Take a cue from the Hong Kong protesters on fair elections…and third parties.

Wonder why they are protesting in Hong Kong? If you listen to the US media you may or may not get the full story, or any of the story for that matter. See, protests about freedom and free elections are potentially dangerous to the status quo in this country. The media is the arbiter of the status quo. The media here is framing it as students, but like Occupy and the environmental movement, every generation is represented.

The protest is over their right in Hong Kong to choose their own candidates, rather than have some oligarchical politburo narrow the choices while guaranteeing the “right” person remains in charge. Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens have rejected that manipulation and perversion of democracy and demand the basic and fundamental right to decide whom represents them best. Think the United States is somehow better? Guess again.

The truth is, the democratic-communist hybrid system in China, for all its corruption and old guard hegemony, is absolutely more transparent and honest than ours. We talk democracy but hardly practice it at all. When was the last time you had a real hand in choosing a presidential, or even a congressional candidate? the media, corporations and government apparatchiks maintain a well-crafted illusion of a democratic process. Talk radio makes you feel like your voice is valuable. The only nominal wild card in the party A or party B, manufactured, marketed and paid for candidates is which of the two banal cookie cutter figureheads will prevail the day after the election. But as we have seen with media attempts to brazenly manipulate turn out, and with republican efforts to disenfranchise millions of American voters, there are evolving efforts to help eliminate even that variable.

But choice, real choice? That has been stolen from you to such an extent that most Americans simply play the two party game without even realizing an alternative. This country must move to a multi-party system or risk sliding into something our founding fathers feared openly. They eschewed national political parties, and feared a two party system would pervert and subvert the constitution, and with that our basic rights and freedoms. But alternative third, fourth, fifth…parties are routinely marginalized, ignored, barred from debates, refused coverage by the media and kept off ballots. If you think we’ve seen too many Bush’ or Clintons already, if you are a free market person then you must admit the lack of competition is stagnating and corrupting the current system.

You wouldn’t tolerate only being able to choose Coke or Pepsi at the market, especially if you knew there were hundreds of other choices out there, but the store refused to let them in the door, and went to far as preventing all other stores from selling them. Why tolerate that purposeful narrowing of choice in something as eternal, historic and life and death as an election? That’s what Occupy was clambering for and that’s why they are in the streets facing a Chinese army and government with a bloody history of reprisals against those who challenge the status quo.

Next time you cheer the authorities here for beating and pepper-spraying protesters, think of China. Those aren’t mindless communist robot soldiers, they are usually kids taken from the poorest regions in the country and thrown into a position in which they have to choose between assailing fellow citizens or losing the only paying job keeping their family alive back home. The US system has done that with police, placing them in the unfair and untenable position of being the blunt force weapon of the oligarchs. We should take a cue from the protesters in Hong Kong who are focused fully on the long term of being an agent in their own futures and fates, rather than simply being the production pool for corporations, and the reactionary tool for government.

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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Quigley and the TPP: Towing the party line.

It was a simple request. Revolution and Beer and Q4 radio in Chicago simply wanted clarification from candidates in Illinois’ 5th congressional district about the upcoming vote on the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, or TPP. The Obama administration, in a political slight of hand decided against putting the issue to a vote in congress before the mid-term elections in November. Democrats have also avoided any public debate on the issue. That should give voters pause.

The delay, presumably, is to protect democrat candidates facing challenges in their home districts. But critical issues cannot be left to political expediency and competition between the two major political parties. There are just too many important issues facing the nation that cannot be left to the folly of party politics. But democrats and republicans alike seem to be hiding details of the TPP, which still remain secret, despite a number of leaks, from the American people.

One of those contentious races is in the 5th Illinois district. Entrenched democrat incumbent Mike Quigley is facing a renewed challenge from Nancy Wade, a Green Party candidate focusing on reforms. The 5th district is reflective of the political mood in the nation. While constituents run the gamut from Left to Right, the district regularly skews strongly to the Left and progressive side in elections, due to a strongly middle class sentiment imbued by a strong sense of patriotism. Republicans have not fared well in the district, which runs from the near north side of the city west to the suburbs, including Elmhurst and Oakbrook. In the last election the Republican Party only fielded a token candidate.

There are indications that the democrats hold on the district, which was once represented by Rahm Emanuel, may be slipping as well. The reason is a perception that the party has taken its constituents for granted. TPP is a critical case in point. Quigley, who helped stoke tensions in Ukraine over oil and gas concerns, appears to be dutifully supporting policies to the detriment of Ukraine, and a sizable Ukrainian constituency in the 5th, in a backdoor scheme by the administration to sneak passage of the XL Keystone pipeline. That vote has also been delayed until the November elections.

Simply, the questions reflected discussions we had on our radio show, with voters and with activists, such as, does Representative Quigley opposed to in favor of the TPP? What reasons would he have, given the amount of information concerning to his constituents on this issue? Given the amount of time it has been in the public discourse, what is his reason for not holding a position on TPP? In that case, when would he expect to communicate a position to his constituents? What are Rep. Quigley’s positions or position regarding fast track on the vote? Does he have a personal position on any specific aspect or issue regarding fast track or TPP? What are his thoughts, concerns with how TPP might affect positively or negatively other regional or global trade agreements? Are there concerns regarding the agreement for oversight, loss of jobs, economic impact, US sovereignty issues or trade imbalances that might be created? What steps, positions and actions is the Congressman prepared take to satisfy genuine concerns over those issues by his constituents?

It has been nearly 3 months and not a word from Quigley’s office. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that he follows the party line, rather than the interests and wishes of his constituents. That might explain why district offices are located in the city, well out of reach of all of his suburban constituents, and why the congressman is nearly impossible to reach in person. That seems to be going around in Washington these days, on both sides of the aisle, and it has cost some notable politician’s their jobs. That is called voting, by the way, a handy little tool for replacing politicians who show a greater interest in their party than in their constituents.

Voters, you have choices. No one and no party should take you for granted. That indicates arrogance, and sets them up to believe that they know better than you. They do not, and when they refuse to respond about serious and critical issues to our nation and our families, it is an indication they have exhausted their usefulness.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/182406862/IL-Who-Is-Behind-The-Illinois-Policy-Institute
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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The obvious Burger King joke in the whole corporate tax dodge thing

Everyone missed the obvious Burger King joke in the whole corporate tax dodge thing. A new rant from the FILTHY PUNDIT(He ought to have his mouth washed out with soap) Politics, way over the %$#@ing top!………………..I’ll get to that in a minute, but first a shout out to economist Stephen Moore at the Rightwing propaganda mill, Heritage Foundation. In their fevered perversion of truth about corporate tax rates in the United States Moore once again proved that his economics degree must have come wrapped in a whopper. Burger King is buying Canadian Donut chain Tim Horton’s and may take its HQ to Canada to lessen their tax burden but not have to pay for the privilege of getting wealthy in America or contributing to the financial health of the nation. The corporate tax rate is just a few % above Canada’s, but the effective AVERAGE tax rate is up North is about 20%. Burger King essentially gets to lay off half most of their accountants. Most US Corporations pay little or no tax directly, costing about 17 billion to taxpayers. We pissed away $60 billion in Russian trade sanctions, but the tax inversion scam is a quickening trend in a backdoor attack against the average working class and poor people. It’s a drain to keep rich fucks even fucking richer. In fact, subsidies, gifts and tax forgiveness in 2014 alone, nationwide will amount to more than ONE TRILLION DOLLARS. Walgreens, much to Moore’s chagrin, rethought a move to Switzerland in a tax inversion scheme to save $4 billion. When Sen. Dick Durbin reminded Walgreens that they were free to move to save $4 billion on the tax side, they’d lose $15.7 billion in Medicaid and Medicare subsidies. For the brilliant Mr. Moore, that’s called math. Truth is, the pressure is building strongly against corporate giveaways by the public. FOX news says it’s all about the marketplace and profits, and the market should decide, then why the fuck are they getting government money or help or credit in any fucking way? Sink or swim, bitches! That’s the marketplace, right? Instead the US bought and paid for gov. gives money to profitable companies? Right! As for Burger King? Here’s the joke. The downside of Burger King buying Canadian donut giant Tim Horton’s means that nobody will be able to find a Tim Horton’s either!

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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Excerpt from my new book “Shoot Down, and the real story behind America’s intervention in Ukraine

The Maidan Square protests in the winter and spring of 2014 were transformative to Ukraine’s political, cultural and economic fabric, and one thing was fully evident from the start: Russia and the United States were in it as adversaries from the start. In truth, despite the bravery and passion of the vast majority of anti-government protesters and activists on both sides were being manipulated. The proxies of Russia and the United States were extremists who co-opted events and who encouraged violence, drawing the protest in Maidan from an initiative against political corruption and Russian interference in Ukrainian politics towards civil chaos seemingly constructed for the benefit of two antagonistic and historically competitive powers. Ukraine, in truth had little or no opportunity for reconciliation, coalition, negotiation or an exploration for charting the country’s future course. 19_CRASH3_r_W
Reaction to the protests opened the door to the possibility of exploitation. It seems clear that, at least from available evidence that both the United States, Russia and to a lesser degree the EU found ample opportunity. Public sentiment regarding the protests was sharply divided, with the country almost evenly split between supporting and not supporting the protests. By March Ukrainians supporting the Euromaidan protests approached 60%. But the population of Ukraine, including ethnic Russians in the East and in Crimea among the protesters was not as evenly represented. On February 6th a Kiev Post poll found that some 55% were from the western portion of the country, 24% from central Ukraine and 21% from the eastern portion of the nation.

The protests themselves were really rather benign and straightforward. What began in the late Autumn of 2013 over a refusal by Yankovych to sign association with the European Union. As part of that agreement the EU expected democratic reforms, including the controversial imprisonment of Yulia Tymoshenko for abuse of power with regards to gas deals between Ukraine and Russia. The proceedings were suspect from the start. According to a report in Germany’s Deutsche Welle, there were allegations of a young and inexperienced judge being appointed by Yanukovych, setting off a firestorm amid the negotiations between the EU and Ukraine. After clashes with police and escalating measures meant to end the protests the battle lines were drawn between the government and protesters.

From the start both Russia and the United States were deeply invested and more in the events unfolding in Ukraine. Audiences in both countries and Europe were fed alternative narratives on the protests, while behind the scenes not so subtle manipulation continued apace. Russia stopped the import of goods from Ukraine, a significant blow to the economy of Ukraine. By the time the protests began in November 2013 Ukrainian industrial production had slid by almost 6%, coupled with a nearly 2% fall from the previous year.

Seeing an opportunity, Ukrainian billionaire businessman and Foreign and Trade minister, Petro Poroshenko was boastful about the role his television network played in the protests. On December 11th, the same day Russia countered an EU loan offer of $10 billion USD with $15 billion without the EU’s required regulation changes, Poroshenko’s network broadcast and interview with the US State Department’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland and EU diplomat Catherine Ashton.

Mrs. Nuland was the wife of Robert Kagan, it should be noted, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, which advises and makes recommendations on foreign policy to congress, diplomats and the president of the United States. It was here, in 1947 that the term “containment,” with regards to American policy towards the Soviet Union was coined; a policy that seems to still be a component of the relationship between Russia and the US. Kagan also co-founded The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) with conservative commentator former Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations. PNAC advocates a position of prominence with the US as the world’s preeminent superpower, and was influential in America’s invasion of Iraq in 2004, ostensibly to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein. It was a PNAC member, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, who was a driving architect behind that war, and who, in a PNAC paper titled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” infamously wrote of the need for a ”catastrophic and catalyzing event— like a new Pearl Harbor.”

What that reveal is a systemic and institutionalized perspective with regard to narrow national interests. That narrow perspective was evident on both the American and Russian sides. Russia and the West abandoned diplomacy and started playing the angles. The angles all point to oil and gas.

But it appears that Europe was less fixated on wrestling for strategic resources and more concerned with stability, particularly as the world emerged grudgingly from a severe and prolonged global recession. Struggling economies like Greece and Moldova would severely impacted, their anemic recoveries threatened, halted or reversed. While falling on the side of Ukrainian sovereignty and democracy Europe refrained from the aggressive momentum of the United States, and often seemed to resist that momentum. Adding additional weight was the specter of a replay of the 2009 gas dispute between Ukraine and Russia which cut off badly needed Russian gas to Europe, which was resolved in an agreement between Putin and Tymoshenko, leading to her imprisonment on abuse of power charges.

The United States appeared to be losing patience over European intransigence. In early February a conversation between Nuland and US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt was leaked to the media. There is a smaller contextual concern over the recording, part of a larger and broader discussion, which was obviously intended to embarrass the Americans, but the larger context remains, reproduced here in part:

Nuland: I think Yats(enyuk) is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the… what he needs is Klitsch (Kiev Mayor and one of three opposition leaders Vitaly Klitschko) and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. I just think Klitsch going in… he’s going to be at that level working for Yatsenyuk, it’s just not going to work.
Pyatt: Yeah, no, I think that’s right. OK. Good. Do you want us to set up a call with him as the next step?
Nuland: My understanding from that call – but you tell me – was that the big three were going into their own meeting and that Yats was going to offer in that context a… three-plus-one conversation or three-plus-two with you. Is that not how you understood it?
Pyatt: No. I think… I mean that’s what he proposed but I think, just knowing the dynamic that’s been with them where Klitschko has been the top dog, he’s going to take a while to show up for whatever meeting they’ve got and he’s probably talking to his guys at this point, so I think you reaching out directly to him helps with the personality management among the three and it gives you also a chance to move fast on all this stuff and put us behind it before they all sit down and he explains why he doesn’t like it.
Nuland: OK, good. I’m happy. Why don’t you reach out to him and see if he wants to talk before or after.
Pyatt: OK, will do. Thanks.
Nuland: OK… one more wrinkle for you Geoff. [A click can be heard] I can’t remember if I told you this, or if I only told Washington this, that when I talked to Jeff Feltman [United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs] this morning, he had a new name for the UN guy Robert Serry did I write you that this morning?
Pyatt: Yeah I saw that.
Nuland: OK. He’s now gotten both Serry and [UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and to have the UN help glue it and, you know, Fuck the EU.
Pyatt: No, exactly. And I think we’ve got to do something to make it stick together because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude, that the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it. And again the fact that this is out there right now, I’m still trying to figure out in my mind why Yanukovych (garbled) that. In the meantime there’s a Party of Regions faction meeting going on right now and I’m sure there’s a lively argument going on in that group at this point. But anyway we could land jelly side up on this one if we move fast. So let me work on Klitschko and if you can just keep… we want to try to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing. The other issue is some kind of outreach to Yanukovych but we probably regroup on that tomorrow as we see how things start to fall into place.
Nuland: So on that piece Geoff, when I wrote the note [US vice-president’s national security adviser Jake] Sullivan’s come back to me VFR [direct to me], saying you need [US Vice-President Joe] Biden and I said probably tomorrow for an atta-boy and to get the deets [details] to stick. So Biden’s willing.

That winter, amid Nuland’s controversial remark, 44 year old Hunter Biden, son of then Vice President Joe Biden was in discussions with the Ukrainian gas firm Burisma Holdings Ltd., based out of Limassol Cyprus, according to Businessweek, engages in a broad spectrum of gas and oil exploration and production. In May of that year it was announced that Biden had been appointed to Burisma’s board, which drew attention and immediate criticism around the globe. The timing was certainly notable and advantageous to US energy interests which had been deeply invested in Ukraine for some time. The U.S. energy firm Vanco won a contract to extract gas from the Black Sea in 2007. Initially the deal was approved by Yanukovych, but then later cancelled by his predecessor, Yulia Timoshenko.

And while the Obama administration insisted there was nothing untoward in Biden’s appointment it is curious that Burisma is controlled by a close confidant of Viktor Yanukovych, Wall Street Journal, and former government official, Nicholai Zlochevsky. In a press conference following the appointment, White house Press Secretary Jay Carney said that “Hunter Biden and other members of the Biden family are obviously private citizens, and where they work does not reflect an endorsement by the administration or by the vice president or president.” Carney added that there was no connection between Biden’s appointment to Burisma and US Policy.

While there were no accusations of illegality, for an ethical and perhaps even moral standpoint it raises strong concerns. But the United States, which has often been criticized for unfairly furthering its economic interests in pursuit of its ever growing energy demands, was playing a duplicitous game. The issue here was one of access, and that multiple lines of access directly between energy strategy, the Obama administration and Ukraine can be clearly and distinctly distinguished. Biden, the son of a sitting American Vice President was at the table of Ukraine’s energy concern in a time of war, with access to the highest levels of power in both governments. Meanwhile a second American also joined Burisma. His name, Devon Archer, a former partner of Biden’s at Washington D.C. based equity firm Rosemont Seneca partners. The company is half owned by Rosemont Capital a private equity firm founded by Devon Archer and Secretary of State John Kerry’s stepson, Christopher Heinz.

“The primary problem here is the fact that Hunter Biden has set up a financial arrangement with someone who might have business pending before this administration,” Craig Holman, an ethics expert with Public Citizen, a Washington-based government watchdog group told the Associated Press.
Furthermore, the appearance of an incestuous relationship between Ukrainian energy concerns and the administration risked damaging American credibility with regard to the growing crisis. It appeared to be only the latest and most aggressive step in a rush to secure and control gas deposits in the region.

Adding fuel to that flame was the deal between Kiev and the US-based Chevron in 2013 to extract Shale gas in Western Ukraine, and a failed deal by ExxonMobil to extract gas in the Black Sea. In the United States there was hardly any mention of hunter Biden’s appointment.

In June 2014 Hunter Biden, sporting an American flag lapel pin attended the inauguarion of Petro Poroshenko as Ukraine’s new president, telling the new leader, billionaire and businessman that “there is a window for peace and you know as well as anyone that it will not stay open indefinitely … America is with you.”

The announcement of targeted sanctions by the United States seemed intended in disrupting Russian efforts in exploiting exploration and drilling. It comes as quite a coincidence that the coveted and embattled eastern regions also boast substantial gas reserves. Among the companies holding permits to develop gas fields in the Dneiper-Donetsk region is Burisma. The embattled city of Slavyansk rests upon the Yuzivska shale gas deposit, estimated at more than 4 trillion cubic meters, which In May 2012, Shell, owned jointly by great Britain and the Netherlands won the competition to develop. 40 miles to the southeast lies the field where MH-17 will ultimately come to rest.

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

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

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