Friday, February 29, 2008

Guggenheim & Chandlers' `Newsday-Los Angeles Times-Mirror' Merger's Hidden History

(The following article about Times-Mirror-Newsday’s hidden history was written before the 2000 merger between the Tribune Company and Times-Mirror-Newsday. It first appeared in the March 6, 1991 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly Downtown.)


On May 19, 1970, Harry Guggenheim sold his 51 percent share of Newsday to Los Angeles’ Times-Mirror media conglomerate in exchange for 600,000 shares of Times-Mirror common stock (worth over $20 million at that time) and $10 million in bank notes—despite a petition protesting the sale which was signed by 124 Newsday editors and reporters. And on Oct. 27, 1970, Times-Mirror purchased the remaining 49 percent of Newsday from Alicia Patterson-Guggenheim’s nephew and heir, Joseph Medill Patterson Albright for 1,042,500 shares of Times-Mirror common stock and 2,600 shares of convertible preferred Times-Mirror stock (worth over $37 million at that time).

In January 1971—less than a year after he sold Newsday—Harry Guggenheim was dead of cancer at the age of 80. He left most of his wealth to his cousin, Peter Q. Lawson-Johnston—whose mother was named Barbara Guggenheim. At Guggenheim Brothers and the Harry Guggenheim Foundation’s 537 Madison Ave. offices in Manhattan in the early 1990s, Lawson-Johnston still watched over that portion of the Guggenheim family fortune which he inherited from Newsday’s former owner.

Besides Harry Guggenheim, there was another member of the Guggenheim family who became involved in publishing. The son of Gladys Eleanor Guggenheim and grandson of Dan Guggenheim, Roger Straus Jr., founded the Farrar, Straus & Guggenheim book publishing company.

Asked by Downtown in 1991 whether the Guggenheim family still influenced Newsday at that time because it still owned Times-Mirror stock, then-New York Newsday Managing Editor James Toedtman replied: “I don’t know who owns stock in Times-Mirror.”

(Downtown 3/6/91)

Next: Times-Mirror-Newsday Chandler Dynasty’s Hidden History—Part 1

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Post-Patterson `Newsday''s Hidden History

(The following article about Newsday’s hidden history was written before the 2000 merger between the Tribune Company and Times-Mirror-Newsday. In May 2008, the Tribune Company announced the sale of its Newsday to the Cablevision media conglomerate. It first appeared in the March 6, 1991 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly Downtown.)

After his much younger wife died in 1963, the 73-year-old Harry Guggenheim began to play a more active daily editorial role in running Newsday and began to search for a male heir for both his share of the Guggenheim fortune and his newspaper, in the event of his own death. Since the Guggenheim-Patterson marriage had produced no children, and Harry Guggenheim’s first two marriages had produced only daughters, he had to turn to his grandson, Dana Draper, to be his principal male heir. As this male heir, Dana Draper would acquire a multi-million dollar trust fund and become a partner in Guggenheim Brothers, the head of two Guggenheim foundations and, after Harry Guggenheim’s death, Newsday’s owner.

In the end, though, Harry Guggenheim decided not to let his grandson inherit either the Harry Guggenheim fortune or the ownership of Newsday because, in 1965, the then-25-year-old Dana Draper, according to The Guggenheims 1848-1988 book, was:

“a typical child of the 1960s. An exponent of the counter-culture…A sensitive young man who wore his long, wavy blond hair to his shoulders, he habitually sported a kerchief around his neck instead of a tie, wore jeans and T-shirts, instead of suits…Politically, Dana gravitated toward the New Left…Dana had artistic abilities and aspirations…Dana was also an environmental conservationist.”

After deciding that his grandson was too Bohemian and too politically radical to be trusted with either the Guggenheim fortune or the ownership of Newsday, Harry Guggenheim hunted around for another male heir. In 1967, he decided that U.S. President Lyndon Johnson’s press secretary and chief of staff, [now-Schumann Foundation President and PBS commentator] Bill Moyers, should succeed him as Newsday owner and inherit much of his $50 million share of the Guggenheim fortune. According to David Halberstam’s The Powers That Be book, “Bill Moyers had always, first with Lyndon Johnson, then with Harry Guggenheim, shown an ability to charm older men…”

Moyers was brought into the Newsday editorial office as publisher to run the newspaper for Harry Guggenheim for a few years. But Harry Guggenheim eventually decided to sell Newsday to the Chandler family’s Times-Mirror media conglomerate and not let Moyers be his heir.

(Downtown 3/6/91)

Next: Guggenheim & Chandlers’ Newsday-Los Angeles Times-Mirror Merger’s Hidden History

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Guggenheim-Patterson Alliance and `Newsday''s Hidden History

(The following article about Newsday’s hidden history was written before the 2000 merger between the Tribune Company and Times-Mirror-Newsday. In May 2008, the Sam Zell's Tribune Company announced its sale of its Newsday subsidiary to the Cablevision media conglomerate. It first appeared in the March 6, 1991 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly Downtown.)

The son of the organizer of the “Alaska Syndicate” that destroyed some of Alaska’s earth, used a small portion of the Guggenheim fortune to start publishing Newsday in 1940. Harry Guggenheim, son of Dan Guggenheim, had inherited a multi-million dollar trust fund at the age of 21, while his father lived; and he inherited another $2 million at the age of 39, when his father died. When he was 49-years-old, Harry Guggenheim—who was also U.S. ambassador to Cuba during the late 1920s and early 1930s—married for the third time in 1939. His new wife was then-32-year-old Alicia Patterson.

Alicia Patterson-Guggenheim’s great-grandfather, Joseph Medill, had founded Chicago’s Tribune newspaper and her grandfather, Robert Patterson, had been its editor-in-chief. Her father, Joseph Patterson, was a socialist in his youth who, after becoming more politically conservative, founded the Tribune Company’s Daily News tabloid subsidiary in New York City after World War I and became its editor-in-chief. Her aunt, Cissy Patterson, owned and managed the Washington Times-Herald in Washington, D.C. until 1948.

Shortly after the Guggenheim-Patterson marriage, Harry Guggenheim used $750,000 of the Guggenheim fortune to buy Alicia Patterson-Guggenheim a suburban newspaper, the Nassau Daily-Journal for her to operate under the name of Newsday. Newsday was intended to be little more than a suburban version of the Patterson family’s Daily News. Guggenheim gave 49 percent of Newsday’s stock to his wife, but made sure that he, not Patterson, retained 51 percent of Newsday’s stock—so that he could always make the final decision in any major business disagreement with his new wife.

Between 1940 and 1963, Newsday was essentially a Nassau County and Suffolk County-oriented Long Island tabloid, run according to the editorial whims of its editor-in-chief and publisher, Alicia Patterson-Guggenheim. Harry Guggenheim, its owner, was more concerned with the business departments of Newsday.

Although Harry Guggenheim was a Republican, when the Guggenheim-Patterson alliance began to sour on a personal level in the late 1940s, Newsday editor-in-chief and publisher Alicia Patterson-Guggenheim became involved romantically with the man who became the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate in 1952 and 1956, Adlai Stevenson. The Alicia Patterson-Guggenheim love relationship with Stevenson was not mentioned in Newsday or by the other U.S. mass media institutions until 1976—11 years after Adlai Stevenson’s death and 13 years after Alicia Patterson-Guggenheim’s death at the age of 55 in 1963 (following an unsuccessful operation on her stomach).

Although Newsday lost money during its early years in the 1940s, Harry Guggenheim’s share of the Guggenheim fortune was large enough for him to bankroll a money-losing media operation for his wife for awhile. In 1945, Harry Guggenheim’s income from his investments in stocks and bonds was around $500,000 per year.

But as more and more people moved out to Suburbia from New York City to places like Levittown in Nassau and Suffolk counties in the late 1940s and the 1950s, Newsday became a profitable venture, as well as a public relations tool of the local Long island power structure.

(Downtown 3/6/91)

Next: Post-Patterson Newsday’s Hidden History

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Guggenheim Effect On The Earth

(The following article about the Guggenheim Dynasty that has historically owned a portion of the Tribune Company’s Times-Mirror-Newsday division was written before the 2000 merger between the Tribune Company and Times-Mirror-Newsday. It appeared in the March 6, 1991 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly Downtown.)

In The Guggenheims 1848-1988 book, John Davis described some of the environmental effects of the Guggenheim family’s late 19th century and early 20th century business activity:

“Piles of debris and broken rocks, and heaps of slag are all that remain of former Guggenheim operations in Colorado. In Bingham Canyon, Utah, where the Guggenheims created the world’s first open-pit copper mine, there is now a vast devastation, the earth so gouged and lacerated as to seem the scene of some cosmic disaster. Kennecott: an entire mountain destroyed in Alaska. Chuquicamata: an entire mountain destroyed in Chile. Rivers everywhere contaminated with the detritus of Guggenheim mines and smelters.”

(Downtown 3/6/91)

Next: The Guggenheim-Patterson Alliance and Newsday’s Hidden History

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Guggenheim World War I Profits

(The following article about the Guggenheim Dynasty that has historically owned a portion of the Tribune Company’s Times-Mirror-Newsday division was written before the 2000 merger between the Tribune Company and Times-Mirror-Newsday. It first appeared in the March 6, 1991 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly Downtown.)


In the early 20th century, the Guggenheim family also formed the American Congo Company to operate an African mine in the Congo and also bought the Chuquicamata copper mines in Chile. As a result, when World War I began the Guggenheim family controlled 75 percent to 80 percent of the world’s silver, copper and lead and could dictate the prices of all three metals. Between 1915 and 1918, the Guggenheim family’s mines and smelters operated 24 hours a day at full capacity and the family was accused of war profiteering by some U.S. newspapers and some members of the U.S. Congress. Due to its World War I profits, the Guggenheim family became one of the five wealthiest families in the United States by the early 1920s.

During the Roaring Twenties, the Guggenheim family decided to relinquish its control over ASARCO and also to sell its Chilean copper mines to the Anaconda Company for $70 million. The 1923 sale of the Chuquicamata Chilean mines by the Guggenheim family represented, at the time, the largest-ever private sale of mining property.

(Downtown 3/6/91)

Next: The Guggenheim Effect On The Earth

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Daniel Guggenheim And Alaska's Natural Resources

(The following article about the Guggenheim Dynasty that has historically owned a portion of the Tribune Company’s Times-Mirror-Newsday division was written before the 2000 merger between the Tribune Company and Times-Mirror-Newsday. It appeared in the March 6, 1991 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly Downtown.)

A year after Meyer Guggenheim’s death in 1905, his son, Daniel Guggenheim, formed “The Alaska Syndicate” in partnership with two other super-rich businessmen, J.P. Morgan and Jacob Schiff. According to The Guggenheims 1848-1988 book:

“Dan Guggenheim’s ambition became nothing less than to control all the natural resources of Alaska.

“Accordingly, the Alaska syndicate which soon came to be known as the `Guggenheim Trust,’ bought Kennecott Mountain and a hundred thousand acres of adjoining territory in the Wrangell chain, bought two hundred miles of railroad right-of-way to the sea, bought seacoast land at Katalla Bay, Valdez, and Cordova, bought the Northwestern Steamship Company, bought Northwestern Commercial, a service company, bought every Alaskan coal mine they could get their hands on, bought endless forests, and, perceiving that ships could transport fish as well as copper, bought, as a sideline, Northwestern Fisheries, the most important fishing and canning industry in the Western United States, Canada, and Alaska, for good measure.”

Within 6 years, the Guggenheim Trust operation in Alaska was producing another $3 million per year in dividends.

(Downtown 3/6/91)

Next: The Guggenheim World War I Profits

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Guggenheim Fortune Historically

(The following article about the Guggenheim Dynasty that has historically owned a portion of the Tribune Company’s Times-Mirror-Newsday division was written before the 2000 merger between the Tribune Company and Times-Mirror-Newsday. It first appeared in the March 6, 1991 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly Downtown.)

The Guggenheim family obtained its wealth in the late 1800s and early 1900s by owning mines and smelters, utilizing cheap labor and making windfall profits from the lifting, refining and marketing of metals during World War I.

In 1881, Meyer Guggenheim had bought a one-third interest for $5,000 in two lead and silver mines in Colorado. Within a year, there was a rich strike of silver and $17,000 per month was now being earned from the labor of the miners who spent 12 hours a day digging up the Guggenheim family’s silver.

Throughout the 1880s, armed state militias and hired thugs were used as needed by the Guggenheim family to break the frequent strikes of miners in its Colorado mines. But by 1888, Meyer Guggenheim was earning $750,000 per year from his two lead and silver mines. Eventually, the Guggenheim family earned $15 million from its initial $5,000 investment before the two mines were exhausted of their silver deposits.

To increase family profits, Meyer Guggenheim formed the Philadelphia Smelting & Refining Company and built a smelter in Pueblo, Colorado to refine the silver from his mines. After armed strikebreakers were used by Meyer to crush a strike of smelter workers, the Guggenheim family moved from Philadelphia to New York City in 1889. Armed force was also used to evict miners who squatted on claims owned by the Guggenheims in Colorado.

In the 1890s, the Guggenheim family began to do business in Mexico. After agreement was reached with a pliant Mexican government, the Guggenheims built a smelter in Monterrey, Mexico in which “thugs” were “employed to herd the peons into the blazing smelter at gunpoint,” according to the book The Guggenheims 1848-1988: An American Epic by John Davis. Because Mexican labor was even cheaper than Colorado labor in the 1890s, the Guggenheim family’s Monterrey, Mexico smelter was much more profitable than its Pueblo, Colorado smelter.

Another Mexican subsidiary company was formed by the Guggenheim family to operate its Tepezala copper mines and its Aguascalientes smelter in Mexico. By 1895, from its Colorado and Mexican smelters alone, the Guggenheim family was earning a net profit exceeding $1 million a year and had become economically and politically powerful in Mexico. Another new family company, “Guggenex,” was the nickname for the Guggenheim Exploration Company, which was formed to explore the whole globe for potentially lucrative mines from which to lift minerals.

In the 1890s, Meyer Guggenheim also began to play the stock market and his family began to buy stock in the Rockefeller-owned American Smelting & Refining Company [ASARCO]. ASARCO was a trust of 23 smelter operators, developed to give Rockefeller interests control of all U.S. underground mineral resources. As a result of its ASARCO stock purchases and crafty maneuvering, the Guggenheim family was able to gain a 51-percent-controlling interest in what was originally intended to be just another Rockefeller-controlled monopoly.

By the early 1900s, the Guggenheim family controlled the mining and the smelting industry in the United States. In 1905, Meyer Guggenheim died, leaving an estate of $2.3 million. But prior to his death, Meyer Guggenheim had already transferred most of his wealth to the next generation of seven Guggenheim sons, so that each one could be a multi-millionaire before Meyer Guggenheim died.

(Downtown 3/6/91)

Next: Daniel Guggenheim And Alaska’s Natural Resources

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Hidden History Of The Tribune Company's `Times-Mirror-Newsday'--Part 2

(The following article about the Tribune Company’s Times-Mirror-Newsday division was written before the 2000 merger between the Tribune Company and Times-Mirror-Newsday. It appeared in the March 6, 1991 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly Downtown)

After the Tribune Company’s Daily News started to publish its sometimes called “Scabloid” edition in the early 1990s, the circulation of Times-Mirror-Newsday’s newspaper in New York City began to increase. Yet the Guggenheim and Chandler dynasties, which shared a connection to Times-Mirror-Newsday with the Rockefeller dynasty in the early 1990s, have always been more interested in maximizing profits and monopolizing mass media power than in democratizing New York City’s economic life and providing increased mass media access for New York City’s antiwar activists, artists and writers. Hence, it’s not surprising that antiwar street people didn’t receive more than marginal daily coverage in the columns of Los Angeles’ Rockefeller/Guggenheim/Chandler press during the 1990s (before it became a division of the Tribune media-monopoly conglomerate in 2000).

Downtown asked then-New York Newsday Managing Editor Toedtman to respond to the criticism that after Gulf War I began in early 1991, Newsday provided less daily coverage to antiwar activists and antiwar demonstrators.

“Just look at page four and page six of the newspaper today. If we weren’t covering any antiwar activity, you wouldn’t find the story of an antiwar protest in Bush [I]’s church and of a Manhattan antiwar demonstration. We’ve done any number of stories on antiwar protest around the nation,” said Toedtman.

An examination of the Feb. 18, 1991 issue cited by Toedtman does reveal that brief stories of three antiwar protests appear on page four, page six, page twenty-one and page twenty-five. The front page of the same issue, however, has a headline which reads: “On Your Mark, Get Set” and a picture of U.S. Marine tanks, and pages five, page six, page seven, page fourteen and page fifteen all contain Pentagon puff-pieces. And on the day after an antiwar protest of 10,000 to 15,000 in New York City, a “City Business” spread is printed rather than a “City Peace Movement” spread.

(Downtown 3/6/91)

Next: The Guggenheim Fortune Historically

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Hidden History of The Tribune Company's Times-Mirror-Newsday--Part 1

(The following article about the Tribune Company’s Times-Mirror-Newsday division was written before the 2000 merger between the Tribune Company and Times-Mirror-Newsday. It appeared in the March 6, 1991 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly Downtown)

“Of all the Guggenheim investments the most profitable has been the Times-Mirror Corp. which bought Harry’s Newsday for $75 million in 1970. Since that sale the value of the Times-Mirror stock that various Guggenheim individuals and institutions received has increased ten-fold and could possibly exceed $1 billion by the mid-1990s.” (John Davis in The Guggenheims 1848-1988: An American Epic)

“It is my opinion that the nation’s newspaper press is doing basically, a most comprehensive job of self-censorship in the nation’s best interest.” (Times-Mirror-Newsday Director Otis Chandler in 1961)

Laurance Rockefeller’s senior associate since 1973, Clayton Frye Jr., was one of the directors of Los Angeles’s Times-Mirror-Newsday mass media conglomerate in 1991. Frye sat on the Audit Committee and Finance Committee of the Times-Mirror-Newsday corporate board. Times-Mirror-Newsday Director Frye also was a director in 1991 of Rockefeller & Company, Inc., whose office was then located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan.

Downtown asked in 1991 the then-communications director of Rockefeller Financial Services, George Taylor, whether any connection then existed between Rockefeller & Company and the newspaper Newsday.

“First of all, there is absolutely no connection between Rockefeller & Company and Newsday,” Taylor answered.

Downtown also asked Taylor in 1991 why then-Rockefeller & Company Director Frye sat on the board of Newsday’s then-parent company, Times-Mirror.

“As to Mr. Frye’s membership on the Times-Mirror board, it’s a personal association of his own. The board of directors is a diversified group of people,” Taylor replied.

Asked by Downtown to describe what kind of business Rockefeller & Company Inc. engages in, Taylor said that “Rockefeller & Company is a registered investment company.” He could not say whether Rockefeller & Company invested in Times-Mirror in 1991 because “any of its holdings are confidential.”

When Downtown then asked whether Times-Mirror Director Frye was Laurance Rockefeller’s representative on the Times-Mirror corporate board, Taylor replied:

“Mr. Frye is a senior associate of Mr. Laurance Rockefeller. But Mr. Frye’s connection to Times-Mirror is purely on his own. As a matter of fact, he spent more than 15 years on the board of another company that later became part of Times-Mirror, which is why he’s now on the Times-Mirror board.”

According to Taylor, “Rockefeller Financial Services is the personal office of the Rockefeller family” and Rockefeller & Company operates under the Rockefeller Financial Services umbrella.

[The now-defunct] New York Newsday’s then-managing editor, James Toedtman was a former editor of the Baltimore News-American who worked for Newsday in the 1960s and for the Boston Herald-American in the early 1980s. According to Toedtman, with regard to Rockefeller family special influence on Newsday in 1991, there was “absolutely none. We don’t do special coverage of the Rockefeller family” activity in New York.

But the Rockefeller family and its associates still exercised much power over New York daily and U.S. political life in the early 1990s. Yet the Times-Mirror-Newsday newspapers rarely informed their readers about how Rockefeller power makes their influence felt in defense of Rockefeller family corporate interests or oil company investments in either New York, Saudi Arabia or Kuwait during the early 1990s.

(Downtown 3/6/91)

Next: The Hidden History Of The Tribune Company’s Times-Mirror-Newsday—Part 2

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

`Columbia'

“Oh, educate
Columbia
Pursue the truth
Columbia
Exalt the mind
Columbia
Research and find
Columbia
And humanize and civilize
With reason as your tool.”

Invite the spies
Columbia
The C.I.A.
Columbia
Give them a room
Columbia
To recruit goons
Columbia
And “humanize and civilize
With reason as your tool.”

Help the Navy
Columbia
ROTC
Columbia
Teach a course for
Columbia
“The Art of War”
Columbia
And “humanize and civilize
With reason as your tool.”

Secret research
Columbia
You’d best not snitch
Columbia
At Hudson Labs
Maybe some bombs?
For electric war
Design lasers
And “humanize and civilize
With reason as your tool.”

The Columbia protest folk song was written in Furnald Hall on the campus of Columbia University in late 1966 to protest Columbia University’s collaboration with the U.S. war machine that waged unjust war in Vietnam and the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] that overthrew the democratically-elected governments of Iran and Guatemala during the 1950s. In 2008, Columbia University still allows the CIA to recruit on campus and still allows war-related research work for the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA] and the Joint Warfare Analysis Center [JWAC} to be done on Columbia University’s campus. But on April 24-27, 2008 at Columbia University’s campus, there is going to be a 40th anniversary commemoration of the 1968 Columbia Anti-War Student Revolt.

Speaking of the 1968 Columbia Student Revolt, Time magazine reported in its May 17, 1968 issue that “protests against IDA are somewhat misplaced, since the Institute has nothing to do with the prosecution of the war in Vietnam” and “the reports generally deal with future rather than immediate technical problems.” Yet two months before the Columbia University-sponsored IDA held its 1966 Jason Division secret weapons research study session at the Dana Hall girls’ school in Wellesley, Massachusetts between June 13, 1966 and June 25, 1966, MIT Professor of Physics J.R. Zacharias stated the following in an April 15, 1966 letter to former IDA Vice-President A.G. Hill:

“A group of us have been discussing with the Department of Defense the possibility of conducting a special study of the military and technological options open to the U.S. in Vietnam…Our hope is that by re-examining the present military tactics, especially in the light of technological opportunities that may not have been adequately considered, military alternatives might emerge that would be less costly and more likely to lead to a political solution.

“The Department of Defense has shown strong interest in our conducting such a study, and discussions with the Department are now under way. A steering committee for the study will include Carl Kaysen, George Kistiakowsky, Jerome Wiesner, Eugene Skolnikoff and myself…

“We are planning an exploratory discussion meeting of the group on Wednesday, May 4, at M.I.T. and would be very pleased if you could join us. The meeting will be held in the Penthouse of the M.I.T. Faculty Club, 50 Memorial Drive, at 9:00 a.m.

“I would appreciate your keeping information about this study confidential…”

Coincidentally, in May 1968 a member of the board of directors of Time magazine’s parent company (Time Inc.) named Maurice T. Moore (the brother-in-law of Henry Luce) also sat on the Columbia University board of trustees—between the chairman of IDA’s board of trustees, William A.M. Burden, and IDA trustee and Columbia University President Grayson Kirk.

For another protest folk song about Columbia University’s complicity with the U.S. war machine during the Vietnam War Era, titled "Bloody Minds," you can check out the “Columbia Songs for a Democratic Society” site at the following link:

www.myspace.com/bobafeldman68music


Next: The Hidden History Of The Tribune Company’s Times-Mirror-Newsday—Part 1

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

20 Reasons Why Clintons Don't Deserve A Third Term In The White House

In his book Crashing The Party, U.S. consumer advocate Ralph Nader indicated at least 20 historical reasons why most U.S. anti-war activists don’t believe the Clintons deserve a third term in the White House:

1. Between 1993 and 2001, the Clintons’ first administration promoted legislation for welfare reform that ended the federal safety net and put many children at risk.

2. Between 1993 and 2001, the Clintons’ first administration lobbied, with big business, NAFTA and GATT into law against labor, consumer, environmental and human-rights groups.

3. Between 1993 and 2001, the Clintons’ first administration expanded corporate welfare programs.

4. Between 1993 and 2001, the Clintons’ first administration approved dozens of giant mergers in the chemical, oil, drug, defense, agribusiness, media, HMO, hospital, auto, banking, and other financial industries.

5. Between 1993 and 2001, the Clintons’ first administration encouraged larger military weapons exports by the private munitions companies using taxpayer subsidies and approved many costly, redundant weapons programs.

6. Between 1993 and 2001, the Clintons’ first administration supported a bloated military budget, post-Soviet Union, driven more by defense industry greed than national defense needs.

7. Between 1993 and 2001, the Clintons’ first administration failed to enforce laws against corporate crime, fraud, and abuse.

8. Between 1993 and 2001, the Clintons’ first administration gave away to corporations massive taxpayer assets in national resources, scientific, health, space and other R & D areas.

9. Between 1993 and 2001, the Clintons’ first administration bailed out, with taxpayer billions, reckless foreign governments and oligarchies through the IMF.

10. Between 1993 and 2001, the Clintons’ first administration opened up large areas of Northern Alaska for oil and gas drilling and supported the destruction by coal companies of mountaintops in Appalachia.

11. Between 1993 and 2001, the Clintons’ first administration gave the auto companies an eight-year holiday from higher fuel-efficiency and auto safety standards.

12. Between 1993 and 2001, the Clintons’ first administration signed legislation eroding civil liberties and produced a record that commentators called “abysmal.”

13. Between 1993 and 2001, the Clintons’ first administration under-enforced the civil rights laws while orating for them.

14. Between 1993 and 2001, the Clintons’ first administration backed large corporate prison expansions and failed to address the discriminatory pattern of criminal justice enforcement.

15. Between 1993 and 2001, the Clintons’ first administration supported foreign dictatorships and oligarchies that have suppressed their people.

16. Between 1993 and 2001, the Clintons’ first administration continued the deep sleep of the regulatory agencies at the expense of health, safety, and economic assets of consumers and workers.

17. Between 1993 and 2001, the Clintons’ first administration favored big agribusiness over the family farmer.

18. Between 1993 and 2001, the Clintons’ first administration subsidized and gave the biotechnology industry insulation from regulation.

19. Between 1993 and 2001, the Clintons’ first administration raised large amounts of money from almost every corporate interest and let big money continue to nullify honest elections.

20. Between 1993 and 2001, the Clintons’ first administration opposed ways and means to facilitate consumers, workers, taxpayers, and investors banding together for self-defense.

In addition, between 1993 and 2001 the husband of Hillary Clinton, former U.S. Commander-in-Chief Bill Clinton, ordered the Pentagon to bomb Yugoslavia for 78 days and nights, continued U.S. economic sanctions and rocket attacks upon the people of Iraq, and ordered the Pentagon to also illegally bomb Somalia, Bosnia, Sudan and Afghanistan.

Next: Columbia protest folk song lyrics

Monday, February 18, 2008

Revisiting `In These Times' `Breaking The Bank' Article

(The following article by David Moberg originally appeared in the November 8, 2002 issue of the Chicago-based alternative weekly newspaper, In These Times. (www.inthesetimes.com/ ) Former Superior Bank board member Penny Pritzker is now the Obama campaign’s national finance chair.)

Breaking the Bank

By David Moberg

After federal regulators closed the $2.3 billion Superior Bank in July 2001, investigations revealed that the suburban Chicago thrift was tainted with the hallmarks of a mini-Enron scandal. New legal developments are adding additional twists, including racketeering charges. And yet the bank’s owners, members of one of America’s wealthiest families, ultimately could end up profiting from the bank’s collapse, while many of Superior’s borrowers and depositors suffer financial losses.

The Superior story has a familiar ring. Using a variety of shell companies and complex financial gimmicks, Superior’s managers and owners exaggerated the profits and financial soundness of the bank. While the company actually lost money throughout most of the ’90s, publicly it appeared to be growing remarkably fast and making unusually large profits. Under that cover, the floundering enterprise paid its owners huge dividends and provided them favorable loans and other financial deals deemed illegal by federal investigators.Superior’s outside auditor, which doubled as a financial consultant, engaged in dubious accounting practices that kept feckless regulators at bay.

Many individuals—disproportionately low-income and minority borrowers with spotty credit records—had apparently been exploited through predatory-lending techniques, including exorbitant fees, inadequate disclosure and high interest rates. In the end, more than 1,000 uninsured depositors lost millions of dollars in savings in one of the biggest bank failures of the past decade.Yet unlike Enron, the people behind Superior’s collapse were not nouveau-riche corporate hustlers, but members of Chicago’s Pritzker family.

The Pritzkers, whose two current patriarchs—Robert and his nephew Thomas—tie for 22nd place on Forbes’ list of the richest Americans, own an empire valued at more than $15 billion, including the Hyatt hotel chain, casinos, manufacturers and real estate, and they are major contributors to both political parties. They were equal partners in the private ownership of Superior with New York real estate developer Alvin Dworman, a longtime associate of Thomas’ father, Jay Pritzker, who died in 1999.And Superior’s accounting and consulting was not provided by the disgraced Arthur Andersen, but by Ernst & Young.

When regulators shuttered the bank, the publicity-shy Pritzkers, who take pride in their philanthropy (such as the prestigious international architecture award in the family name) quickly negotiated what appeared to be a generous settlement to stay out of the newspapers and the courtrooms.But now both the Pritzkers and Ernst & Young may face the legal and public relations uproar they were trying to avoid.

On November 1, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) sued Ernst & Young for more than $2 billion. The FDIC alleges that the firm concealed its improper accounting practices at Superior to facilitate the sale of its consulting unit for $11 billion, leading to Superior’s insolvency and ultimately costing the FDIC $750 million. Ernst & Young denies responsibility, blaming the bank’s managers and board, failed regulation and changing economic conditions. Investigators from the FDIC, Treasury Department and the General Accounting Office (GAO) had cited all those causes for Superior’s failure, but also had criticized Ernst & Young’s flawed work and conflicts of interest.

Meanwhile, in a case that has received no public notice, uninsured depositors are bringing a charge of financial racketeering against one-time board chairwoman Penny Pritzker, her cousin Thomas Pritzker, Dworman, other bank principals and Ernst & Young. In this federal class-action suit filed under the RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) statute, plaintiffs’ attorney Clint Krislov claims that those who controlled Superior induced depositors to put money in the bank, “corruptly” funneling money out of the bank to “fraudulently” profit the owners. Pritzker attorney Stephen Novack says that the defendants will ask to dismiss the case as having no merit. Such a RICO suit has rarely, if ever, been used to recover money lost in a bank failure, partly because the owners in such cases, in the words of bank consultant Bert Ely, “usually don’t have a pot to piss in.” But the Pritzkers have a gold-plated pot.

This may not be the last of legal battles stemming from the Superior failure. Published reports indicate that a federal grand jury has been investigating potential criminal wrongdoing and that the Internal Revenue Service could press claims against the owners for tax evasion.

The problems at Superior Bank date back to at least 1988, when the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, in an effort to conceal the depths of the developing savings-and-loan crisis, hastily made generous arrangements for the takeover of several failed thrifts. The Pritzkers and Dworman bought the failed Lyons Federal for the relatively modest price of $42.5 million, with each using a shell corporation to control half of Coast-to-Coast Financial Corporation (CCFC), a holding company created to own Superior.Superior opened for business with substantial federal assistance and guarantees, but the Pritzkers also reportedly received $645 million in tax credits as an inducement to buy Lyons.

This was not the first Pritzker-Dworman joint venture into banking. In 1985, the partners had acquired New York-based River Bank America. But in 1991, federal and state regulators closed River Bank, which was engaged in large-scale real estate speculation, when they discovered that the bank had inadequate capital and was badly managed. Nelson Stephenson, the chief financial officer of River Bank, later became chairman of Superior.

In 1992, the Pritzkers and Dworman transferred ownership of Alliance Funding Company, a nationwide mortgage banking company the partners had founded in 1985, to Superior Bank, which began specializing in selling securities backed by subprime mortgages. Prospective homeowners with less-than-stellar credit ratings often must turn to such subprime lenders, which typically charge higher interest rates to compensate for the higher risk of default.But a great many subprime lenders also unfairly exploit borrowers, seeking them out through aggressive television, direct mail and telemarketing techniques, then charging excessively high interest rates and exorbitant fees. Since many borrowers are in difficult situations and financially unsophisticated, they often are duped into agreeing to harsh conditions, such as stiff penalties for pre-paying their mortgages if their credit improves or interest rates drop, or improper costs, such as having the entire dividend for a 30-year-mortgage insurance policy included up-front in their mortgage.

Superior Bank accumulated mortgages that originated from its own branches or Alliance offices, as well as those bought from other brokers. They would then issue securities with high credit ratings but lower interest rates than what they charged borrowers. As collateral, these securities were backed by the stream of income from the mortgages. Superior Bank would retain “residual interests”—part of the collateral mortgages plus some of the excess mortgage interest—but they also retained responsibility for all of the potential losses, or what’s known in the business as “toxic waste.”Because of the greater risks of subprime lending, it was difficult to project the future value of Superior’s residual interests. But aided by Fintek, another subsidiary of CCFC, and abetted by Ernst & Young, Superior made extremely rosy projections and—like Enron—booked those projected profits as immediate, or “imputed,” earnings. The extremely optimistic value of some residual interests was also counted as part of Superior’s capital, which banks must maintain at regulated levels—depending on their condition and type of business—to make sure that depositors can be repaid.

Examiners from the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) expressed concern about aggressive subprime policy, the value of residuals, the level of capital and other bank practices early in the ’90s. But Superior’s managers and board filed erroneous reports and repeatedly failed to take any of the action that regulators recommended. Nevertheless, according to investigators, the OTS did not take any corrective action. They were persuaded that management was experienced (even though two top managers had been involved in large losses or failures at other thrifts); that Ernst & Young had given its approval in annual audits without any reservations (even though the firm had a long history of penalties and censure for its involvement in high-profile thrift failures); and that “because of their financial status, the OTS placed a great deal of reliance on the ability of the owners to inject capital if the institution encountered any financial difficulties,” as the FDIC inspector general’s report stated.

Meanwhile, Superior was growing rapidly: Loan volume rose from $200 million generated in 1993 to $2.2 billion in 1999, with the value of securities issued reaching $9.4 billion. The bank reported a return on assets that was 12 times the industry average. But its reliance on the risky residual interests from its mortgage securitization soared to levels far out of line with the rest of the industry, and by 2000 the bank’s residual interests were valued at more than four times its less fictional capital (such as stockholder equity). Superior expanded its business to subprime auto loans, then had to pull out because it was clearly failing.

All this should have looked like a sea of red flags to regulators, but they issued modest warnings and failed to follow up when management ignored their recommendations. Superior’s management actually revised its accounting methods in 1997 to further exaggerate its projected earnings, and it more than doubled the volume of the lowest quality loans in the following years.

It was all a house of cards, but a very lucrative one for the owners. During the ’90s, the bank paid CCFC—and thus the Pritzkers and Dworman—more than $200 million in dividends.

There was a small problem, however. From 1995 on, investigators concluded, Superior was actually losing money, except for the fictional “imputed” earnings. So the dividends effectively were being paid out of the growing deposits, a practice that Ely describes as having “Ponzi-like characteristics.” Furthermore, in 2000 Superior sold loans to CCFC, which the holding company immediately resold for a $20.2 million profit. Such a sale of assets at less than fair market value to insiders is a violation of federal law. There were other loans made to CCFC and its affiliates totalling $36.7 million—all in violation of the Federal Reserve Act—that were never repaid, the inspector general reported.

Superior also supposedly loaned the Dworman family’s shell company $70 million in 1996, but even though Dworman promised to pay it all back by the end of 1999, the inspector general found no evidence of any payments being made. (Dworman reportedly claimed that the money was a dividend payment concealed as a loan, which would raise questions about tax evasion.) All these transactions enriched the Pritzkers and Dworman at the expense of the bank—and ultimately the FDIC insurance fund and uninsured depositors.

In the spring of 1999, both the OTS and FDIC downgraded Superior’s rating. Over the course of nearly two years, Superior and Ernst & Young resisted the analysis and recommendations of the regulatory agencies, but by January 2001 Ernst & Young finally agreed that the accounting of the residual assets had been wrong. The bank was deeply troubled even in good times, but the vulnerabilities would only increase. As interest rates declined, borrowers would try to pay off high-interest loans and refinance; as unemployment rose, increasing numbers of subprime borrowers would default. After downgrading the bank further, regulators concluded that it was “significantly undercapitalized” and needed an infusion of $270 million, which the Pritzkers—with some participation by Dworman—agreed in March to provide. Then in July regulators reported that, as a result of overly optimistic assumptions, the bank would need to write off an additional $150 million of of its residual interests. The Pritzkers pulled out of the agreed capital plan, and the feds closed the bank.

Wanting to avoid a lawsuit, the secretive Pritzkers quickly agreed to what the FDIC hailed in December as the biggest settlement they had ever negotiated. The Pritzkers would pay $100 million immediately, then $360 million over 15 years. But there were lots of little provisions in the agreement that benefit the Pritzkers. First, as former bank consultant and longtime thrift watchdog Tim Anderson notes, the $100 million doesn’t even quite pay back all of the unpaid loans made to the owners. The Pritzkers also pay no interest on the $360 million, and since it is paid over many years, the real cost to the Pritzkers may be only around $250 million. As of September 2002, according to FDIC figures, the insurance fund was still out $440 million after this settlement.

But it gets even sweeter for the Pritzkers. The FDIC also agreed to pay the Pritzkers 25 percent of any claim won in a lawsuit against Ernst & Young. Since the FDIC is now suing for $548 million, the Pritzker share could be $137 million. On top of that, the agreement stated that the Pritzkers get half of any civil penalties from such a lawsuit (after certain agency expenses). The FDIC is asking for triple damages, or $1.64 billion; the Pritzker share could be over $800 million.

Even taking into account the “record” settlement they made with the FDIC, the Pritzkers could make more than $700 million in additional profit for running a financial institution into the ground. They had already profited handsomely, sharing in the more than $200 million in dividends to the owners in the ’90s. They accomplished all this with an investment of about $21 million for each partner—though the Pritzkers had also already benefited from $645 million in tax credits.

Meanwhile, roughly 1,000 depositors who had deposits above $100,000 in a Superior account—money above the FDIC-insured limit—lost about $65 million. Most of them were middle-class individuals, attracted by Superior’s high interest rates. In the three months just before the bank was closed, there was a surge of $9.6 million in uninsured deposits. Since about 54 percent of the uninsured money has since been repaid as Superior was sold off, the depositors have still collectively lost about $30 million. (That just happens to be the amount that the Pritzkers gave to the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine earlier this year.)

Some of that money could have paid back Fran Sweet for the roughly $138,000 that she has still not recovered from her deposits at Superior. After retiring as a manager at a telecommunications company, Sweet was seeking a secure place to put her entire retirement savings of about $500,000. “I knew the Pritzkers were owners of the bank,” she says, “and they were a reputable name in Chicago. I had no idea that the bank was in trouble.”She even asked a bank manager if there was anything wrong with the bank. “She said, ‘No, nothing is wrong, We’re owned by the Pritzkers,’ ” Sweet recalls. “I want it all back. I worked 23 years for a company and got this money from them as a buyout, and the Pritzker family and Dworman stole it from me.”

People at the other end of the deal—who borrowed from Superior—are also still hurting as a result of the scam. The National Community Reinvestment Coalition, which monitors bank lending, last year accused Superior of participating in a variety of predatory practices, including overly aggressive telemarketing, targeting low-income minority borrowers, and disproportionately incorporating problematic “balloon payments” in the loans. One borrower in Philadelphia, represented by attorney Brian Mildenberg, ended up in bankruptcy partly because Superior didn’t properly credit him for payments he had made. In another case, Cleveland construction worker Dan Sutton claims that a broker for Superior falsified papers to inflate his mortgage and charged exorbitant fees.

The Pritzkers are likely to make out like bandits, which is exactly what customers like Sweet and Sutton think they are. All of the government studies of Superior’s failure agree that there’s plenty of blame to spread around. As the FDIC inspector general’s report concluded, the bank managers pursued an ultra-risky strategy based on unrealistic assumptions and unjustifiably pumped dividends and illegal, unpaid loans out of the bank and into the owners’ coffers.Ernst & Young provided inaccurate audits, resisted regulators, and did not test or properly disclose crucial financial assumptions. The OTS didn’t investigate or follow up on problems adequately, ignored warning signs for years, and unduly relied on the expertise of managers, the auditor’s report, and the promise of the wealthy owners to put their money behind the bank’s strategy, which they ultimately refused to do. While the FDIC lawsuit against Ernst & Young correctly highlights the accounting firm’s sorry record of accounting malpractice, it ignores the dubious history of the Pritzkers and Dworman in cases ranging from tax evasion to bank mismanagement, instead praising the Pritzkers for their charity.

What looked like a good deal for the FDIC in resolving Superior’s failure is now looking like yet another opportunity for the wealthy Pritzkers to further profit from their misdeeds. Certainly, the record suggests that Ernst & Young bears responsibility, but so do the Pritzkers and Dworman. The question is not just who will extract money from whose pocket in the aftermath of the bank failure, but also whether the rich are simply above the law. The RICO lawsuit against bank managers, owners and auditors raises the issue of criminal conspiracy and at least attempts to recover damages for the uninsured depositors. But beyond that, argues thrift watchdog Anderson, “I think there ought to be a criminal investigation.”

(The above article first by David Moberg first appeared in the Nov. 8, 2002 issue of the Chicago-based alternative weekly In These Times. ( www.inthesetimes.com/ )

Next: 20 Reasons Why Clintons Don’t Deserve A Third Term In The White House

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Obama Campaign's Pritzker/Superior Bank S&L Scandal Link?

Penny Pritzker is the National Finance Chair of 2008 Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama’s campaign. Yet the Obama campaign’s national finance chair served as chairman of the Superior Bank from 1989 to 1994, before the savings and loan institution collapsed in July 2001, due to the Pritzker bank’s involvement in financially reckless subprime mortgage lending.

Created at the end of 1988 as the successor bank to the failed Lyons Savings Bank, the Oakbrook Terrace/Hinsdale, Illinois-based Superior Bank was 50 percent owned by Chicago’s billionaire Pritzker family. Yet, according to an Oct. 16, 2001 statement before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs by Ely & Company Inc. President Bert Ely, the Pritzker family’s Superior Bank “started life with enormous tax benefits and a substantial amount of FSLIC-guaranteed assets under a FSLIC Assistance agreement.” In a Dec. 2002 article (“Tremors In The Empire”) that appeared in Chicago Magazine, Shane Tritsch noted, for instance, that for investing $42.5 million in the failed Lyons Savings Bank before it was reopened as Superior Bank, the Pritzkers and their business partner received an estimated $645 million in federal tax credits and loan guarantees; but “by one estimate, it would have cost the government $200 million less simply to shut Lyons down.”

Yet according to Ely’s Oct. 16, 2001 statement, “Superior’s trick, or business plan” under Penny Prtizker’s chairmanship was apparently “to concentrate on subprimelending, principally on home mortgages, but for a while in subprime auto lending, too,” after the Pritzkers’ bank acquired its wholesale mortgage organization division, Alliance Funding, in December 1992.

With a business loss estimate of between $350 million and $1 billion, the 2001 failure of the Pritzkers’ Superior Bank represented the largest U.S.-insured deposition institution to fall between 1992 and 2001. But according to a Feb. 7, 2002 report of FDIC Inspector General Gaston Gianni Jr., “the failure of Superior Bank was directly attributable to the Bank’s Board of Directors and executives ignoring sound risk management principles.”

Coincidentally, the Obama presidential campaign’s National Finance Chair was a member of the Superior Bank’s board of directors which apparently ignored sound risk management principles. As the Aug. 7, 2001 issue of the New York Times observed:

“The Pritzkers controlled half the board seats. Penny Pritzker…was on the board, and Glen Miller, a top financial officer in the Pritzker organization, was chairman of the audit committee…Penny Pritzker…was designated…to watch over the Superior investment.”

Business Week magazine also noted in a Sept. 10, 2001 article (‘The Pritzkers’ Empire Trembles”) that “as of July [2001],” Penny Pritzker “was still a director of the thrift’s holding company, Coast-to-Coast Financial Corp….”

The Superior Bank board of directors on which the Obama presidential campaign National Finance Chair sat “paid dividends and other financial benefits without regard to the deteriorating financial and operating condition of Superior,” according to FDIC Inspector General Gianni’s Feb. 7, 2002 report. As Ely & Company Inc. President’s Ely’s Oct. 16, 2001 statement observed:

“Superior paid $188 million in dividends in the 1989-1999 period, which gave Superior’s stockholders an 18.1 percent pretax cash return on their initial investment of $42.5 million in Superior.”

Before Superior Bank’s 2001 collapse, stockholders like the Pritzker family members also “may have reaped additional profits from the substantial tax benefits the Federal Government gifted to them” when they acquired the failed Lyons Savings Bank in 1988 and created the successor Superior Bank, according to Ely’s Oct. 16, 2001 statement. Between 1992 and 1998, for instance, Superior Bank claimed a Federal tax credit of $10.6 million and only began to pay a meaningful amount of Federal income tax in 1999.

To avoid being punished for the failure of Superior Bank, the Pritzker family agreed to pay the FDIC $460 million. Yet even with this settlement, the failure of the Superior Bank due its board’s apparent mismanagement will cost the federal thrift insurance agency (and U.S. taxpayers) about $440 million.

The 1,400 Superior Bank depositors whose savings deposits in excess of $100,000 were uninsured, however, brought a federal civil racketeering suit against Penny Pritzker and other former Superior Bank officials. Not surprisingly, Business Week magazine reported in September 2001 that “the collapsing Superior Bank, a $2.3 billion thrift that” Penny “Pritzker chaired from 1989 to 1994” was “ putting the family business savvy under the klieg lights in Washington and beyond.”

Less than two years after the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs held a hearing on “The Failure of Superior Bank,” former Superior Bank Chairman of the Board Pritzker, coincidentally, began to financially back Obama’s 2004 campaign to become a U.S. Senator from Illinois. As David Mendell recalled in his 2007 book Obama: From Promise To Power:

“Obama was confident that he was destined for more than a day job running a foundation or practicing law or languishing in the minority party in the Illinois senate…He invited a group of African-American professionals to the house of Marty Nesbitt, who had served as finance chairman of his congressional campaign. Nesbitt is…vice-president of the Pritzker Realty Group, part of the Pritzker family empire…Nesbitt arranged a weekend gathering to help Obama reach inside the deepest pockets he knew—those of the Pritzker family…

“…Nesbitt knew that if Obama could sell himself to Penny Pritzker, her support would not only reap huge immediate financial dividends but also be a crucial step in the foundation of a fund-raising network.

“So in late summer 2002, Obama, Michelle [Robinson-Obama] and their two daughters drove to Penny Pritzker’s weekend cottage along the lakefront in Michigan about forty-five minutes from Chicago…”

Given the past involvement on the board of a failed savings bank that engaged in financially reckless subprime lending of the 2008 Obama presidential campaign’s National Finance Chair, it’s not surprising that an article in The Nation (2/11/08) by Max Fraser, titled “Subprime Obama,” reported that “only Obama has not called for a moratorium and interest-rate freeze;” and that Josh Bivens of the Economic Policy Institute said that “There’s been less emphasis from the Obama campaign on the really dysfunctional role of the financial industy in the subprime mess.”

Incidentally, former Superior Bank Chairman Penny Pritzker contributed $100,000 to the Democratic National Committee [DNC] in 2000.

Next: Revisiting In These Times' “Breaking The Bank” Article

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Tribune-Times-Mirror's Historic Corporate and Chicago Cubs Connection

(Portions of the following article appeared in the April 13, 1994 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newsweekly, Downtown).

The Tribune Company has had some interesting corporate connections since the 1970s. Among the institutions upon whose corporate boards Tribune Company directors have sat on since the 1970s were Commonwealth Edison Company, Esmark, Inc., the University of Chicago, the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, the MacArthur Foundation, Northwestern University, Bache Global Fund, Aetna Life Insurance, CBS, Sara Lee, Carnegie Corp. of New York, Encyclopedia Britannica, Chicago Educational Television, First National Bank of Chicago, Illinois Power, Maytag, American National Can and Sears Roebuck.

Members of the Tribune-Times-Mirror media conglomerate’s board in 2008 currently sit on the boards of Equity Group Investments, International Creative Management, Oracle Corporation, the Greenspan Corporation, the Las Vegas Sun, Western Union, Northern Trust, Coventa Holding Corporation, Yahoo!, Xerox, Citizens Communications, Chemed Corporation, Secret Communications, Hanover Compressor Company and Caterpillar. In addition the chairman of the Tribune Company board, billionaire real estate developer Sam Zell, is also a member of the national advisory board of J.P. Morgan.

Although the Tribune Company’s WPIX-Channel 11 television station broadcast New York Yankees baseball games for many years, it actually owned the Chicago Cubs baseball team, not the New York Yankees, during the 1990s. After purchasing the Chicago Cubs in 1981 for $21 million—at the same time it was starting to claim that it lacked the money to pay union wages at the New York Daily News—the Tribune Company began to broadcast Cubs games on its WGN-TV station in Chicago, “with commercials for the Chicago Tribune” and “with all three units generating Tribune profits,” (NY Times 11/12/90).

The Tribune Company purchased the Chicago Cubs in order to acquire “a source of inexpensive and dependable programming” (NY Times 11/20/90), not apparently because of any special love for baseball. And, according to the Tribune Company’s 1993 corporate disclosure form, the Cubs simply “represent an important source of live programming for the Company’s Chicago-based broadcasting operations and regional cable programming service.”

(Downtown 4/13/94)

Next: Obama Campaign’s Pritzker/Superior Bank S&L Scandal Link?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Tribune-Times-Mirror's Historic Florida Newspaper Connections and Union-Busting

(Most of the following article appeared in the April 13, 1994 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newsweekly, Downtown).

The Tribune-Times-Mirror media conglomerate has also been historically connected to the extremely profitable 281,000-circulation [in 1994] Orlando Sentinel and the 259,000-circulation [in 1994] Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel newspapers in Florida since the 1960s. As the New York Times (11/7/84) noted in its “The Prospering Tribune Co.” article:

“In Florida newspapers in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale remain the nation’s fastest-growing dailies…Analysts estimated that (in 1983) the Orlando-Sentinel earned about $40 million from operations and the Fort Lauderdale papers had a profit of about $30 million.

“Revenues for the Orlando papers have grown an average of 17 percent annually since 1980. And the two Fort Lauderdale papers have enjoyed 15.5 percent annual revenue growth.”

Another Tribune Company newspaper was published in Newport News, Virginia in the early 1990s.

Despite its profitability, in the 1980s and early 1990s the Tribune Company’s history of anti-labor editorial politics was matched by an intensification of its union-busting approach to Tribune media conglomerate employees.. As The Nation magazine noted in its May 7, 1990 issue:

“The $3 billion Tribune Company, the media conglomerate from the city of the big shoulders, loves to bash unions. In a 1985 strike it successfully replaced 1,000 of its craft workers at the Chicago Tribune with nonunion personnel. Masterminding its win over the employees of the composing room, mail room and pressroom was Robert (Cat) Ballow of King & Ballow of Nashville, notorious among unions as a hired gun.”

Following the 1985 strike of Chicago Tribune employees, the Tribune media conglomerate broke three of its employee unions and went on to eliminate 25 percent of its production work force.

At its Big Apple WPIX-TV station, the Tribune Company historically practiced its politics of union-busting by violating U.S. labor laws. As the New York Times reported in its June 28, 1990 issue:

“A 3-judge appeals panel has ruled that WPIX-TV, a station in New York City owned by the Tribune Company of Chicago, committed a deliberate violation of Federal labor law when it broke off contract talks in 1987 with 67 unionized employees of its news department.

“The action, by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan also upheld a finding by the National Labor Relations Board that the station had engaged in an unfair labor practice by refusing to pay contractually guaranteed wage increases…”


After the Newspaper Guild of New York’s contract with Tribune/WPIX-TV expired in June 1986, the number of union members on WPIX-TV/Channel 11’s staff had been decreased from about 70 to about 30 by its Tribune Company managers.

Prior to selling its New York Daily News operation to British media baron Maxwell before Maxwell’s mysterious death in late 1991, the Tribune Company also attempted to bust the unions of Daily News employees. Although the Tribune Company media conglomerate’s annual net profits rose 23 percent per year during the 1980s and its 1989 net profit exceeded $242 million, in late October 1990 it still dismissed 2,400 unionized Daily News workers. It then replaced many of these unionized workers with both local “scab” workers and “scab” employees which it flew in from its Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel or Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel newspapers. It also again “hired the notorious union-busting law firm of King & Ballow to conduct the negotiations,” as well as an increased number of security guards. (The Nation 12/3/90)

During the 1990-1991 strike of Daily News employees, the Tribune Company’s union-busting activity was supervised by its local publisher—a Phillips Exeter Academy and Yale University preppie graduate from Park Avenue named James Hoge. Coincidentally, the union-busting local publisher at the New York Daily News in 1990-91 was the brother of the New York Times then-Assistant Managing Editor Warren Hoge.

In the 21st-century, the billionaire Chicago real estate investor who now controls the Tribune-Times-Mirror media conglomerate, Sam Zell, continues to eliminate jobs at the corporate media conglomerate’s newspaper offices. On February 13, 2008, Tribune-Times-Mirror media conglomerate executives announced that between 400 to 500 jobs were to be eliminated at its various newspapers by March 31, 2008. Both the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune newspaper operations will reduce their staff positions by 100, while 45 positions would be eliminated at both the Hartford Courant and the Baltimore Sun newspaper offices.

(Downtown 4/13/94)

Next: Tribune-Times-Mirror’s Historic Corporate and Chicago Cubs Connection

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tribune-Times-Mirror vs. The U.S. Counter-Culture Historically

(The following article appeared in the April 13, 1994 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newsweekly, Downtown).

Not surprisingly, during the 1960s the white Corporate Straight Males who controlled Tribune-Times-Mirror were not great fans of the U.S. counter-culture. In an April 1968 editorial, for instance, the Chicago Tribune’s editors stated the following:

“Students terrorize faculties and university presidents and assert that they should govern the administration and dictate the curriculum. We are knee-deep in hippies, marijuana, LSD and other hallucinogenics. We do not need any of these…”

And when counter-cultural people from Downtown Manhattan went out to Chicago to peacefully protest the Democratic National Convention and attempt to hold a musical “Festival of Life” in Chicago’s city parks in August 1968, the editors of the Chicago Tribune also stated the following:

“We have no sympathy with the rowdy demonstrations conducted by the hippies, yippies and other young punks who have gathered in Chicago by the thousands…We do have sympathy for the Chicago police…For enforcing law and order, Mayor Daley and his police deserve congratulations rather than criticisms…”

Chicago Democratic Party machine boss Richard Daley I, incidentally, was supported in four of his six mayoral campaigns during his lifetime by the Chicago Tribune.

(Downtown 4/13/94)

Next: Tribune-Times-Mirror’s Historic Florida Newspaper Connections and Union-Busting

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tribune-Times-Mirror's Nixon Connection Historically

(The following article appeared in the April 13, 1994 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newsweekly, Downtown).

After McCormick’s death in 1955, the Medill-McCormick-Patterson Dynasty’s McCormick-Patterson Trust—which controlled the Tribune Company—was placed under the control of the McCormick “Charitable” Trust for the next two decades, until the Tribune Company was re-organized in 1975. In the early 1980s it was again re-organized and in 1983 Tribune Company stock began to be sold to investors who weren’t either members of the Medill-McCormick-Patterson Dynasty or Tribune Company executives. In its Nov. 12, 1990 issue, the New York Times noted that the Tribune Company was now “run by men with a background in finance,” had “a buttoned-down culture untouched by the glitz of other media giants” and had three top company officials—Charles Brumback, Stanton Cook and John Madigan—who didn’t have any experience as working journalists.

But despite the organizational changes made following Robert McCormick’s 1955 death, the Tribune Company continued to support U.S. politicians like Richard Nixon during the 1960s and 1970s. As The `Chicago Tribune': The Rise Of A Great American Newspaper noted: “The Tribune was firmly against Kennedy for president” in 1960 and in 1968 "the Tribune began its campaign to insure the nomination of Richard M. Nixon for president.” The same book also recalled that after Nixon announced he was running for president again in 1968, an editorial appeared in the Chicago Tribune which asserted that “Nixon’s announcement of his candidacy for president is welcome news” and “his intelligence and experience in government are unsurpassed.”

(Downtown 4/13/94)

Next: Tribune-Times-Mirror vs. The U.S. Counter-Culture Historically

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tribune-Times-Mirror's McCarthyism Connection Historically

(The following article appeared in the April 13, 1994 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newsweekly, Downtown).

After the Chicago-based Tribune Company was given a license by the FCC to begin operating its New York City television station in 1948, its Chicago Tribune newspaper began to support Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy’s anti-democratic campaign to brand all U.S. liberals and radicals as unpatriotic “Reds,” who deserved to be jailed and repressed because they were part of an alleged “international communist conspiracy.” As `Chicago Tribune’: The Rise Of A Great American Newspaper recalled:

“Throughout all of McCarthy’s campaigns against the Reds, rarely did the Tribune question the senator’s tactics…The Tribune staunchly defended him and furiously attacked his enemies…

“The Tribune continued to defend Senator McCarthy to the end of his days. The senator died on May 2, 1957, and on May 5…the paper summarized Senator McCarthy’s fight and career in a long and angry editorial, which concluded: `No man in public life was ever persecuted and maligned because of his beliefs as was Sen. McCarthy…the Republic has lost a stalwart defender.’”

On Aug. 23, 1952, Tribune media conglomerate owner Robert McCormick also had argued that “Every patriot in Wisconsin will vote for Senator Joseph McCarthy.”

(Downtown 4/13/94)

Next: Tribune-Times-Mirror’s Nixon Connection Historically

Monday, February 11, 2008

The `Chicago Tribune''s Hidden History--Part 3

(The following article appeared in the April 13, 1994 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newsweekly, Downtown).

During the 1920s and 1930s McCormick’s Chicago Tribune first entered the U.S. broadcasting world. As early as 1947, for instance, John Tebbell noted in his An American Dynasty:

“One of the astute moves that Colonel McCormick made in building his empire was to get in on the ground floor of radio, at a time when most publishers scoffed at the idea that it could ever be a serious rival of the newspaper.

“…As early as 1921…he began the negotiations which ended in June 1924 with the purchase of WDAP, then Chicago’s most powerful station. Less than a month later the station had its call letters changed to WGN, meaning of course, `World’s Greatest Newspaper’…

“…In 1934…WGN joined WOR, Newark, WLLW, Cincinnati, and WXYX, Detroit, in a network which expanded in time to the powerful 268 stations (at last count) Mutual Broadcasting System, with WGN and WOR the key outlets. The Colonel owns 24 percent of Mutual stock, and W.E. MacFarlane, Tribune business manager, was president of the chain for several years…”

Around the time New York Daily News founder Patterson died in 1946, the value of the Chicago Tribune media empire which he and McCormick had inherited and expanded was worth about $100 million. But, despite the financial success achieved by the Chicago Tribune between 1920 and the end of World War II, it was not regarded as too great a newspaper, from a journalistic point of view, by many U.S. media analysts.

In the July 3, 1937 issue of Progressive magazine, for instance, the magazine’s editor, William Evjue, asserted that “The Chicago Tribune is the most vicious and unscrupulous newspaper in the United States today.” And, in his 1938 book, Lords Of The Press, George Seldes also wrote the following:

“I have studied the Tribune in America…I know of no newspaper which is so vicious and stupid in its attack on labor, no paper so consistent in its Red-baiting, and no paper in my opinion is such a great enemy of the American people…No newspaper has such an unbroken record of labor-baiting as the Chicago Tribune.”

An American Dynasty by John Tebbel also noted that “The Tribune is guilty of producing distorted news, and it also suppresses news in the sense that it denies evidence of truth if this evidence is contrary to its editorial policies.” The same book also recalled that on Aug. 27, 1921 the Chicago Tribune had “defended the Klan editorially.”

The Chicago Tribune opposed FDR’s New Deal and “held that Roosevelt should keep his hands off business” despite the 1930s Great Depression, according to `Chicago Tribune’: The Rise Of A Great American Newspaper by Lloyd Wendt. The same book also recalled that during the 1936 presidential campaign “Roosevelt supporters attacked the Tribune for the viciousness of its anti-Roosevelt campaign.” An American Dynasty also recalled that “In its crusade against organized labor and against the New Deal the Tribune has not hesitated to print what seems to be outright lies.”

(Downtown 4/13/94)

Next: Tribune-Times-Mirror’s McCarthyism Connection

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The `Chicago Tribune's Hidden History--Part 2

(The following article appeared in the April 13, 1994 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newsweekly, Downtown).

After Medill’s death, day-to-day management of the Chicago Tribune was handled by a journalist named James Keeley, until two of Medill’s grandsons—Robert “Colonel” McCormick and Robert “Captain” Patterson—began to make all the main day-to-day operational policy decisions in 1914. But as An American Dynasty noted:

“The gradual transfer of power only modified and did not change the Tribune’s basic principles. It was still vituperative in behalf of big business. It still opposed union labor, government regulation of business, and any politician who appeared to be on the people’s side.”

By adding comic strips like “Andy Gump,” “Moon Mullins” and “Little Orphan Annie” to the Chicago Tribune’s newspaper and printing a daily directory of what was playing at local movie theaters, McCormick and Patterson were able to increase the Chicago Tribune’s daily circulation from 261,000 to 450,000 and its Sunday circulation from 408,000 to 827,000 between 1914 and 1921. During this same period, McCormick “leased the Canadian forest lands and built the Quebec and Ontario paper mills which enabled the Tribune to save a paper manufacturer’s profit and compete more successfully with Hearst, who got papers for five dollars a ton less than the standard price,” according to An American Dynasty. As a result, Tribune/Times-Mirror owned over 2.7 million acres of Canadian timberland for most of the 20th Century.

In imitation of British press baron Lord Northcliffe’s London Daily Mirror tabloid newspaper, the Chicago Tribune launched the New York Daily News in 1919 and Patterson soon moved from Chicago into a Manhattan office building to handle day-to-day management of the New York Daily News. This newspaper remained linked to the Chicago Tribune until it was sold by the Tribune Company for $295 million to the now-deceased British global media baron Robert Maxwell in 1991, prior to it being purchased by U.S. News & World Report Owner Mort Zuckerman in 1993. In Chicago, McCormick remained to manage the day-to-day affairs of the Chicago Tribune in an autocratic way until his death in 1955.

(Downtown 4/13/94)

Next: The Chicago Tribune’s Hidden History—Part 3

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The `Chicago Tribune's Hidden History--Part 1

(The following article appeared in the April 13, 1994 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newsweekly, Downtown).

After World War II, one of my grandfathers spent his nights lifting newspapers onto Chicago Tribune delivery trucks for over 20 years. But even before he began working for the Chicago Tribune the newspaper had already been around for a century.

The Chicago Tribune was founded in 1847 by James Kelly, John Wheeler and Joseph Forest. But in 1855 a 32-year-old Cleveland publisher named Joseph Medill purchased it and he ran the newspaper autocratically until the 1890s. Medill used the Chicago Tribune in the late 1850s as a political weapon of the newly created Republican Party and, according to An American Dynasty: The Story of the McCormicks, Medills and Pattersons by John Tebbel, “by 1859 his paper was surpassed in power nationally only by the New York Tribune, and it completely dominated his own part of the country.” The same book also noted that “the Tribune pushed the doubtful Western states into the Lincoln camp, and Medill himself, in collaboration with Dr. Ray and the Illinois politicians, was largely responsible for getting Lincoln nominated in the [Republican] convention” of 1860.

Despite its opposition to the extension of U.S. slavery and its support of Lincoln, however, “The Tribune was seldom on the side of democracy after the Civil War” and “Medill in those years set the pattern for individual, irresponsible journalism,” according to An American Dynasty. And even during the Civil War Medill privately expressed imperialist ambitions in relation to Mexico and proposed that emancipated African-Americans be exploited as cannon fodder in support of Northern white corporate interests. In a May 24, 1863 letter to his brother, William Medill, for instance, the Chicago Tribune owner wrote the following:

“We shall permit no nation to abuse Mexico but ourselves. We claim the right to turn her up on Uncle Sam’s knee and spank her bottom for not behaving herself as in 1846, but will permit no one else to touch her…In future wars, black and yellow men will be freely used to fight. We will not be so careful about spilling the blood of n—gers. England holds India with Sepoy troops who hate her. How easy for us to defeat the South with black troops who love the North…Old Abe says, `Bring on your n—gers. I want 200,000 of them to save my white boys as soon as I can get them.’"

During the 1870s and 1880s Medill’s Chicago Tribune continued to prosper and its daily circulation jumped from 40,000 to 80,000 as the newspaper apparently began functioning as a classist, anti-labor propaganda instrument in Chicago. As An American Dynasty recalled, “The decade of the 1880s in Medill history is notable chiefly for the Tribune’s bitter opposition to labor in any and all disputes” and the Chicago Tribune opposed “any politician who appeared to be on the people’s side.” Medill’s Chicago Tribune, for instance, opposed U.S. labor’s demand for an eight-hour day. When he died in 1899, Medill left $2 million to his two daughters--Elinor Medill Patterson and Katherine Medill-McCormick—while his stock in the Tribune Company was left in trust to his sons-in-law and his attorney.

(Downtown 4/13/94)

Next: The Chicago Tribune’s Hidden History—Part 2

Friday, February 8, 2008

Corporate Chicago's `Tribune/Los Angeles Times' Company--Part 2

(Portions of the following article appeared in the April 13, 1994 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newsweekly, Downtown).

Tribune-Times-Mirror’s Chicago Tribune Newspaper Connection

The Chicago-based media conglomerate that has controlled New York City’s WPIX-TV/Channel TV station since 1948 also owns the Chicago Tribune newspaper. In the 1990s over 715,000 copies of the Chicago Tribune were still sold each day and over 1.1 million copies of its Sunday edition were still circulated. During the 1980s about 100,000 copies of the Chicago Tribune were circulated outside Chicago’s metropolitan area, indicating the newspaper’s increasing national influence.

The Chicago Tribune newspaper operation was an extremely profitable operation during the 1980s and 1990s. In 1984, for instance, about 70 percent of all newspaper ad sales revenues in the Chicago area were obtained by the Chicago Tribune newspaper. And in a Nov. 7, 1984 article, titled “The Prosperous Tribune Co.,” the New York Times reported that “although company officials decline to disclose earnings for individual newspapers, analysts estimated that The Tribune had an operating profit of about $35 million last year…” In the 1990s over $619 million/year in gross earnings were taken in by the Tribune Company from its Chicago Tribune newspaper operation.

(Downtown 4/13/94)

Next: The Chicago Tribune’s Hidden History—Part 1

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Corporate Chicago's `Tribune/Los Angeles Times' Company--Part 1

(Portions of the following article appeared in the April 13, 1994 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newsweekly, Downtown).

“The Newspaper Guild of New York which represents most writers, editors and technicians at WPIX, Channel 11, has filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission to deny the station’s request for the renewal of its license…

“The union has also said Channel 11’s coverage of public affairs, required by law, has fallen off in New Jersey…”
(The New York Times on 5/4/89)

“Available to 18.7 percent of United States households the Tribune Stations—including WPIX in New York, WGN in Chicago and KTLA in Los Angeles—have a reach even wider than that of Fox and one that is exceeded only by the three big commercial networks…

“Despite its $2.45 billion in sales last year—a revenue figure that makes the company larger than other media groups like Knight-Ridder, McGraw-Hill, Washington Post, Dow Jones and The New York Times—Tribune has managed to keep a generally low profile at least until the
Daily News was struck…” (The New York Times on Nov. 12, 1990)

“Television stations in Houston and San Diego were acquired in 1996, followed in 1997 by Tribune’s largest television acquisition ever -- Renaissance Communications for $1.1 billion. Six stations joined the Tribune group, including KDAF-TV in Dallas and WBZL-TV in Miami.

“…The merger with The Times Mirror Company, completed in June 2000, effectively doubled the size of Tribune and secured its position among the top tier of major media companies. The $8.3 billion transaction was the largest acquisition in newspaper industry history.

“The Times Mirror merger added seven daily newspapers to the Tribune fold, headlined by the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, The Baltimore Sun and the Hartford Courant. Tribune was now the only media company with newspapers and television stations in the top three markets…

“On April 2, 2007, Chicago-based investor Sam Zell announced plans to buy out the media company for $34.00 a share, totaling $8.2 billion. Zell's intentions were to turn the company private. The deal was approved by 97% of the Company's shareholders on August 21, 2007. Privatization of the Tribune Company occurred on December 20, 2007 with termination of trading in Tribune stock at the close of the market….”
(Wikipedia)

Tribune/Times-Mirror’s TV Connections

The Chicago-based media conglomerate that has backed 2008 Democratic Party Presidential candidate Barack Obama throughout his political career, Tribune/Times-Mirror, today controls 23 television stations in the United States. During the 1990s, in addition to controlling an “independent” New York City TV station (WPIX-Channel 11), the Tribune-Times Mirror media conglomerate also controlled “independent” TV stations in Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Denver, New Orleans and Boston. The Tribune Company’s eight “independent” TV stations in the early 1990s made it the seventh-largest TV broadcasting group operation in the United States in 1994. Around 20 percent of all U.S. homes could be tuned into an “independent” local TV station that was owned by the Chicago-based Tribune media conglomerate in 1994.

The Tribune Company also operated a 24-hour Chicago area pay-TV cable news programming service for over 600,000 subscribers in 1994. And its Tribune entertainment subsidiary produced the tabloid-TV “Geraldo” show for over 144 stations around the U.S. in 1994. Eight years before its 2000 merger with the Times-Mirror media conglomerate, Chicago’s Tribune Company took in about $477 million in gross earnings from its TV broadcasting operations alone.

Tribune-Times-Mirror’s Radio Connections

In addition to owning WPIX-TV/Channel 11 in New York City, the Tribune-Times-Mirror media conglomerate owned radio stations in the U.S. during the early 1990s, including WQCD in New York City. In the Denver area, the Tribune Company owned two radio stations, in addition to owning its Denver, Colorado TV station in 1994. Both a radio station and a TV station were also owned in Chicago by the Tribune Company in 1994. And in Sacramento, California in 1994, the Tribune Company also owned another two radio stations. About 33 percent of the Tribune Company media conglomerate’s gross profits in 1994 came from its radio and TV broadcasting/entertainment division.

(Downtown 4/13/94)

Next: Corporate Chicago’s Tribune/Los Angeles Times Company—Part 2

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

`Enemy Number One'


They call her “Public Enemy Number One”
They say she’s done wrong, they seem to want her hung
For many, many years she’s been fast on the run
It sure is “fun” being “Public Enemy Number One.”

John Dillinger was “Public Enemy Number One”
Like Billy the Kid, he learnt to use his gun
They jailed him ten years for robbing a small sum
It’s better than working, being “Public Enemy Number One.”

The men are all in love with “Public Enemy Number One”
Whenever she’s around, they each give her a hug
The sheriff and his posse, they often are quite stunned
For they can’t seem to locate “Public Enemy Number One.”

The courtroom is waiting for “Public Enemy Number One”
They’ve listed all the crimes the bankers say she’s done
To protect their stocks and bonds, they’ve spilt a lot of blood
Yet seriously they still hunt for “Public Enemy Number One.”

She sure does confuse me, “Public Enemy Number One,”
She seems very friendly and full of lots of love
I hope they don’t kill her for being kind to bums
She seems so symbolic, this “Public Enemy Number One.”

The Enemy Number One protest folk song (which was originally titled “Public Enemy Number One”) was written in the early 1970s for Bernardine Dohrn and the other Weatherpeople--when the FBI was attempting to capture the Weatherpeople for continuing to fight for revolutionary democratic change in the United States, in solidarity with people around the globe and within the U.S. who are oppressed by U.S. imperialism. While the Weatherpeople were underground in the early 1970s, I supported the demand for amnesty for the Weatherpeople.

Federal charges against most of the Weatherpeople were finally dropped by the end of the 1970s because of the illegal COINTELPRO methods used by the FBI in attempting to capture the former SDS activists who went into Weather, such as authorizing FBI agents to illegally break into Movement offices and the apartments of above-ground supporters of the Weatherpeople.

To listen to the "Enemy Number One" protest folk song, click on the following link:

http://www.last.fm/music/Bob+A.+Feldman/Protest+Folk+Songs/Enemy+Number+One


(To listen to other "Columbia Songs for a Democratic Society" protest folk songs, click on the following link: http://www.myspace.com/bobafeldman68music )

Next: Corporate Chicago’s Tribune/Los Angeles Times Company—Part 1

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Chicago Police Spying and `The Chicago Tribune' Historically

Some Chicago Tribune reporters collaborated, historically, with the Chicago Police red squad when it spied on U.S. political activists. As the book Protectors Of Privilege by Frank Donner noted in a section entitled “The Red Squad And The Media”:

“Both the Chicago Tribune and its offspring Chicago Today `cooperated’ with the unit in a familiar trade-off by which reporters…received information about targets…in disfavor with the red squad. In some cases press people were…more cooperative: they supplied information or photographs to the intelligence unit…Others worked as moonlighters for the police…A prosecution witness in the Chicago conspiracy trial, Dwayne Oklepek, infiltrated preconvention protest circles on behalf of Jack Mabley, reporter for Chicago Today.

“The undisputed dean of red squad collaboration was the Tribune’s Ronald Koziol…Koziol became…part of the intelligence system, used not merely to create a favorable image of the red squad’s operations but to discredit its targets, including those…in disfavor with the Daley Administration. When the police came under attack because of their convention-week brutality, the Daley Administration’s response included sharing of the intelligence unit’s files with Koziol…”

(Downtown/Aquarian Weekly 8/14/96)

Next: Enemy Number One lyrics

Monday, February 4, 2008

Where Was The `Change' During The Clintons' First Two Terms?--Part 23

In their current campaign to secure a third term in the White House, in violation of the spirit of the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (which limits U.S. Establishment politicians who become the U.S. president to two terms in office), the Clintons are claiming that a third Clinton Administration in Washington, D.C. will bring democratic political “change” to U.S. society. Yet as the following historical column items from Downtown indicate, when Bill Clinton was the U.S. President during the 1990s the Clintons failed to bring democratic political change to U.S. society:

19 Days Before 1996 Chicago Dem Convention: Where’s The Change?

The Older Corporatist Male candidate is expected to be nominated at the GOP Convention; after an Aug. 10th [1996] National Raza March in San Diego demands that the “Clinton Crime Bill” be annulled. And 19 days before the Chicago Democratic National Convention, there’s not much sign of African-American empowerment or full respect for the right to assemble in Chicago.

Nor has hemp been legalized or amnesty been granted to all U.S. political prisoners. And the Media Monopoly hasn’t yet scheduled a Nader vs. Clintons debate on television; or allowed any [radical] feminists to ask Bill Clinton why he governs like a Republican, backs the ban on lesbian marriages, and can’t protect airline passengers or music fans, without wiretapping his political opponents.

(Downtown/Aquarian Weekly 8/7/96)

5 Days Before 1996 Chicago Dem Convention: Where’s The Change?

Even if Bill “NAFTA” Clinton makes a campaign speech at the Crosby, Stills & Nash concert in Chicago [in 1996] to promise folks “change,” his record of governing like a GOP president since 1993 cannot be erased. And five days before the 1996 Chicago Democratic National Convention, the Clintons have still not legalized hemp, freed Leonard Peltier, fully empowered African-Americans, restored [permanent] economic prosperity to the Big Apple, passed a federal civil rights bill for gay males and lesbians or debated [1996] Green Prez Candidate Nader on TV.

(Downtown/Aquarian Weekly 8/21/96)

Next: Chicago Police Spying and `The Chicago Tribune’ Historically

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Where Was The `Change' During The Clintons' First Two Terms?--Part 22

In their current campaign to secure a third term in the White House, in violation of the spirit of the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (which limits U.S. Establishment politicians who become the U.S. president to two terms in office), the Clintons are claiming that a third Clinton Administration in Washington, D.C. will bring democratic political “change” to U.S. society. Yet as the following historical column items from Downtown indicate, when Bill Clinton was the U.S. President during the 1990s the Clintons failed to bring democratic political change to U.S. society:

61 Days Before 1996 Chicago Dem Convention: Where’s The Change?

According to a June 1996 CNN-Time poll, Bill “Whitewater” Clinton’s lead over Dole dropped from 16 percent to 6 percent in June 1996. Yet Bill Clinton still hasn’t offered to have a pre-convention TV debate with Ralph Nader to explain why Ralph shouldn’t be allowed by the Media Monopoly to replace the Clintons in the Oval Office in 1997. Nor has the Clintons’ Administration pushed a federal gay and lesbian civil rights bill through Congress—61 days before the 1996 Chicago Democratic National Convention.

(Downtown/Aquarian Weekly 6/26/96)

26 Days Before 1996 Chicago Dem Convention: Where’s The Change?

African-American unemployment remains high. Yet the Clintons govern like a GOP president, denying welfare to the poor, and empowerment to African-Americans—26 days before the 1996 Chicago Democratic National Convention. Bill Clinton apparently wants to get re-nominated [in 1996] without debating Ralph Nader. But, according to The Activist’s Almanac by David Walls, Washington Post Magazine described Ralph as “the only universally recognized symbol of pure honesty and clean energy left in a culture…shot through with greed, cynicism and weariness.”

(Downtown/Aquarian Weekly 7/31/96)

Next: Where Was The “Change” During The Clintons’ First Two Terms?—Part 23