Friday, September 14, 2012

31 Notes on the Alcohol Wars at Pine Ridge

31 Notes on the Alcohol Wars at Pine Ridge

Crazy Horse was a Sober Warrior


Photos by Joey Feaster

1. Autumn Two Bulls is the mother of Wakiyan, or Loud Brave Thunder, a young Oglala Lakota protester who was maced by police on August 26 during a march against alcohol sales along the border of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. “My son believes in sobriety. One thing he told me was that Crazy Horse, his hero, was a sober warrior. Crazy horse didn’t believe in alcohol and he knew what was coming because he was a spiritual man and he stood up and fought against what was coming.” Wakiyan is ten years old. Days after the protest his vision was still blurry from the mace.

2. Wakiyan takes part in traditional ceremonies, traveling as far away as Wyoming to offer respect to the sacred, to hang prayer flags in the presence of Mato Tipila, or bear lodge, an enormous intrusion of igneous rock that towers over the land like a blunted 1,200 foot buffalo horn. The sacred mountain in the Black Hills is also known as Devil’s Tower in the language of the ones who made wretched war on the Lakota and colonized the region.

Lakota protesters occupy Highway 87 in White Clay.

3. There are four liquor stores and only fourteen residents in the unincorporated town of White Clay. It exists purely to unload alcohol, and lots of it. On average, the retailers sell 12,500 cans of beer every day, mostly to the reservations 40,000 residents. White Clay is 250 feet from Pine Ridge where alcohol is forbidden.

4. I’ve always only respected and prayed for the “zombies” of White Clay, because some of them are my uncles, my grammas, or my cousins, a new pain hard to see…When I used to live at home, I live in Omaha now, I would drive through White Clay everyday, early in the morning, with a cigarette and a dream, on my way to school, I drove through everyday, with a fleeting moment’s honor, I would honk at them; a small moment of honor, a small song with one drum beat and one sound, a death song perhaps, I would honor them. – Elisha Yellow Thunder

5. There is a green State Highway sign near the hamlet of Wounded Knee, 18 miles northeast of White Clay that lists four possible burial sites of Crazy Horse, the great Lakota warrior. It is believed that his family buried his bones and his heart in the earth beside the creek.

6. Wounded Knee Creek is cut by wind, its behavior a condition of the topography of wind. The surface is evaporated skywards by the sweeping aridity in the summer or frozen by the crystallized gusts of winter. Its waters eventually meander northwest to feed the White River into the isolated grassland mesas and buttes of the Badlands. From there, the blood of Wounded Knee Creek eventually feeds the Missouri, empties into the Mississippi, mixes with silt, agricultural runoff, thousands of other tributaries, and dumps, some 1,400 miles south, into the Gulf of Mexico. The migration of the watersheds of the Lakota nations, which carry the debris of attempted genocide, of struggle and spirit, pass into the warm open ocean, feeding the intensity of hurricanes.

Members of Deep Green resistance blockade highway, shutting down liquor sales.

7. Crazy Horse malt liquor first appeared in 1992 in New York City. Attorney’s representing the descendants of Crazy Horse successfully sued the brewing company responsible, which went out of business in 1999. Collectors still sell cases, from time to time, online.

Facing down the police.

8. For over 100 years the women of the Oglala Lakota nation have been dealing with an attack on the mind body and spirit of their relatives. We have been silenced through chemical warfare waged by the corporations who are out to exploit and make a profit off of the suffering and misery of our people. The time has come to end this suffering by any means necessary. – Olowan Martinez, organizer of the Women’s Peace March.

Young Lakota wearing fox head prepares for march.

9. Numerous documented complaints have been lodged against the four liquor stores: beer sales to Lakota minors; racist slurs from the store keepers; the trading of alcohol for sexual favors; the violation of open container laws at the store fronts; the continued harassment of the Lakota by poisonous profiteers.

Helen Red Feather, veteran of Wounded Knee 1973, protesting alcohol sales in White Clay.

10. In 1973 several hundred Oglala Sioux and hundreds of others occupied the hamlet of Wounded Knee with rifles and roadblocks. Under the banner of the American Indian Movement (AIM) protesters reclaimed sovereignty of the land–reclaimed the spirit of a warrior’s revolt. They demanded the end of corrupt tribal government collusion with outside and moneyed interests, the return of the Black Hills, and the end of strip mining, which toxified Lakota waters, on their land. For 71days AIM and the Lakota held the town. U.S. Armed Forces, Marshals, the National Guard and the FBI surrounded the uprising, cutting electricity and food supplies to Wounded Knee. Buddy Lamont and Frank Clearwater, both members of AIM, were killed by machine gun fire. Two FBI agents fell in open gunfights. Twelve other members of the uprising simply disappeared. In the end law enforcement raided the camp and made over 1,200 arrests. AIM organizer, Leonard Peltier, received two life sentences. Over the next few years the reservation would see more than 60 unsolved murders of tribal members.

11. Every year, the Lakota and other First Nation peoples commemorate the ‘73 uprising. It’s not uncommon to see U.S. flags displayed upside down.

12. I was also taught that the American flag upside down is our right. That when our ancestors rode off with this flag at the Battle of the Greasy Grass [aka Custer’s Last Stand] it became ours. – Olowan Martinez.

13. Along with 10 year old Wakiyan, veterans of the ‘73 uprising, protesters from AIM grassroots, Deep Green Resistance (DGR), Un-Occupy Albuquerque, Occupy Lincoln and Native Youth Movement (NYM) joined women from the Oglala Lakota nation for the Women’s Peace March on White Clay. Members of DGR closed down Nebraska Highway 87 for six hours by linking arms in fortified pvc tubes, laying in the road. Elders and youth provided them with support–water, shade, drums. Some stood with ceremonial staffs between the protesters and the police. The action cut off sales at the liquor stores to the tune of five grand. This is the second such highway blockade this summer. Autumn Two Bulls publicly thanked the activists for showing solidarity with the Lakota people noting that active unity across cultural lines would bring results. One of the members of DGR noted that the group is honored to follow the leadership of the Lakota. According to a published DGR code of conduct, “Non-indigenous members of DGR remember that we are living on stolen land in the midst of an ongoing genocide. The task of the non-indigenous is to build solidarity with indigenous people in defending the land, preserving traditional cultures, and protecting sacred ceremonies from exploitation.”

14. Police sprayed mace from their cars, disabling marchers, elders, children, anyone–a chemical drive by.

The police maced protesters from the windows of their cruisers.

15. A few days later–ushered by gusty winds–wildfires moving north from Nebraska raced through the Pine Ridge Reservation, burning 25,000 acres. The tribal government issued evacuation orders for several districts.

16. It’s common for winds to topple buildings throughout the area.

17. In 1890, hundreds of famished Minneconjou Sioux were murdered by the U.S. Seventh Cavalry in the dead of winter at Wounded Knee, 18 miles from White Clay. Old photos capture the scene of the genocide in the frozen snow. With the thaw, the blood made its way to the creek.

18. There was a woman with an infant in her arms who was killed as she almost touched the flag of truce, and the women and children of course were strewn all along the circular village until they were dispatched. Right near the flag of truce a mother was shot down with her infant; the child not knowing that its mother was dead was still nursing, and that especially was a very sad sight. The women as they were fleeing with their babes were killed together, shot right through, and the women who were very heavy with child were also killed. All the Indians fled in these three directions, and after most all of them had been killed a cry was made that all those who were not killed or wounded should come forth and they would be safe. Little boys who were not wounded came out of their places of refuge, and as soon as they came in sight a number of soldiers surrounded them and butchered them there. – Testimony of American Horse to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1891.

19. Nearly twenty years before the massacre at Wounded Knee, Crazy Horse led a successful coalition war party against the 7th Cavalry of the U.S. Army, which included 700 soldiers and one General George Custer at the battle of Little Bighorn in Montana.

20. Every year tribal members reenact their ancestors’ victory against Custer in a grand celebration on horseback.

21. One year after the victory, as the story goes, Crazy Horse was fatally wounded in Nebraska, resisting imprisonment.

22. Crazy Horse malt liquor has a Facebook page in disturbing memoriam.

23. Though the Lakota struggle to rid their community of outside poisons has existed since the first European traders arrived in their land with small pox and liquor, the recent skirmishes were reignited in 1999. Two tribal members, Ron Hard Heart and Wally Black Elk Jr., were killed near White Clay, their deaths unsolved. Marches, protests, blockades and legislative hearings in Nebraska called into question the legality and morality of liquor sales in the region.

Vivian Loud Hawk, who has lost loved ones from alcohol-related deaths, condemns the business practices of bars in White Clay.

24. According to Re-Member, a non-profit working on the reservation, Pine Ridge boasts some rather painful statistics: alcoholism in up to 80 percent of the community; 1 in 4 infants suffer the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome; the lowest life expectancy rate in the U.S., second lowest in the Western Hemisphere; high rates of cancer, diabetes, suicide.

25. Wakiyan: Alcoholism ain’t right. It kills a lot of our relatives.

26. The Oglala Sioux tribe filed a lawsuit in February, 2012 seeking $500 million in damages from the four establishments and the nation’s biggest breweries.

27. The area around White Clay has a history rooted in illegal liquor sales. In 1882, at the behest of Oglala elders and the U.S. Indian agent in the territory, U.S. President Chester Arthur ordered that a buffer zone be put in place in Nebraska, south of the reservation, between illegal whisky peddlers and the Lakota. Known as the White Clay Extension, the fifty square mile area was later incorporated into the reservation then offered up into public domain, precipitating a land grab by whites. Liquor licenses followed shortly after–its original purpose turned upside-down.

28. The growing alliance in defense of Lakota sovereignty, uniting DGR, the occupy movement and indigenous resistance, both broadly, under the banner of AIM, and locally, with the descendants and veterans of the ‘73 uprising, is promising to the resistance–terrifying to authority.

29. DGR is a movement built upon Derrick Jensen’s critique of industrial civilization and his premises for a return to a healthy humanity and planet, spelled out his book End Game. In essence, Jensen has called for the deliberate toppling of industrialism and militarism, power-grids, dams, monoculture, patriarchy, and the dominant culture of contemporary city-states–for a return to the land and the land-based community. In his books Jensen calls for a new warrior ethos amongst environmentalists, for a serious resistance prepared to meet a serious and terrifying enemy, a resistance akin to the French underground during WWII, the Spanish anarchists in the time of Franco, or the Lakota Sioux in the time of Crazy Horse.

30. It was Custer’s Last Stand, sure, but not the last stand of Manifest Destiny, which eventually had its way and still does.

31. Until it kills itself, or something else does.

Russ McSpadden is a part of the editorial collective of the Earth First! Journal and Newswire. He has worked on grassroots biodiversity, human and indigenous rights campaigns across the United States and has taken part in tree-sits, power plant blockades and late night political rants about the beauty of the stars and the detritus of civilization. He can be reached at

What will not get resolved — we sure haven’t resolved it yet — is the staggering failure and human potential tragedy represented by that 40 percent dropout rate (of the Chicago Public Schools). Why haven’t we? Because it’s hard. Because it cuts to the very core of society. Failure among Chicago public school kids is acceptable to the rest of the city and country because it’s not their kids. The dropouts don’t even look like their kids, generally.

The one school stat that nobody’s discussing


Last Modified: Sep 14, 2012 07:52AM

If I ran a hospital where 40 percent of the patients who checked in died rather than getting better, how long would you allow me to debate the details of our doctors’ salaries, our hospital care guidelines, or specific room amenities before you raised a finger and said, “Hey, let’s talk some about that 40 percent dying part. Because that would seem far more important than whether your doctors buy their own scrubs or not.”

This is a very interesting analogy.  In point of fact, amongst Medicare patients who check into hospitals, we can expect something like 115,000 of them to DIE from some cause that is entirely unrelated to the reason for their initial hospitalization.  Such deaths are known as IATROGENIC (physician / hospital induced) DEATHS, and, depending on what you think of another 115,000 old fogies dying off sooner than their maker probably had inteneded, this might actually be REAL news.

Not all that long ago, the Boston Herald ran an article about one of the Boston-area hospitals that cut their patient mortality rates by 75%.  How did they do this?  They insisted that hospital personnel WASH THEIR HANDS at everyopportunity.  i.e., 16th century technology! Yeah!  Boo-rah!

But, in point of fact, the 40% of students who drop out, do NOT die.  So, this is not exactly the same thing as a hospital which manages to save 60% and kill the other 40%.  Not even close to being the same thing.

Here's another interesting 40% statistic that comes from Lewis Lapham:  40% of adult Americans are functionally illiterate, and live in terror of being discovered for their functional illiteracy.  This does not speak particularly highly of the educations that these people received,  Did they all drop out? 
That’s basically my attitude toward the spectacle of the 2012 Chicago teachers strike. Teaching is hard, and teachers deserve respect, and I am not saying that 160,000 of the current 400,000 Chicago public school students will drop out because they have lousy teachers. If I had to guess, I’d say for every student driven off by mediocre teaching — or no air conditioning, or lack of counselors — there’s another who would have been lost were it not for a great teacher. Maybe two.

At age 16, the student has the right to drop out.  High school, as it is presently taught, is NOT for everyone, because not everyone is a candidate to go on to college, and get a college degree in the humanities, business, the sciences, etc.

Some of our human resources are skilled with their hands - they like to build things - things made of wood, things made of steel, things made of engines.  One must be very lucky to attend a high school that offers programs in the trades.  Very lucky. We tend to not have them at all out here in suburbia, where our students are dying by degrees (suicides, narcotics) - and where every child's parents dream of their children getting a "good" education (the more history a grade school, junior high school, and senior high school student gets, the more ignorant that student becomes of history, and would probably be SHOCKED to discover that history is being made IN THE PRESENT TIME.

POVERTY is the primary reason for our children failing in schools.  Children born into poverty that go to bed hungry, that eat paint chips, that have uneducated parents, scratching and clawing away to make their way in a society that would rather not see them, would rather marginalize them, would rather BLAME THEM for their poverty which was in many respects bequeathed upon them from birth (being born into the unlucky sperm club).  Children born in to poverty enter school with a vocabulary of about 500 words, as opposed to children not born into poverty who enter school with a vocabularly of about 1,000 words.

But that dropout number sits there and ticks. I’ve seen it cited as high as 44 percent; as with all statistics, there’s an amazingly wide range of opinion regarding what the true figures are and what they represent.

Whatever the actual number, it’s been ignored lately — the only story I saw it in was mine, plus a William Bennett column quoting me (queasy company to keep, I admit). Maybe part of the game is we have to assume students want to learn, that they are coming to school to soak up good teaching. Otherwise, what’s the point of sweating all this? In light of 40 percent of students dropping out, why bother with teachers at all? Why not just hire security guards — cheaper, less training required — to keep an eye on teens as they sit in classrooms watching TV, awaiting the inevitable moment when they shrug and wander into the street to live whatever kind of life you can live without a diploma?

There actually WAS a time in this country when one COULD earn enough money to put a roof over the head of his family, to put food on his family's table, to be able to buy new shoes (but maybe only one or two pairs a year) for his children, and able to afford to have a wife to stay at home and play the role of HOUSEHOLD ENGINEER (an unpaid role, which is even better than SLAVE labor, when you think about it) and to do these things WITHOUT a diploma - happened all the time in Streator, IL, back in the 1940's, 50's, and 60's, when the town had the worlds two largest glass manufacturing companies.

If we were to educate our children WELL, and thoroughly, they would learn to despise the so-called "American Free Market System" which in point of fact is a Corporate Welfare State, where the profits are privatized, and the losses are socialized (subsidized by the tax payer so that the share holders won't have to take a bad hair cut).

In fact, for 1/3 of the black population between the ages of 18 and 29, we DO hire security guards to watch over them as they watch TV, and work for extremely low wages in that other institutional setting into which so many fine and worthy young black men go - PRISON.  I cannot tell if Niel Stienberg is being sarcastic or not here - I'll put the most positive construction on all that he says - and assume that he IS being sarcastic. 

There is an argument that the crux of the problem isn’t really teachers, good, bad or indifferent; it’s parents. If your parents are paying attention to you and care about your education, then you’re generally going to be fine, no matter what kind of school you go to or what caliber of teachers you find there.

Perhaps you should do a story about the 8 Barrington High School Students who committed suicide, in, if my memory serves, the school year 2010-2011.  See if THEIR parents were paying attention to them, or cared about their educations, because, I am going to state here, this most obvious of truths - NO, their parents DID NOT CARE ABOUT THEM enough to see the problems. 

But if your mom’s a drug addict and your dad’s who knows where, then you could be set down in the front row of Freshman Success A01 at New Trier and you’d still most likely screw up, and quickly, too, because you couldn’t cope with this strange new world.

Again, I suggest Mr Steinberg come to Barrington, where the kids deael smack, coke, marijuana, ecstacy, where rampant binge drinking is the norm, and has been for many, many decades.  There are plenty of kids in suburbia that have a very difficult time coping with all the trapings of "loving families," "a great educational system," "all the advantages."

The Sun-Times did a survey, years ago, of kindergarten teachers, one that made a huge impression on me. It asked teachers to evaluate how prepared Chicago 5-year-olds are when they arrive for the first day of school.

There were kids who didn’t know their colors or couldn’t count to 10. Some kids didn’t know their own names, only what street tag they went by. The best teachers in the best schools in the world couldn’t help kids like that catch up, and while those were the exceptions, you can’t give teachers an impossible task and then punish them for not doing it. Which seems to be what often happens.

This is a very perceptive point, and one not appreciated by knee-jerk reactors.

The dropout rate in Chicago is about 40 percent. Any idea, any clue what the national average dropout rate is? Brace yourself for another shocking figure that isn’t seen much:

About 30 percent. About a third, which is almost as bad as 40 percent. Something has gone very wrong in this country if we can’t get one out of three kids to finish high school.

Public high school, that is. Private schools are an entirely different matter. The National Catholic Education Association reports a dropout rate of 0.9 percent, or a 99.1 percent graduation rate. Why the difference? Is teaching so incredible at Catholic schools that their students are kept engaged and studying, then sent off to college with a fancy diploma and a pat on the head? Perhaps.

Or maybe any student whose parent cares enough and has the resources to get him or her into a private school is going to do well.

The strike is going to be resolved, maybe as early as Friday. If not, then next week, or eventually. What will not get resolved — we sure haven’t resolved it yet — is the staggering failure and human potential tragedy represented by that 40 percent dropout rate.

Why haven’t we? Because it’s hard. Because it cuts to the very core of society. Failure among Chicago public school kids is acceptable to the rest of the city and country because it’s not their kids. The dropouts don’t even look like their kids, generally.

On the national level, we have one party pretending we all begin at the same starting line, and anyone who gets ahead deserves it, while those who fall behind can be justly ignored. But that’s simply a lie. The playing field is skewed. My kids exist in an education-rich culture where students scramble over each other to strive, to succeed, to grow and learn. While a few miles away, 40 percent of students and their parents don’t even grasp that without a high school diploma, your chances are somewhere between little and none. That problem is going to exist long after the cheer goes up and the strike is over.

LESSONS RAHM CAN LEARN -- Timing is everything. Drop the sarcasm. Don’t over-reach. You’re not as good as you think you are at controlling the message. And above all, stop dictating and start collaborating.



City Hall Reporter/

Last Modified: Sep 14, 2012 10:07AM

Instead of ridiculing striking teachers for complaining about sweltering schools without air-conditioning, what if Mayor Rahm Emanuel had put his formidable fund-raising skills to work to persuade corporate donors to bankroll school air-conditioners?

Instead of raising the strike threshold and offering cash bounties to entice individual schools to immediately implement his longer school day, what if Emanuel had worked with the Chicago Teachers Union to structure the longer day?

Now that the teachers strike appears to be winding down, there are lessons to be learned for Chicago’s rookie mayor.

Timing is everything. Drop the sarcasm. Don’t over-reach. You’re not as good as you think you are at controlling the message. And above all, stop dictating and start collaborating.

“The greatest lesson is that two sides operating in a silo without talking to each other brought us to this point and both of them want the same thing: good schools,” said former state senator and mayoral candidate James Meeks, who championed the push for school vouchers.

Meeks may not be correrct here.  I suggest that while the TEACHERS want good schools, that the Mayor, superintendent of schools, et al, do NOT want good schools (in particular) and would be entirely delighted if all the CPS were privatized with a voucher system and that the damned pesky CTU would just go away and quit making a stink.  "The suits" want high test scores (on the standardized No Child Left With Buttocks clusterfuck implemented by the Dick Cheney Administration, which garnered many 100's of 1,000's of dollars to Neil Bush (he of Silverado Fame - how can we expect a Bush to make an honest living?  Does not the world kow tow and bow down before them?  Why SHOULD the Bush's have to earn an honest living, anyway?  Were they not 'to the manner born?'  Are they not America's Royal Family?  (Albeit, they are for the most part despised by real Texans - their daughters a trashy drunken distraction during their late teen-aged and early 20's years- Dubya, (also known as 43) a party hearty guy who was so unimpressed with having a pilot's license that he let it lapse, by failure to get it updated, which would have meant he had to take a piss test.  We (the city of Chicago) do not have people running our schools who know all that much about either education or about teaching - witness Arne Duncan, another worthless piece of trash working for the Obummah (dis)Administration (from whence cameth Rahm - oh go oh go Immaneual, and ransom captive Chee-caw-go, that mourns in lowly exile here, now that you do hold the chains, that you will beat on our backs - oh Rahm, you always were a hack - rejoice, rejoice, Chee-caw-go - just tell that bastard Rahm he has to go.  "The Powers that Be (the inbred scum that dictate US foreign and domestic policy from their ivory towers at the University of Chicago, and who have helped reap such pain, misery, and suffering everywhere around the globe with their neo-liberal economics, their total buy-in to the "free market place" and their incredulability that, without sufficient federal oversight, there might be moral hazard involved with derivatives, and commodifying various and sundry financial markets, INCLUDING the privatization of public schools (don't you know, there is a fortune to be made investing in Charter Schools which can do --- an even worse job, and far less that cost ... set up a voucher system, and send our best and brightest black and brown students off to military academies in the Chicago area, training them to be fodder for the war machine ... no, these cretins care NOT ONE WIT for the quality of the educational system - with them it is ALL about the money, it is NOT about teaching children to be able to read and think critically, about nurturing children to grow up into caring adults with a sense of being positive contributing members of society, for, good Lord all mighty, how in the world does one manage to evaluate (monetize) THAT, and do we really want contributing members of society?  They might get the quixotic notion that the richest amongst us ought to be taxed MORE so that the boats of the poorest amongst us might be filled with food for the hournye - an truly educated populace would question, VERY severly, the necessity of the wars America routinely wages upon pepoles of color (for the most part) who have some natural resource that"WE" want to control (oil, gold, timber, rubber, etc, etc)

Meeks noted that, during his tenure as chairman of the state Senate’s Education Committee, he met monthly with then-Schools CEO Arne Duncan and then-Chicago Teachers Union President Marilyn Stewart.

“That has to happen. The superintendent and the head of the Chicago Teachers Union must meet on a monthly basis to discuss how to make schools better, come up with plans together, instead of handing it down to the other side,” Meeks said.

“Karen [Lewis, CTU president] wanted to be at the table when decisions were made concerning teachers. . . . [Instead], they’re antagonists. They operate on other sides of the fence.”

Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields added, “Mayor Emanuel loves to start out by reaching for the stars on everything he does. But he bit off more than he can chew when he picked this fight with labor. Because of his actions, the teachers and all public employees are united. Mayor Daley managed to skillfully avoid that.”

Ald. Joe Moore (49th), a mayoral ally, said a key is not to get baited with rhetoric.

“Hindsight is always 20/20, but it’s always important when you’re dealing with labor issues, particularly in times of financial distress, to try as much as possible to not say or do anything provocative and keep the rhetoric as respectful as possible,” Moore said. “Don’t allow yourself to be baited when the other side does a provocative thing.

“Karen Lewis has been very provocative and at times rather insulting. It’s important in those circumstances not to allow yourself to get baited into it. There were instances where the mayor allowed himself to do that.

“Clearly they may have underestimated the degree of anger among the rank and file that Lewis was able to take advantage of.”

Collaboration over confrontation is not the only lesson for Emanuel, who appeared to give a lot more than the union did. Following are the other major lessons:

MESSAGE CONTROL: For a politician who fashions himself as a maestro of message, Emanuel didn’t do so hot during his first major crisis.

It's my opinion that these so-called "maestro of messages" (Emanuel gets this handle applied to him, as did Carl Rove before - BECAUSE THE NATIONAL POLITICAL prominence that candidates that THESE MEN HAVE worked for achieved, the operating assumption is that they are "genuises" of the political arena - I say BULL SHIT - they have backed a new candidate at a time when the country was ripe to be led by (and inspired by) a candidate of a different party than the incumbent - it is NOT that the country has become more conservative (leaned moreright) when GWB was APPOINTED PREZNIT by the U.S. Supreme Cunts, it's just that for so many years the rank and file has noticed that their lots in live are NOT IMPROVING, and they will vote for CHANGE of party, rather than endure the status quo any more - but, since we have only a one-party system in this country, and that party owes alleigance only to the vast international corporations, and, in the U.S., the FIRE (Finance, insurance, and real estate) sectors.  The "little guys (and gals)" we just get ever more scaw-rued. 'Twas ever thus, 'twill always be so.'

There were massive rallies of red-shirted teachers during the strike. But where were the rallies of angry and inconvenienced parents demanding a settlement before the strike or non-stop negotiations to end it after the walkout started?

If Emanuel is as disciplined as he claims to be (shameless self promoter)at controlling the message, who leaked the damaging story about Jean-Claude Brizard being on his way (Who in deed, and what was their agenda?) ? The story left the schools CEO mortally wounded before the strike.

Who planted the story about up to 120 school closings that had the potential to sabotage negotiations because those consolidations could result in thousands of teacher layoffs, increasing class size and underscoring the need for a teacher recall policy that gives laid-off teachers a second chance?

Emanuel branded the walkout an unnecessary “strike of choice” and surrounded himself with principals who demanded the right to choose their own teaching teams. But after that, he appeared to be out-maneuvered in the all-important public relations war because he is NOT as bright as he thinks he is - made his money in money, manipulating stock prices, most likely engaged in insider trading, et. .

“Public opinion was with the teachers. Not nationally, but locally. They just seemed to have momentum on their side,” Meeks said.

Another source added, “They should have re-tooled their public relations effort to at least go on the attack against the strike. It was all teachers. They weren’t able to rally support from any corner really. Who came out against the strike — what group of people? A few principals? Rahm didn’t grab the day. It ended, only because he caved in.”

POLITICAL TIMING. With the presidential election less than two months away, the timing of a teachers strike in President Barack Obama’s adopted hometown was clearly a political liability.

Emanuel should have understood the extent to which his role as former White House chief of staff and one of Obama’s chief fund-raisers would make him and Chicago a target for negative publicity that pretty much wiped out the positive exposure the city got during the NATO summit.

He should have anticipated the significance of the Chicago teachers strike on the national education reform movement and as the next test of organized labor’s strength after the bitter battle in Wisconsin

“You can’t go from [White House] chief of staff to mayor without repercussions,” one veteran politician said, speculating that the White House may have pressured Emanuel to end the strike.

“He put himself in the limelight and made himself a huge target — and the teachers took advantage of it and made him the boogeyman. The presidential election is coming up. They called a strike and he caved. Now, he’s paying them money he doesn’t have.”

MORE FLIES WITH HONEY: When CTU President Karen Lewis dared to raise the issue of sweltering schools, Emanuel responded with trademark sarcasm (he has gotten his way forever, probably knowing where all the skeletons are buried, probably having buried more than a few of them his-own-damn-self.

“Everything here is down to two final issues, and it’s not air conditioning, OK,” an agitated Emanuel told reporters during a podium-pounding appearance at a Gage Park church.

“It’s 71 degrees outside. We don’t go on strike for air conditioning.”

Instead of cavalierly dismissing the entirely legitimate complaint, Emanuel could have launched a fund-raising campaign for school air-conditioners or asked the same education reformers bankrolling commercials against the teachers to pony up for it but then, wbhy should he have? after all, HE didn't have to teach under such conditions!. That would have gone a long way toward improving goodwill with teachers who despise and distrust the mayor (and rightfully so, by the way - after all, he essentially won the mayoral race with 10% of the registered Chicago voters voting - and a partridge in a pea tree).

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE YOUR OPPONENT: Emanuel met his match in Lewis and underestimated her strength (and over-estimated his own strength, too - all he gots is MONEY, and maybe a bunch of dirt on Obama).

By allegedly using the F-word during a private meeting with Lewis last year and attempting to run roughshod over her by raising the strike threshold and muscling through the longer day, Emanuel turned the CTU president into a folk hero with the guts to fight City Hall (leaing one to conclude, once again - Rahm ain't near so smart as he figures!).

By turning himself into the bad guy (he didn't TURN himself into the bad guy - he was the bad guy from the git-go), Emanuel inadvertently helped Lewis garner a 90 percent strike vote that would have been unthinkable otherwise.

“Some women may cower when someone like him tells them to F-off. But he misread Karen Lewis. If he thought she’d back down and make her knees weak, he was mistaken,” one politician said.

An Emanuel confidante said it’s now clear that Lewis has “equally aggressive tendencies as our mayor (and she understands his weaknesses far better than Rahm, his-own-self does; Rahm is playing in a venue where the guy with the most dirt on his opps and the most money in his drawer are NOT the determinants of ultimate strength and power).”

DON’T PLAY HIDE THE BALL: All week long, Emanuel has danced around the elephant in the room: how he will pay for the 16 percent pay raise over four years if the teachers union’s House of Delegates ratifies the tentative agreement. That has fueled speculation about the school closings and about pension reforms that teachers and other public employees have not yet agreed to.

Because the mayor chose to hide the ball (and because he had no one to advise him to the contrary, and because he was an ego-maniac with the ear of the Preznit of the U.S., he probably STILL believes that he is playing with children who can be persuaded by sweet words and pretty pictures), instead of being honest about the price that must be paid, a damaging strike will be followed by another round of bad news about the cuts needed to pay for the new contract.

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