convert 80% of incoming sunlight. Harnessing and absorbing enough solar radiation to melt steel, the large dish will be capable of producing roughly 504,000 kWh, or kilowatt/hours of energy. That is enough, at an average annual use per household of 8,000 kWh, that would fully power 63 homes.

Now, to be thoroughly ridiculous, and because I am your source for inane and obscure facts, there are roughly 160 million households in the United States, according to the 2010 census. If IBM’s breakthrough represented the end of innovation in solar tech, to meet the nation’s home power needs with the cleanest current technology possible would require about 2.5 million dishes. But that’s absurd, you say! We might as well be building pyramids! Who could achieve such an impossible technological and engineering feat? Ask Verizon or T-Mobile. 10 years ago there were virtually no cellphone towers in America, comparatively. Now there are more than half a million.

The point is simple. Dangerous and low paying coal jobs would go the way of history, replaced by production, construction, tech and maintenance jobs across the nation to serve every household. I have not even touched on factories and businesses. Coal factories could easily and quickly, without loss of jobs switch to generating and transferring to communities across the nation clean solar power, leaving the environment unmolested while maintaining profit and economic growth. In fact, the conversion to the new technology would see a net benefit to the economy in jobs for the long term. Current estimate concede that we will run out of energy from the sun in only about 4.5 billion years-so stock up. Consider this from the replacement energy causing havoc with coal(Hint, it isn’t solar or Obama):

“The world’s proven oil reserves of 1,383.2 billion barrels will last for only 46 years if oil production and consumption are to remain at current levels, according to BP Statistical Review of World Energy. The world’s natural gas reserves will also last for just 59 years if production is to continue at the 2010 rate… “http://topforeignstocks.com/2011/08/15/how-long-will-the-global-oil-and-natural-gas-reserves-last/

WC Turck is the author of 4 books, including the critically acclaimed Bosnian War Memoir “Everything for Love,” and Broken: One soldier’s unexpected journey home, at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. Turck wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart: A Revolutionary Christmas Carol” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” The most dangerous voice on the Left, he can be heard Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fridays from 9-11am in Chicago, and 1-3pm on the Revolution and Beer show with partner and cohost BL Murray.

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Smart Ass! A come back for every right wing talking point

If there is one redeeming quality I’ve learned growing up in a big , hard-drinking, small town Midwestern family, and working a tough blue collar union job is that you learn to give it as well as take it.. And by “it” I mean when someone throws a shot your way, your return shot should put them on their ass. It has helped me become the most dangerous emerging voice on the Left.

On my radio show I am always talking about messaging and how Progressives and Liberals always are at a general disadvantage to the Right. Their arguments are simple, but loud and repetitive. They appeal to base instincts and lazy people who only wish to be validated in their firmly held ignorance, and appeal to their laziness in actually becoming informed, or worse, that they actually have to consider other people’s existence. The Right yawns at too much information. They want it simple and easy. That represents their world.

On the Left, the center Left and for much of the center-the vast majority of this nation, our messaging is usually far more nuanced, necessarily encompassing a spectrum of perspectives. We like details and science and understand a world in shades of gray, in which the continuum of perspectives among the lives of people is not black or white. Despite that facts and truth are fully on our side, that doesn’t translate well in a media world. We must do a better job, which is why the itinerate smart ass in me decided to help with comebacks to beat the Right…

CORPORATIONS
RIGHT: “Corporations are people, my friend…”
LEFT: A corporation is a person the same way the forest is a tree or the Navy is sailor

ABORTION
RIGHT: That baby you abort might one day grow up to cure cancer.
LEFT: That baby might one day grow up to kill the person who would have cured cancer

FRACKING
RIGHT: Graduates from the South Dakota Institute for Mining Technology earn more working for Fracking firms than most university graduates.
LEFT: Crack dealers make more than most high school graduates, Bank robbers earn more than bank tellers!

GUNS
RIGHT: Forcing gun owners to register their guns and have IDs doesn’t stop criminals from having guns.
LEFT: registering your car and having a license doesn’t stop car thieves…

KEYSTONE PIPELINE AND CLIVEN BUNDY
LEFT: Where are the gunmen supporting deadbeat racist millionaire Cliven Bundy’s “property rights” for thousands of Americans having their land stolen for the XL Keystone pipeline?
RAND PAUL: Cliven who?

MUSLIM TERRORISTS
RIGHT: Not all Muslims are terrorists, but almost all terrorists are Muslims
LEFT: Not all white people are KKK, but all KKK are white people ( White supremacists have killed more than 200 people in the US over the last decade.; Muslims 2)

BENGHAZI
RIGHT: fOuR AMerIcaNs dIEd iN BeNGhAzi FOUR On 9-11-2011!!!!
LEFT: 3000 died on the original 9-11 due to the incompetence of Bush’s administration, 3200 over a lie in Iraq, 11 incinerated in the Deepwater oil disaster and no one has gone to jail. No, wait, I’m only getting started…

GLOBAL WARMING
RIGHT: If there is global warming, how come it was so cold in Intercourse Pennsylvania (There really is an Intercourse Pennsylvania!)
LEFT: While you were sleeping, the Egyptians and Columbus proved the world was round.inter

GAY MARRIAGE AND THE BIBLE
RIGHT: Says right there in the bible ‘bout gays bein’ ‘gainst god…
LEFT: Reading cliff notes again, I see. There is far more in the bible in the bible about tending your own garden, minding your own business, greed, gluttony and selling your daughter into slavery being okay

WELFARE AND THE FREE MARKET
RIGHT: We can’t afford welfare, but we need to let the free market work for business!
LEFT: The US spent $500 billion on welfare for the poor. It spent in 2013 $576.4 billion on giveaways to corporations; local, state and federal combined-double that for tax forgiveness. Who are the real welfare queens? Sounds like even the free market doesn’t believe in the free market!

VOTING
TOO MANY AMERICANS: Voting changes nothing!
LEFT: A car dealership offers a warranty for your new car, however, that warranty doesn’t cover misuse or neglect

Add a few of your own. I’ve got more. Call into the show Mondays-Fridays from 9-11am in Chicago on AM1680 QR radio, www.que4.org and feel free to share your suggestions, or argue with mine. Bring it, I’m ready.

WC Turck is the author of 4 books, including the critically acclaimed Bosnian War Memoir “Everything for Love,” and Broken: One soldier’s unexpected journey home, at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. Turck wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart: A Revolutionary Christmas Carol” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He can be heard weekdays from 9-11am, and 1-3pm on the Revolution and Beer show with partner and cohost BL Murray.

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To The Last Drop: Will Illinois run out of Water over Fracking?

It would seem fundamental to any reasonable assessment from an industry requiring substantial amounts of a critical resource to first be certain that there is a supply chain for that resource, and what are the constraints in accessing or over-using that resource. In a media-driven culture framing everything in terms of marketplace dynamics, and which exalts the pre-eminent efficiency of private business over government inefficiency, it seems odd that the key component to an industry’s efficiency is ignored by the industry, or worse, simply assumed to be in adequate supply. Hardly fits the narrative of the pretense of the greater efficiency of private business. Sort of like invading a country without taking along fuel because it is assumed there will be enough when the army gets there.

The resource I refer to is water. For fracking companies the availability of the very substance they use to extract gas from the earth should be fundamental. It should be, but it is not. And that should inform the debate, but it hasn’t. And, at a minimum, it should call into question the poor state of planning by the fracking industry, though nobody seems to have pointed that out yet, until now.

In any industry data should drive the conversation, but the climate of debate is no longer about the quality of the data, but instead is about who controls the data and how it is controlled. From the start of the so-called debate on fracking in Illinois, truth or any semblance of truth has been sorely lacking both from the industry and from the Illinois State government.

So who owns the data on fracking in Illinois? Certainly it isn’t freely available to the people who might then construct reasonable and informed decisions. The activists and regular citizens concerned about their communities, their health and the health of their children are repeatedly denied Freedom of Information Act, FOIA, requests by the IDNR, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. That proves that the IDNR has become more than a public service organization that should transcend party politics and economic pressure, and is now a function of the industry itself. It is easier to acquire documents dealing with national security through FOIA requests to the federal government than it is to illuminate the basic facts about Illinois’ fracking policy. The only available data, ironically, as incomplete as it is, comes from the industry itself.

It is very easy to believe that the availability of water in Illinois represents a near infinite resource. We are blessed with access to Lake Michigan, the iconic Mississippi river, lakes, ponds and an average yearly precipitation amount of around 46 inches, bringing some 60 billion gallons of water to Illinois. That much precipitation seems at first a fantastic number, but that number is simply a starting point. Quickly that 60 billion gallons begins to reveal its finite and precious nature as a sizable portion is lost to evaporation almost immediately. Still more becomes locked into the soil and plants. Another substantial portion runs off to lakes and rivers and streams, and more replenishes the aquifers which are truly the life’s blood of our state. This says nothing of current human use. 60 billion gallons falling on the state does not mean 60 billion gallons of accessible or useable water.

The amount of waters locked up in aquifers is unimportant, because they must continuously be replenished. It is a balanced system, and disruptions to that balance must be weighed carefully to prevent a dangerous imbalance. No such research has taken place either by the industry or by the IDNR. The unguarded and unrestricted use of water creates potentially disastrous consequences. For the free marketplace people, it is like borrowing continuously against the principle. Eventually the principle evaporates. Pun intended.

Is this the future of Illinois? a rusting ship sits high and dry in the Ural Sea, the product of a blatant disregard of the environment.

Is this the future of Illinois? a rusting ship sits high and dry in the Ural Sea, the product of a blatant disregard of the environment.

Now, there are two key data points regarding the wells. The first is how many wells, and second where will they be concentrated? The 60 billion gallon number is an average statewide. The top 20% of the state is a bit wetter than the middle 30%. The heaviest rainfall, or roughly 50% of the overall rainfall falls in the southern half, or about 30 billion gallons. Again, this is an average. This year might be a bit higher, an aberration in a string of drier and hotter than normal years. For our logistics friends in the fracking camp, that is critical. They need that water to produce profits, right?

Why is that so important? The state of Illinois refuses to tell its citizens how many fracking wells there will be. All that we have to go on is an industry leak that says they intend to turn Illinois into a Midwest version of the Bakken fields of North Dakota, which would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-20 thousand wells and that they would be concentrated in the southern portion of the state. The average well uses between 2 and 6 million gallons of water; water incidentally that cannot be cleaned or recycled because of radioactivity and proprietary cancer causing chemicals, we must remove that waste water from future use and availability. That represents 20-40 billion gallons on the low side and 60-120 billion gallons of water on the high side used to frack those wells.

Even at the low end of the projected water requirements for the projected 10-20 thousand wells the region would already be at or beyond the amount of water falling on southern Illinois. Even if every single drop could be gathered and utilized for fracking, that would leave little or nothing for crops, communities and even replenishing favorite fishing holes. At the high end, it overburdens the entire region, imperils the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, creates a logistical and political nightmare over massive shipping of tens of billions of gallons of water, and eradicates whole communities; the very same communities the so-called fracking boom pledged to bring thousands of jobs to. Man, irony can be a bitch.

While this is only meant to be a simple assessment, it indicates a looming crisis over water availability throughout the state and across state lines. More than that, it reveals a near criminal lapse in planning, judgment and basic business sense in the lack of consideration for supply chain basics, a flagrant disregard for the environment, and the health and safety of the citizens of Illinois. But we expect that business may run blindly in pursuit of naked profits, which is why we have government. So when industry fails in any regard there arises the necessity for correction and justice rather than the complicity and conspiracy by the government running hand in hand with industry.

Now, in closing, and to be fair some frackers are proposing to supplement water with hydrofluoric acid, combustible propane or nitrogen pulverizing the earth beneath our feet, roads and homes. That would lesson a little the burden on our water supply, but trade up for a whole separate set of problems. What could go wrong? But then that’s another article…

WC Turck is the author of 4 books, including the critically acclaimed Bosnian War Memoir “Everything for Love,” and Broken: One soldier’s unexpected journey home, at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. Turck wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart: A Revolutionary Christmas Carol” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He can be heard weekdays from 9-11am, and 1-3pm on the Revolution and Beer show with partner and cohost BL Murray.

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Stop The Frack Attack Threatening Our Survival

The state cuts corporations a major break on taxes, and offers them massive incentives to keep business here. However, the unemployment rate is terrible, and all working class people are being pressured to shoulder more and more of the burden for the mistakes and behavior of our politicians and business “leaders.” The banks were bailed-out, yet more and more of us are getting thrown out of our homes. The state didn’t pay in what it was supposed to on pensions. The workers paid their share, yet they are now forced to take the hit. Now you want to sell our drinking water to an in-efficient and toxic industry to prop up the dinosaur that is our current energy model. I find this whole situation disgusting.

Here’s a sample letter from MoveOn.org, feel free to steal this and do your own. We don’t endorse them.

Subject: Governor Quinn: Extend the First Notice Period for the IDNR rules for fracking, and immediately convene a state-sponsored Council to oversee the rewriting of these rules.

Hi,

Many residents around the state who have been following this fracking issue, and some of the larger environmental organizations as well, such as the IL Sierra Club, are extremely disappointed with the new rules for fracking recently published by the IDNR. We must take action for the protection of Illinois residents and our environment from the many dangers of fracking.

That’s why I signed a petition to Joint Comm. on Administrative Rules and Governor Pat Quinn.

Will you sign this petition? Click here:

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/gov-quinn-extend-the?source=s.icn.em.cp&r_by=9658218

Thanks!

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Revolution and Beer TV Show Episode 1

We talk how to enjoy beer, hydraulic fracturing, and alternative energy at Chicago’s Hopleaf. Our guests were Michael Roper, of the Hopleaf; Dr. Lora Chamberlin, of Don’t Frack Illinois; and David Funcheon, of 101 Celsius.

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