Hate laughing darkly? Don’t read this

A good friend, who is as crazy about politics as I am asked why I and Que4 radio did not cover any of the Republican presidential debates. Before I answer that, a reality check on some numbers. FOX News, which carried the debate, is forced through various cable deals automatically on 82 million homes in America. 13 million tuned in for this one, 10 million fewer than the first debate. In fact, despite a blitz of coverage on talk radio and the corporate press, the debates are properly characterized as the Anrea Doria of politics. Those numbers also credit FOX even if someone accidentally lands on the network. “Sweetie, I’m trying to find Diners Drive-ins and Dives and I’m on FOX again!”

To center those numbers a bit more, the episode when Den served Angie with divorce papers in BBC One’s East Enders drew 30 million. 40 million in Portugal, a whopping 85% of viewers caught the soccer game between Portugal and the Netherlands. In fact, the telenovela Torre de Babel in Portugal routinely gets double the viewers of this last debate. Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death, arguably more informative than the debate gets 16 million. here in the greatest nation on earth, MASH scored 125 million for its finale.

But the reason neither I nor Que4 Radio will ever cover the Republican debate is twofold. First, we don’t cover it for the same reason we wouldn’t cover video of a man with no lips attempting to eat an ice cream cone, or the funny faces a dog makes while trying to eat peanut butter, a little people mud wrestling contest or a conversation between flatulence connoisseurs (Its all about the layers).

The second part is that Que4 supports and defends diversity, dignity and respect for all people, and a realization of the broadest possible interpretations and manifestations of personal liberty. we champion our brothers and sisters of every race, religion, gender and sexual identity by standing and shouting against oppression, and that is diametrically opposed to every breath and utterance of every of every single candidate on that stage.


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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Shaming Jesus

We hear all the time from the right how they speak for Jesus when again and again it becomes a do as I say not as I do scenario. At some point you must ask yourself if they are simply invoking the name to keep you under control, that is, shaming you into compliance with crafted and concealed deals and policies, cloaked in religion that are meant simply to provide a few with greater power, privilege and security at the expense of the rest of us. The refugee catastrophe, which Revolution and Beer has chronicled and followed for several years now, is a case in terribly stark and tragic point.

The crisis now in Europe’s heart reached a current peak this week when Hungary closed its border to tens of thousands of refugees(Migrants is an insult to the desperate plight of these people) were driven back with truncheons, water cannons and tear gas as they tried to cross the border. Note, that none of these people have food, water or shelter or any understanding of how they and their families will survive day to day. Hungary was refused barbed-wire by a German anti-capitalist company-Sarcasm Alert here.

Interestingly Serbia, not known over the last two decades for a particular love of Muslims was gloriously receptive and merciful to these poor people. Many thousands flooded across the border into neighboring Croatia where there was an outpouring of support, love and help from average people. In talking with people from the Balkans, many of whom survived the cascade of wars in the breakup of the former Yugoslavia it seems the crisis awakened memories for Croats and Serbs of their own nation’s recent struggles. Where religion once seemed to define untold horrific and barbaric acts there is now a common humanity and the understanding of the necessity, the moral imperative to help someone in need.

Renata Ivosh, mother and grandmother, survivor of the siege of Sarajevo and a refugee from Bosnia went with her daughter to the train station in Zagreb with cookies and juice for Syrian refugees. The family, living in a tiny basement apartment makes less than $10,000 a year for a family of 4. A farmer who survived the destruction of Vukovar in 1991 hoped his farm to hundreds of passing refugees, feeding and sheltering them. Contrast that to former Illinois Representative Joe Walsh, with a net worth estimated at well over a million dollars decried on his radio show that there is no money to help even a few thousand refugees headed to this nation of nearly 400 million. He rebuked the Pope’s suggestions that catholic parishes open their doors, saying it is what Jesus would do. Last week Walsh actually said that in that case “Jesus was wrong!”

So the question is, is it the words or the deeds? Who claims to speak for Jesus and who is actually doing the work he described in help the least of his brethren? The answer may shock you. The answer speaks directly to much of the ills our nation faces. The answer might empower you more than you ever thought possible, to the detriment of frauds and used car salesmen like Walsh, Trump and Hillary.


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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Punking the Commie Pope

Being a liberal means never having to apologize to the pope. Recall during the election in 2004 and 2008, we were told by the Right that if we didn’t listen to the Pope, the last one who grew up as a Nazi Youth-no se3riously-about abortion and contraception then we weren’t true Catholics. A few even went so far as to label pro-choice Catholics as heretics. Right out of the inquisition. What was that high horse position regarding the violent and deranged Muslims needing a reformation. During Christianity’s so-called Reformation the inquisition was still torturing and imprisoning tens of thousands of innocents, and the Pope in Rome was still presiding over the annual carnival with wonderful events such as the running of the cripples and Jews at the end of sharp pikes. Ah, but who doesn’t love a carnival.

As another aside, by the way, Christianity didn’t reform, even with humanism. Christianity was reassigned to a social position rather than a political and ruling position. Only then were there public and serious thoughts about universal human rights, efforts to end slavery, the vote, secular constitutions and the opportunity for ever dumb ass hick to get on talk radio and regale us with their Duck Dynasty wisdom. For all the Wikipedia historians out there, that wasn’t Humanism. Humanism was still a servent of Christian doctrine.

But what really gets me is the willingness, with all their piety and catholic and Christian flag waving, like Kim Davis, or political self-promoter Mike Huckabee or a caller and thousands of listeners to the Michael Savage show to throw this new Pope under the bus. These holier than thou, every baby’s breath is perfume gold Catholics are so gay married to their own personal hate, bigotry and religious team sports that they’ll happily side with a nationalist Jew like Savage mercilessly attacking the Pope. They are so lost to hate and idiocy that the same pundits, such as Savage, telling Catholics they were going against their religion for not following in lock step with the pope over abortion endure and indeed join in calling the pope a socialist or worse when he dares speak of mercy for Syrian and Libyan refugees or about climate change.

As an atheist, and recovering Catholic, nothing the pope says means any more to me than anyone else.I am just amazed at the hypocrisy. Certainly the pious Catholics only believe that God speaks through the Pope as long as he espouses what they already believe. So, why complicate things? Why not just cut out the middle man and keep your Sundays free for the important things in life, swimming down at the quarry, landscaping around the trailer, betting with the neighbors on which tooth will come out the next time you are fine dining on generic pop tarts, walking the three-legged dog you accidently shot one day while cleaning the shotgun, house painting over the rust on the pickup, watching the kids run naked through a sprinkler while wistfully retorting, “they grow up so fat, I can’t believe they’re 30 already!”
. Your real religion is Nascar and chicken wings. You are wasting energy and allowing someone else to take the credit each time you hide behind religion. Shout it out loud, and shout it proudly…”I AM A DICK!” Then on Monday, you can go back to your job as a county clerk, Kim Davis.


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-Black Lives Matter, for some. (Updated)

It was an outdoor event for Bernie Sanders in Seattle. Just as Sanders began his speech before several thousand supporters activists for BlackLivesMatter overtook the stage. Sanders retreated, abandoning the stage to the activists. Amid boos and shouts the activists demanded a moment of silence for Michael Brown, killed by police in Ferguson Missouri a year to the day earlier. Calling Sanders supporters a bunch of white racists, the activists were a gift the Clinton campaign. But what if they were something else? What if they represented an attack by Clinton on Sanders? There is a history that supports that theory.

Bernie Sanders is a distraction for Hillary Clinton. On August 5th it became only too clear to her campaign that the distraction had in fact become a threat. He has real momentum, as a virtually every poll of likely voters found Sanders and Clinton in a statistical dead heat. More alarming for the Clinton camp is that those numbers show Sanders’ numbers continuing to rise as confidence in Mrs. Clinton continues to fall. The attitude of the Clinton camp is that she will be the democratic party’s nominee, and major forces are aligning behind Clinton to ensure that inevitability. The Clinton campaign’s number one task is to deliver a decisive blow to Sanders.

Sanders’ Achilles heel is his lack of recognition within the Black community. It represents a substantial weakness, as the Black vote is critical going into the primaries, but more so for the general. Hillary lags behind and even is perceived as insincere on economic issues. In the past she courted banks and financial interests, while Sanders has been consistent about those institutions and their legacy in bringing about the financial collapse of 2007-2008, which decimated millions of middle class and poor families. Sanders has helped to drive her to a more public position of holding Wall street accountable, even while she still courts those same interests.

The facture point is in the BlackLivesMatter movement. That movement has succeeded in highlighting the singular disparity in police shootings of Blacks versus any other racial or ethnic group in the country. A Black man is seven times more likely to be shot by police than a white person. Getting to a proper comprehension of that issue poses challenges to many in the white community who have no cultural reference to the Black experience in America. Martin O’Malley found that out abruptly at a campaign stop in Arizona when interrupted by a black lives matter activist when he proclaimed that “all lives matter.” Sanders was forced off the stage at the same event. The reaction by both candidates did little to increase their profile in the Black community.

The Arizona Netroots Nation event, moderated by Jose Antonio Vargas, an undocumented immigrant, was focused on immigration, in a state in which police have pursued an anti-immigrant agenda. She is trailing Sanders in the immigration debate, adamantly opposing illegal immigration but supporting TPP and remaining silent on corporate transgressors, both of which are directly responsible for driving undocumented immigration. 2293692353_e17a771b2f

Here is the interesting part: Bernie Sanders has been the target of two high profile disruptions, covered extensively on the corporate press and on social media, as if to make the case on how poorly in touch with the Black community Sanders appears. Unlike Arizona, sanders did not immediately leave the stage until it was obvious that the protesters were not going to allow him to speak, understanding that the imagery of BlackLivesMatter protesters being dragged off the stage would have been potentially devastating. But Sanders can point to a half Century of work for race issues and neglected communities, including an arrest in Chicago over fair housing practices.

Hillary made the same mis-speak in June, following the tragedy in Charleston when she said that “All Lives Matter,” while speaking at a Black Church. Despite that she has not faced the same disruptions that have dogged Sanders in particular. Whether or not that has been a deliberate tactic to drive Sanders out of the race is yet to be seen. There is, however, a history by Hillary Clinton in this sort of all out political warfare. In that fight her campaign has always gone for the jugular. While establishment democrats and progressives are keen to warn constituents and voters against the so-called circular firing squad in criticizing fellow dems, Hillary Clinton has shown an inclination in destroying adversaries and their supporters regardless of party affiliation. This is her last shot at a run for the white house. Those long knives are apparently out and quicker than ever.

Recall, it was Hillary Clinton’s campaign who began the “birther movement” to undermine the Obama campaign. The campaign also circulated the now infamous Obama “Turban” photo, meant to portray Obama as both a non-citizen and as a Muslim as a means of playing on base nationalism and bigotry. It was attorneys acting in support of Clinton who first raised erroneous doubts regarding Obama’s eleigibility(http://canadafreepress.com/article/22345). At the end of July the Clinton campaign began its outreach to Black Lives Matter leaders led by Clinton Black outreach director LaDavia Drane. On July 25th Drane attended the Movement for Black Lives convention in Cleveland, which saw some 1400 attendees. BuzzFeed confirmed from the Clinton campaign that Drane held “one on one meetings” with key figures (http://www.buzzfeed.com/darrensands/clinton-campaign-starts-black-lives-matter-outreach#.pxv5VPoJ7). Opel Tometi, founder of the group that disrupted the Netroots event expressed an interest in meeting with Drane. This from her Twitter following the event:
opal tometi ‏@opalayo Jul 27
opal tometi retweeted Tana Hargest
Nah, Clinton camp absolutely did not meet with #BlackLivesMatter. https://t.co/pam8V0Yh8U
opal tometi added,
Tana Hargest @TanaHargest
Clinton’s black engagement dir. LaDavia Drane attended #M4BL & didn’t meet w/@aliciagarza @osope or @opalayo Huh??? https://twitter.com/katherinemiller/status/625496183360892929 …

Tometi is a tireless activist, for both immigrant and African American rights. It seems likely that two events disrupting Bernie Sanders, just as his momentum is proving a substantial threat to Clinton’s designs on the white house are coincidental, a lack of organization or the open door policy of Sanders events in welcoming everyone. By contrast Hillary maintains strict order in every environment, even roping away reporters. Hillary events, it should be noted, are virtual fortresses, usually requiring mandatory donations to get within eyesight of the candidate. Still, Sanders’ immediate reaction was to hire a new press secretary, a Black woman and active supporter of the BlackLivesMatter movement, Symone Sanders. It at least communicates an effort to squarely address issues critical to progressives and the Left.

Tia Oso, who works alongside, Opel Tometi, and who took the stage and microphone in Arizona tweeted earlier this month that, “Hillary has been getting protests. There is likely a demonstration in front of her HQ every day.” That may describe the true problem. The Black community is the battleground between Sanders and Clinton. For Sanders, the reaction by his predominantly white base may become his biggest weakness. That base was clearly upset by the Seattle disruption, sparking a social media battle that may drive away Black voters and BLM activists. In Chicago, so-called progressive radio station WCPT’ drive-time host Norman Goldman was livid about the affront to Sanders.

For Hillary it may just be hollow words to a community exhausted and cynical about hollow words and focus group responses at a time when deaths of Blacks at the hands of police seem to be on the rise rather than…

As one activists put it on Twitter, echoing a theme and strategy of oppressed peoples everywhere. “When oppression is the #statusquo, disruption is a moral duty.”

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DARK HORSE: Bernie Sanders 2016-A Tree Falls in the Woods

“I’m not dismissive,” Sanders told Meet the Press in late July. A week earlier “Black Lives Matter” activists interrupted a town hall forum featuring Sanders and fellow presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley. “I’ve been involved in the civil rights movement all of my life, and I believe that we have to deal with this issue of institutional racism.”

Sanders’ is struggling to reach Black and Latino voters. His somewhat terse response to protesters at the Netroots Nation gathering in Phoenix didn’t help win many converts. Hillary Clinton, anxiously eyeing Sanders looming in her rear view mirror quickly seized the initiative before an audience of 400 at the Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia, South Carolina that the US needs to confront a history of systemic racism.

“I think we first have to acknowledge and believe that black lives matter. This is not just a slogan, this should be a guiding principle,” she told the crowd(http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/23/politics/hillary-clinton-black-lives-matter/index.html).

The incident illustrates how the campaign, at least on the Left has evolved into predominantly domestic social and economic issues. With a world more integrated than any other time in history, and amid a slew of growing international issues, keeping the election about domestic issues alone seems unlikely. That is the reality every sitting president faces on a day to day basis, a full menu of domestic and international issues.

The Right is weak on domestic issues. Perennial meddling in social welfare programs, failure to hold banks accountable, the loss of manufacturing jobs and so-called trickle-down economics have all help reverse gains made against poverty. While those issues are paramount to the nation the insinuation of international affairs into national politics cannot be over-stated. The nation and the Bush administration discovered that painfully on September 11, 2001, in which focus on domestic issues blinded officials to looming threats overseas.

At the top of that list are a number of critical events. Earlier that summer the Chinese economy, was rocked as the stock market appeared to be in freefall, driven in part by a steep slide in commodity prices, a negative for an export economy. That has a ripple effect around the world. It also predicts all manner of internal ramifications for China, who has little or no experience in dealing with this sort of free market calamity. A one day loss in the Chinese market cost US investors an estimated $60 billion. Then there are global climate concerns, Iran post nuclear deal, Russia and Ukraine, the war in Yemen and the widening conflict with ISIS. The ISIS issue took an ominous turn at the end of July.

Looking back it seemed inevitable that Turkey would be drawn into the fight against ISIS in neighboring Syria. NATO member Turkey, who has struggled with the Kurdish PKK for decades stood by in as ISIS besieged the predominantly Kurdish Syrian border town of Kobani. The US, banned from undertaking airstrikes from Turkish bases, attacked ISIS in support of the Kurds. Reports persisted that Turkey was playing a duplicitous game attempting to appease the ISIS threat on its borders. Turkey was earlier accused of purchasing black market oil from ISIS and in paying ransoms for kidnapped Turks. ISIS drew a large share of its wealth from such schemes. On July 20th all of that changed.

That day an ISIS linked suicide bomber killed 32 and wounded 104 during a press conference in the Turkish border town of Suruc (pronounced Shur-ooch). Turkey responded quickly with large scale counter-terrorism operations against ISIS. Seizing an opportunity Turkey also attacked Kurdish targets and arrested a large number of Kurds.

The event is significant since the necessity of Kurds in the region as the primary bulwark against ISIS has given Kurdish dreams of a homeland greater legitimacy. The Kurds ostensibly would drawn their greater Kurdistan across regions of Northern Iraq, Syria and Eastern Turkey. Complicating the issue, Turkey struck at ISIS targets in Syria and Kurdish forces battling ISIS in northern Iraq. NATO was quick to support Turkey, condemning terrorism in Turkey and cautioning on a proportional response by Turkey against Kurdish separatists. That sets up a potentially dangerous and unpredictable situation on the ground in the war against ISIS, which the US and coalition partners have struggled to contain in the region. It is likely the next president will step into office dealing with a conflict more chaotic and problematic than ever.

Meanwhile, on the campaign trail Bernie Sanders drew 4500 enthusiastic supporters in Kenner Louisiana, near New Orleans, eclipsing the 1000 Republican governor Bobby Jindal drew in his home state. Mitt Romney took Louisiana in 2012 with 58% to Obama’s 40%, although Obama took 80% of the vote in New Orleans. That speech was very much about domestic issues, which is what many on the Left are demanding to hear, but at some point it will prove necessary to understand how Clinton and Sanders stand on key international issues.

The key is whether or not anyone will hear Sander’s positions, given the lack of Press coverage. It begs the question that if tens of thousands of trees cheer in the forest and CNN and FOX refuse to cover them, do they actually make a sound? That remains to be seen.


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

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DARK HORSE: Bernie Sanders 2016- Trump on a Dime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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DARK HORSE: Bernie Sander 2016. A Flawed Candidate?

No candidate, just as no person is without flaws, but understanding Sanders’ potential flaws begins to comprehend a future roadmap for the campaign. As often as not campaigns and races become about the flaws and weaknesses of the various candidates. Walter Mondale found that out while running against Ronald Reagan in 1984. Mondale became the establishment choice for the democrats after rebuffing a serious challenge from Sen. Gary Hart (D-Co.), and lesser challenges by Rev. Jessie Jackson and former astronaut and Senator from Ohio, John Glenn. Hart, who won the New Hampshire and Ohio primaries, had positioned himself as younger and more appealing to younger voters, a claim sanders can arguably claim in the 2016 race. Behind Reagan in the polls, Mondale chose the scandal-ridden Geraldine Ferraro for his VP choice, a decision that did not resonate with voters over accusations of pandering and populism over substance. Instead, Reagan dominated populism without seeming populist, hammering the unpopular and not terribly likeable Mondale almost 60% of the popular vote.

In 1988 Maryland Governor Michael Dukakis took on Reagan VP George Bush, winning the nomination over a pallid, relatively unknown and inexperienced candidates including Paul Simon, Dick Gephardt, Al Gore and Joe Biden. The Dukakis campaign stumbled and stalled from the start, falling victim to Republican strategist Lee Atwater’s dirty tricks and to Dukakis’ own gaffs.

Atwater spread rumors that Dukakis was concealing mental illness, rumors that were only compounded by the candidate’s refusal to release his medical records. He was hammered by the Bush campaign with ads describing him as weak on crime after a convicted murderer, Willie Horton, committed a rape after being released in a Maryland prisoner furlough program. The final straw came with a photo showing an awkward looking Dukakis, described by the Bush campaign as weak on defense, riding a tank. The election was more about Dukakis than about substance.

Dan Quayle sought to describe himself in terms of the late John F. Kennedy in a 1988 vice presidential debate and was famously swatted down in the famous reply from then vice presidential candidate, Senator Lloyd Benston, “I knew Jack Kennedy. Senator , you’re no Jack Kennedy.” It was the only bright spot in the Dukakis campaign.

The election of 1992 might have turned out very differently had Texas Billionaire not helped feed perceptions that as an independent he wasn’t a crackpot. Perot vehemently opposed NAFTA and marshaled a vast grassroots network that succeeded in getting him on the ballot in all 50 states. He was soon leading in the polls, well ahead of Bush and Clinton but then suddenly dropped out of the race unexpectedly, claiming mysterious Republican operatives were stalking his daughter. Perot’s running mate, retired Vice Admiral, medal of honor recipient and former Vietnam prisoner of war was mocked mercilessly as a doddering old fool after beginning a debate by saying, “Who am I? Why am I here?”

Clinton took the nomination amid a scandal involving an extramarital affair with Gennifer Flowers. Neither Bush nor Clinton inspired any great amount of passion, as voter turn out revealed. Elections in the US were becoming less and less about substance and issues and more about personality and mud-slinging, as the 1992 election showed. Media consolidation, started under Reagan would continue apace under Bill Clinton. The winner would be corporate interests, who cultivated populist propagandists like Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh, with decidedly and unabashedly pro business, pro-rich and pro-rightwing programming. What remained of presidential elections in any way about substance was a thing of the past.

Sanders will and is facing that environment. Media consolidation has polarized the nation’s television, radio and newspapers predominantly to the right, or to a status quo position which tacitly supports and protects rightwing social, political and economic structures and paradigm. Otherwise innocuous vulnerabilities, or simply the appearance of a vulnerability, will be exploited to perversely obscene lengths, as the birther issue against Obama, former Illinois rep. Joe Walsh’s mockery of Tammy Duckworth’s grievous combat wounds and hyperbolic questions about Hillary Clinton’s marriage prove.

Did Bernie Sanders ever smoke marijuana as a student? His arrest in 1963 during a protest for fair housing, a sign of legitimacy on the Left will become a pejorative for the Right. What of his age and health: Foreign policy, Lack of a military record, Socialist, Independent, Second amendment and a call for more responsible gun control? America has never had a Jewish President.

It was scandalous that JFK was a Roman Catholic when he ran in 1960.

Most recently an essay he wrote in 1972 for the alternative newspaper the Vermont Freeman. The essays, covering a period from the late 1960s through the early 1970s are the explorations of social, moral and gender constructs. Asked about them on “Meet the Press”, Sander’s dismissed the writings as “fiction.” (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/bernie-sanders-vermont-freeman-sexual-freedom-fluoride) What it illustrates is that nothing and no part of Sanders’ life, or that of any other candidate is safe from scrutiny, hyperbole and innuendo. Sanders’ success has made him a target, more so by the Clinton campaign since a recent Gallop Poll showed that the Clinton camp expects Sanders to win the primaries in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Barring a terrorist attack or an unforeseen foreign conflict, the 2016 election is angling strongly towards domestic issues and the economy. Sanders is outspoken regarding the substantial disparity between middle class and poor families and the so called 1%. In a period in which congress and the senate are increasingly predominated by millionaires, Bernie Sanders ranks 84 out of 100 in the senate for wealth. In 2004, according to Ballotpedia.org, his aver age net worth was just over $140 thousand dollars. In 2012 his wealth had grown 228% to more than $460 thousand. Could that become an issue, considering the average American saw a decline in their annual net worth of about 1% annually? Considering that his likely key adversaries are likely to be Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton (Separately, her husband is worth an estimated $80 million), both worth roughly $20 million each, that seems unlikely. In fact, all of the candidates on the Republican side are millionaires or billionaires, positioning Sanders far more closer to the middle class than another current candidate.

How deeply Sanders resonates with the activist Left is drawn strongly through a small number of issues, as we found out recently on our radio program (Saturdays 11-1pm CST AM1680 www.que4.org). the environment and the economy are chief among them, but a hot button issue we found caring strong negative reaction against Sanders had to do with his Jewish faith. Not necessarily that he was Jewish, but that he may be too close to an issue many on the Left have strong opinions about. How could Sanders, they argue, be impartial when he is part of the apparatus supplying the Israeli defense Forces, IDF, with $3billion Dollars annually, or more than 11% of Israel’s $23 billion Dollar annual budget, much of which goes to ostensibly killing civilians and maintaining an apartheid system? In the view of a sizable minority on the Left, that makes the US complicit in what many feel is a long slow genocide against Palestinians.

In truth, those critics scoff at Sanders when his name is uttered excitedly by fellow Leftists and progressives, but the criticism is truly one of the entire electoral system and governance in general. And while that minority is unlikely to vote for any candidate, espousing a belief that voting is hopelessly corrupt and ineffectual, many of those same views are held to some degree or another across the spectrum of anticipated voters on the Left. There is broad consensus, at the very least, that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and their patrons and surrogates, has not been dealt with by the US government judicially or humanely, neither has it been reported in the US media accurately.

There is tremendous pressure and propaganda guiding US foreign policy in the Mideast by any accurate accounting. The Press is played like a violin to the American people and to congress to spin and propagandize by the various parties to the conflict. Lobbying to congress has become a monumental business. Businesses like Lobbyit are for hire on virtually any issue as long as the checks clear. Among their services, ranging between $995 per month to almost $5000 Lobbyit offers help on activating “nation-wide networks of citizens/employees/members, and how to leverage their support,” and “Drafting of any specific legislative or regulatory language .”

There are currently 26 lobbyists for every congressman and woman in Washington. Since 1990, according to Center for Responsive Politics, pro-Israel lobbying groups gave more than $79 million to federal candidates and party committees. From 1990 to 2006, by contrast, pro-Arab and Muslim groups gave less than a million Dollars. The most prominent pro-Israeli lobbying group is American Israel Public Affairs Committee , AIPAC. In 1980, AIPAC had just 24 employees and an annual budget of $1.4 million. It now reports 160 employees with a budget of some $15 million, while its membership has grown from 8000 to 55000.

That translates to a lot of pressure on congresspersons and senators like Bernie Sanders. When it comes to Israel, however, Sanders is not so easily cajoled. His record is a bit mixed, at least by appearances, but Sanders’ is hardly a supporter of Israel’s policies toward Gaza and the Palestinians. He is against Palestinian statehood, as it is proposed, silent on Israeli settlements in Gaza and the West Bank and critical of Israeli aggression against Palestinians. It offers all of his critics on every side of the argument plenty of fodder for attacks.

Sanders does have ties to AIPAC linked activists, but neither Sanders nor his Vermont colleague, Senator Patrick Leahy supports or subscribes to their positions. Quoted in a June 17th post at theuglytruth.com, one pro-Israeli lobbyist said that the senator is “one of the few offices that, when we try to get an appointment to come and talk to him, we just can’t get in…I don’t think he’s antagonistic or anything like that.”

For some the Left there is no sliding scale when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. It is quite simply about Human Rights, and a view that Israel, backed by the United States, with a record of bias and antagonism against Muslims, is the bully. They see the Palestinians as victims to a long program of genocidal polices, or apartheid polices at the very least. When so little attention is given to the plight of civilians in Gaza and the West Bank, from lack of movement to the constant specter of bombings, mass imprisonment and lack of due process, many on the Left believe they are the balance to Israel and the US government’s oppressive policies with regards to the Palestinians.

“The electoral system in this country,” said the guest on our radio show, “merely supports that system of oppression. Bernie Sanders is part of that system.”

However, while Clinton has shifted to the right by asserting that she is a true friend of Israel, whatever that means, Sanders condemned Israel’s attacks in 2014, which left 72 Israeli’s (mostly soldiers) and 2300 Palestinians (primarily civilians) and “disproportionate” and “completely unacceptable.” Furthermore, Sanders also supported the assertions of the United Nations’ top human rights official Navi Pillay who said that there was a “strong possibility” that Hamas and Israel have committed war crimes with their indiscriminate attacks on civilian.

That mirrors an open letter published in Tikkun Daily, August 23rd, 2014, by 40 Holocaust survivors who condemned the attacks on Gaza, describing “Israel’s ongoing occupation, and the troubling rise of systemic racism” (sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/newswatch/0722414). That statement is extremely significant in treating the warring factions as equally culpable in the conflict, a monumental split from current US foreign policy.

That, however is unlikely to satisfy the non-voting constituency far Left. While not a voting black, they still are a driver on many key issues, including the Black Lives Matter, Keystone XL Pipeline and the TPP. And they can still point to a July 7, 2014 Senate resolution supporting “the state of Israel as it defends itself from unprovoked rocket attacks from the Hamas terror organization.” The assumption that Hamas was behind the attacks was incorrect on July 7th, according to sources close to the Israeli military. Between January and June Palestinians fired 181 rockets and 16 mortars into or at Israel. One person was killed in March, a Palestinian militant, Mosaab Zaaneen, as he attempted to launch a crude rocket. Throughout that period the attacks failed to even damage property (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Palestinian_rocket_attacks_on_Israel,_2014).
According to the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Hamas did not participate in any of the earlier attacks, but instead retaliated on July 7th for the deaths of 6 Hamas members killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. The Jerusalem Post reported as early as May 2013 that Hamas was, in fact, working to stop Gaza rocket attacks against Israel.

The conflict was not about rockets and mortars however, but ostensibly in retaliation for the kidnapping and murders of three Israeli teenagers on June 12th. It also came at the end of a ceasefire, which Hamas had honored despite a continuing blockade on food fuel and medical supplies that wreaked a terrible dividend in suffering ion the people made all but prisoners on the West Bank and Gaza. It also came at a time of mounting Israeli settlements which politically rendered many of the Palestinian’s desires for a two-state solution mute. While one Hamas militant was convicted after confessing under “heavy torture,” and two others killed in a gun battle, it seems likely that this was an excuse rather than a reason. Though the truth may never been known now, The murders of two unarmed Palestinian teenagers by Israeli snipers on May 15th may have contributed to the events that followed.

The Senate resolution passed by a unanimous consent agreement. That meant that no senators, including Sanders opposed the resolution. While Sanders and 20 other senators did not openly support the resolution it is true that none of them opposed it either. Overall it reveals a bipartisan ignorance about the Palestinian-Israeli issue, as well as the Middle East overall. When the resolution passed a increase in the numbers of rocket attacks coincided with Israeli military incursions into Palestinian territory, result in the deaths of 11 Palestinians with another 50 wounded. The rocket and mortar attacks did not commence in earnest until after the resolution had passed, at which time both sides w ere engaged in combat operations.

Former Secretary of State Clinton has also shifted rhetoric about an impending Iran deal over its Nuclear capabilities, sounding more like a FOX News pundit than a progressive or Liberal. That could be because she believes Senator Sanders’ is weaker or less experienced on defense and foreign policy. She may also be courting what she views as a pro-defense, pro-Israel, anti-Palestinian sentiment with Moderate dems and republicans. It also presupposes the specter of more war in the region. She has been relatively ambiguous on true economic reform, holding banks accountable and reigning in Wall Street, conceding those issues to Sanders. Is Clinton’s shift to the right on Israel and Iran an effort to sway the election from domestic and economic issues towards foreign policy?

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DARK HORSE: Bernie Sanders and the race for 2016

Coming next week: The numbers and how they shake out. Can Sanders become the nominee? Could he win in the general?

Continued from the previous article:

…both parties ignored the voice of the people, not over prudent judgment, but in favor of smaller but far better funded special interest groups.

For Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House in 2016 that spells big trouble. The Progressive base is less and less enamored with Clinton, as early polls, and this is still a very early race, in favor of Sanders. Clinton felt that heat when newcomer Sanders garnering 208 votes against Clinton’s 252 votes in a Wisconsin Straw Poll. It was not an aberration. Throughout June that trend continued. While Clinton won narrowly in the New Hampshire primary against Senator Barack Obama 2008 she might not be able to stave off a serious challenge by Sanders. Recent polls, with less than a year to the primary show Sanders steadily gaining ground with 31% to Clinton’s 41%, according to a Suffolk University poll looking at 500 likely Democratic primary voters. http://www.suffolk.edu/academics/10738.php

That terrifies a Press who on one hand has alternately exalted and vilified Hillary Clinton as the presumptive Democratic nominee. The Republicans and the Right has rallied fully all of their resources and vitriol into a decades long feud going back to President Clinton’s trouncing of George Bush Sr. in 1992. Squandering energy on exaggerated or manufactured scandals has only done minor damage to Clinton. That Press is simply playing to its own already decidedly anti-Clinton base. All the while Sanders builds steadily, drawing a Progressive and Liberal base deeply disappointed in the Obama administration, and in a political hierarchy, including Clinton, whom they feel no longer speaks or fights for poor and working class Americans.

In 2007 Obama promised that he was, “in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists in Washington that their days of setting the agenda are over.” Once in office Obama filled his administration with lobbyists, including Monsanto executives, Wall Street insiders like Larry Summers as his chief financial advisor and former lobbyist Tom Wheeler, and outspoken opponent of Net Neutrality and a lobbyists for both the cell phone industry and cable television. He further soured and alienated the base when he and his justice department refused to hold banks and those responsible for the economic collapse. Instead they w ere bailed out while, as the Occupy movement railed in 2011, the people got sold out. That disenfranchised base feels betrayed by a refusal to hold banks accountable for the financial crisis, equivocations on climate and the TPP, NSA spying on Americans, immigration and more.

It is all about the base. While the media would love to claim credit for the mistrust for Hillary Clinton, it was Hillary and the Progressive and Democratic base which is leaning in greater and greater numbers to Sanders. She is trapped by the very media she feuds with, playing to cameras with messages so broad that compel her into being overly cautious, and appears to be cozy to lobbyists and special interest groups to an alarming degree. In April she hired Jerry Crawford, a Monsanto lobbyist as a campaign adviser. Not surprising, since earlier she spoke in favor of so-called genetically modified organisms, GMOs, saying that she stood,” in favor of using seeds and products that have a proven track record….And to continue to try to make the case for those who are skeptical that they may not know what they’re eating already. The question of genetically modified food or hybrids has gone on for many years. And there is again a big gap between what the facts are and what perceptions are.” In mid June she hosted a fundraiser with a top pro-TPP lobbying firm.

These are issues that pit her directly in opposition to the Democratic base, and to the majority of Progressive and Liberal voters. When pressed she equivocates and postures on issues, which the base immediately views as a dodge. That does not sow trust or create confidence. By contrast, Sanders has never wavered from clear positions and his critical positions against the TPP, banks and GMOs and his support for net neutrality. While Clinton is forced to waste energy and money posturing, Sanders, the would-be statesman, is reaping the benefits of an all too scarce commodity lost to America’s political landscape: Honesty.

Who would have figured?

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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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