Tag Archives: corporations

Illinois Senate Passes SB 282: SB 282 is simple legislation that provides transparency by requiring all publicly-traded corporations to disclose the amount of corporate income taxes they pay to the State of Illinois.

IIRON, Illinois People’s Action, SOUL,

Lakeview Action Coalition and Northside POWER

 For Immediate Release—November 28, 2012

 For more information, contact:                                            Erica Hade, 312.343.0322 (mobile)

                                                                                                Kristi Sanford, 773.456.4024 (mobile)

 Illinois Senate Passes SB 282

Bill Provides Information to Help Make Tax System Fair to Everyone

SPRINGFIELD, IL—Today, SB 282, the Illinois Corporate Disclosure and Responsibility Act passed the Illinois Senate.  The measure was sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton and Senators Heather Steans and Michael Noland.

“It’s high time we review corporate incentives and breaks to ensure that our policies encourage growth while maintaining fundamental fairness and accountability to taxpayers,” said Cullerton.  “This legislation can help to provide the legislature with a quantitative metric to evaluate our tax code and the need for business tax breaks and incentives.”

According to the Illinois Department of Revenue, two-thirds of corporations pay no Illinois corporate income tax at all.  Yet our current system hides the real impact of tax breaks and loopholes for big corporations and special interests—even from state legislators.  This is crucial information that the voters and public officials need to make informed tax policy decisions.

“Government should be as transparent as possible,” said Majority Leader Representative Barbara Flynn Currie.  “The better informed policy makers are the better public policy decisions they make.”  It is likely that the house will vote on SB 282 next week.

SB 282 is simple legislation that provides transparency by requiring all publicly-traded corporations to disclose the amount of corporate income taxes they pay to the State of Illinois.  The Secretary of State would disclose this information to the general public on the Internet a full two years after the fact. 

To have an equitable tax system where everyone pays their fair share, it is essential that corporations disclose this information.  If big corporations that can afford it don’t pay their fair share, that puts the burden on small business and families who can’t afford it.  With two-thirds of corporations paying no corporate income tax in Illinois, that tax contributes less than 10% of total state taxes and fees compared to personal income taxes and sales taxes that make up about 80% of the total, according to FY2012 projections by the Governor’s office (http://www.state.il.us/budget/2012%20Three%20Year%20Projection.pdf).

“It’s just not right that most corporations don’t pay any Illinois corporate income taxes, while ordinary people are playing by the rules and paying their share,” says Rev. Marilyn Pagán-Banks, IIRON President.  “Everyone should be playing by the same rules and paying their fair share.”


Austerity in America. Durbin says it is a done deal: Call and tell him he’s all wrong @ Phone: (202)224-2152

Elected representatives. Those words should mean something, but to Illinois Senator Dick Durbin apparently they apply when he decides. And that is the trouble with this government. It has become unresponsive to the people. Durbin has all but closed the doors on his constituents, many of whom have expressed  disappointment and disapproval over his apparent eagerness to negotiate and compromise over Medicaid, medicare and Social Security benefits.

I like Dick Durbin. I voted for Dick Durbin. I thought he had more character. I still hope he does. I am deeply disappointed in the direction he’s taken.

Didn’t the Democrats win the election? They picked up seats in both houses as voters overwhelmingly rejected the austerity posturing of the Republican ticket. That means Durbin, leading the negotiations for the Obama Administration, is willing and ready to sell out the poor, working folks and middle class for concessions over tax-hikes for the richest 2%, perverse subsidies for oil companies, a bloated growth-strangling defense budget and corporate welfare. Projected savings for these would add or save more than $4 Trillion-that’s trillion with a T over the next 10 years.

Tax reformers are asking for: An end to Bush Tax Cuts for Top 2% generating $1 trillion, eestablish a Financial Transaction Tax, or Robin Hood Tax, on Wall Street trading for $1.8 trillion, restore a robust estate tax (above 2009 level): $253 billion, ending fossil fuel tax subsidies $38 billion, an end to preferential tax rates for income from stocks and bonds and other assets (tax capital gains as income): $533 billion, and a reduce incentives for moving jobs and corporate profits offshore $583 billion.

I met today with protesters outside Durbin’s office in downtown Chicago, where they had erected a symbolic soup-line. On Thursday they will erect a shantytown, dubbed “Durbinville,” illustrating the catastrophic effects cuts to the social safety net will have, particularly on the poor and elderly. 

“It’s a done deal,” he told protesters several weeks ago, admonishing them that “they needed someone at the table.”

Well, where is this table, and why is a semi-secretive group of appointees ram-rodding this decision through without consideration from voters and constituents? What is the urgency, especially since the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ is an arbitrary date? What is the real agenda here? It certainly is not about the financial health of the country, but of the wealth of a few, which Durbin seems to be betraying his loyalties over regarding these negotiations.

There were several Christian pastors among the group, one of whom voted for Durbin. Asked if he felt betrayed, he pursed his lips and shook his head.

“The dems are a little bit more responsive.”

“We need to make the democratic party,” said a tax-fairness advocate named Jacob, who also voted for Durbin. “Durbin is inside the beltway and can’t think outside the “common sense” of Washington.”

Their expectations are reasonable and simple. In a letter sent to the Senator a number of community groups from across the city laid out protections for the nation’s most vulnerable:

We’re calling on Senator Durbin to use his power to create a fair solution in budget

negotiations based on these principles:

1. A Fair Solution is based in fair taxation: we must end tax breaks for the richest 2%, and institute a small tax on risky Wall Street trading.

2. A Fair Solution invests in the American people: in our infrastructure, education,transportation, jobs, housing, and health.

3. A Fair Solution protects our investment in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid so we can all be assured economic security and health care in our retirement or for seniors and those with disabilities.

Rev. Tom Gaulke of the South Loop Campus Ministry summed it up this way, “Jesus came to preach good news to the masses, not to feed them b.s., but to genuinely offer good news for the suffering.”

So what compels Durbin’s conscience? He needs to hear from voters and constituents, and this is how:

WASHINGTON, D.C. Office
309 Hart Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Phone: (202)224-2152
Fax: (202)228-0400

CHICAGO Office
230 South Dearborn Street
Suite 3892
Chicago, IL 60604
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.


An Open Letter(and invitation) to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

So, this isn’t about boycotts or putting Starbucks out of business, Mr. Schultz. This is about a small business owner, Dave McLaughlin, fighting for the life of his coffee shop, Safari Cup, in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. He’s fighting for his life and livelihood, and those of his employees because the Starbucks across the street, at least by appearances, is trying to put him out of business. This, this is about community, good neighbors and harmony. This is about the free market, as it benefits customers, not the free-market that allows for predatory capitalism. This is about everybody playing nice in their corner of the sandbox.

Previously the relationship between Safari Cup and that Starbucks location was one of harmony. There was no animosity. There was plenty enough business for both businesses to survive and do well on. Safari Cup tolerated its competition amiably enough. That the relationship has now changed to acrimony and mistrust, soon to affect the neighborhood and which is already drawing battle lines, is due entirely to the threat by Starbucks to bully Safari Cup out of business. 

 Recently you wrote in an open letter to the nation, stating, that millions “of Americans are out of work. Many more are working tirelessly yet still unable to adequately care for their families. Our veterans are not being welcomed home with the level of support they deserve. Meanwhile, in our nation’s capital, our elected leaders are continuing to put ideology over real solutions. I love America, but we all know there is something wrong…Let’s ask our business leaders to create more job opportunities for the American economy”

I do not know you, but trust you at your word that those sentiments  are sincere and heartfelt. At least I would prefer to believe that, and might if the actual practice and strategy of the company didn’t seem to contradict those words. There is a culture emerging that perceives Starbucks as a belligerent neighbor, overtly and aggressively targeting small and independent competition for destruction and ruin. There is a culture emerging that refers to Starbucks as “the Green Cancer.” 

I am inviting you onto my radio show this Sunday to champion your own words, and to respond directly to the concern that your company is so blinded by greed and the unquenchable thirst for higher and higher profits that Starbucks simply ignores the good words you offered to the nation; words that many Americans, including myself, find common cause with. In that conversation I would hope that we can find some common understanding between Starbucks and Safari Cup. Does, afterall, Starbucks the corporation need to drive Safari Cup from business? How much profit is enough? When does the pursuit of profit become perverse and cruel?

Already this issue by those coming to the defense of a beleaguered friend and neighbor has taken hold on Twitter, on Facebook, on the radio and in blogs. The more the public becomes aware and sympathizes with Safari Cup, the more damage will be done to the Starbucks brand and reputation, driven by the apparent bully-tactics of your company, or at least by  some within your company. Understandable, but certainly avoidable, the term “the Green Cancer” will become more and more synonymous with Starbucks.

I will make whatever time is necessary for you this Sunday, December 9th between 8-9 am on WCPT, Chicago’s Progressive Talk. You are welcome to  to join us in the studio or on the phone at 773-763-9278 for a respectful but earnest conversation. What I can promise is that  while the blatant threat by Starbucks to drive Safari Cup out of business the resolve of a growing community of supporters and friends will continue and grow.

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck, with cohost Brian Murray every Sunday 8-9am only on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT am820 and streaming live for the Revolution and Beer segment, as Brian and I sample the Craft Beer of the week with the Our Town gang, and run down the grassroots calendar for the week. If you’re tired of talk, talk, talk radio, this is do something radio. Get involved.


Starbucks Vs Reality: Do they mean what they say, or are they just another big corporation?

See there  are these two Starbucks, or maybe three. The first is the one we all see, or think we see; the eclectic baristas(as a one time real bartender, I take a bit of an exception to that).  This Starbucks plays cool music. Everybody sort has an ultra-hip vibe going. They get really pissy if you call a venti-sized coffee a large. Been to Italy. Never saw the “venti” in any cafe. They just have one item on the menu: Coffee. Una cafe, per favore. Gratzie!

The second Starbucks is the corporation. It is, to be fair, logistics, marketing, inventory and supply. They are huge, growing in just a shade over 40 years to more than 20,000 locations in better than 60 countries. Italy is not one of those countries. You’d be safer insulting the Pope in St Peter’s Square than trying to open a Starbucks in Milan.

You’d think with that sort of success that they could construct a business strategy that wouldn’t entail bullying small independent coffee shops. With that edgy hipster marketing facade, and impassioned words from CE Howard Schultz about the worrisome problems “sapping our national spirit,” one my hope for a conscience rare among the tend of predatory corporations gobbling up main street independents.

Recently Schultz wrote in an open letter “Millions of Americans are out of work. Many more are working tirelessly yet still unable to adequately care for their families. Our veterans are not being welcomed home with the level of support they deserve. Meanwhile, in our nation’s capital, our elected leaders are continuing to put ideology over real solutions. I love America, but we all know there is something wrong…Let’s ask our business leaders to create more job opportunities for the American economy”

Schultz is famous for recalling his humble beginning, claiming to come from a working class family. Which brings me to the third Starbucks. Chronic in this nation nowadays is lawyerism, corporate spin and politicians so beholden to their own hypocrisy that they lie regardless that they know we  are aware they are lying. Remember the weapons of mass destruction, smoking gun analogies that dragged us into the Iraq War? Chronic in this nation  are corporations that recreate, or  attempt to recreate an alternate reality to mask their truest intentions. They tell the big lie to us and to themselves.

Despite the wonderfully poetic words of Mister Schultz’ Starbucks has acted like a caffeine-charged Walmart, driving the mom and pop shops on mainstreet that we all wax-poetic over in nostalgic moments. Walmart crushed out of existence the corner RX and the mainstreet Five and Dime. Starbucks has their own prey. I personally experienced an artsy independent in Chicago some years ago driven out of business by Starbucks, who undercut and out-competed with their mammoth  and huge reserves not to win market-share in the neighborhood, but to take the entire market for themselves.

And now they are at it yet again. The “great green cancer” is poised to drive another independent out of business in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. And what makes even more galling is that there is ample business in the neighborhood for both survive. For Starbucks, apparently, sharing isn’t enough.

The “Green Cancer” isn’t mine. It’s a great line. I wish it was. It belongs to Dave McLaughlin of The Safari Cup cafe, an independent coffeehouse. he  fears they’ve used their money and power to influence the local Alderman and Chamber of Commerce to directly attack Safari Cup.  McLaughlin remains defiant. We’re not going anywhere,” he says, digging in for a battle in which his business hangs firmly in the balance.

McLaughlin’s Irish accented obstinacy isn’t easily put off from a natural whimsy, but it is very obviously strained By  Starbuck’s actions, saying “they spread themselves to destroy any competition…Starbucks is  running this ad campaign. It’s all bullshit.”

This fight is just beginning. In fairness I have reached out to Starbucks. The Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, and the Alderman for Chicago’s 44th Ward will be the subject of future pieces as 900poundgorilla and WCPT follow the story closely. Still waiting to hear from Starbucks. The sooner the better, would be my wish, because silence speaks volumes, and often tells the lies some would wish to keep hidden.   

 

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck every Sunday 8-9am only on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT am820 and streaming live for the Revolution and Beer segment, as Brian and I sample the Craft Beer of the week with the Our Town gang, and run down the grassroots calendar for the week. If you’re tired of talk, talk, talk radio, this is do something radio. Get involved.


21 days in May: An Occupy Novella, part 2

Chicago was adopting something of a siege mentality as the NATO summit and protests loomed ever closer. It certainly wasn’t the protesters dialing up fear and concern. There had been in recent weeks a purposeful effort to intimidate the population, painting the protests as dangerous and the authorities as protectors. The effort began slowly in February and by the end of April had grown to a near fever pitch. The authorities, state, local, Federal and private corporate interests would manage and stoke that fear with their propaganda wing at FOX, CBS, ABC and even the so-called liberal MSNBC.

It began with leaked reports that downtown businesses would be hiring increased security for the protests, the reports punctuated with images from unrelated riots in Seattle some years earlier. Then came near panicked interviews with police officials clamoring for emergency funding from a cost-overridden city hall to make sure the police all had expensive new protective riot gear. Commuters would be subject to search and trains could be diverted or stopped altogether for “security concerns.” Boats in the harbors would be prohibited as the city became an armed camp. Then, at the end of April the fear was raised to insidious levels, first with front page headlines that downtown Chicago was now considered a “RED ZONE,” and that heavily armed federal agents in riot gear would be guarding strategic  buildings. The next day the local CBS affiliate published a “leaked” memo revealing how Red Cross officials in Milwaukee were preparing for the possible evacuation of Chicago in the event of an insurrection during the NATO summits. No one, in the media at least, questioned the rationale or what possibly would cause a city of eight million to flee en masse, not to the suburbs, nearby Joliet or Gary Indiana in such a catastrophe, but 90 miles North to Scott Walker’s Milwaukee Wisconsin. 

Angelo studied his smartphone, tapping on an MSNBC story emailed to him overnight. His eyes moved across a stunning headline that left him even more conflicted about his part in all this.

  “…agents have arrested five people who were plotting to blow up a bridge near Cleveland, Ohio… Douglas L. Wright, 26, Brandon L. Baxter, 20, and Anthony Hayne, 35, were arrested by members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force on April 30 on charges of conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce. Also arrested were Connor C. Stevens, 20, and Joshua S. Stafford, 23. Charges are pending… of Hayne, Stafford and Baxter, there were claims that they were affiliated with Occupy Cleveland, which moved swiftly Tuesday to distance itself from the bridge plot… after “we awoke to the news of the arrests,” coordinator Johnny Peskar, 22, told msnbc.com… “We don’t need any implications in this nonsense,” Peskar said… Occupy organizers had seen a few in the plot hanging around earlier events, but their actions were “autonomous,”

He set down the phone and went to the long mirror by the door. Six years in special forces and 4 more as a military contractor with a for-hire firm had placed him is some odd and morally questionable circumstances, but none more than this.  This mission left him awake nights, praying for the respite of nightmares in sleep instead of the nightmare he was living.

He still looked like a college kid, and could pass for his early twenties. Angelo had let his dark brown hair grow long, nearly to shoulder length. His clothes were rough and urban and worn. His cover was a simple one, which was always the best-less to remember that way. Facts and dates were mixed or altered should anyone go prying. He looked the part well enough, but there was something else.

The mission was taking a toll. He appeared haggard and exhausted, which did not lend themselves to a successful mission. But what of the mission? In Afghanistan in a beard and local garb, Angelo passed sufficiently to infiltrate a Taliban group. He tracked a FARC leader in Columbia for  six months without being detected, and was able to worm his way into a Mexican drug lord’s inner circle. Never before had he been asked to spy on fellow Americans, which was bad enough. But this, this mission…

Angelo glanced at the paper he’d been slipped the day before at the protest. He had never seen the contact. The man came and went like a ghost. Now he found himself balanced on a fence, weighing ethics, morality and salvation. They were an operative’s worst obstacles. He thought of the mission once more as he went to the sink and poured a chemical mix over the paper, dissolving it almost instantly. He washed it down the drain with water and recalled the headline from Cleveland that morning.

Nineteen days and it would all be over. Nineteen days and the mission would be complete. Nineteen days and the nation would be forever changed. Angelo steeled himself and nodded resolutely. In the end he made it about the money. He’d made  a shade over a million tax free as a military contractor-the ultimate welfare scheme he sometimes mused to colleagues. Another half million would be deposited in an off shore account for him following a successful conclusion of the mission. Other missions were for country, unit or to bring down truly reprehensible people, but this would have to be about the cash, and that would have to suffice.

 

 

The train, bus and three block walk to he and Eva’s bungalow on Chicago’s Northwest side left Jack beaten. Eva wasn’t home yet with Jeffrey. The house was still and comfortable and peaceful. He practically collapsed onto the chair in the front room. He still had on his jacket and hat. The shoulder bag was in his lap, as if he’d striven for that chair with his final ounce of energy.  Morris, their lumbering Boxer/ Boston Terrier mix, normally a pest for attention, seemed to understand well enough. He sort of flopped to the floor at Jack’s feet and laid his head across one shoe with a heavy sigh.

The family still wasn’t completely settled into the place, and a daunting list of projects left Jack all the more spent. The phone rang, and he hardly had the energy to lift it, let alone answer. He hit the speaker key and let it go to voice mail

“This is Jack, lean Left,” came his recorded message. After a short pause Angelo from Occupy replied.

“Hey, Jack, wanted to know if you could get together later. I have something I need to discuss with you. You’ve got the number. Call me back.”

Jack sighed and  let the phone fall to his leg. He’d been meaning to get back into the movement, especially now as the NATO summit neared. He liked Angelo, at least what he knew of the kid.  Every movement attracted its share of oddities; Occupy, Socialist groups, anarchists, The Tea Party, and certainly the Ron Paul devotees. Angelo seemed like a normal fellow, well informed and adjusted and, for as much as Jack could tell, passionate about the cause. He thought about Sarah as he lifted the phone and found Angelo’s number. As it began to ring at the other end, he was already crafting his sincere apology to her.

“Hey, Angelo, its Jack,” he began. “Brutal day at work, sorry I couldn’t pick up before. Still want to get together?”


Santorum, the Corporate fool: On Condoms and control

The message is the massage, right? As we are channelled and steered towards two ultimate candidates and the illusion of picking a president, the question becomes, who is messaging and who is massaging. Who is getting messaged and massaged is already quite apparent. The American public is the ultimate target, of course, but the purpose is hardly to come to some national catharsis, some ultimate human truth on social, economic and political issues which will ultimately carry us towards a better more human and equitable society. The purpose is about control. It is about driving market populations into extremes that blinds them from who is actually driving the message and massaging the public.

Santorum is just the willing fool. He is the zealot who allows the highest banker to fund his extremism. And the evidence is clear on this, given that Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney would clearly be the most blatant corporatists in the Whitehouse. Theirs is a naked and unabashed policy of protecting and defending the current typhoon of obscenely high corporate profits. Since the media operates their marketing wing, it should be a logical leap that

But religion is a bully, at least when it gets political. Every religion has that tendency. Every religion has its extremist side, which under the best circumstances is usually tempered and kept in check by the vast majority of people populating that religion. But always that extremism threatens, biding its time, awaiting the opportunity to assert their own ego centric world view, sometimes in the most belligerent and violent ways.

That would seem to be wholly at odds with corporatism, but in fact, with a blindly ambitious zealot such as Santorum, their interests coincide as eloquently as a pair of ballet dancers. Corporatism is about control. Again, if there is a need to control a message, to spin it or render it in the most favorable light, what isn’t being rendered, or what is being hidden. So corporations desire control, which is not altogether bad. We all seek to control how the world views us, and to show ourselves in the best possible light. We all have things we do not wish the world to know about us.

But what happens when a corporation is out of control? What happens when the combined, interlocking powers and resources of corporations exceeds the power of government to maintain them as tools for human beings, not organisms unto themselves? Out of control, unrelenting in their own egos and unsatisfied by any amount of wealth, they seek control. They seek to extinguish debate, rewrite laws and crush dissent, and what better vehicle for that than a religious zealot.

But not just any zealot. To be sure there are pious men whose extreme views cannot be bought. But there are men whose ambition and hubris, whose belief is that they fundamentally not only hold the key to human governance, but that they will compromise in the shadows that which they preach from the pulpit to achieve those aims. Hence the expression, you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelet. Those power-hungry and greedy corporations-not all corporations-would find no better ally than Santorum.

So why the current debate between Romney and Santorum? It would seem then that Santorum would be the final choice. Truth is, the debate is one of a naked corporatist, but one who will find extreme opposition in that nakedness, and zealot who is willing to sell his soul by tricking the American population that this election is about condoms, immigration and abortion. They are only the candy coating for a very bitter pill to follow.  The key is to hear through the message and not get massaged.


Legacy

I was a child in the 1960s and early 70s, but even at an early age it was impossible not to be affected by those tumultuous years. Even in the suburbs, far from the so-called Grant Park riots, the anti-war movement, Civil Rights, the vitriolic assaults  against those questioning the status (white) quo and Vietnam, the historic scope of those years was inescapable. And that was perhaps the most dramatic period of American History since the civil war. Before that change was far more incremental, and still favored the status quo. White power and supremacy was not assailed or significantly challenged for more than two centuries. That changed in the 1960s.

But the effort begun during those years was surrendered as that generation grew older. Many, though not all, abandoned the ideal of love, peace and egalitarianism they fought, bled, and in the case of Kent State or Martin Luther King, or Malcolm X and many others, died for. To be fair, their dreams were not completely abandoned. Important steps forward in peace, human and civil rights were made, but too many of that generation believed they had won the fight, or had won it enough. In the last several decades a purposeful effort was made to discredit their work and to roll it back as much as possible. As much as civil order would tolerate. But many from that generation abandoned their ideals, or followed the mantra of ideological cowards, a phrase repeated endlessly by the Right:

When I was a young man I was a liberal, when I grew up I was a conservative.

Where is the evidence for the charge that the 60s generation quit, conceded or defected to the enemies of peace and tolerance? First of all, they are the ones mostly in charge now, because succeeding generations have not yet acquired enough money, power and influence. Here are but a few examples. 

Racists have honed their message, and made their craft slicker and less apparent, even seductive. So-called “men” like Limbaugh and Savage and Beck tease the humors of their closeted and bigoted followers in carefully couched language. Human Rights were thrown back pre-Second World War over lawyerly justifications and obfuscations about torture. Vietnam was  a war over money, markets(oil and rubber) and influence filtered through extreme national ego, with just the right amount of racism to sell it to middle America. The perverse invasion of Iraq, the “strategic” picking and choosing of which human rights issues we will interfere in makes American foreign policy in Indochina and the 1960s-world seem naive and innocent by comparison.

And please don’t think this is a generational thing. My generation gave itself to an “Alex B. Keaton” style of morality and conscience, compromising comfort with ethics. We were on watch when the Twin Towers were struck, and when war threatened in Iraq, carried on propaganda and demonstrable lies, we acquiesced. A million of us marched, but it wasn’t enough, because we didn’t understand the powers arrayed against us, nor how to  turn the message to our favor. We stood in the street and then conceded when the war began, disillusioned that a wholly owned media would impune our patriotism, and that a bought and paid for government wouldn’t simply ignore us, it laughed in our faces as pathetic for believing our voice actually held value in this nation.

And now comes the Occupy Movement. they stand for equality. They stand for freedom. And they stand for a government that must work for human beings, rather than corporate and banking interests. And for those simple assertions they are treated like peddlers of porn or worse. Safe from the comfort of their homes, too many in older generations ignore their efforts or dismiss them as kids, communists-and even worse-not serious. They will inherit the world the rest of us failed to improve enough. They are in the fight to reverse the damage the out of control influence corporations have had on the nation and the world. It is a just fight. It is the correct fight, because in each of our hearts we know the alternative should this movement fail.

And they have created their own media. The mainstream media is obsolete and never even a consideration any longer. The revolutions will not be televised, I have heard, it has been digitized. And it works through the amazing  ascension of social networking, instantly and around the world. They control their own message, and underground message, if you will, growing and strengthening as the old media kills itself off with its corrupted and co-opted corporate parentage. Occupy will succeed or build its own society based upon principles often quoted from the Constitution…and Bible…documents too many now wipe their ass with to use as a weapon against others. 

But what if it succeeds? What if a world in which the individual is paramount is forged. What if the government works to further human rights, fight wars only in defense or in defense of the helpless rather than as the enforcement wing of multi-nationals, or the marketing wing of those companies, siphoning taxpayer dollars to subsidize corporate profits? what if we lived in a world in which political candidates were chosen by the people, without the money influence, and that we could be sure they were beholden to us, and if not faced dismissal or prosecution? What if our choice for president was  3 or 5 or a dozen viable candidates, rather than two media chosen automatons shoe-horned into the ballot box? Now what if none of that came to pass?

And so one question remains, one that calls us back to our purer, less cynical, less damaged,more loving and accepting selves? When is it time for change? When do we decide to make that change. Where does a road begin, and when is it time to take the first step on that road. No one can make that decision for another. They must make it on their own. But that decision begins change in the world, every decision makes change in the world, and that is each person’s legacy.  

In my younger days I was a liberal…and I never stopped fighting or believing.

That is my legacy.


Excerpt from The Last Man available as an advance offering on Amazon Kindle. Available in print worldwide March 1st

 

Kill that dog!” I slam my hand hard to the table. It smarts terribly, and I almost wince. The judges jump in their seats. Even the man from the Corporation jumps. The pain travels white-hot up my arm into my shoulder, but that pain is well worth the reaction. The man from the Corporation covers a smile with his hand. He seems impressed. I am as well, at having caught them all by complete surprise. Sentinel must be furious!

I beg your pardon?” The man from Police gasps.

If a man uses a dog to keep you from what is yours, kill that dog!” I assert the words of Malcolm X.

I don’t understand,” says the woman from Security.

Violence!” accuses the Man from Efficiency. “The very reason humanity did away with race and religion. The inherent violence of human differences was always its supreme liability. And there you are, at the end of your argument. All that is left is violence.”

The Woman from Reproduction concurs. Her face puckers, as if she smelled something awful. I betray a satisfied smile before continuing.

Violence is the last domain of the downtrodden,” I assert.

Certainly was an attention getter,” remarks the man from the Corporation.

A subversion,” I say.

A small victory,” he smiles respectfully, though with some sympathy.

But a victory nonetheless.”

Indeed,” he agrees.

But to what end?” asks the man from Entertainment.

It is impossible for me to refrain from a smart-ass comment. “I thought you of all people would recognize the value of theater!”

It’s the concept of violence, which you seem all too ready to employ, that I wish to explore,” the man from Police rubs his forehead and looks over notes.

I don’t think he was really advocating…” the man from the Corporation begins. I abruptly cut him off.

Indeed I was!”

Sorry?”

There you have it,” woman from Security wags her finger knowingly.

Power concedes nothing without demand,’ said Frederick Douglas. “There is an implicit power behind any demand, or it has no value. The only true power of the powerless is violence.”

Or the potential for violence,” adds the man from Efficiency.

The same,” I say.

So you admit to that predilection?” says the man from Police, as though uncovering some hidden motive in my words.

It must be a possibility when power is unbalanced,” I say. A warmth rushes through me, as though I am being cornered. It is much too late to retreat, and especially before this bunch.

You must understand, that when your power overcomes reason and justice and mercy, that I may rise against you, and that our very existence becomes part of the negotiation.”

I’ll caution you about threatening the court,” the woman from Reproduction scolds.

I have threatened no one,” I say, “Instead I have merely pointed out that your power resides in the size and force of the state, and that I am at the mercy to your penchant for fairness. My power, all that I have in the face of the Corporation, remains, if pressed, defiance.”

May I ask,” the woman from Security begins. Her tone is softer, almost sympathetic. She even leans as far forward as possible. “May I ask, to what purpose? Why defy and resist? Why disrupt the precise order of the society?”

Is her question a trick? She must know what I have seen. All of them surely know that I have been to the Low City, that I have seen the nightmarish scenes in the Reclamation Center. They must understand that I know the hypocrisy of the Corporation and the refuse it pretends as solid foundation. Do I argue for my existence against all that, or does calling forth their shame and infallibility only make it easier for them to get rid of me? The assertion of one’s freedom always creates greater opportunities for their destruction, leaving the oppressed and ignorant ultimately free in their limited fate. Oh, what a conundrum!

But then the judges make a mistake, and I am saved again, at least for the moment.

Show us a single benefit to your existence,” says the man from Efficiency.

Even the man from the Corporation realizes the impossible nature of that question, even though it is at the heart of all this. Sweat beads across my bow. I brush it away with my fingers, watching where the drops fall fat and wet and round upon the floor.

Be fair!” the Corporation Man scolds. His hand pounds the desk loudly causing the judges to cringe and exchange nervous glances. He appears frustrated. “I have not sought to intervene, but the question is unfair, and, I dare say, unanswerable.”

The woman from Reproduction presses the issue. “In the view of the court the question is fundamen…”

It’s a fool’s question!” he snaps in quick reply. “One only a fool would ask.”

Not sure I follow,” says the man from Efficiency.

I could ask each of you the same question,” The man from the Corporation’s tone is belittling.

Are you an observer or a participant?” asks the man from Police, annoyed. His words are poorly chosen and harshly delivered. I can see that he already regrets uttering them, though it is far too late to call them back. His eyes narrow as he cowers from the blistering response from the Corporation Man.

Perhaps we might do with one less judge!”

No, no,” I reply, with a casual wave of the hand. I nod to him respectfully. It is genuine, even if it becomes another opportunity for dividing the judges further. “I will answer the question, if the Court will permit?”

I can hardly wait,” scoffs the man from Efficiency, drawing an unequivocal glance from the Corporation Man.

The court will not interfere,” he says sternly.

I would reach out to the man from the Corporation. I want to exploit the friction among the judges as much as possible, but not if it means condescending, groveling, or appearing to curry favor. Nor would I dare be obvious and arouse their natural suspicions.

If I may,” I scoot onto the table. It is thoroughly theatrical. The man from the Corporation seems to be the only one to recognize the gesture. “The question is definitely an impossible one. It is, for one, impossible in that no man can adequately proclaim his right to exist to another. Do I have a right to exist in this society? The question is fully one of perspective, and perspectives are, by their very nature, biased and limited. It is those biases and limits that become the essence of my defense.”

Go on,” says the man from the Corporation, covering a smile with his hand. The man from Police glances in his direction before shrinking from his stare.

I am not speaking to the judges now. Their views are well known and unchangeable. The character of their arguments is combative. They are skewed and devoid of compassion, or any pretense that they desire for any understanding beyond their own. But I have the attention of the most powerful man in the room, and with that perhaps his favor


Occupy Buffalo was shut down last night, despite it was completely peaceful and even held a Police Appreciation day to build bridges. There is a concerted and coordinated effort under way to destroy the movement. I hate to accuse the Obama administration, but their silence is suspect. Why now? This is the time for us to regroup and reorganize before the NATO/G8 summits in Chicago and more importantly, before we can become a substantial factor in the national elections. Now is the time to stand strong with all our brothers and sisters. Show your outrage and numbers in peaceful but stalwart and defiant protests and actions, bring your grandparents just making ends meet on Social Security, your children, drag your ancestors from their graves to join us. Now and this summer is the time you are needed, or the world ends up like it does in my novel. the book is not a fantasy but a warning. above all, ask yourself and your neighbor how serious they are about change, or if this is all a game. This, this is now life or death. Choose a future of life and passion and justice, or one of submission and regret.

W.C Turck is the author of The Last Man. Please support the movement by purchasing the advance offering on Amazon for  only $1.99. 100% royalties goes to support Occupy


Advance offering of The Last Man, by W.C. Turck and the 99%, cover design by Brian Murray, now available on Amazon Kindle ebook. The first Occupy novel from the writer/producer of Occupy My Heart: a revolutionary Christmas Carol

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The Last Man. This is what happens if Occupy fails. we can’t fail. Buy the book. Support the movement. All royalties go to occupy Chicago. Show the world the power of this movement. Stay tuned. Printbook and additional formats coming soon. Key words: W.C. Turck, The Last Man

The Last Man coming to the stage? Stay tuned for details.


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