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The [Thursday] Papers

"Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner kicked off a campaign-style statewide tour Monday by indicating he'll try to 'leverage' the state's money woes into securing a series of pro-business changes from a General Assembly controlled by Democrats likely to fiercely oppose them," the Tribune reports.

"Crisis creates opportunity. Crisis creates leverage to change . . . and we've got to use that leverage of the crisis to force structural change," said Rauner, borrowing from a political philosophy famously coined by his friend Rahm Emanuel that "you never want a serious crisis to go to waste."
One such moment came when Rauner railed against public worker unions that donate heavily to further their political aims. Asked how he intended to get a ban on union campaign contributions through a legislature that is heavily backed by organized labor, Rauner pointed to the binders his staff had prepared.

"Read it," he said. "Change the law . . . that's what our proposal is."

Pressed to explain, Rauner simply said: "Crisis. Crisis creates leverage."

Here's the rest of Emanuel's infamous quote:

And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.

Perhaps that's why the Emanuel administration seems to be keeping us in a state of perpetual "crisis." Crisis calls for emergency action - like closing 50 schools and breaking union contracts and closing mental health clinics.

It's never a crisis for the people at the top, though.

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Manufacturing crises - and/or exploiting ongoing challenges - is an old playbook. Let public housing fall into such disrepair that there's no choice but to destroy it; starve neighborhood schools into failure so there's no choice but to close them - and watch charters schools magically pop up in their place; use the cover of security to enact widespread surveillance that would never be accepted if the true odds of being a victim of terrorism were publicized.

Crises also give public leaders a chance to forever claim that there just aren't enough resources to satisfy everyone but the rich; in fact, we should sympathize with leaders courageous enough to make "tough choices."

Has the city ever not been in crisis?

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Same crises are real - but accepted as normal. Some crises are fake because of who the "solutions" will benefit.

It's always the same script. Just one more attraction - a casino, the Olympics, a Star Wars museum - and we'll be set. Take care of the downtown first, and the neighborhoods will eventually prosper. Tough choices.

And Chicago has perfected it.

To wit:

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism is a 2007 book by the Canadian author Naomi Klein, and is the basis of a 2009 documentary by the same name directed by Michael Winterbottom. The book argues that libertarian free market policies (as advocated by the economist Milton Friedman) have risen to prominence in some developed countries because of a deliberate strategy by some political leaders. These leaders exploit crises to push through controversial exploitative policies while citizens are too emotionally and physically distracted by disasters or upheavals to mount an effective resistance.

Official Chicago Pushed For A Credit Downgrade.

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Think about it: Is the City of Chicago really too poor to take care of its mentally ill? Do we really lack the resources to lift up our most needy neighborhoods? Is the State of Illinois so broke that we have to cut funding to children on ventilators? I see enormous wealth all around us. Much of it might be in the private sector, but much of that is derived from governmental policies. Besides that, government is merely an expression of society as a whole; it's not an alien entity. A society's wealth is essentially collective; that's why we measure things like GDP.

Here's what I think should be a good rule: If there's something that can't get accomplished without crisis, it shouldn't get accomplished with it.

In fact, crisis is probably the exact wrong environment in which to make decisions.

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Finally, I'm reminded of a famous question that used to always be asked of editor-in-chief candidates at my college paper: You go to the afternoon news meeting and all of the day's stories have fallen apart. You have nothing to put in the paper. What do you do?

The correct answer: You never let it get to that point.

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"Bruce Rauner sounds as if he wants to get to every issue, eventually," the Tribune editorial page gushes.

Now, though, he's focused on precisely one item: an agenda he calls The Illinois Turnaround. He's barnstorming the state this week, distributing thick binders and committing himself to transform our governments - especially the broke, broken one headquartered in Springfield.

How refreshing to hear a governor devoted not to pleasing this or that constituency, or pushing this or that tax hike, or triple-thinking every utterance that might offend someone. Monday morning, Rauner spent an hour with the Tribune Editorial Board, and from start to finish he stressed the need for structural reform of a state government driven by insiders, for insiders. Balancing budgets, he said, won't be as hard as returning control of that government to its citizens: "The system is rigged for the insiders against the interests of taxpayers."

Who might those insiders be? If you're thinking of public employee unions that donate money to the politicians who approve their contracts, or lawyers who contribute to the campaigns of judges who rule on their cases, or officials who'd rather keep big staffs than modernize their operations, then your list is similar to the governor's.

My list is a little different. Rich folk from Winnetka, for example, who pretend to move into the city so they can clout their daughter into a high school she's not qualified for by making a phone call to an insider.

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About those thick binders: Paging Fact Check!

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Oh, and about the staffs of officials . . .

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Election 2015
Had to take break from it today. More tomorrow.

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DEA Also Collecting Your Phone Records
Well, the drug war is a crisis.

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BeachBook
* Journalists Face Stonewalling At Science Agencies.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

And so on, right up until the very end.

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Luis Fioretti.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Crucial.



Permalink

Posted on April 9, 2015


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Vizio Settles Spying Complaints.
POLITICS - WikiLeaks Reveals Staggering Breadth Of CIA Hacking.
SPORTS - Fantasy Fix Draft Guide Pt. 3: The Professor!

BOOKS - Bannon, The Best And The Brightest.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: Ray Rayner & Friends.


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