Rush Limbaugh joins 'conservative' chorus attacking Karen Lewis following historically accurate comment on the class struggles in the USA
Conservative pundits are responding with characteristic sanctimonious ferocity to the latest candor form Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis. On the eve of Lewis's State of the Union address to the January 9, 2013 meeting of the union's House of Delegates, the Huffington Post is reporting the story below about the latest flap, which has brought the CTU to the attention of the frothings of Rush Limbaugh, among others.
By January 9, 2013 at noon, the story had also been reported (see below) at the Chicago Sun-Times and by ABC News Chicago.
The issue, of course, is the daily fact that the "one percent" are depleting the world's riches and resources for their own plutocratic aggrandizement and greed, while the majority of the people on the planet are pushed further and further into poverty and the planet itself is in danger from their profit-at-all-costs policies.
In the latest iterations of the problem of class oppression in Chicago (and the USA), the nation's banks, which were bailed out at taxpayer expense, have gotten away paying pennies on the dollar for kicking millions of people out of their homes during the financial crisis, often with illegal paperwork or none at all.
And during the flu season, plutocratic medical enterprises, which substitute profit for the Hippocratic Oath, are killing children in Chicago during the worst outbreak of flu in years.
But those pundits and preachers in the pay of the plutocracy are preaching platitudes of peace to those who are "outcast and starving" as 2013 dawns. Pacifism must be preserved at all costs, they preach.
The chorus of pundits for the plutocracy preaching peace to a growing movement of militant workers across the world, from China through Greece to Spain and France, continued during the second week of January 2013. But the organized outrage grows on all continents. During the past year, mostly peaceful protests have raged from the factory cities of China through the streets below the Parthenon and across the entire Western Hemisphere, but the system refuses to change anything. There is still a pretense among some that the world created and rules by the "one percent" has the right to preach pacifism to everyone else, just as the millionaires and billionaire on the seven member Chicago Board of Education prepare to continue their program of destroying public education in America's third largest city.
By late on January 8, 2012, CPS spokesman Becky Carroll joined Limbaugh in attacking Karen Lewis, according to the Huff Post report. Carroll's appointment as "Chief Communications Officer" of Chicago's public schools in 2011 came from the seven members of the Board of Education who had been appointed by millionaire Rahm Emanuel. Carroll's $165,000 per year salary, $65,000 per year more than her best known predecessor, was unreported in the press that criticizes Karen Lewis and repeats the talking point claim that CPS is in a "financial crisis."
Below here is the Huff Post report of January 8, 2013:
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis is no stranger to her outspokenness landing her in the headlines -- but many conservatives are particularly miffed by a comment she made during a labor event last month.
In the clip, recorded Dec. 2 during her keynote address of the Illinois Labor History Society's Union Hall of Honor dinner and posted on YouTube Monday, Lewis noted that an earlier generation of labor leaders resolved their differences with the rich with a very straightforward mantra: "Off with their heads."
"Do not think for a minute that the wealthy are ever going to allow you to legislate their riches away from them," Lewis told the audience at the event. "However, we are in a moment where the wealth disparity in this country is very reminiscent of the robber baron ages. The labor leaders of that time, though, were ready to kill. They were. They were just -- off with their heads. They were seriously talking about that."
"I don't think we're at that point," Lewis added. (The video clip has been embedded in the original Huffpost story).
The clip has already landed Lewis on an exponentially growing number of conservative blogs, plus on radio host Rush Limbaugh's Tuesday program.
"This is what we're up against. This, years ago, we'd laugh at it. I would sit here and think, boy, nobody's gonna believe," Limbaugh told his listeners. "I was wrong. People eat it up! They fall right in line."
Chicago Public Schools is also not taking Lewis's comment lightly. Becky Carroll, CPS chief communications officer, said in a statement that "this kind of rhetoric has no place in the work that must be done to address the issues facing our District," Fox Chicago reports.
In 2011, Lewis apologized after a video of her mocking U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's lisp surfaced.
The Chicago Teachers Union also attracted some criticism last month over a web video, titled "The Fat Cats," that mocked education reformers and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
By January 9, 2013, the Chicago Sun-Times, which is now partly owned by anti-union fat cat billionaire Bruce Rauner, weighed in with a Page Three report on the flap. The Sun-Times story includes a link to a video of Lewis's December 2, 2012 speech (the first time in our memory that the Sun-Times has bothered covering anything from the Illinois Labor History Society, historians should note...). The Sun-Times article follows below here:
Tape of CTU President Karen Lewis draws fire from right. By Lauren FitzPatrick Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org January 8, 2013 12:18PM. Updated: January 9, 2013 2:23AM
An “off with their heads” joke caught on videotape by the boisterous president of the Chicago Teachers Union referring to robber barons is sparking criticism from the right.
Karen Lewis, in a speech at the Illinois Labor History Society’s “Salute to Labor’s Historic Heroes from the History Makers of Today,” compared labor’s current situation with a more violent time.
"We are in a moment where the wealth disparity in this country is very reminiscent of the robber baron ages," Lewis said in the speech videotaped December 2. "The labor leaders of that time, though, were ready to kill. They were. They were just -- 'Off with their heads!' They were seriously talking about that.
Laughter rose up from the audience, then Lewis continued: "I don't think we're at that point. And that's scary to most people. But the key is that they think nothing of killing us. They think nothing of putting people in harm's way. They think nothing of lethal working conditions."
The speech, aired locally Jan. 5, caught the attention this week of Fox News host Greta Ven Sustern and conservative writer Michelle Malkin, who called Lewis 'Chicago thuggery personified' on her blog.
The CTU has been attacking the rich in its ongoing campaign to stave the growth of charter schools while CPS is shuttering neighborhood schools.
In December, the union released a video of a satirical bedtime story portraying wealthy friends of Mayor Rahm Emanuel as 'Fat Cats,' accusing cronies of 'The Rahminator' of privatizing public education.
Lewis is known for speaking her mind. She's called Emanuel a 'liar' and a 'bully.'
In 2011, she had to apologize for mocking the lisp of Arne Duncan, the former CPS CEO: who's now U.S secretary of education, saying she was trying to lighten the mood during a speech.
Lewis could not be reached Tuesday for comment. CTU spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin said Lewis' critics should read labor history.
"Karen was using rhetorical license to make a point about a dark part of labor history in the U.S. In fact, she prefaced her remarks by paraphrasing a quote from Lucy Parsons which stated: 'Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth,' Gadlin said.
"When you close schools, put thousands of people out of work, or destabilize neighborhoods while raising taxes and fees it is perceived by some as a violent assault on people's lives. Parsons advocated violence against her perceived oppressors. Karen Lewis believes in education, research, litigation, direct action and reconciliation."
ABC News Chicago has begun red-baiting the leadership of the CTU on a regular basis. ABC TV Chicago reported the following at noon on January 9, 2013 and later in the afternoon hosted talking pundits who were nastily critical of Karen Lewis and the union:
January 9, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- The president of the Chicago Teachers Union is under fire for a controversial comment she made during a labor event in Chicago last month.
Video of Karen Lewis' speech December 2 was posted online Monday. She was making a keynote address at the Illinois Labor History Society's Union Hall of Honor dinner. She commented how an earlier generation of labor leaders resolved their differences with the wealthy.
"The labor leaders of that time, though, were ready to kill. They were. They were just -- off with their heads," Lewis said.
Chicago Public Schools released a statement saying, "Our focus is on our students and their education. This kind of rhetoric has no place in the work that must be done to address the issues facing our district. We all must look for constructive ways to address and resolve these very serious issues in order to best support the academic success of our children."