Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago and Coalition for Justice in Palestine Picket

Press Contact: Michael Deheeger; 847-494-0356,

Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago and Coalition for Justice in Palestine Picket Jewish National Fund Conference
JNF separate, unequal policies a root cause of escalating violence against Palestinians.
WHEN/WHERE: Sunday, October 25, 2015. 12:00 pm: Participants gather on Southeast corner Michigan and Randolph
12:45 pm: March to Fairmont Hotel, 200 N. Columbus
1:15 pm: Speaking program outside Fairmont Hotel
Facebook Event Page:
For updates from the action: follow @ChicagoJVP and #NoJNF on Twitter.
WHAT: Chicago-area members of Jewish Voice for Peace, a national human rights organization advocating for justice and equality for Palestinians; and the Coalition for Justice in Palestine, which represents all major Chicago Palestinian, Arab and Muslim organizations advocating for Palestinian human rights; will protest the Jewish National Fund’s Annual Conference at Chicago’s Fairmont Hotel. Speakers: Ex- JNF D.C. board member/current JVP National Board member Seth Morrison; Young Chicago-area American Jews; U.S. Palestinian Community Network; other Palestinians
200 Chicago-area American Jews and Palestinians and partners
Signs including: “JNF: Ethnic Cleansing is Not a Jewish Value,” “Time for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions,” and “End the Occupation”
Giant mock JNF Tzedakah (charity) box reading “Land Theft is Not Tzedakah”
WHY: The Jewish National Fund is deeply complicit in the ongoing dispossession of Palestinian land, the destruction of Palestinian homes and the theft of Palestinian resources that has continued unabated since 1948. These practices are among the root causes of the anger fueling the escalating violence in the region today.
JVP-Chicago is calling on fellow American Jews to disassociate themselves from the separate and unequal policies toward Palestinians the JNF implements in our name. We are uniting in this action with all major Palestinian organizations in the Chicago-area (Coalition for Justice in Palestine) to also condemn today’s Israeli state and settler violence against Palestinians, which has led to the killing of close to 50 Palestinians, and the injuring of over 2,000, since October 1.
The JNF racially segregates the 13% of Israeli public land it controls in “Israel Proper,” prohibiting its use by Palestinians. JNF asserts it “does not have a duty to practice equality towards all citizens of the state.” JNF’s control of 10 of 22 seats on the Israel Land Council, governing the Israel Land Authority, empowers it to pursue its discriminatory ideology throughout 93% of land within the Green Line. JNF collaborates with the Israeli government to replace Palestinian communities it destroys with Jewish-only settlements or manicured forests that erase any trace of Palestinian presence, including the Ambassador Forest planned to replace the village of al-Arakib within Israel’s Green Line (1948 Palestine).
Jewish Voice for Peace is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. Jewish Voice for Peace has over 200,000 online supporters, over 65 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists. The Coalition for Justice in Palestine represents all major Palestinian, Arab and Muslim organizations advocating for Palestinian human rights in Chicago.

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21 years ago today

Excerpt from the memoir by Revolution and Beer’s WC Turck “Everything for Love.” Dedicated to my wife of 21 years…41e+6tsee9L__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX324_SY324_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA346_SH20_OU02_

We hope, we hope, we hope. We hope, because it is the Knight that does battle with the cold and agonizing emptiness that surrounds and fills us. It is that emptiness which, in the absence of hope, is poised to crush and devour us. Only hope, and its cousin, love, defends us. They are comfort to our hearts and a curse to our intellect. They are our salvation and our burden. We need hope to exist, and therefore we drink it in madly. Hope was in desperate supply in Sarajevo, and it was the one thing I was determined to give Ana, but I wondered if it was proper to offer such a thing. It felt like a fertile branch floating upon an uncertain ocean. Was there a promise of approaching shores or of the unrelenting sea?

There were few sights that spoke of the siege as graphically as the hillside cemetery above the soccer stadium. Then thousand wooden markers, ten thousand mounds of earth, ten thousand dead nearly bisected the city. It was a community in it’s own right, if one defines a community by its common bonds and needs. Bound by death, their only need was remembrance, for they had long ago lost the need for justice. New graves quickly overtook the old ones and replaced the grove of tall willow, pine and maple that once shrouded the cemetery. The bones of those older graves lay scattered on the muddy ground. The city of the dead was slowly taking over the places for the living.

I detoured among the graves that evening on the way to Ana’s. I often walked among them trying to find some commonality among them: between them and me. I read the names, if there were any, and the dates of their births and deaths. Some were decorated with curiously personal trinkets, flowers, poems, letters, children’s toys and more. Many were simply forgotten, or were simple mounds with no marker or name. BOSNIA-SARAJEVO FOOTBALL STADIUM

Near the stadium I found the grave of IRMA GRABOVICA, born 1982 and died 1993. Nearby lay HUSEIN KAROVICH, born in 1938. Beside the grave of twenty-two year old IZET BEGICH were two anonymous graves. Further on PAVO BLAZHEVICH, A Catholic Croat lay beside ZLATIMIR TEZICH, a Serb, and KASIM MEZHUR, a Muslim. Kasim and Zlatomir’s graves were so close together I wondered if in life they were friends.

It was quite dark when I reached Ana’s building. The night was brisk and moonless night. The Milky Way was bright and splashed across the sky. Ana waved from the window and hurried downstairs and into my arms. She was eager for me to meet a friend who had been crippled in the first days of the war. A battle erupted northeast of the city and spread along the lines. Despite the fighting we headed for Bare, a working class neighborhood on the northern edge of the city.

Bare was in a fold two blocks below Ana’s building. It was pressed between a communist-era hillside cemetery and the Serb lines on an adjacent ridge. Ana and I were thankful for such a dark night, as the squat, widely spaced apartment blocks were fully exposed to the lines.

We went quietly, never speaking above a whisper and tensed for the punch of a sniper’s bullet that would come quick and silent. There wasn’t much in the way of cover, just the occasional wreck amid trash strewn empty lots.

“Chetniks,” Ana whispered, “no more than three hundred meters. There is no wind tonight. We must be careful. They can hear everything up there.”

“Who are we visiting?”

“My good friend Cico. It is important that you meet him.”

ZIP! A bullet ripped the air close by. Ana and I were instantly racing for the cover of a nearby doorway. The night fell silent once more, but Ana and I refused to move. We were holding tight to one another. I could feel her heart beating madly through her coat. There was terror in her eyes. Her face, half consumed in shadow, was suddenly pale. billturckbosnianwar

“Are you all right?” I asked.

“My nerves. I’ll be fine. I think it’s safe now, but we should hurry.”

Cico’s building was close. The building was dark, but for the flickering glow of candles through translucent UNHCR plastic covering the windows at the back of the building. We ran until we reached the open door. Ana called up and a huge figure appeared at the top of the stairs. Candle poured light across a man’s face.

Even from the bottom of the stairs I could tell that Marko Markovich, Cico’s father, was a good soul, a beer and pretzels sort of guy. The candlelight painted the map of a difficult life upon his simple face. He leaned over the rail to help light our way with the candle. A welcoming smile came to him when he recognized Ana.

“Hey, Ana! Kako ste? Shta ima?” His rich deep voice filled the stairwell. Woven within was the elation of a man momentarily rescued from despair.

“Nemam nishta,” nothing much, Ana replied breathlessly. “Kako ste vi?”

“Dobro sam,” very well, he nodded meeting us on the stairs. He greeted Ana with a huge one-armed hug, nearly lifting her off her feet. “Ah, the daughter I always wanted!”

Ana introduced me. Marko welcomed me with a big handshake and hearty pat on the shoulder.

“Come, come,” he said. “It’s warmer inside. You must forgive me but I have nothing to offer.”

The apartment was tiny, much smaller than Ana’s. It was cluttered like most wartime apartments, and a bit of a mess, for which the sweet-natured Serb kept apologizing as he lumbered around the place. We found a seat on an old couch. Beautiful red and black Oriental blankets were thrown and tucked over the most worn places. The room had a strange character, as though it was as much a memory of someone that had passed as anything else. There was an air of clumsy preservation, in which a woman’s touch had been staged or recreated. That sense hid at the edges of the candlelight, like a memory fading with time. Ana was expectant, less about Cico and more as if there was something she needed to confirm here.

He said something about the last place being wrecked by a missile, and they had not settled into this place yet. Ana and I shared a smile. Marko was as awkward as a schoolboy with a crush.

“You will have some tea, both of you,” he said, leading us by candlelight through a narrow hall into the living room.

“Please, no,” said Ana. “You have much too far to go for water here.”

“Nonsense. It’s freezing outside.”

“A small cup then,” she relented.

Ana and Cico were friends before the war, but not as close as they were now. They lost touch for a while. It was then that Cico’s life changed forever.

The first weeks of the war Cico was riding in a car with some friends. One of them was playing with a gun when it went off and blew away part of Cico’s left foot. It was a terrible wound, but at the hospital it hardly compared with those missing arms and legs, with guts hanging out or faces shredded. There were dozens as badly wounded as Cico and dozens more that were hurt much worse, with casualties mounting by the hour. What remained of the hospital staff was hopelessly overwhelmed. The best he could hope for was a simple bandage. Infection set in quickly and the doctors did their best to save as much of the leg as possible, but without the proper medicines all they could do was amputate more and more of his leg in a vain effort to stay ahead of the infection. After the last operation doctors told him he should be prepared to lose the entire leg.

I looked around the room and remarked how sad it seemed. It was as if another soul was in the room with us.

“It’s Cico’s mom. You could feel her even stronger in the last place. She died when he was small of kidney failure. She was in terrible agony…I just can’t imagine.”

We could hear Cico on the stairs. He was hollering at Ana for interrupting the best pool game he’d had in weeks. He clumsily negotiated the clutter in the hall on a pair of silver metal crutches. He was tall with thick dark hair and bright playful eyes. Cico had a huge grin on his face. It dissolved the moment he saw me sitting beside Ana. Our introduction was no less awkward. He was very obviously jealous.

They caught up with neighborhood gossip. One girl was a refugee in Germany, and a kid from school had been killed on the line a few days earlier.

There was shelling to the south. The dull rumble drew concentric rings across the surface of my tea. Now and again Ana would touch my leg and ask if I was all right in English. Each time Cico took note. He leaned to Ana.

“Why don’t we hit the American over the head and steal his money,” he smirked in Bosnian. Ana fought the urge to laugh.

“Really?” she replied.

“And why not?”

“Cico, he understands everything you say.”

His eyes went wide with surprise. “Everything?’

“Everything,” she said. He looked sharply at me and blushed as I nodded.

“I, uh, I only joke,” he stammered.

“That’s okay,” I winked. “Ana suggested we mug you if you won big in pool!”

From that moment Cico and I were friends. Ana seemed terribly relieved and went back to her conversation. Gossip was the only real entertainment left in the city, and the scandalous stuff he had about who was sleeping with who was golden. For my part I marveled at Ana and the intensity she brought to every relationship. In her embrace I knew I could forever be safe from the treachery of the world. As for Ana and Cico, what passed between them was rich and pure, and much deeper than simple friendship. For Cico, by the way he looked at her and hung on every word, I knew it was nothing short of love.

Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray with Jack Hammond and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit

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The Ballad of Don and Dean, or how pork sausage saved the world: part two

The afternoon slips into memory. Summer fades and the skies turn cold and gray. The breeze that whispered among the cornrows is now an icy wind rustling among dry yellow stalks. The oblong leaves of the maple are stained a rusty red, falling in great heaps to cover the yard and the two empty chairs beside the barn. It rained earlier, clearing the air so that everything appears fresh and new, the colors as crisp and precise as if from a painting. A pickup crests the far hill, barreling along the gravel road past the farm. Stones crackle loudly against the undercarriage.

Don and Dean stand on the porch looking out at the yard and the white gravel driveway, out past the tractor and the rusting green Oldsmobile that hasn’t run in years. The fields are plowed, mostly. The diverging lines of harvest rows run away in the distance. Banks of autumn trees are colored brown and gold. A thick carpet of clouds softens the world above with only glimpses of blue sky. The air smells mineral-cold like snow and holds the gingery bite of burning leaves.

Dean is dressed in his best brown suit, with a borrowed gold tie and a clean white shirt. Black would have been more appropriate, if only he had another suit to wear. His hands are buried deep in his pockets. His shoulders are heavy with the accumulated weight of life’s burden and ultimate sadness. Don is beside him wearing the same black suit he wore when he retired from teaching. The pant’s legs are hemmed a little too short. Don’s white socks can be seen below the neatly pressed cuffs.
Dean is thinking of Mary Lou. He recalls their first meeting at the high school sock hop, their first kiss and how she looked the first time they made love. He remembers the pea-green Buick and the Chuck Berry song that was playing when he asked for her hand in marriage. He remembers the birth of each of their children. His mind is a confusion of thoughts and tattered emotions. They are debris swirling in the storm of his mind, whipped by a single regret; that there wasn’t enough time. Somehow Mary Lou still feels close. Strange that a body can feel so far away, even when making love, but the soul is always close.

“Was a nice ceremony,” says Don, rocking on his heels.
“Yep.” Emotion hangs heavy in Dean’s chest.

“Mary Lou would have loved it.”

“Naw,” Dean frowns, “would have hated folks fussing and weeping over her.”

There is a long silence. The wind rustles through the dry corn. A crow caws from the field. Dean’s voice wavers. “Sure am gonna miss her.”

“In a better place than hangin’ around listening to a couple old coots like us.”

“Guess I‘m just selfish.”

“How’re the kids holding up?”

“Mostly. Grandkids’ll miss her the most. The old gal never missed a birthday. Knew every single one, which is why I never had to.”

“Same way with Joanne,” says Don. The comment unexpectedly enrages Dean. Though he knows what Don means, knows the comment was innocent enough, Dean wants to shout that it isn’t the same, and that he has no idea until his wife is gone too. The feeling scares the hell out of Dean.

“Is that right?” Dean manages.

“Woman thing.”

“Keep us civilized.”

“Sure,” Dean drags himself from the rage. “Sure, or we’d be hairy, unwashed barbarians; fat, smelly and thinkin’ we’re God’s gift.”

The rage leaves him, but in this barren land where grief and guilt are one in the same, it is a simple thing to stumble from one treacherous footfall to another. Dean is suddenly confronted with the endlessly cold abyss of forever. Don watches Dean’s brow collapse. Hopelessness and terror crystallize in Dean’s eyes. Don searches for a way to rescue his friend.

“Paint quite a picture there, Dean.” Don gives Dean’s shoulder a reassuring squeeze. Dean looks up and finds strength in caring and familiar eyes.

“Just call every so often to make sure I bathe once in a while.”

“It’s that hairy part that has me spooked,” Don smiles. “But we’ll take it a day at a time.”

Dean nods. “Well, that’s something then.”

“Come by now and again, make sure ya get a good meal or two.”

“Sure could use a bit of breakfast right now,” says Dean. “Ain’t had much to eat since yesterday.”

“Cook ya up a couple of eggs?”

“Strange thing to worry about with all this goin’ on?”

“Gotta eat.”

“Believe I could use a bit of breakfast.”

“That’s a trooper.”

“Somethin’ with a bit of noise. Up for a ride out to the Hog’s Breath?”

“Believe I could use a cup of their coffee.”

“Good coffee.”


“Got a taste for their pork sausage.”

“Got a good one, do they?” asks Don.

“Hear they make it fresh.”

“Is that right?”

“That’s what I hear.”

“Believe you just might be right.”

Autumn gives way to winter. It’s like an ending to some, a transition to others and to some a beginning. It depends on where they’re standing at that moment. The snow comes early, arriving sometime before the dawn. It lays quietly among the plowed fields, a white blanket torn by dark rows. The light is soft, accompanied by a silence broken only by the whisper of fluffy-white snowflakes. Out past the tractor, a quarter mile or so away, a pair of deer move among the fields. Their brown winter coats are full, snow collecting lightly upon their backs and shoulders.

Out on the porch the air is cold. It puts a sting to the cheeks and nose, but Don barely notices. The cold air is cleansing, giving a new perspective to difficult thoughts and concerns, like Dean’s slow and apparent wasting in the months since losing Mary Lou. The cold and quiet bring Don a clarity that he has sorely missed. He wonders where it will end. He recalls how his own father seemed to give up on life after his mother passed. The thought leads him to his own life. From the first day with Joanne the thought was there. Seemed like it would take him away from a love that needed to be loved in the present. In retrospect he is still undecided, and wonders if his father’s fate was inevitable, like a comet plunging to an unavoidable end in the sun. He wonders if there is some pressure that will nudge his own heart from that certain destruction.

The door is open behind him. A soft golden light from the lamp on the bureau falls through the dingy screen door. Coffee is brewing in the kitchen. The warm, bitter fragrance finds him. He feels like he is standing on the divide between two worlds. The scent of the coffee comes with the scent of a house that feels every bit as substantial and familiar as any member of the family. He glances back at Dean who is visiting for the weekend.

Dean looks frail and much older these days, his eyes like long abandoned wells. He is awake, sitting at the edge of the sofa bed with his back to the door. His toes are tucked into a pair of well-worn brown slippers. A black and orange blanket rests upon his shoulders. Don smiles at Dean’s tossled wispy white hair.

Dean is staring blankly at the cold fireplace. His eyes are fixed there, lost in some groggy half-thought. He feels a draft from the open door across his bare ankles and worries about his wife in that cold, cold ground.

“Heatin’ the outside?” he complains, clearing his throat. It takes some effort for Dean to stand. His slippers skid over the wood floor. At the door Dean’s brow furls and he draws the blanket tighter across his shoulders. The screen darkens the world, confirming his mood. Life feels like cold honey, and he is struggling against it.

“If it’d help get us a little closer to spring,” says Don. “Give ya a chill?”

“Not when I remember the long winters working in that stuff.”

Don nods in agreement. “Best argument I heard yet for being retired.”
“Got a whole lot more if you’re interested?”

“Six of one, half dozen of another I figure.” Don takes a deep breath. His brow furls too, though Dean cannot see. Don wonders if Dean feels the change, the distance that is growing between them.

“Ladies auxiliary’s havin’ a breakfast this morning,” says Don. “Figured we’d hit the early Mass and get the first run at that food.”
“Mind?” says Dean. “Just as soon not.”

“Cook ya up something here? Got some good pork sausage?”

Dean watches the deer move off, bringing tears to his eyes. He knows it would good to get back out among the world again, to hear the titter of the ladies of the auxiliary, but happiness is just too painful to endure. It feels like a betrayal of Mary Lou’s memory. Happiness feels like a distraction from the fading memories of her.

“If it’s all the same, I’d just as soon be getting home before the snow gets too bad.”

“Somethin’ for the road? Good breakfast’d fix ya right up?”

Dean thought to answer, something about not being hungry, and that such things didn’t concern him any longer. We wanted to tell Don just to let him be, but it felt too much like asking for sympathy.

“Coffee’d be nice.”

Neither man moves, but remain looking out at the snowy fields. The distance between them is immeasurable.

“Good sausage, ya say?” Dean asks finally.

“Morris Drew’s.”

Dean sighs. The cold air is waking him up nicely. He has a thought and can’t help himself. “Mary Lou sure liked pork sausage. Liked a lot of it!”

Don looks and sees a glimmer of the old Dean, the first time since… Don feels lifted.

“Healthy woman she was.”

“Healthy and a half,” says Dean.

“Sure was a good woman though.”

“Sure was.”

The kitchen is warm. Don is standing by the sink. Dean is sort of slouched at the table, running his fingers along the rim of his coffee cup. They never did make it to church, but did make it to the Hog’s Breath. The snow has stopped, but the clouds remain. Shafts of pale light find channels, falling upon distant farms, like snapshots of things demanding to be remembered, the inconsequential moments that make up a life and of things that will not come again.

To Don these things are an affirmation of the commodity of our lives. To Dean they are a confirmation of a God dispensing great sorrow masked in love and youth and hope. He refuses to be drawn into the vortex of that misery.

“Can’t recall when I had a better breakfast,” Don says.

“Good biscuits and gravy,” says Dean, holding up his cup as Don refills it. Don sees Dean’s eyes darken and knows that he is thinking of her.
“Got some of that pork sausage in there.”

Dean squints as he sips the hot coffee. “Pepper’s the key, though.”

“Did it just right, did they?”

“Just right.”

“Believe I’ll have to give that a try.”

“Won’t disappoint.’

The coffee kettle clangs on the stove as Don sets it down. Beside the barn he spots the big orange tomcat. There’s no mistaking that swollen belly, though. Don smiles realizing, after all these years, that the old Tom is really a girl!

“We’re havin’ a roast for supper, creamed carrots and potatoes, the way you like it. Joanne’s gonna make some of her famous buttermilk biscuits.”

“Temptin’,” says Dean, “but I should be gettin’ home. Been a big enough burden on Joanne already.”

“Believe she feels about the same as me,” says Don. “Grandkid’s will be here.”

The idea horrifies Dean. The laughter, the sound of life and love and togetherness will only remind him of all that he has lost. He manages to hold himself together long enough to pack his things and give Joanne the warmest hug he can muster. It takes all the courage he has, a feat that would impress any combat veteran. Out on the road, out of sight, he pulls to a stop and slumps heavily against the steering wheel.

There is another perspective on the world, an idea that the trials and battles of our lives are insignificant against the overwhelming expanse of sky. We are nothing without the light of those who love us. How perfect the world we cannot fathom. The sky turns the seasons like chapters to our lives. And so winter passes and everything seems to turn green in the blink of an eye. Trees fill with new leaves and birds singing, and marigolds erupt with color beside the house.

Don is sitting alone beside the barn. He turns as Dean climbs down the steps. Dean is using a cane now, for just a little extra support. He has a glass of brandy in his free hand. He likes it better than beer these days, says it keeps his blood flowing. Dean has a blush to his cheeks. This is his second glass.

“Sure is a nice day,” says Dean, taking his regular seat.

“Just about perfect.” Seems like forever to Don since he found Dean weeping in his car. It was as if sorrow was a poison that needed to be bled away, and bleed he did. It wasn’t that he had put Mary Lou behind him, but rather that he had come to some conclusion.

“Believe you were right about the biscuits and gravy up at the Hog’s Breath.”

“Didn’t I tell ya?”

“Shame about Morris Drew,” says Don.

“Sure am gonna miss that sausage,” says Dean.

“End of an era.”

“How long you figure we been sittin’ here?”

“A lifetime, I reckon.”

“What precisely did we accomplish?”

“Didn’t know we set out to accomplish anything.”

“No regrets?” Don asked.

“Not a one.”

“How long you figure we’re gonna keep having this conversation?”

“Why, ain’t getting tired are you?”


“I figure we’ll be at it a good while longer.”

Dean smiles and sets the brandy down on the grass. Delicate white blossoms fill the apple tree. Old Dean is content to sit there forever, and thinks that this is about as close to perfect as a body can come in this life.

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The Ballad of Don and Dean, Part one

The late afternoon air smells of yellow hay, the warm musk of manure, peppery fresh-cut grass, and chicken frying up nicely somewhere. A breeze is moving laundry hung from a tired line across the yard, and washing in waves over feathery tassels on tall August corn. Corn surrounds the shady yard on three sides, obscuring fields running endless beneath the perfect Iowa sky. The corn wraps around the farm like loving arms, like a lover’s intimate embrace. Fat red apples are ripe in the tree beside the house. They are falling to the soft, grassy earth in ever increasing numbers, as if understanding that only a select few will be chosen to fatten a pie, or a fresh-baked strudel.

The shade is comfortable against the afternoon heat. It is persistent and guaranteed by the crooked maple, the one scarred by that lightening strike last summer, the one beside the barn. A tractor tire, bleached dusty gray from years in the sun, hangs on a thick rope from the maple’s sturdiest limb. The tire isn’t used much anymore, not since the kids outgrew it long ago, even before going off to make their own lives. The grandkids are still too small to reach the tire. Sparrows flutter through the limbs to the barn’s awnings, chattering excitedly from their nests among the rafters and hay bails.

From where the two old-timers sit, half hidden in the midnight shadow of the barn, the tire neatly frames the concrete grain tower in Cylinder just visible above the corn. The afternoon sun shines upon the tower so that it appears as crisp and clean as polished gold. A flock of blackbirds falls upon the fields like handfuls of coal thrown from a great height.

The old-timers might have been there for an hour, all afternoon, or they might have been there forever. Time in these parts, save for those feverish moments of youth, the tentative misunderstandings of love awakened, or the chaotic trials of raising children, ebbs and flows as hypnotic as waves upon the smooth stones of some quiet beach. Doesn’t much matter how long they’ve been there, particularly not to them. They’d be content no matter what, especially if forever was as perfect an afternoon as this.

Don and Dean are sitting on a pair of small kitchen chairs. Same ones they’ve been on for years. So long that neither of them can rightly remember when the chairs were used for anything else. Don is sort of leaning back, which is a bit easier on his uncommonly long legs. He has the chair up on two legs, rocking up and back to a rhythm only he knows. Dean has his feet up and crossed on a stump.

Their wives are sisters, in a family in which if you are loved by one you are loved by all, with just enough judgment to keep you safe among the fold. It makes for a wild mix, one that Don is often heard to remark as being “darn good theater.” It’s a large clan, where bonds may become lost in the greater weave, except where they overlap most certainly.

Old Don retired from teaching some years ago. Still misses it, mostly, misses coaching the football team, watching his boys grow into men. He misses the pride swelling in his chest at every win, and the challenge in the losses. Sometimes the memories of those chilly autumn nights return full force; the moths and the June bugs swarming in the lights, the smell of sweat, fresh earth and hot cocoa. He hears the clacking of helmets and shoulder pads, and cheerleaders chiding the opposing team. Don was always a simple man, coached and taught that way. Never did see a need to raise his voice, never thought that life was all that difficult that it ever needed to be forced.

Dean? Well, he had counted the days to retirement for better than twenty years. Just sort of fell into truck driving. Wasn’t a calling or anything that he particularly loved. When he finally retired, Dean never missed driving across the country, the cold cups of bitter coffee, or the sense that he was always running to someplace unfamiliar and leaving the familiar behind. He laments all that he missed as the kids grew up, their lives more like snapshots than a continuum. The fact that they’ve grown into such good people, and the grandkids who shower him with affection are all that he needs to temper whatever guilt he still feels.

“Callin’ for rain tonight,” Dean says, not in a drawl, but with a lazy economy, a casual knowledge that human time is nothing if not to be squandered. Dean’s gaze is lost somewhere among the corn.

Don eyes drift around the yard. “Believe it just might.”

“Better tonight than today. Don’t like it much when it rains on Sundays.”

“Good sermon this mornin’,” says Don. “Father sure can get ya thinkin’.”

“That he can,” Dean agrees.

“Darn good breakfast too.”

“Those ladies of the auxiliary sure can cook.”

“Betsy Pendergast’s coffee cake.”

“Believe ole Betsy’s eatin’ more than she’s bringin’ to church.” Dean smiles mischievously. Don joins him as surely as a private language the two old friends cultivate and keep among one another.

“Morris Drew’s pork sausage,” Don says.

“That’s some good sausage.”

“Good sausage,” Don agrees.

“Believe he makes it right here in town.”

“Is that right?” asks Don.

“Believe I heard that.”

A long silence follows, one touched only by the laughter of sparrows and the breeze through the corn. Dean looks at the sky and nods knowingly.

“Yep, believe it might rain tonight.”


“Back is actin’ up a bit.”

“What’s the doctor say?”

“Says that a body knows when the weather is changin’.”

Don notices a butterfly dancing among the bright yellow marigolds beside the house. He looks to the pristine blue sky leaking through the fluttering maple leaves.

“Think I’d ask for a second opinion,” says Don.

“Would, but I’m afraid they’d tell me my knees outta be hurtin’ too, and I just couldn’t stand that.” Dean cocks his head. “Know who’s got good breakfast sausage?”

“Who’s that?”

“Hog’s Breath Diner out by the interstate,” he replies matter-of-fact.

Don acts surprised, though they’ve had this same conversation, in one form or another, for twenty years.


“Got to be links,” says Dean, puffing his cheeks to hold back a bit of gas.

“Sure don’t like them patties. Think the Hog’s Breath has ‘bout the best.”

“Believe you might be right.”

“Yep. Problem with the world today,” Don observes.

“What’s that?”

“Not enough folks get a good breakfast,” Don yawns and stretches.

“Seems about right.”

“Stuff like that ought not happen.”

“Lots of folks over there of different religions,” offers Dean. “Lot of them folks don’t eat the same stuff.”

“Thought of that.”

“Whadya come to?”

“Figure everybody’s got a right to their own ideas on that stuff.”

“You’re a benevolent soul,” Dean grins.

“Just so long as a body gets a full belly every mornin’.”

“Could change the world.”


Reckon so.”

Dean chews his lip, studying the leaves. They have turned over, leading with their paler bottoms, a sure sign of rain. Dean takes a deep breath and thinks that his life is just about perfect. Well’ he muses to himself, he could be twenty years younger and a little richer, but then it wouldn’t be his life anymore. He’s content, and thinks maybe that this is the meaning of perfection, at least in this life anyway.

“Sure eat some pretty wild things in some of them countries,” he finally says.

“Reckon they’d say the same about us,” Don smiles. “Especially the way you and I eat.”

“Maybe we outta send some diners and truck stops. Figure that would be a better way to quiet folks down a notch, ‘stead of sendin’ the army over there, that is.”

“Just seems to rile things up more.”

“Outta be enough unemployed cooks and waitresses around.”

“You might think.”

“Could send ‘em the ladies auxiliary,” says Dean with a smoothly mischievous tone.

Don leans back a bit farther, hovering at the limit of his balance. He looks over at Dean. The smile is infectious. Don catches it right away.

“Know your lovely wife, Mary Lou, is in the auxiliary?” says Don.

Dean winks, the boyish smile deepening the lines of his round face. He adjusts the white John Deere cap teetering on his head. “That’d be my sacrifice to world peace.”

“You’re a good man.”

“We do what we must.”

“Where ‘bouts would you send her?”

Dean considers the question for a moment. “Ah, she’s a good hard workin’ woman. I figure someplace that needs a lot of help, say Siberia, Africa?”

“She’d set ‘em straight over there.”

“Set ‘em straight.”

“Sure can cook though,” says Don.

Dean nods. “Known your Joanne to cook up a good meal or two.”

“Send her too.”

“Cook them folks up a fine breakfast and maybe they’d settle down a bit.”

“Worked for us. We ain’t hardly been off these chairs all day.”

“Have to get up sooner or later. Smells like dinner’ll be ready soon.”

The scent of frying chicken and warm butter rolls fills the yard. The sun is setting, bringing a bit of an evening chill to the air. Don rubs his slight belly. “Think we’ll have to get up soon.”

Dean rubs his own belly. “Yep, feel things a rumblin’ in there.”


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A Deadly Gamble

First, Vladimir Putin is not Hitler. Not even close. Putin is hampered by a nationally fatal shortsightedness, blinded by the prism of Russian history and culture, and torn between modernizing an oil weighted economy and appeasing oligarchs who could sieze control of the country, or at least split into the Balkan-type civil fracturing of a nuclear power. That isn’t altogether different from the United States, by the way.

In my 2014 book, A TRAGIC FATE: Politics, Oil, the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the Looming Threats to Civil Aviation Kindle Edition by WC TURCK I described the dangerous position Russia has found itself, desperately grasping for economic and social equilibrium through the control of oil and gas reserves.

The Syrian crisis illustrates Putin’s precarious position precisely. First, the historic correction of oil prices, affected by a sluggish global economy, de-escalation between Iran and the West, the end of supply-chain disrupting wars, Fracking and OPEC’s assault on Fracking’s profitability, carbon emission initiatives and green technology threatens Putin’s economy and security. More than 2/3 of the Russian economy is based on oil revenues. Low prices are devastating to Russia, exactly the opposite of America’s consumer-based economy. Tensions in Syria with the insertion of Russia’s military appear to have driven a spike in oil prices, opening October 1st at nearly $47.

Second, Western, and particularly US policy and action in Syria’s civil war has proved a complete failure. According to the International Business Times Syria has ” 2.5 billion barrels of crude oil as of January 2013, which makes it the largest proved reserve of crude oil in the eastern Mediterranean according to the Oil & Gas Journal estimate.”

While the US wants Syrian President Assad out, envisioning a chaotic scenario akin to the Libyan debacle, that leaves the door wide open for Putin and Russia to step inside. The airstrikes this week confirmed that Putin is less interested in assailing ISIS than he is in supporting Assad.

The pay off for Russia is clear. Syria possesses vast reserves of oil, gas and oil shale as yet untapped because of the fighting. Think of Syria as something of a mini-Crimea, which Putin siezed from Ukraine because of its strategic interest and proximity to Black Sea oil and gas reserves. If Putin, as he sees it, can end the fighting and alleviate pressure on Damascus, or sweep it off into a corner of the country the appreciation of Assad would pay untold dividends for Putin.

It is all short-sighted of course. The world will only continue moving father and farther away from reliance on fossil fuels. Putin and his government have shown little or no inclination in evolving and adapting to that eventuality. That short-sightedness may be the most dangerous component of all of this. No matter what direction Putin goes, without divesting from oil and gas as the bulwark of his economy, disaster and danger are only a heartbeat away.

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Welfare Queens: Who Really Wears the Crown

Numbers have a liberal bias, which is why the Right has taken to simply inventing numbers. The issue of who is on Welfare, and who is actually lying about what Welfare actually entails is a case in point. The number currently being floated by the Rightwing of Americans on Welfare is an astounding 109, 631,000 number. That’s a lot of lazy and out of work people helping to make the case as to why you are paying too much in taxes. Just one problem, the number isn’t accurate. Well, it is and it isn’t. Here’s what I mean.

As of the 2012 census there were 320 million Americans total. An astounding 35.4%, or just under 110 million were on welfare, according to a, dare I say, very liberal use of the word by the right. A quick definition of the word, however, reveals that “welfare” encompasses everything from SNAP, or food stamps, Tax Credits for Working Families, Housing assistance, SSI for severely disabled Americans, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), unemployment insurance, Medicaid, Women Infants and Children (WIC) assistance, Head Start and Family Energy assistance, because it looks really really embarrassing if too many Americans succumb to cold or heat due to poverty, unless we are competing directly with Bangladesh these days.

Incidentally, according to the CDC, between 2006 and 2010 some 2000 Americans died because of heat cold and other weather related events. While many of those are not attributable to poverty, the rise from previous years is so precipitous that contributions due to poverty cannot be overlooked or under estimated. That sharp rise coincides with both an aging population, cuts in benefits, rising medical costs and the great recession.

But in this election cycle the right would also have us believe that Blacks, immigrants and Latinos are voting for democrats because the democrats will give them welfare. The numbers prove otherwise and instead lend more evidence that the right intends to frighten, radicalize and anger white voters to the poles out of the realization that they cannot carry in any meaningful way Black and minority votes.

They portray the myth of the welfare queen, the Black woman on drugs popping out babies and collecting big checks bled from hard working white taxpayers, Tennessee began testing welfare recipients for narcotics in July 2014 and found only 1 in 800 tested positive, hardly more than 1/10 of 1%. Florida, which also tests, found the rate to be at 2.6%, while the non welfare, taxpaying population’s rate was near 8%. So why the hype? Testing dollars are a big ticket give away to testing companies. Each test nets the company $30-40 on average, a mandatory cash payment by the person being tested. Testing companies are pouring millions through lobbyists into campaigns and media. Carly Fiorina, Republican presidential candidate was recently caught in a lie about a stepdaughter, whom she led people to believe died of a drug overdose, when in fact the person had died from complications due to Bulimia.

Children are the primary beneficiaries of Welfare. Even still, only 5.2% of so-called welfare recipients get more than half of their total income from the government. Nationally the amount spent on social welfare programs is 59 Billion, against more than $100 billion given to already profitable corporations. That number is exponentially higher is state and local corporate giveaways are tallied. People who attend college re far less likely to need or ask for any type of public assistance, adding weight to the long term cost benefits of free collage educations. that isn’t about welfare, but rather investment.

The same could be said for law enforcement and the prison industry. If the country prioritized quality public education over law enforcement and security the cost benefit to the country would be staggering. It cost roughly $5000 more to incarcerate a young person for a year than it would cost to send him/her to a Big 10 school with housing and board for an entire year. For profit prisons spent $45 million in lobbying just in 2011 alone, and made more than $5 billion just in immigration detentions alone. The cost for each detainee was $166 dollars per day. The Holiday Inn in Port Washington Wisconsin, with a stunning view of the quaint harbor costs $94 a night, with private showers, a pool, sauna, breakfast and clean towels. There is a nice Italian place within walking distance where for about $20 bucks you can get dinner and have some left to take back to the room. $52 dollars cheaper than for-profit=prisons.

Blacks are 13% of the population. While the white middle class benefitted over hundreds of billions in VA loans and scholarships the Black community was barred from those benefits, allowing one community an unfair advantage. That community, in large part because of that has historically remained the most vulnerable. Almost 42% of Blacks are on or require some sort of public assistance. That equals about 17 million people. The number is virtually identical in the Hispanic and Latino communities. Together they still do not add up to the number of white Americans using some time of Welfare. or about 41 million White Americans. That begs the question; why then do so many poor whites vote republican?

Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit

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Where are the Catholics denouncing the rightwing talk radio for calling your Pope a hypocrite, communist and liar? he dared to speak out on poverty and obscenely and historically monstrous wealth inequality, as Jesus did, and to come between the rich and their money over Climate Change. For that Catholics abandoned their Pope for the politics of cynicism, cults of media personality and the religion of greed. Shame.

Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit

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First they came for the garbage men and the mental health workers pensions and the police sided with the thieves who had given them a raise. Then they came for the teacher’s pensions and the thieves used the police to bully their defenders. Then the thieves came for the firemen’s and policeman’s pensions and their was no one left to stand with them…The Right says that “Blue Lives Matter.” Apparently blue lives only matter when they wield a truncheon over dissent. After retirement…If only they’d stood WITH the people.

Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit

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Shaming Jesus II

An update to a story we brought you on Saturday. Ex-representative Joe Walsh, accused dead beat dad, who got beat by a girl, is still worth over a million dollars, and still refuses to help Syrian refugees because there just isn’t enough money. Meanwhile in Croatia, Renata Ivosh and her daughter, Olja, each raising a child in a small Zagreb apartment on less than $10,000 per year have collected several carloads full of supplies like food, water and clothing to the town of Bregana, bordering Slovenia. For all of the ultra-critics, the car is owned by a friend and the family is Catholic.

In a Facebook post we gave the relative size of Lebanon holding some 2 million refugees currently, with England. Lebanon is orders of magnitude smaller. England says they can only take in 20,000. The US has committed to far less.

The lesson drawn from this is that the working poor and those truly walking and talking their religion are helping the refugees. Those that demean them as Muslims and terrorists or even as migrants, and who cloak themselves in religion and security and then turn their backs on the needy are the true enemies of God.

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Shaming Jesus

We hear all the time from the right how they speak for Jesus when again and again it becomes a do as I say not as I do scenario. At some point you must ask yourself if they are simply invoking the name to keep you under control, that is, shaming you into compliance with crafted and concealed deals and policies, cloaked in religion that are meant simply to provide a few with greater power, privilege and security at the expense of the rest of us. The refugee catastrophe, which Revolution and Beer has chronicled and followed for several years now, is a case in terribly stark and tragic point.

The crisis now in Europe’s heart reached a current peak this week when Hungary closed its border to tens of thousands of refugees(Migrants is an insult to the desperate plight of these people) were driven back with truncheons, water cannons and tear gas as they tried to cross the border. Note, that none of these people have food, water or shelter or any understanding of how they and their families will survive day to day. Hungary was refused barbed-wire by a German anti-capitalist company-Sarcasm Alert here.

Interestingly Serbia, not known over the last two decades for a particular love of Muslims was gloriously receptive and merciful to these poor people. Many thousands flooded across the border into neighboring Croatia where there was an outpouring of support, love and help from average people. In talking with people from the Balkans, many of whom survived the cascade of wars in the breakup of the former Yugoslavia it seems the crisis awakened memories for Croats and Serbs of their own nation’s recent struggles. Where religion once seemed to define untold horrific and barbaric acts there is now a common humanity and the understanding of the necessity, the moral imperative to help someone in need.

Renata Ivosh, mother and grandmother, survivor of the siege of Sarajevo and a refugee from Bosnia went with her daughter to the train station in Zagreb with cookies and juice for Syrian refugees. The family, living in a tiny basement apartment makes less than $10,000 a year for a family of 4. A farmer who survived the destruction of Vukovar in 1991 hoped his farm to hundreds of passing refugees, feeding and sheltering them. Contrast that to former Illinois Representative Joe Walsh, with a net worth estimated at well over a million dollars decried on his radio show that there is no money to help even a few thousand refugees headed to this nation of nearly 400 million. He rebuked the Pope’s suggestions that catholic parishes open their doors, saying it is what Jesus would do. Last week Walsh actually said that in that case “Jesus was wrong!”

So the question is, is it the words or the deeds? Who claims to speak for Jesus and who is actually doing the work he described in help the least of his brethren? The answer may shock you. The answer speaks directly to much of the ills our nation faces. The answer might empower you more than you ever thought possible, to the detriment of frauds and used car salesmen like Walsh, Trump and Hillary.

Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit

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