The Paris Judgment

Paris was a turning point on Friday. Certainly this will affect the economic debate in the US presidential election. As I wrote back in May and June, election predictions too far out are dangerous, as they can turn on a dime. The West and the US will edge a bit closer to fascism paraded as security. Europe’s ultra-right wing will be invigorated, and while the West, particularly NATO and the US will appear to take a more aggressive stance against ISIS and its affiliates, like yesterday’s airstrike by US warplanes in Libya, that is merely a matter of competition now between the US and Russia over oil and gas in the Mideast. The US is simply attempting to keep pace and compete with Russia.

Following the French terrorist incident Friday in which at least 129 were killed France found resolve with Russia, paving a new boost in prestige for Russia. Russia, smarting from an attack on an airliner two weeks ago in Egypt is benefitting from a resurgence of nationalism. It is likely, even predictable that a new more powerful rightwing, anti-immigrant and aggressively violent, will grow to prominence across Europe and Russia. This comes at a time when Europe is struggling to cope with hundreds of thousands of predominantly Syrian refugees. The timing of these attacks is hardly coincidental.

The attacks in Paris by ISIS is a rebuke of a renewed assault, now including Russia, but they are also a calculated political move. Europe is already polarizing in the wake of the attacks. That means two forces are attempting to radicalize immigrants and Muslims in Europe as a resurgent rightwing drives division through hate and opportunism. The refugees lay squarely in the middle of that equation. The attacks will also slow or stop progress in addressing the refugee crisis just as winter begins. That will mean a rise in desperation that will drive more violence potentially.

In this country whatever initiative Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton may have had will evaporate quickly as fears rise, valid or not, of possible terror attacks within the US going into the holiday season. The narrative will be on security and guns, not economy. The attacks immediately undercut the so-called million student march on pressing economic issues here. Rightwing commentators have already begun describing the #BlackLivesMatter effort as terrorism. This weekend would be dictator Donald Trump capitalized ghoulishly by criticizing the French for gun control laws. He is just the first of what will be a gleeful orgy on the right concerning guns. they will point to France as an example against any sort of reasonable gun legislation.

In fact, French citizens are allowed to own guns. In this country there has been a call for screenings based upon mental illness. French law requires competency exams by a doctor annually, along with a regular check up. The weapons used in this weeks attacks are smuggled into the country illegally. French gangs receive many combat style weapons from the former Yugoslavia where in the aftermath of war unregistered guns still proliferate. It is the same issue facing Chicago’s violence with straw purchases from gun stores ringing the south and west borders of Chicago. One of Friday’s gunmen, Omar Ismail Mostefai, born in France, was a petty criminal with access to illegal weapons before becoming radicalized. The suddenness of attacks and the nature of those attacks would have neutralized any would-be pistol packing party-goer in a dark crowded, loud and confused environment. Furthermore, the attackers were already resolved to die.

The truth is, gun laws in France work. There were just 665 murders in 2012 in France, with a per capita rate of 1 compared with 15,000 and a per capita rate of 5 for the US. The United States has FAA rules and licensing for aircraft, but that did not prevent 9-11, so by the gun lobby’s logic we should close the FAA. To drive a car Americans must have a valid license, which doesn’t stop car thieves.

ISIS is calculating and the West is still reacting blindly. More security undermines democracy and civil liberties. They are shrewdly sowing discord in target countries. Attacks and threats of violence driven by FOX and the right in this country from these attacks will increase pressure on American Muslim and immigrant communities, exactly what ISIS hopes to achieve. They want unrest and division in Europe by enlivening radical rightwing groups and politicians and by polarizing normally reasonable communities. In the US, the Paris attacks fit perfectly to the Republican effort to polarize whites by sowing fear from immigrants and Muslims, since they have all but lost Hispanic, and Black voters.

It remains to be seen how this will turn out. Given the level of narrative and its tolerance by the American people, that does not bode well for civil liberties, the election, civility and democracy in America, in Europe and beyond. Put this one in the win column for ISIS. This was an attack on social and community fault lines, which just became wider and more dangerous. Just like Osama bin Laden and September 11, 2001, the attack was on the crumbling vestiges of democracy and civil society.

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JFK should have been assassinated in Benghazi

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Inside Outside

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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DARK HORSE: Bernie Sanders 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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