Tag Archives: schools

Revolution and Beer Reactionary of the Week: The Right, Reality and the IRS

941738_566959616659904_1731243580_nIf you could see the thumb and forefingers of my left hand right now, they would be rubbing together in a slow circular motion. Know what that is? That’s me, playing the world’s smallest violin as I weep for Tea Party groups that may have been audited, or were simply looked askance at by the IRS. That’s right, I said askance, because I like that word and rarely get to use it in conversation.

So here’s the deal, over the weekend the story broke that the IRS had targeted rightwing groups and Tea Party groups before the election. While I’m not prepared to let Obama off the hook for anything, let’s take a look at this with a bit less of a conspiratorial eye. And don’t give me “where there is smoke, there is fire,” blather. If that was true, then we can say that the IRS maybe didn’t look close enough at some of these so-called grassroots Tea Party groups, you know the ones who liked to call Citizens United free speech. Well, it still remains to be seen whether all that these groups got from parents, Dick Armey and Karl Rove, were rightwing talking points.

Please don’t dwell on the imagery of Dick and Karl actually conceiving the Tea Party. I did by accident, and now I can’t get it out of my head. Oh God, make it stop!

The cries of “foul” by the right fall hollow pretty quickly. Particularly thin is their offense at being profiled by the IRS, especially since the Right has defended the use of profiling with regards to Muslim men, Blacks and Hispanics. By that same standard, all of the sudden “patriot” this and “heartland” that, all the slack-jawed spawn of FreedomWorks, American Crossroads or even MoveOn.org, the Heritage foundation and other rightwing pseudo-corporations should surely have thrown up potential red flags to tax auditors. Going into an election, with the scam-artist money changing scheme that in reality is Citizens United, how could anyone not be at least suspicious of shenanigans?

After Citizens United, these sham 501c3 TAX EXEMPT groups covered the national political lanscape thicker than fat flies on manure, like stink on a monkey or pimples on a gamer’s butt cheeks. We started a 501c3 on Chicago’s south side called HelpHouseChicagoHomelessPeople that actually helped people, rather than serve as a payday loan alternative to millionaire politicians pandering to your affinity for Nascar. These front groups for the exchange of political fortunes, hiding behind veneers of “freedom” or “liberty” or some other crap the socially, ethically and politically lazy refrigerator-magnate themselves to did and do nothing positive to improve the nation, its dialogue or its future.

And you have likely heard the leftwing and so-called Progressives chattering about many of these points. They don’t get off that easy. They were also playing this political spit-swap game, but not nearly to the extent of the Tea Party groups.
There is, however, one glaring difference between the Tea Party and Occupy with regard to all this. You’ll only find it here, and it is this; so the Tea Party was audited, perhaps profiled more frequently that say Democrat or Progressive groups. Now you have an idea of what it is like to be Black in America.

More than that, the Tea Party got an audit for supporting austerity and providing cover for the banks. Occupy was beaten, censored, subjected to false arrests and trumped up charges and had their civil rights trampled for accusing the banks, challenging government/corporate incest and for defending the poor. I weep for you, Tea Party. Must have been tough, huh?

But this point makes it abundantly obvious that the Tea Party, the Right and Republicans…and I’ll throw some Lefties in there as well…are not really about the Constitution, only the constitution for them. They are not about defending civil rights, only their civil rights. They aren’t really for Americans, but for themselves. The irony is, the people who were fighting for those things got hammered by the democrats, the media and the right. They were mocked and ridiculed and harassed, but no one made a sound about that. They still haven’t, because for too many in this nation it is still about selfish interests and not about their neighbors.

Suck this one up Tea Partiers. You got played. Now, time to figure out who you should actually be pissed at. Maybe you’ll actually start looking at candidates on both sides of the isle and beyond for who they really are, and not for the slogans they shout, or the feel good barf they feed you. Time to realize that getting involved in your government goes beyond blindly waving a flag at a WWF match, smashing a Keystone Beer can against your forehead while waving a gun and snarling in some tribal grunt, “Don’t mess wit America!”

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Revolutionand Beer.com. Watch for the show coming in June to CAN TV in Chicago

Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer and at revolutionandbeer.com. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla and check out the weekly food pairings for our featured beers with innovative and original dishes by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper only at revolutionandbeer.com. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com

Theater with a Purpose: Stone Soup Theatre Project

tamerI was privilaged last night to have one of the most purposeful and moving theater experiences yet in Chicago. Ana and I go to quite alot of local theater. We prefer the intimacy and energy of small theaters and companies that produce art for art’s sake. There tends to be a rawness to the pieces, an honest, untempered and untapered energy, unlike many larger venues or by more commercial companies. Stone Soup Theatre Project is one of those rare companies that makes their effort seem so much larger than the small core group of dedicated members and actors. Last night’s show, Tamer of Horses, was a sublime case in point.

The play, sadly, ends its run today, though Stone Soup is already looking forward to their next project this summer. We had members of the company on the television show last month. It will air in july, amid their next run. Keep an eye out though, when Tamer of Horses, a beautifully and brilliantly rendered story, comes to your town it should be at the top of your must see list. If those actors are half as talented as the trio of characters from last night’s play it will be a memorable experience.

Tamer of Horses is a contemporary tale of a runaway street kid named Hector, played here exquisitely by Chris Vizurraga, who takes shelter one cold winter night in a horse barn and is discovered by a couple struggling with their own issues. The couple, Ty and Georgiane, are played by local standouts, Meghan Powe and Steven Royce Stinson. They take the troubled boy in, pulling all three along a tumultuous and emotionally charged road fraught with tension, fear, misgivings and self doubt. Like life, those hardships are punctuated by illuminous moments of joy, love, comedy and enlightenment. The boy dreams of being a hip hop superstar, a dream that takes shape in moments of fantasy driven my a beautifully crafted original score by local artist AO, Animate Objects.

There is no poetic Disney-esque ending here. The ending is smart and real and poignant. It is as hopeful as it is difficult, but it reflects the dramas and choices, the perspectives and even lack of perspectives that drive dynamics, change lives and cost them on the inner city streets of this nation. At the heart of Tamer of Horses is the urgency and complexity of unraveling violence from the lives and hearts of too many young people. But it is also a challenge that the task is a worthy but arduous one. “Thus,” goes the ending of Homer’s the Illiad, which adds a surprising and powerful subtext to the play, “then, did they celebrate the funeral of Hector, tamer of horses.”

chris pattersonWe’ll bring to you much more in the coming months from Stone Soup. This summer they are adapting the autobiography of friend, author and anti-gang activist Chris Patterson, “21-The Epitome of Perseverance.” Chris’ story is powerful, but more powerful is the man behind the story. More on that to come. Until then, make Stone Soup Theatre Project a favorite and keep your calender open for their upcoming season http://stonesouptheatreproject.org/.

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Revolutionand Beer.com. Watch for the show coming in June to CAN TV in Chicago

Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer and at revolutionandbeer.com. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s and check out the weekly food pairings for our featured beers with innovative and original dishes by Chef AJ Francisco. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com

Illinois Lawmakers, Investigate Not Regulate Fracking — press release from The Illinois Coalition For A Moratorium on Fracking: 900poundgorilla 500th Post!

by-michael-hogue-dallas-news--30-32995-20090519-6May 3, 2013

From: The Illinois Coalition For A Moratorium on Fracking

Press Contact:
Dr. Lora Chamberlain
773 486 7660

ICMF spokesperson Dr. Lora Chamberlain today called the April 30th, Republican press conference on fracking led by Minority Leader Tom Cross “absolutely misguided”, and urged lawmakers to continue to block legislative maneuvers in the IL House, such as the one on May 1st by Rep. Mike Bost attempting to move the fracking regulatory bill, HB2615, out of the House Rules committee.

“HB 2615 is insufficient and unenforceable, and will not protect our land, air, and water” she said. “It would give a green light for dangerous fracking in Illinois before legislators have a chance to review important new studies now underway, including the EPA report on water contamination nationwide and the $1million Geisinger study of the effects of fracking on public health in Pennsylvania, due out later this year. We call for Springfield to move on HB3086 instead, the moratorium on fracking with an independent science-based investigative task force,” Dr. Chamberlain said.

ICMF asks legislators to slow down and study the science that is coming out, regarding the health, pollution, climate warming and earthquake risks of fracking.

HB 3086, the moratorium on fracking in the House, carried by Rep. Deborah Mell, is currently stalled in the House Rules committee. ICMF calls on Speaker Mike Madigan to bring it to the floor. ICMF also calls on Senate President John Cullerton to allow similar moratorium legislation to move forward in the Senate, so that the risks of fracking can be discussed in depth by our state legislature.

“This is one of the most important issues facing our state, “ say ICMF member Bev Walters of CAPOW, (Citizens Act To Protect Our Water), “yet discussions have been held behind closed doors. It is a disgrace. The legislators and the public need to be fully included in a discussion of something that will affect the state for decades and generations. We need protection now. Once water is contaminated or a person dies of cancer, it will be too late.”

ICMF members will be going back to Springfield on May 8 to call for action on the moratorium bills. On March 12, over 100 citizens lobbyists from ICMF and Illinois People’s Action participated in an all day lobbying event to push for a moratorium on fracking. Yesterday, May 2nd, there was a very successful Food and Water Watch campaign calling for concerned Illinois residents to call the Gov, AG, Speaker Madigan and Senate Pres. Cullerton asking them to “kill the regulatory bill and slow down with a moratorium and investigations of fracking.” At the same time, there were many environmentalists in Springfield advocating for the moratorium on fracking.

“Members of both houses have been provided with ample evidence of the dangers of fracking and of the failure of the industry to produce the promised job numbers and prosperity. They have been given evidence and it is their responsibility to make decisions for the welfare of the citizens of the state and not for the benefit of out-of-state companies,” charges Dr. Chamberlain. “In addition, we consider that it is unethical, and it should be illegal, for members of the legislature to vote for legislation that will financially benefit them directly. In other states when legislators vote for their own personal financial benefit it is called “corruption”. We ask the Illinois lawmakers who have signed leases with the Oil and Natural Gas companies or who have trucking companies that will have contracts for the fracking companies or those with other financial ties to fracking industry to stand down and recuse themselves from the votes on either regulations or a moratorium. The health and well-being of their constituents should be pre-eminent in their minds but we think that some IL leglisators have been blinded by what seems to be personal gain.”

The legacy of the 98th General Assembly could very well hinge on how it deals, or fails to deal, with the issue of fracking. Spills, poisoned wells, pollution of aquifers and rivers, infrastructure damage, earthquakes, cases of cancer, neurological diseases or death have occurred in the states where fracking has taken place – to think that would not happen in Illinois would be magical thinking.

Critics of HB2615 maintain that it is a sham regulatory bill, which gives only a fig-leaf of protection. Among its many inadequacies cited, the bill fails to limit the amount of water that companies can withdraw and provides for setbacks of only 500 feet from schools, hospitals, and senior centers. As currently practiced, fracking will consume hundreds of billions of gallons of fresh water in Illinois, and return it as toxic and radioactive waste. The State of Illinois has no viable plan for disposing of this toxic waste. Once contaminated, the water will be unavailable for drinking, agriculture, or tourism. The track record of the industry is one of frequent accidents and spills, with resulting contamination of local water supplies. ProPublica reported over 1000 such incidents nationwide in 2011 alone.

The oil and gas industry has acquired leases in central Illinois, near the Mahomet aquifer, putting at risk the drinking water for 850,000 people. The industry, in talks with Madigan’s office, has balked at regulations to require a certified water well driller at each frack site. ICMF maintains that this reticence on the part of the industry to hire certified Illinois water well drillers gives clear evidence that the industry lacks the “good neighbor commitment” to protecting the water and environment of the local residents.

In spite of industry promises of up to 125 jobs per well, employment and income figures in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Texas show that fracking has not created jobs or prosperity. The jobs that fracking creates – few as they will be – are temporary and toxic. Critics of fracking fear that it will create a boom and bust economy as has happened in other states. “The industry projects from 1000 to 47,000 jobs, this is a pseudo-statistic with such a wide range as to make it meaningless,” charges S.A.F.E. member Rich Fedder.

Frack gas (gas obtained by high pressure, horizontal, hydraulic fracturing) has been touted as a bridge fuel. However, the 5-9% of methane released from leaking wells, according to a recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report, means that fracking will accelerate global warming far beyond the traditional impact of burning coal since methane is a potent greenhouse gas 25 times more potent that carbon dioxide.

HB2615 fails to provide for workers’ protection. Without protections, critics claim, we can expect accidents and worker health problems. From a recent PennEnvironment press release, it was revealed that over 100,000 Pennslyvanians had signed a petition for a moratorium to Gov. Tom Corbett. One signatory, Rick “Mac” Sawyer said, “My life has been devastated by working in the gas fields. Without proper training, tools or protection, I was routinely sent out to handle toxic fracking fluid in unsafe ways,” said Rick “Mac” Sawyer. “Now, a year later, I’m sick, with no health insurance. The gas companies don’t care about the health and safety of their employees, or any Pennsylvanians for that matter.” Bev Walters of ICMF asks, “if fracking is so wonderful, why do 100,000 residents in PA want it to stop?”

HB2615 makes no mention of earthquakes though the injection of fluids deep underground has been shown to cause earthquakes along dormant fault lines in Oklahoma and Ohio. ICMF is very concerned that fracking along the active New Madrid and Wabash fault lines in Southern Illinois may induce a major earthquake.

The legislative session is drawing rapidly to a conclusion and there is still no bill on the floor for discussion or vote. ICMF members say, “When the first spill poisons a well, or the first earthquake is stimulated, or the first case of cancer is reported, the victims should hold the Illinois legislators and leadership personally responsible, because they have all been alerted of the many dangers of fracking and they seem to be turning a blind eye to the hard evidence.”

“Fracking is an accident-prone, carcinogen-dependent, climate-destroying enterprise which uses our land as its factory floor and turns rural communities into industrial zones. Instead of subsidizing fossil fuels and nuclear energy to the tune of billions of dollars, we should be investing in long-term, green energy industries, such as solar and wind. “Yes, we want more jobs, but they should be safe, long term jobs. Fracking jobs have been called the most dangerous in the nation,” says ICMF member Rich Fedder.

ICMF is a growing coalition of community and environmental groups which are working together to support a Moratorium on Fracking, the Illinois Coalition for a Moratorium on Fracking includes, Stop the Frack Attack on Illinois, SAFE (Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment), Citizens Act to Protect Our Water, Rainforest Action Network Chicago, MoveOn.org Illinois, PDA Illinois, Southeast Environmental Task Force, Chicago Area Peace Action, Rising Tide, the Chicago Chapter of World Can’t Wait and Illinois Citizens for Clean Air and Water. The Coalition works with other partners who support the moratorium as well such as Illinois People’s Action, Environment Illinois, Food & Water Watch and Sierra Club Illinois.

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Revolutionand Beer.com. Watch for the show coming in June to CAN TV in Chicago

Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer and at revolutionandbeer.com. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s and check out the weekly food pairings for our featured beers with innovative and original dishes by Chef AJ Francisco. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com

Reactionary of the Week: The Holocaust and Glenn Beck’s lies

It is hard to find which of the regularly pungent liquid detritus pouring from Glenn Beck’s mouth on a daily basis as being the most inane and simple-minded. What are worse are the obvious lies that he blathers. And, if by some slim margin of reality, they are not outright and purposeful lies, then the sublime depth of his ignorance is both stupendous and confounding.
So what brings us at Revolution and Beer to award this distinction of stupidity, or worse a badge of gun-porn and reactionary propaganda? Sadly, it has much to do with an issue we were talking about the very day that it happened. It has to do with a militarized police force and a government possessed of control by fear, and the state’s temporary revocation of basic constitutionally protect civil rights-you know that throw away amendment about persons being secure in their homes and possessions, and that silliness about being searched without cause or a warrant for specific evidence-based evidence of a crime being committed. Wait, before you go there, not someone else’s crime, but yours. If they can suspend rights blanket for a city because of an emergency-in this case one man-they have precedence to revoke them for anything. All law is based on precedence.
Beck, so swiftly on the civil rights bandwagon, a mere two weeks after many proponents and champions of civil liberties were aghast, finally referenced the house to house searches in Boston. He pointed to a photo of a policeman in an armored vehicle aiming a weapon at someone taking a picture from their window. His advice: “Don’t give up your guns!”
Amazing! Joseph Goebbels would have risen to attention at that one. Take that visual any direction you like.
But that isn’t what our banal bobble-head of bullshit babbled today on his radio program. He thought it crucial to inform the Texas-tall grass-for-brains mopes who buy his liquid detritus to educate them on how the Nazis rounded up the Jews during the Holocaust. His history cartoon went like this, as the Nazis “dragged” Jews from their homes, neighbors were ordered to stay inside. If they came to the window or doors the Nazis killed them. Wow. Now that is a new take on reality even I couldn’t have conceived, no matter how many beers I ingested. I believe that amount of beer would likely prove fatal!
Now, call me an elitist for reading books, but I have been documenting and studying nationalists and nationalism for more than two decades. Conservatively, the better part of about 30 books in my personal library is dedicated to Nazism and other brutal nationalist regimes. I even had the pleasure of interviewing a Holocaust survivor, Moris Albahari, in Sarajevo some years ago, who was witness to a pogrom by the German and Croatian fascists between 1941 and 143 in Sarajevo. Damned if there isn’t a single shred of evidence to support Beck’s b.s. bombast.
In fact, the Nazis encouraged community participation in their pogroms. Like all good criminal enterprises, nationalist regimes rely on the collective guilt of their societies. Often, as with the Holocaust, local residents were integral in the effort. And that is the fundamental piece Beck missed when he donated his soul for a dime to the NRA. This is more about blind consent based upon fear and security than about an overtly oppressive government.
Welcome, Glenn, to the Revolution and Beer reactionary of the week alumni. Well, done, you’ve earned your diploma, now move the tassel to the other side of her hugely inflated dunce cap

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Revolutionand Beer.com. Watch for the show coming in June to CAN TV in Chicago

Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer and at revolutionandbeer.com. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s and check out the weekly food pairings for our featured beers with innovative and original dishes by Chef AJ Francisco. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com

Protest at Boeing Stock Holders Meeting, Monday, April 29 at 9:30am at Chicago’s Field Museum

drone-attacks-380x253-ts300Anti-War Activists, Stockholders to Protest Boeing’s Killer Drone

Monday, April 29th, 9:30 am
Field Museum, South Entrance

For more info:

Sarah Simmons, 773-573-9100
Joe Iosbaker, 773-301-0109

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Revolutionand Beer.com. Watch for the show coming in June to CAN TV in Chicago

Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer and at revolutionandbeer.com. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s and check out the weekly food pairings for our featured beers with innovative and original dishes by Chef AJ Francisco. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com

The Anti-War Committee (AWC) of Chicago opposes Boeing CEO James McNerny’s plan to make the next combat drone for the US military. Members of the committee, including several who have purchased Boeing stock, will protest at the annual stockholders meeting at the Field Museum on Monday, April 29th.

Newland Smith, stockholder and anti-war activist, cited Senator Lindsey Graham of the Armed Services Committee, on the number of casualties from killer drones. Graham recently stated, “We’ve killed 4,700.” According to Smith, “This is the estimated number of casualties in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, but including drone strikes in Afghanistan and Iraq would result in a much higher number.”

Smith and Sarah Simmons, also a stockholder, said that the Anti-War Committee will be at the Boeing meeting to expose the loss of life resulting from drones. “What the Obama administration says isn’t true: most of the drone strikes aren’t against proven, high level Al Qaeda leaders,” explained Simmons. “In Pakistan, as many as 881 were civilians, including 176 children. Almost all the rest are “alleged combatants.””

Boeing is competing with the other top arms manufacturers for the growing budget for unmanned aircraft for the military. This year, the Navy is asking for designs for a new combat drone. Boeing is expected to propose its “Phantom Ray.”

AWC has taken a number of measures to oppose the drone wars, including submitting a statement to a hearing being held by Senator Richard Durbin on the topic taking place on April 23rd.

In addition to the deaths caused by their products, Boeing received over $60 million in tax breaks to move to Chicago. Simmons, the mother of Chicago Public School children, spoke from her experience. “Our schools are crumbling, and we’re giving tax breaks to a company with $25 billion in defense contracts.” Smith added, “With their record profits last year, McNerny was given a 20% raise to $27.5 million. Clearly war is profitable for Boeing.”

In addition to the casualties in the countries targeted by the Obama administration, AWC points out that U.S. drone pilots are also victims of drone warfare. They experience a rate of PTSD and suicide higher than combat veterans.

Smith put it plainly. “It’s time to end the drone wars, not prepare to build another generation of more deadly weapons.”

Catching up: An honest man scorned-Wells Fargo vs, Max Smith

Max Smith wants justice for other homeowners Max Smith wants justice for other homeowners[/caption]You’d like this guy. You’d like to sit down and have a beer with Max Smith. He the sort of man anyone would be proud to have as a neighbor. I would, because Max Smith is the sort who would give you the shirt off his back. Salt of the earth, as they say. He puts his neighbors first, including those he might never have met.

But Max Smith has a story to tell, and he’s pissed. Max wants justice. He is one of millions of homeowners in this country hammered, both emotionally and economically by the foreclosure crisis. He may well be one of hundreds of thousands-that have been verified as being abused by the system, by the banks and abandoned by the justice system. Revolution and Beer has carried a number of these stories, illustrating how easily consumers, who do everything right, can become victims of shady banking practices and an emasculated judicial system. That is prone to happen when banks and corporations write and promote industry sympathetic legislation.

The federal government called the National Foreclosure Settlement historic back in February 2012. It involved 5 of the largest banks and lenders, Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo, to provide some $25 billion to relieve distressed homeowners. Just one small problem, as a key, but not widely publicized provision of the settlement, the States Attorney Generals were made to agree that there would never be any prosecutions. Quite a deal. These AGs can do little more than send really terse letters.

“These banks were supposed to be modifying home loans,” said JR Fleming, of Chicago Anti-Eviction, a community grassroots organization that comes to the aid of foreclosed homeowners. “Instead, the banks have not been doing anything! Wells Fargo is the worst.” http://www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com/about

JR Flemming, Left, organizing a protest against Wells Fargo

JR Flemming, Left, organizing a protest against Wells Fargo

I was introduced to Max at a rally last week in front of the Lincoln Park offices of Wells Fargo on Chicago’s North side. He says that he tried to negotiate with the bank after the Hyundai dealership he worked for closed. Their customer service, he told me, was impossible to negotiate, and the operators showed no interest in helping him. Max could never reach the same operator twice, meaning he’d have to explain the basic issues each time, without getting any nearer to a solution. Wells Fargo operates multiple customer service banks throughout the country.

“It is a crap shoot which one you’ll reach,” said one Wells Fargo customer who asked not to be identified.

But Max was undeterred, and as a responsible homeowner, wanted to pay his debt. Complicating this frustrating issue, Max was a victim of the predatory lending which many banks specifically targeted at minority communities. He quickly found himself saddled with 12% interest on top of the loan amount. What he was asking from Wells Fargo was a modification of the interest amount. For that he was ignored and condescended to, he says. Wells Fargo asked for income verification, which was not a pretext before the housing bubble burst. Max had worked on commission at the dealership, making verification difficult. 20130422_113552

Max is a working man, and quickly found a new job at a nearby Chevrolet dealership; also a commission job. That dealership too fell victim to the economy, throwing him out of work once more. Jobs are hard to come by, and this went on for Max for the better part of 3 years, affecting his health as well, Finally he landed a part-time job at a Home Depot for minimum wage and was able to verify his income. After being threatened with foreclosure and homelessness, the bank at last modified his loan.

But Max, though out of imminent trouble, is “pissed off.” He calls the experience traumatic, and he’s out here for others facing the inhuman and arrogant treatment by the banks that are part of the National Foreclosure Settlement. They simply can ignore the settlement without any fear of accountability from the legal system, and without regard to the rights of the consumer. But deep within the legal maze of the foreclosure process lies hope for beleagured homeowners. That’s where Chicago Anti-Eviction comes in.

“We aren’t going anywhere,” says Fleming. “Regardless, there are channels that Chicago Anti-Eviction will find. It’s a lose/lose in the end for Wells Fargo.”

And they have scored victories, but their small group is swamped by struggling and desperate homeowners, and these cases take time. The cost to the homeowner, financially, emotionally and to their health can be substantial, leaving deep and lasting scars not at all unlike the post-traumatic trauma suffered by war survivors. It is simply exhausting, which prompts many to give up and accept foreclosure. To that Fleming is adament, “when faced with foreclosure, never give up your home. Once you leave, the bank wins.”20130422_113732

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Revolutionand Beer.com. Watch for the show coming in June to CAN TV in Chicago

Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer and at revolutionandbeer.com. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s and check out the weekly food pairings for our featured beers with innovative and original dishes by Chef AJ Francisco. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com

The Powell Memo (also referred to as the Powell Manifesto) first published August 23, 1971

GlennBeckGotGunHow did we get where we are now? No one paid attention to the Powell memo when it was written, at least on the Progressive and Liberal side. This memo about the corporate and rightwing takeover of the country, its media and schools should be as important to all Americans as the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address and Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream,” speech, but as a dark and dangerous crossroads for the nation. The Powell memo is presented here unedited for your benefit. Did America take the wrong road? You be the judge.

DATE: August 23, 1971
TO: Mr. Eugene B. Sydnor, Jr., Chairman, Education Committee, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
FROM: Lewis F. Powell, Jr.
This memorandum is submitted at your request as a basis for the discussion on August 24 with Mr. Booth (executive vice president) and others at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The purpose is to identify the problem, and suggest possible avenues of action for further consideration.

No thoughtful person can question that the American economic system is under broad attack. This varies in scope, intensity, in the techniques employed, and in the level of visibility.
There always have been some who opposed the American system, and preferred socialism or some form of statism (communism or fascism). Also, there always have been critics of the system, whose criticism has been wholesome and constructive so long as the objective was to improve rather than to subvert or destroy.
But what now concerns us is quite new in the history of America. We are not dealing with sporadic or isolated attacks from a relatively few extremists or even from the minority socialist cadre. Rather, the assault on the enterprise system is broadly based and consistently pursued. It is gaining momentum and converts.
Sources of the Attack
The sources are varied and diffused. They include, not unexpectedly, the Communists, New Leftists and other revolutionaries who would destroy the entire system, both political and economic. These extremists of the left are far more numerous, better financed, and increasingly are more welcomed and encouraged by other elements of society, than ever before in our history. But they remain a small minority, and are not yet the principal cause for concern.
The most disquieting voices joining the chorus of criticism come from perfectly respectable elements of society: from the college campus, the pulpit, the media, the intellectual and literary journals, the arts and sciences, and from politicians. In most of these groups the movement against the system is participated in only by minorities. Yet, these often are the most articulate, the most vocal, the most prolific in their writing and speaking.
Moreover, much of the media-for varying motives and in varying degrees-either voluntarily accords unique publicity to these “attackers,” or at least allows them to exploit the media for their purposes. This is especially true of television, which now plays such a predominant role in shaping the thinking, attitudes and emotions of our people.
One of the bewildering paradoxes of our time is the extent to which the enterprise system tolerates, if not participates in, its own destruction.
The campuses from which much of the criticism emanates are supported by (i) tax funds generated largely from American business, and (ii) contributions from capital funds controlled or generated by American business. The boards of trustees of our universities overwhelmingly are composed of men and women who are leaders in the system.
Most of the media, including the national TV systems, are owned and theoretically controlled by corporations which depend upon profits, and the enterprise system to survive.
Tone of the Attack
This memorandum is not the place to document in detail the tone, character, or intensity of the attack. The following quotations will suffice to give one a general idea:
William Kunstler, warmly welcomed on campuses and listed in a recent student poll as the “American lawyer most admired,” incites audiences as follows:
“You must learn to fight in the streets, to revolt, to shoot guns. We will learn to do all of the things that property owners fear.”2 The New Leftists who heed Kunstler’s advice increasingly are beginning to act — not just against military recruiting offices and manufacturers of munitions, but against a variety of businesses: “Since February, 1970, branches (of Bank of America) have been attacked 39 times, 22 times with explosive devices and 17 times with fire bombs or by arsonists.”3 Although New Leftist spokesmen are succeeding in radicalizing thousands of the young, the greater cause for concern is the hostility of respectable liberals and social reformers. It is the sum total of their views and influence which could indeed fatally weaken or destroy the system.
A chilling description of what is being taught on many of our campuses was written by Stewart Alsop:
“Yale, like every other major college, is graduating scores of bright young men who are practitioners of ‘the politics of despair.’ These young men despise the American political and economic system . . . (their) minds seem to be wholly closed. They live, not by rational discussion, but by mindless slogans.”4 A recent poll of students on 12 representative campuses reported that: “Almost half the students favored socialization of basic U.S. industries.”5
A visiting professor from England at Rockford College gave a series of lectures entitled “The Ideological War Against Western Society,” in which he documents the extent to which members of the intellectual community are waging ideological warfare against the enterprise system and the values of western society. In a foreword to these lectures, famed Dr. Milton Friedman of Chicago warned: “It (is) crystal clear that the foundations of our free society are under wide-ranging and powerful attack — not by Communist or any other conspiracy but by misguided individuals parroting one another and unwittingly serving ends they would never intentionally promote.”6
Perhaps the single most effective antagonist of American business is Ralph Nader, who — thanks largely to the media — has become a legend in his own time and an idol of millions of Americans. A recent article in Fortune speaks of Nader as follows:
“The passion that rules in him — and he is a passionate man — is aimed at smashing utterly the target of his hatred, which is corporate power. He thinks, and says quite bluntly, that a great many corporate executives belong in prison — for defrauding the consumer with shoddy merchandise, poisoning the food supply with chemical additives, and willfully manufacturing unsafe products that will maim or kill the buyer. He emphasizes that he is not talking just about ‘fly-by-night hucksters’ but the top management of blue chip business.”7
A frontal assault was made on our government, our system of justice, and the free enterprise system by Yale Professor Charles Reich in his widely publicized book: “The Greening of America,” published last winter.
The foregoing references illustrate the broad, shotgun attack on the system itself. There are countless examples of rifle shots which undermine confidence and confuse the public. Favorite current targets are proposals for tax incentives through changes in depreciation rates and investment credits. These are usually described in the media as “tax breaks,” “loop holes” or “tax benefits” for the benefit of business. As viewed by a columnist in the Post, such tax measures would benefit “only the rich, the owners of big companies.”8
It is dismaying that many politicians make the same argument that tax measures of this kind benefit only “business,” without benefit to “the poor.” The fact that this is either political demagoguery or economic illiteracy is of slight comfort. This setting of the “rich” against the “poor,” of business against the people, is the cheapest and most dangerous kind of politics.
The Apathy and Default of Business
What has been the response of business to this massive assault upon its fundamental economics, upon its philosophy, upon its right to continue to manage its own affairs, and indeed upon its integrity?
The painfully sad truth is that business, including the boards of directors’ and the top executives of corporations great and small and business organizations at all levels, often have responded — if at all — by appeasement, ineptitude and ignoring the problem. There are, of course, many exceptions to this sweeping generalization. But the net effect of such response as has been made is scarcely visible.
In all fairness, it must be recognized that businessmen have not been trained or equipped to conduct guerrilla warfare with those who propagandize against the system, seeking insidiously and constantly to sabotage it. The traditional role of business executives has been to manage, to produce, to sell, to create jobs, to make profits, to improve the standard of living, to be community leaders, to serve on charitable and educational boards, and generally to be good citizens. They have performed these tasks very well indeed.
But they have shown little stomach for hard-nose contest with their critics, and little skill in effective intellectual and philosophical debate.
A column recently carried by the Wall Street Journal was entitled: “Memo to GM: Why Not Fight Back?”9 Although addressed to GM by name, the article was a warning to all American business. Columnist St. John said:
“General Motors, like American business in general, is ‘plainly in trouble’ because intellectual bromides have been substituted for a sound intellectual exposition of its point of view.” Mr. St. John then commented on the tendency of business leaders to compromise with and appease critics. He cited the concessions which Nader wins from management, and spoke of “the fallacious view many businessmen take toward their critics.” He drew a parallel to the mistaken tactics of many college administrators: “College administrators learned too late that such appeasement serves to destroy free speech, academic freedom and genuine scholarship. One campus radical demand was conceded by university heads only to be followed by a fresh crop which soon escalated to what amounted to a demand for outright surrender.”
One need not agree entirely with Mr. St. John’s analysis. But most observers of the American scene will agree that the essence of his message is sound. American business “plainly in trouble”; the response to the wide range of critics has been ineffective, and has included appeasement; the time has come — indeed, it is long overdue — for the wisdom, ingenuity and resources of American business to be marshalled against those who would destroy it.
Responsibility of Business Executives
What specifically should be done? The first essential — a prerequisite to any effective action — is for businessmen to confront this problem as a primary responsibility of corporate management.
The overriding first need is for businessmen to recognize that the ultimate issue may be survival — survival of what we call the free enterprise system, and all that this means for the strength and prosperity of America and the freedom of our people.
The day is long past when the chief executive officer of a major corporation discharges his responsibility by maintaining a satisfactory growth of profits, with due regard to the corporation’s public and social responsibilities. If our system is to survive, top management must be equally concerned with protecting and preserving the system itself. This involves far more than an increased emphasis on “public relations” or “governmental affairs” — two areas in which corporations long have invested substantial sums.
A significant first step by individual corporations could well be the designation of an executive vice president (ranking with other executive VP’s) whose responsibility is to counter-on the broadest front-the attack on the enterprise system. The public relations department could be one of the foundations assigned to this executive, but his responsibilities should encompass some of the types of activities referred to subsequently in this memorandum. His budget and staff should be adequate to the task.
Possible Role of the Chamber of Commerce
But independent and uncoordinated activity by individual corporations, as important as this is, will not be sufficient. Strength lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations.
Moreover, there is the quite understandable reluctance on the part of any one corporation to get too far out in front and to make itself too visible a target.
The role of the National Chamber of Commerce is therefore vital. Other national organizations (especially those of various industrial and commercial groups) should join in the effort, but no other organizations appear to be as well situated as the Chamber. It enjoys a strategic position, with a fine reputation and a broad base of support. Also — and this is of immeasurable merit — there are hundreds of local Chambers of Commerce which can play a vital supportive role.
It hardly need be said that before embarking upon any program, the Chamber should study and analyze possible courses of action and activities, weighing risks against probable effectiveness and feasibility of each. Considerations of cost, the assurance of financial and other support from members, adequacy of staffing and similar problems will all require the most thoughtful consideration.
The Campus
The assault on the enterprise system was not mounted in a few months. It has gradually evolved over the past two decades, barely perceptible in its origins and benefiting (sic) from a gradualism that provoked little awareness much less any real reaction.
Although origins, sources and causes are complex and interrelated, and obviously difficult to identify without careful qualification, there is reason to believe that the campus is the single most dynamic source. The social science faculties usually include members who are unsympathetic to the enterprise system. They may range from a Herbert Marcuse, Marxist faculty member at the University of California at San Diego, and convinced socialists, to the ambivalent liberal critic who finds more to condemn than to commend. Such faculty members need not be in a majority. They are often personally attractive and magnetic; they are stimulating teachers, and their controversy attracts student following; they are prolific writers and lecturers; they author many of the textbooks, and they exert enormous influence — far out of proportion to their numbers — on their colleagues and in the academic world.
Social science faculties (the political scientist, economist, sociologist and many of the historians) tend to be liberally oriented, even when leftists are not present. This is not a criticism per se, as the need for liberal thought is essential to a balanced viewpoint. The difficulty is that “balance” is conspicuous by its absence on many campuses, with relatively few members being of conservatives or moderate persuasion and even the relatively few often being less articulate and aggressive than their crusading colleagues.
This situation extending back many years and with the imbalance gradually worsening, has had an enormous impact on millions of young American students. In an article in Barron’s Weekly, seeking an answer to why so many young people are disaffected even to the point of being revolutionaries, it was said: “Because they were taught that way.”10 Or, as noted by columnist Stewart Alsop, writing about his alma mater: “Yale, like every other major college, is graduating scores’ of bright young men … who despise the American political and economic system.”
As these “bright young men,” from campuses across the country, seek opportunities to change a system which they have been taught to distrust — if not, indeed “despise” — they seek employment in the centers of the real power and influence in our country, namely: (i) with the news media, especially television; (ii) in government, as “staffers” and consultants at various levels; (iii) in elective politics; (iv) as lecturers and writers, and (v) on the faculties at various levels of education.
Many do enter the enterprise system — in business and the professions — and for the most part they quickly discover the fallacies of what they have been taught. But those who eschew the mainstream of the system often remain in key positions of influence where they mold public opinion and often shape governmental action. In many instances, these “intellectuals” end up in regulatory agencies or governmental departments with large authority over the business system they do not believe in.
If the foregoing analysis is approximately sound, a priority task of business — and organizations such as the Chamber — is to address the campus origin of this hostility. Few things are more sanctified in American life than academic freedom. It would be fatal to attack this as a principle. But if academic freedom is to retain the qualities of “openness,” “fairness” and “balance” — which are essential to its intellectual significance — there is a great opportunity for constructive action. The thrust of such action must be to restore the qualities just mentioned to the academic communities.
What Can Be Done About the Campus
The ultimate responsibility for intellectual integrity on the campus must remain on the administrations and faculties of our colleges and universities. But organizations such as the Chamber can assist and activate constructive change in many ways, including the following:
Staff of Scholars
The Chamber should consider establishing a staff of highly qualified scholars in the social sciences who do believe in the system. It should include several of national reputation whose authorship would be widely respected — even when disagreed with.
Staff of Speakers
There also should be a staff of speakers of the highest competency. These might include the scholars, and certainly those who speak for the Chamber would have to articulate the product of the scholars.
Speaker’s Bureau
In addition to full-time staff personnel, the Chamber should have a Speaker’s Bureau which should include the ablest and most effective advocates from the top echelons of American business.
Evaluation of Textbooks
The staff of scholars (or preferably a panel of independent scholars) should evaluate social science textbooks, especially in economics, political science and sociology. This should be a continuing program.
The objective of such evaluation should be oriented toward restoring the balance essential to genuine academic freedom. This would include assurance of fair and factual treatment of our system of government and our enterprise system, its accomplishments, its basic relationship to individual rights and freedoms, and comparisons with the systems of socialism, fascism and communism. Most of the existing textbooks have some sort of comparisons, but many are superficial, biased and unfair.
We have seen the civil rights movement insist on re-writing many of the textbooks in our universities and schools. The labor unions likewise insist that textbooks be fair to the viewpoints of organized labor. Other interested citizens groups have not hesitated to review, analyze and criticize textbooks and teaching materials. In a democratic society, this can be a constructive process and should be regarded as an aid to genuine academic freedom and not as an intrusion upon it.
If the authors, publishers and users of textbooks know that they will be subjected — honestly, fairly and thoroughly — to review and critique by eminent scholars who believe in the American system, a return to a more rational balance can be expected.
Equal Time on the Campus
The Chamber should insist upon equal time on the college speaking circuit. The FBI publishes each year a list of speeches made on college campuses by avowed Communists. The number in 1970 exceeded 100. There were, of course, many hundreds of appearances by leftists and ultra liberals who urge the types of viewpoints indicated earlier in this memorandum. There was no corresponding representation of American business, or indeed by individuals or organizations who appeared in support of the American system of government and business.
Every campus has its formal and informal groups which invite speakers. Each law school does the same thing. Many universities and colleges officially sponsor lecture and speaking programs. We all know the inadequacy of the representation of business in the programs.
It will be said that few invitations would be extended to Chamber speakers.11 This undoubtedly would be true unless the Chamber aggressively insisted upon the right to be heard — in effect, insisted upon “equal time.” University administrators and the great majority of student groups and committees would not welcome being put in the position publicly of refusing a forum to diverse views, indeed, this is the classic excuse for allowing Communists to speak.
The two essential ingredients are (i) to have attractive, articulate and well-informed speakers; and (ii) to exert whatever degree of pressure — publicly and privately — may be necessary to assure opportunities to speak. The objective always must be to inform and enlighten, and not merely to propagandize.
Balancing of Faculties
Perhaps the most fundamental problem is the imbalance of many faculties. Correcting this is indeed a long-range and difficult project. Yet, it should be undertaken as a part of an overall program. This would mean the urging of the need for faculty balance upon university administrators and boards of trustees.
The methods to be employed require careful thought, and the obvious pitfalls must be avoided. Improper pressure would be counterproductive. But the basic concepts of balance, fairness and truth are difficult to resist, if properly presented to boards of trustees, by writing and speaking, and by appeals to alumni associations and groups.
This is a long road and not one for the fainthearted. But if pursued with integrity and conviction it could lead to a strengthening of both academic freedom on the campus and of the values which have made America the most productive of all societies.
Graduate Schools of Business
The Chamber should enjoy a particular rapport with the increasingly influential graduate schools of business. Much that has been suggested above applies to such schools.
Should not the Chamber also request specific courses in such schools dealing with the entire scope of the problem addressed by this memorandum? This is now essential training for the executives of the future.
Secondary Education
While the first priority should be at the college level, the trends mentioned above are increasingly evidenced in the high schools. Action programs, tailored to the high schools and similar to those mentioned, should be considered. The implementation thereof could become a major program for local chambers of commerce, although the control and direction — especially the quality control — should be retained by the National Chamber.
What Can Be Done About the Public?
Reaching the campus and the secondary schools is vital for the long-term. Reaching the public generally may be more important for the shorter term. The first essential is to establish the staffs of eminent scholars, writers and speakers, who will do the thinking, the analysis, the writing and the speaking. It will also be essential to have staff personnel who are thoroughly familiar with the media, and how most effectively to communicate with the public. Among the more obvious means are the following:
The national television networks should be monitored in the same way that textbooks should be kept under constant surveillance. This applies not merely to so-called educational programs (such as “Selling of the Pentagon”), but to the daily “news analysis” which so often includes the most insidious type of criticism of the enterprise system.12 Whether this criticism results from hostility or economic ignorance, the result is the gradual erosion of confidence in “business” and free enterprise.
This monitoring, to be effective, would require constant examination of the texts of adequate samples of programs. Complaints — to the media and to the Federal Communications Commission — should be made promptly and strongly when programs are unfair or inaccurate.
Equal time should be demanded when appropriate. Effort should be made to see that the forum-type programs (the Today Show, Meet the Press, etc.) afford at least as much opportunity for supporters of the American system to participate as these programs do for those who attack it.
Other Media
Radio and the press are also important, and every available means should be employed to challenge and refute unfair attacks, as well as to present the affirmative case through these media.
The Scholarly Journals
It is especially important for the Chamber’s “faculty of scholars” to publish. One of the keys to the success of the liberal and leftist faculty members has been their passion for “publication” and “lecturing.” A similar passion must exist among the Chamber’s scholars.
Incentives might be devised to induce more “publishing” by independent scholars who do believe in the system.
There should be a fairly steady flow of scholarly articles presented to a broad spectrum of magazines and periodicals — ranging from the popular magazines (Life, Look, Reader’s Digest, etc.) to the more intellectual ones (Atlantic, Harper’s, Saturday Review, New York, etc.)13 and to the various professional journals.
Books, Paperbacks and Pamphlets
The news stands — at airports, drugstores, and elsewhere — are filled with paperbacks and pamphlets advocating everything from revolution to erotic free love. One finds almost no attractive, well-written paperbacks or pamphlets on “our side.” It will be difficult to compete with an Eldridge Cleaver or even a Charles Reich for reader attention, but unless the effort is made — on a large enough scale and with appropriate imagination to assure some success — this opportunity for educating the public will be irretrievably lost.
Paid Advertisements
Business pays hundreds of millions of dollars to the media for advertisements. Most of this supports specific products; much of it supports institutional image making; and some fraction of it does support the system. But the latter has been more or less tangential, and rarely part of a sustained, major effort to inform and enlighten the American people.
If American business devoted only 10% of its total annual advertising budget to this overall purpose, it would be a statesman-like expenditure.
The Neglected Political Arena
In the final analysis, the payoff — short-of revolution — is what government does. Business has been the favorite whipping-boy of many politicians for many years. But the measure of how far this has gone is perhaps best found in the anti-business views now being expressed by several leading candidates for President of the United States.
It is still Marxist doctrine that the “capitalist” countries are controlled by big business. This doctrine, consistently a part of leftist propaganda all over the world, has a wide public following among Americans.
Yet, as every business executive knows, few elements of American society today have as little influence in government as the American businessman, the corporation, or even the millions of corporate stockholders. If one doubts this, let him undertake the role of “lobbyist” for the business point of view before Congressional committees. The same situation obtains in the legislative halls of most states and major cities. One does not exaggerate to say that, in terms of political influence with respect to the course of legislation and government action, the American business executive is truly the “forgotten man.”
Current examples of the impotency of business, and of the near-contempt with which businessmen’s views are held, are the stampedes by politicians to support almost any legislation related to “consumerism” or to the “environment.”
Politicians reflect what they believe to be majority views of their constituents. It is thus evident that most politicians are making the judgment that the public has little sympathy for the businessman or his viewpoint.
The educational programs suggested above would be designed to enlighten public thinking — not so much about the businessman and his individual role as about the system which he administers, and which provides the goods, services and jobs on which our country depends.
But one should not postpone more direct political action, while awaiting the gradual change in public opinion to be effected through education and information. Business must learn the lesson, long ago learned by labor and other self-interest groups. This is the lesson that political power is necessary; that such power must be assidously (sic) cultivated; and that when necessary, it must be used aggressively and with determination — without embarrassment and without the reluctance which has been so characteristic of American business.
As unwelcome as it may be to the Chamber, it should consider assuming a broader and more vigorous role in the political arena.
Neglected Opportunity in the Courts
American business and the enterprise system have been affected as much by the courts as by the executive and legislative branches of government. Under our constitutional system, especially with an activist-minded Supreme Court, the judiciary may be the most important instrument for social, economic and political change.
Other organizations and groups, recognizing this, have been far more astute in exploiting judicial action than American business. Perhaps the most active exploiters of the judicial system have been groups ranging in political orientation from “liberal” to the far left.
The American Civil Liberties Union is one example. It initiates or intervenes in scores of cases each year, and it files briefs amicus curiae in the Supreme Court in a number of cases during each term of that court. Labor unions, civil rights groups and now the public interest law firms are extremely active in the judicial arena. Their success, often at business’ expense, has not been inconsequential.
This is a vast area of opportunity for the Chamber, if it is willing to undertake the role of spokesman for American business and if, in turn, business is willing to provide the funds.
As with respect to scholars and speakers, the Chamber would need a highly competent staff of lawyers. In special situations it should be authorized to engage, to appear as counsel amicus in the Supreme Court, lawyers of national standing and reputation. The greatest care should be exercised in selecting the cases in which to participate, or the suits to institute. But the opportunity merits the necessary effort.
Neglected Stockholder Power
The average member of the public thinks of “business” as an impersonal corporate entity, owned by the very rich and managed by over-paid executives. There is an almost total failure to appreciate that “business” actually embraces — in one way or another — most Americans. Those for whom business provides jobs, constitute a fairly obvious class. But the 20 million stockholders — most of whom are of modest means — are the real owners, the real entrepreneurs, the real capitalists under our system. They provide the capital which fuels the economic system which has produced the highest standard of living in all history. Yet, stockholders have been as ineffectual as business executives in promoting a genuine understanding of our system or in exercising political influence.
The question which merits the most thorough examination is how can the weight and influence of stockholders — 20 million voters — be mobilized to support (i) an educational program and (ii) a political action program.
Individual corporations are now required to make numerous reports to shareholders. Many corporations also have expensive “news” magazines which go to employees and stockholders. These opportunities to communicate can be used far more effectively as educational media.
The corporation itself must exercise restraint in undertaking political action and must, of course, comply with applicable laws. But is it not feasible — through an affiliate of the Chamber or otherwise — to establish a national organization of American stockholders and give it enough muscle to be influential?
A More Aggressive Attitude
Business interests — especially big business and their national trade organizations — have tried to maintain low profiles, especially with respect to political action.
As suggested in the Wall Street Journal article, it has been fairly characteristic of the average business executive to be tolerant — at least in public — of those who attack his corporation and the system. Very few businessmen or business organizations respond in kind. There has been a disposition to appease; to regard the opposition as willing to compromise, or as likely to fade away in due time.
Business has shunted confrontation politics. Business, quite understandably, has been repelled by the multiplicity of non-negotiable “demands” made constantly by self-interest groups of all kinds.
While neither responsible business interests, nor the United States Chamber of Commerce, would engage in the irresponsible tactics of some pressure groups, it is essential that spokesmen for the enterprise system — at all levels and at every opportunity — be far more aggressive than in the past.
There should be no hesitation to attack the Naders, the Marcuses and others who openly seek destruction of the system. There should not be the slightest hesitation to press vigorously in all political arenas for support of the enterprise system. Nor should there be reluctance to penalize politically those who oppose it.
Lessons can be learned from organized labor in this respect. The head of the AFL-CIO may not appeal to businessmen as the most endearing or public-minded of citizens. Yet, over many years the heads of national labor organizations have done what they were paid to do very effectively. They may not have been beloved, but they have been respected — where it counts the most — by politicians, on the campus, and among the media.
It is time for American business — which has demonstrated the greatest capacity in all history to produce and to influence consumer decisions — to apply their great talents vigorously to the preservation of the system itself.
The Cost
The type of program described above (which includes a broadly based combination of education and political action), if undertaken long term and adequately staffed, would require far more generous financial support from American corporations than the Chamber has ever received in the past. High level management participation in Chamber affairs also would be required.
The staff of the Chamber would have to be significantly increased, with the highest quality established and maintained. Salaries would have to be at levels fully comparable to those paid key business executives and the most prestigious faculty members. Professionals of the great skill in advertising and in working with the media, speakers, lawyers and other specialists would have to be recruited.
It is possible that the organization of the Chamber itself would benefit from restructuring. For example, as suggested by union experience, the office of President of the Chamber might well be a full-time career position. To assure maximum effectiveness and continuity, the chief executive officer of the Chamber should not be changed each year. The functions now largely performed by the President could be transferred to a Chairman of the Board, annually elected by the membership. The Board, of course, would continue to exercise policy control.
Quality Control is Essential
Essential ingredients of the entire program must be responsibility and “quality control.” The publications, the articles, the speeches, the media programs, the advertising, the briefs filed in courts, and the appearances before legislative committees — all must meet the most exacting standards of accuracy and professional excellence. They must merit respect for their level of public responsibility and scholarship, whether one agrees with the viewpoints expressed or not.
Relationship to Freedom
The threat to the enterprise system is not merely a matter of economics. It also is a threat to individual freedom.
It is this great truth — now so submerged by the rhetoric of the New Left and of many liberals — that must be re-affirmed if this program is to be meaningful.
There seems to be little awareness that the only alternatives to free enterprise are varying degrees of bureaucratic regulation of individual freedom — ranging from that under moderate socialism to the iron heel of the leftist or rightist dictatorship.
We in America already have moved very far indeed toward some aspects of state socialism, as the needs and complexities of a vast urban society require types of regulation and control that were quite unnecessary in earlier times. In some areas, such regulation and control already have seriously impaired the freedom of both business and labor, and indeed of the public generally. But most of the essential freedoms remain: private ownership, private profit, labor unions, collective bargaining, consumer choice, and a market economy in which competition largely determines price, quality and variety of the goods and services provided the consumer.
In addition to the ideological attack on the system itself (discussed in this memorandum), its essentials also are threatened by inequitable taxation, and — more recently — by an inflation which has seemed uncontrollable.14 But whatever the causes of diminishing economic freedom may be, the truth is that freedom as a concept is indivisible. As the experience of the socialist and totalitarian states demonstrates, the contraction and denial of economic freedom is followed inevitably by governmental restrictions on other cherished rights. It is this message, above all others, that must be carried home to the American people.
It hardly need be said that the views expressed above are tentative and suggestive. The first step should be a thorough study. But this would be an exercise in futility unless the Board of Directors of the Chamber accepts the fundamental premise of this paper, namely, that business and the enterprise system are in deep trouble, and the hour is late.
Footnotes (Powell’s)
1. Variously called: the “free enterprise system,” “capitalism,” and the “profit system.” The American political system of democracy under the rule of law is also under attack, often by the same individuals and organizations who seek to undermine the enterprise system.
2. Richmond News Leader, June 8, 1970. Column of William F. Buckley, Jr.
3. N.Y. Times Service article, reprinted Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 17, 1971.
4. Stewart Alsop, Yale and the Deadly Danger, Newsweek, May 18. 1970.
5. Editorial, Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 7, 1971.
6. Dr. Milton Friedman, Prof. of Economics, U. of Chicago, writing a foreword to Dr. Arthur A. Shenfield’s Rockford College lectures entitled “The Ideological War Against Western Society,” copyrighted 1970 by Rockford College.
7. Fortune. May, 1971, p. 145. This Fortune analysis of the Nader influence includes a reference to Nader’s visit to a college where he was paid a lecture fee of $2,500 for “denouncing America’s big corporations in venomous language . . . bringing (rousing and spontaneous) bursts of applause” when he was asked when he planned to run for President.
8. The Washington Post, Column of William Raspberry, June 28, 1971.
9. Jeffrey St. John, The Wall Street Journal, May 21, 1971.
10. Barron’s National Business and Financial Weekly, “The Total Break with America, The Fifth Annual Conference of Socialist Scholars,” Sept. 15, 1969.
11. On many campuses freedom of speech has been denied to all who express moderate or conservative viewpoints.
12. It has been estimated that the evening half-hour news programs of the networks reach daily some 50,000,000 Americans.
13. One illustration of the type of article which should not go unanswered appeared in the popular “The New York” of July 19, 1971. This was entitled “A Populist Manifesto” by ultra liberal Jack Newfield — who argued that “the root need in our country is ‘to redistribute wealth’.”
14. The recent “freeze” of prices and wages may well be justified by the current inflationary crisis. But if imposed as a permanent measure the enterprise system will have sustained a near fatal blow.
*One of our great frustrations is that foundations and funders who prefer a democratic republic to corporate domination have failed to learn from the success of these corporate institutions. They decline to invest in long-term education and culture-shifting that we and a small number of allied organizations work to achieve. Instead, they overwhelmingly focus on damage control and short-term goals. This approach stands no chance of yielding the systemic change needed to reverse the trend of growing corporate dominance.
We see depressingly little sign of change. Patient nurturing of movement-building work remains the exception to the rule among foundations that purport to strengthen democracy and citizen engagement. The growing movement to revoke corporate personhood is supported almost entirely from individual contributions.

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Stand Up for Uptown Action at Stewart Elementary

Graeme Stewart Elementary School, 4525 N. Kenmore Ave.

Graeme Stewart Elementary School, 4525 N. Kenmore Ave.

What: Press conference and march in support of Stockton, Stewart, and Trumbull elementary schools, and also in support of affordable housing that is under attack in Uptown and across the Northside. The march will point out key spots in the ongoing struggle for justice in the Uptown community.

Who: Families and teachers from the affected schools, residents of affected buildings, members of Northside Action for Justice, Uptown Uprising, Northside Save Our Schools, and other concerned community residents and activists. Food served by Food Not Bombs.

When & Where: Saturday, April 27, at the Stewart Elementary playground, Broadway and Sunnyside. Graeme Stewart Elementary School, 4525 N. Kenmore Ave. Press Conference and March beginning at 12pm, gathering at 11am

Why: While Alderman Cappleman works to push low income residents and social service agencies out of Uptown, Mayor Emanuel and his handpicked
Board of Education are plotting to shut down half the elementary schools in the

Policies like these are being pushed in neighborhoods all across the city, including a total of 54 schools slated for closure. This is nothing short of an assault on the poor and working class communities of Chicago.

But the people are fighting back! This will be a day of resistance and community building in Uptown.
Press Contact: Karen Zaccor, (773) 316-8852

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Revolutionand Beer.com. Watch for the show coming in June to CAN TV in Chicago

Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s and check out the weekly food pairings for our featured beers with innovative and original dishes by Chef AJ Francisco. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com

Revolution and Beer…of the week: Saison Dupont and the sort of beer they’d serve in heaven

20130425_190855In previous pieces we discussed whether or not there could be beer in heaven. Using laws of thermodynamics, and the dateless angst of the average physics major, we were able to show mathematically that conditions in heaven would indeed be perfect for beer. Conversely, we also showed that hell would not be ideal, whether or not it actually froze over-opening the floodgates for all those nerdy science majors to finally get the date of their dreams,-and that given the current state of religion in the world today hell is bound to become overcrowded quickly, and hence far too warm for beer to be served properly, let alone enjoyed. Breathe.

Setting aside the logistics of delivery in hell, what we failed to discuss, as I pop the cork off a tall green bottle of Saison Dupont, a true Belgian Farmhouse Ale, is precisely what kind of beer might we expect to find in heaven. Well, wait no longer. I am about to make my case, at least for the sort I might be predisposed to imbibing for eternity.20130425_193052

You’d pay as much or more for a casual bottle of wine the same size. 6.5%ABV, this Farmhouse Ale pours to the most incredible translucent gold in color with a ¾ inch snow-white head, and a dense and intricate lacing. The fragrance is of southwestern Belgium when the wind off the English Channel is just right, enlivening the rolling hills, farms and postcard villages. There’s something about the rich full-bodied and malty beers of Northern France and Southern Belgium I find myself all too often drawn to, which I might well find excuse to enjoy for eternity.

The good news is that in heaven, drink as much as you like! Now, where as I sort of like getting up from a raucous conversation, a philosophical muse, or longingly gazing into the eyes of a beautiful woman opposite to catch my breath and read a sports page hastily taped to the wall above a gentleman’s facility, in heaven there would be no such burden. And if there was, thank the heavens (pun intended) for those flowing white gowns! Though after a couple of beers those gowns might get a bit unwieldy in tight spaces, but then you’d have forever to get the movements down, right?

Nicely balanced, with hints of citrus and a beautifully understated carbonation, this is a gentle beer. It is a beer of opportunity, for good conversation, pondering or a hearty meal. On the patio we have a big Rosemary bush. I picked off a bit and sampled it with Saison Dupont and quickly thought of a recipe from Carole Cooper’s collection. http://www.simplynaturalgourmet.com/ I could almost see her whipping it up in the kitchen as the sun set among the pines along the Lake Superior shore in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. carole

The room would fill with the scent of her Rosemary Chicken with roasted potatoes and onions. She and Geoff would be in competing conversations on entirely different though not unsympathetic themes. The growing evening breeze would thunder waves upon the shore across the road. That softening and cooling wind, like that Belgian sea breeze reminds me of Saison Dupont.

There is sediment in this beer, a golden-brown yeast suspended near the bottom of the glass. Something to hold up to the light and consider, a memory of the magical process of brewing, that is at once an ancient craft and a wonder of nature. That understanding must be heaven-sent, or maybe it’s Carole’s Rosemary Chicken. I know it is definitely this fine Belgian Ale, and if I could just hold onto a bit of all that, that would certainly be heaven.

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Revolutionand Beer.com. Watch for the show coming in June to CAN TV in Chicago

Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s and check out the weekly food pairings for our featured beers with innovative and original dishes by Chef AJ Francisco. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com

Deadstring Brothers, Cannery Row: A little respect over here?

deadsring brosThere are comparisons here, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Its sort of like comparing you to a cousin. Maybe there is a family resemblance, but there the similarities end. So I won’t make them here, as much as I might wish so say that I hear this influence or that influence. It feels a little lazy to me as a writer, and unfair to listeners. It’s sort of like saying, you can run the race, or just climb that fence over there and sneak across the finish line. The journey, to tease a cliché, is what it’s all about, right?

I came to this band roughly a year or so ago with their 2009 album, Sao Paulo, a collection of roots tinged heartfelt pieces effused with ample blues and country flavors. Led by guitarist/vocalist Kurt Marschke, the band does evoke a number of classic influences. I’ll let you be the judge. But then contemporary American music has always relied on inspiration and influences, and great bands also inspire and influence. Deadstring Brothers is just such a band. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_s_bL7WqFSI

Cannery Row is Dead String’s latest offering. There is an intimacy and gentleness to this collection, but it is hardly a push-over, evident in the bluesy hymnal opening title song. While there are no grinding, driving guitar pieces, the songs carry a confidence and power all their own, in a well-spring voice straight from the heartland. To pull that off Marschke assembled a tour-de-force of supporting musicians that come to each song as an impressive, if slightly understated ensemble. The strength of that ensemble becomes fully apparent for “Just a Deck of Cards,” the album’s third selection, a playful mid-tempo country-rock offering.

Carried along by Brad Pemberton’s minimalist drums (The Cardinals), and backed Pete Finney of Dixie Chicks fame on guitar, and Mike Webb’s piano, “Lucille’s Honky Tonk” centers Cannery Row in its country roots. But it is “Oh Me Oh My” that emerges as the signature piece. Marschke is joined by Kim Collins(Indy-country duet Smoking Flowers)for a truly powerful and memorable lament. “Oh ain’t it funny how time just passes by, take you down the road in blink of an eye, Oh ain’t it funny how life just makes you try, work you down to the bitter end until the day that you die...” The edges here are rounded and softened by Finney’s guitar interwoven against Webb’s organ and piano.

Cannery Row finishes with the soulful “The Mansion,” a moody cascade of overlapping acoustic guitar, dobro and mandolin. “So many stories I must tell“, the song begins, “like how the wind moves through your hair.” And that is the real strength of Deadstring Brothers’ Cannery Row. There are more stories to tell here. Marschke leaves us wanting and waiting for more. Not over some nostalgia for bands of a bygone era, but for some truly beautiful and timeless songs yet to be written, and with a keen appreciation for the nearness and accessibility of Cannery Row. Grab yourself a good beer, turn this one up on some quiet evening and take a journey along Cannery Row. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-U0LG3b1sBs

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Revolutionand Beer.com. Watch for the show coming in June to CAN TV in Chicago

Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s and check out the weekly food pairings for our featured beers with innovative and original dishes by Chef AJ Francisco. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com

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