Thursday, April 24, 2014

US Chamber of Commerce Supported Slave Labor in Congo - Now Wants US Immigrant Wage Slaves

Yesterday, the big business Babbits here held a big confab at the City Club of Chicago calling for amnesty for illegal aliens.
Slavery was re-introduced in the Congo in 1888
 US Chamber of Commerce helped make it happen

They want cheap labor. Lots of it.

And as far as the US Chamber of Commerce and its Illinois affiliates are concerned: the American middle class be damned.

Well, it isn't the first time that the Chamber of Commerce has thrown its weight behind cheap labor.

In 1884, the Chamber of Commerce here in America was a pivotal force in getting the Congo in Central Africa into the murderous, exploitative paws of Belgian King Leopold II.

They prevailed and slavery was practically re-instituted there, a full 20 years after the American Civil War.

It still isn't entirely clear how many native Africans were enslaved, tortured, starved and murdered by Leopold's avaricious colonial henchmen, but it ranks as one of the great genocides of the late 19th and early 20th century.

And the American Chamber of Commerce, in its lust for trade concessions in that rubber-rich domain, helped make it all happen.
IL Chamber of Commerce honcho
Doug Whitley wants cheap illegal alien  labor

Here's how, according to Adam Hochschild in his acclaimed 1998 book, King Leopold's
Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa.

Late to the colonial game, Belgium's king Leopold II, of the minor German house of Saxe-Coburg, was starved for acclaim and cash. So around 1888 he set his sites on the unclaimed African central sub-Saharan lands of the Congo.

He needed legitimacy to get them and fearing possible competition from European colonial powerhouses, England and France, he lobbied the US President and Congress to get formal diplomatic recognition for his Congo colony.

According to Hochschild:

"Knowing how carefully President Arthur's Republicans listened to business, (Leopold's lobbyist) Sanford got the New York Chamber of Commerce (precursor to the US Chamber of Commerce) to pass a resolution endorsing U.S. recognition in support of Leopold's Congo claims. (p.80)

The American Chamber of Commerce, you see, didn't want to get shut out of the economic goodies as they had been in British, Dutch and French colonies. So they saw the recognition of this monarch, later known as the "Butcher of the Congo," as a swell business opportunity.

Congress followed suit and recognized Leopold's ambitions, and shortly thereafter via a Berlin conference on colonial matters, Belgium's claim to the enormous expanse of African lands was confirmed.
Leopold II, The Butcher of the Congo
was backed by US Chamber of Commerce

So then Leopold's armed Belgian thugs exploited African natives of the new domain as free labor -- first as porters and ivory gatherers -- and after the discovery of wild rubber vines -- as forced gatherers of that valuable commodity.

Overall, the saga of European colonial rule was, by no means pretty, but Leopold's murderous brutality, which lasted until his death in 1909, was in a class of its own.

Rape, pillage, beatings with rhinoceros hide whips, physical mutilation and outright murder became commonplace. Slavery was effectively re-instituted for the native African work force -- a full quarter century after it was abolished in the US by Abraham Lincoln.

And all this was made possible by your friends at the US Chamber of Commerce.

And today, under their magnificently amoral CEO, Tom Donohue, the US Chamber of Commerce is still in the cheap labor business.

Today they're advocating it via amnesty for the millions of 3rd world aliens illegally here.

And so are the Chamber's pals and cronies here in Chicago.

They've put together a thing called the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition. It has people like Doug Whitley, CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Mark Segal of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and other shortsighted, avaricious dimwits like the Crate and Barrel's founder Carole Segal and the aptly named, Billy Lawless of the Illinois Restaurant Association.

They see no moral problem whatever with undermining the very fiber of the US and throwing the American middle class under the bus.

They want cheap labor.

It's part of their glorious Chamber of Commerce, crony-capitalist heritage.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Skokie Park District's Playground for the North Shore Elite: Loyola Academy's Dammrich Rowing Center

When President Barack Obama said, "We've got to spread the wealth around," the people who run the Skokie Park District apparently took it to heart.
So do Skokie taxpayers get to use the
Wilmette and Winnetka beaches for free?

Although, maybe not in quite the way Obama meant.

Today, some 400 North Shore residents, from posh places like Kenilworth, Winnetka, Wilmette and Lake Forest took over the taxpayer subsidized, Skokie Park District's Channelside Park.

They got the run of the entire place. They got free parking.

And they didn't pay a penny.

And they were subsidized by the chumps who live in Skokie and pay property taxes to the Skokie Park District taxing authority.

The well-heeled North Shore denizens were slumming it in Skokie today, to celebrate an elite sport: competitive crew rowing.

They held a regatta which brought in contestants from Woodlands Academy (Lake Forest), New Trier High School (Kenilworth), the exclusive Lincoln Park School (Chicago), private and exclusive St. Ignatius (Chicago) as well as several other elite prep schools from New York and elsewhere.

They were all there at the behest of the exclusive, ultra-expensive Loyola Academy of Wilmette, which sponsored the event. They called it The Judge Dunne Invitational - no doubt named for some clout heavy Democrat hack with ties to the North Shore Jesuit school sponsors.
Apparently it's legal to sleep overnight in Skokie
 Parks if you're from an elite North Shore school

Skokie taxpayers paid for this.

Loyola Academy paid nothing.

That is according to a missive we received from one John Ohrlund, spokesman for the Skokie Park District. Last year we inquired as to how much the posh Wilmette school was paying to have its rowing center on Skokie Park District property.

In a missive sent to us on October 24th of last year, Skokie's Mr. Ohrlund replied: "Loyola Academy Rowing Association paid no fees per the agreement with the  (Skokie Park) District."

And Wilmette's posh private academy has an entire compound there on Skokie Park District property. It's complete with a large edifice containing indoor training facilities and outdoor sheds for storage. They store vehicles and equipment on that Skokie property year-round.

Now during the Saturday event, Skokie taxpayers who wanted to use that public parkland to reach the Skokie Pooch Park, were denied entry to the customary parking lot whose entrance is off Oakton St., just East of the MWRD canal. Loyola Academy posted guards at the gates denying entrance to non-participants in their elite event.
The Skokie Park District bike path became an
adjunct to the North Shore elitists' event

And Skokie taxpayers, who cared to bike on the bike path there -- could -- if they would just get off their bikes and walk thru the throngs of well heeled North Shore parents and rich kids who essentially appropriated the path as an adjunct to their party.

This arrangement for the free use of Skokie Park District property by an ultra-elite North Shore School was the brainchild of one Thomas J. Dammrich.

He was the President of the Skokie Park District back in 2001 when the sweetheart giveaway of public resources was made.

And guess what?

Thomas J. Dammrich's sons went to elite Loyola Academy in Wilmette.

And guess what?

Thomas J. Dammrich's sons were on the Loyola Academy rowing team.

And guess for whom the Loyola Academy Rowing Center, owned and maintained by Skokie taxpayers is named?

You guessed it.

It's the "Loyola Academy Thomas J. Dammrich Rowing Center."

But no big deal. Skokie residents aren't due to pay property taxes again for another few months.

But there were several other issues here.

1) For an estimated 200 to 400 people, Loyola Academy Rowing Association organizers arranged for 2 [count 'em 2] porta-potties which were located off Main St., nearly 4 blocks from the main event. (We'll be asking Skokie Village Health Department officials about this.)
2 portable outhouses for an event with 200-400 people

2) Loyola Rowing Association organizers had traffic control guys in orange and yellow outfits stopping traffic for event onlookers who wanted to cross Main St. (Wonder what the Skokie and Evanston Police Departments have to say about this?)

Loyola Academy had its own traffic crossing
 guards on Skokie and Evanston's Main street
Oh, and one last thing. Skokie's High schools, Niles West and Niles North were not participants in the chi-chi rowing competition. And according to members of the Loyola Academy Rowing Association, not a single Skokie resident was a member of their team at the Skokie taxpayer-subsidized event.

The elite North Shore crowd probably wouldn't feel comfortable rubbing shoulders with the Great Unwashed.

But, just out of curiosity -- do Skokie taxpayers get to use the beaches in Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka and Lake Forest for free?

Just wonderin'.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

"Wild Tales": Graham Nash as Slave To Joni Mitchell and Left-Wing Orthodoxy

 Like most left-wing ideologues, consistency is obviously not Graham Nash's strong suit.

Nash wrote a ridiculous Yippie
Anthem that went to #35 in 1971

In 1996, Graham Nash flew to Bill Clinton's 50th birthday party in billionaire music industry mogul, David Geffen's luxurious Gulfstream G3 jet. (p.326).

And in 2012, he and co-CSN pal, David Crosby gave a command performance for Silicon Valley multimillionaires at a $38,000 a plate fundraising dinner for Barack Obama (p.329).

Yet, before a 2011 Manhattan menagerie of Occupy Wall Street anti-capitalists, Nash, a North England high school dropout, saw no logical incongruity in calling millionaire conservative contributor, David Koch, "greedy" and "one of the world's truly bad guys" . (p.334)

In fact, he slandered Southern Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young concert goers who walked out of their 2006 tour appearances in protest of the group's mean-spirited on-stage anti-Bush invective: "I realized there were still plenty of people in the South trying to figure out why the North won the civil war," Nash wrote. (p.336)

And Nash doesn't bat an eyelid at lambasting conservative rocker, Ted Nugent, for calling Hillary Clinton a "bitch" - "he's gone too far - he has a very disturbed point of view" (p.334)

This even as he, himself, called President G.W. Bush a "dunderhead" and VP Dick Cheney, "one of the most evil men alive...not of this earth."  (p.329)

It seems that, in Nash's world,  it's not going too far when the bogeyman you're dehumanizing is a conservative.

And after blathering about Americans' "absurd obsession with guns",  calling the NRA "criminals" and arguing that the 2nd Amendment does not guarantee private firearm ownership (p. 212), he waxes poetically over an incident where his CSN pal, David Crosby warded off a home invader by firing off a Colt .45. "...If David had not rolled over, grabbed his gun and fired it, he and Debbie would most likely be dead," anti-gun activist, Graham Nash said.  (p.230)


Graham Nash's convoluted political worldview seems right out of  his partner, Stephen Stills', Buffalo Springfield song, "Mostly say, Hooray for our side."

Oh well, the legendary rock 'n roll crooner was a high school dropout so his infantile ignorance in such things as these and his idiotic 1971 Yippie anthem, Chicago (We can change the world) can be understood, if not condoned.

And it can be said to the credit of Graham Nash's recent autobiography, Wild Tales: A Rock and Roll Life (2013 Crown Publishing, New York) that he had a competent ghost writer.

The 345 page account of Nash's rise from a wartime, North England, blue-collar childhood to musical prominence with the British-invasion Hollies and later, the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Woodstock-era super group, is coherent, lucid and quite well written.

That's a welcome contrast to the nearly unreadable, desultory gibberish penned by his sometimes-band partner, Neil Young, whose 2012 bio, "Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream", was, quite justifiably panned by us and most reviewers.

And unlike Young's peculiar document, in Wild Tales, Nash actually conveys some interesting tidbits about his life with two of the the signal pop musical acts of the 60s and early 70s.

He did, of course, have a brief, but storied love affair with Canadian folk chanteuse, Joni Mitchell. His domestic arrangement with her in Laurel Canyon was the inspiration for one of his nicer and most famous ballads, Our House.

And in this book, his verbal idolatry of his former flame is almost embarrassingly, gushingly sycophantic.
Joni Mitchell and Graham Nash
during their time together

Here's Graham Nash on Joni Mitchell:

"Joni Mitchell was the whole package: a lovely, sylphlike woman with a natural blush, like windburn and an elusive quality that seemed lit from within. Her beauty was almost as big a gift as her talent and I'd been pulled into her orbit from the get-go." p.3

"From the moment I first heard her play, I thought she was a genius...she was on another planet in terms of her songwriting ability. Her acoustic guitar was the entire orchestra...our relationship was a dream. She opened me up to so many experiences --musical, intellectual, romantic and artistic. She was like an Escher drawing with all its sharp angles, unexpected turns and mysterious depths...she had a relaxed playful side that was so easy to fall in love with...It was that exuberance, that joie de vivre, that lit her like a bouquet of sunflowers... she was an accomplished painter with a ravishing style..." p.148

There's quite a bit more of this toadying and it leaves you wondering why, if Joni Mitchell was so blasted wonderful, he just didn't marry her in the pre-Woodstock days when she was angling for that? (p.169)

In his book, the now septuagenarian, Nash, does let us in on a number of interesting anecdotal events in his interesting rock 'n roll life.

For instance:

-- Nash tells us of endless lines of groupies during the Hollies' '64 rise to pop music prominence in England and relates tales of a peculiar habit the girls had of whipping out their breasts for band members to autograph.

-- But during their '65 US tour, Nash found American girls to be "freer and more experimental," than their British groupie counterparts.

-- Nash relates how at the storied Paramount Theater during the Hollies' first trip to NYC in '65, they witnessed Little Richard upbraiding his guitarist for upstaging him by playing with his teeth. That guitarist was one Jimmy James who would later be known as Jimi Hendrix. (p.70)

-- Quite interestingly, he tells how the Hollies acquired their smash hits, Bus Stop and Look Through Any Window, from a 15 year old English kid songwriter in '65 -- They were their first 2 songs to chart in the US.

--  While still with the Hollies, Nash was initially introduced to David Crosby by Mama Cass Elliott, who he likened to an artistic matchmaker in the manner of Gertrude Stein. In his book, he posits that she died of a drug overdose, not from choking on a sandwich.

-- The famous album cover photo of the 3 CSN members on a beat-up couch, in front of a beat-up old Santa Monica Blvd. cottage was set to be re-shot the next day because the members were arranged in the wrong order - Nash, Stills & Crosby. But when they went to the locale, they found that overnight, the house had been demolished.

-- Joni Mitchell turned down her invitation to perform at Woodstock, because her handlers doubted they could extricate her from the congested throng in time to make an appearance on The Dick Cavett Show, scheduled for the next day. It was probably one of the costlier scheduling miscues in pop music history.

-- Joni Mitchell wrote the lyrics to the anthemic Woodstock, which both she and CSN recorded, while ensconced in a posh Manhattan, Plaza Hotel suite, many miles from the funky hippy conclave that she glorified in song.

-- Their music industry guru, Ahmet Ertegun, was at first, sceptical about the Crosby, Stills and Nash band's concept, thinking them too similar to the  soft-pop vocalist sound of The Association at a time when more heavy metal sounds were coming into fashion.

-- The pedal steel guitar country sound to Teach Your Children, which pretty much instrumentally defined the song, was added by the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia, who had been recording in the same studio, down the hall from CSN&Y.

David Crosby and Graham Nash in
NYC at Occupy Wall Street in 2011

Unlike David Crosby's 1988 autobiography, Long Time Gone, which focuses on the singer's myriad personal problems and Neil Young's aforementioned garbled grand opus, Waging Heavy Peace, which focuses on very little -- Nash's Wild Tales is the most comprehensively informative account of the super group to date. (Stephen Stills is reportedly working on his bio, which may be released later this year.)

Nash imparts the reader with a good sense of the interpersonal interactions of the band members in all their complexity - from angelic harmonizing to acerbic infighting to drug-induced lunacy.

All of their inane politics aside, most any baby boomer can lucidly recall the powerful and upbeat excitement they felt when they first put down the needle to Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.

Crosby, Stills and Nash were a truly exciting super group which nicely captured and reflected the zeitgeist of the weird and wild late 60s/early 70s time period. And Graham Nash was, of course, a key component of that.

But there is the political idiocy and Graham Nash was wrong on most every vital issue of his turbulent time, from the population bomb (remember that pseudo-scientific canard?) to advocating unilateral Anglo-American disarmament in the Cold War.

In fact, after Britisher, Nash had been trashing the USA in front of an audience of anti-American Danes in Copenhagen, his then paramour, Canadian Joni Mitchell was provoked to tell him that she thought it unfair of him to speak ill of the US in front of foreigners.

"You keep slagging America after it gave you all this opportunity," Mitchell said. "Why are you biting the hand that feeds you?"

Joni Mitchell then poured a bowl of corn flakes and milk over Graham Nash's head. (p.180)

Good girl, Joni!!!

Here, from an '80s Crosby, Stills and Nash reunion concert, is a performance of Our House, Nash's paean to his former live-in lover, Joni Mitchell:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Chicago's Filthy Weather (Part 3)

April 1, 2014 in Chicago, IL, USA. 

Filthy weather, as usual. 

Enjoying those howling 30 mph winds from the west which make the realtemp 37 degrees F at 5 pm. 

It is, however, expected to be a tad above freezing, on some nights this week.

And this just in -- US National Weather Service declares this the coldest Chicago winter ever -- here are stats all you global warming nutcases:

937 AM CDT TUE APR 1 2014 /1037 AM EDT TUE APR 1 2014/





1. 22.0 2013-14
2. 22.3 1903-04
3. 22.5 1977-78
22.5 1892-93
5. 22.7 1978-79