David Bowie Dead, just in Time

David Bowie is Dead. Hmm. There’s a joke by comedian Doug Stanhope that goes something like this; maybe Kurt Cobain didn’t die too young. Maybe he was just out of stuff. can you imagine if Jimmy Hendrix had lived and then you see him doing half-time duets with Elton John, singing Rocket Man. And you’d say, how sad is that, why didn’t he just die? What if Lenny Bruce took over for Andy Rooney, some crusty old man bitching about ATM fees…

This society clings a little, rather, a lot too hard to the quantity of life instead of the quality of it. I’ve had people brag how they never have had a major accident or broken a bone. I’ve broken 11 major bones, excluding most of my fingers and toes, caught a ricochet bullet in the shin, suffered so many concussions that a neurosurgeon friend once said he wouldn’t even guess at a count. The scars on my body are a road map of my life. Car accidents, bike accidents. I’ve been shot at more times than I can count, not to mention being bombed and shelled as well, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I’ve written 11 books, published 5, had 2 critically acclaimed plays, and painted artwork that is now all over the world. I’ve done everything, live a war, seen the worst man can do and see the most we are capable of. I’ve fought for the least among us and against injustice without financial reward; and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I strove for experiences, to break out of my comfort zone and to explore fully the spectrum of human emotion. I will carry those in the only suitcase I can carry from this life, happy there isn’t room for anything else in that bag. I’m not David Bowie, but he wasn’t me either.

As for David Bowie’s passing? Funny, yesterday morning, driving the wife to work, I was suddenly in the mood to hear some of his music. Working on the new novel later that morning, I casually explored some of his lesser known work. When the wife announced that he’d died this morning, my first reaction was, well, that’s the end of an era.

One thing is certain, just being born is responsible for more human suffering and carries, by responsible estimation, nearly a 100% mortality rate. Trust me, I spent all night double checking the statistics. Which begs the question of which David Bowie, or you, would you rather have? David Bowie, fans of Ricky Gervais will recall, played a bit part in the TV show Extras, little more than a decade ago. His song parody of Gervais’ character was about not selling out, which Bowie never did.

So, again, which Bowie do you want? How much sadder would it be to see him years from now, hobbled in a wheel chair, oxygen tubes up his nose, bent and mumbling to himself grasping desperately against eternity for every breath, clinging to an ever more distant past in which he is less and less a shadow, or the man who bowed gracefully when he was finished, walking proudly from the stage of life to eternity?

The lesson here is live a life of quality. Experience, suffer, exalt, explore, fail, rise up again in as passionate a life as you can dare. That’s the stuff of our lives. back to Stanhope, “your sins are the only thing that make you interesting!” one of my grandfather’s, many years ago, as he was dying of cancer, remarked to me that being eaten by a bear was the better fate. I put that in my first book 25 years later.

And it’s true. Recall the guy some years back you got killed by an escaped tiger at the San Diego zoo. What happened to Bob? He got eaten by a tiger, in California! Wow, that’s incredible. As opposed to, did you hear about Bob? yeah, after an unfulfilling life as a middle manager in an actuarial firm, all those high calorie lunches finally got the better of him. Died right at his cubicle, just as his divorce was about to be final as well.

Quantity is a beggar’s game, because in the face of eternity, it is meaningless. Quantity is the existential equivalent of a flat line. Take a page from Bowie and good theatre people and know when its time to take a bow, and leave them wanting more. Rock on, David Bowie!

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Hey, Dork. Pithier, not a louder Left

Ted Cruz said show him one mass shooting that gun laws prevented. Which mass shooting did guns prevent? Leftie’s and reasonble gun owners need to get more sarcastic not louder. Take these examples:

1, Not all Muslims are terrorists, but nearly all terror… Okay, then not all white people are KKK, but all KKK is white people.

2. That child you abort might one day grow up to cure cancer…or, that child you fail to abort might one day grow up to kill the person who would have cured cancer.

3. It was a cool summer in Des Moines, where’s your global warming now? Answer, the world is round and your head is square.

4. “So-called” Muslims need to clean up the extremists in their midst if they really are a religion of peace…to, does that also apply to “so-called good” cops?(Also will accept “does that apply to leagal gun owners?)

5. Gun laws won’t prevent criminals from getting guns. Um, do laws prevent criminals from breaking any law?

-or-

6. Gun laws won’t prevent criminals from getting guns. Car thieves still steal cars, does that mean you shouldn’t have a license, or car insurance?

7. I can’t vote for a socialist like Bernie Sanders, well then, you definitely wouldn’t have voted for Washington, Adams, Jefferson or Lincoln. “We the people?” or “Union” let alone “more perfect union,” or “welfare,” in the constitution? Or is it that the Right only believes that its only about the guns and Blacks as 3/5 a person?

8. also not in the constitution, the word freedom, internet, porn, gay, abortion, AR-15, big gulp, god, Christian, apple pie, Chevrolet or immigration.

Sometimes the only cure for stupid is a good strong whack to the head.

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On Gun Porn. Did you know:

Israel is more anti-gun than Obama.

They regulate, ownership, the type of weapon and the amount of ammo an owner can have or buy. Sales and transfer of guns and ammo are strictly regulated, with stiff penalties for violations. Gun ownership is very low, and so are homicides and gun suicides. The US is first in ownership, Israel 80th. All weapons and ammo are marked. Gun manufacturers must keep records of every weapon produced. In Israel, the law does require that a record of the acquisition, possession and transfer of each privately held firearm be retained in an official register, unlike the US. In Israel, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm license every three years, unlike the US.

In Israel, authorities maintain a record of individual civilians licensed to acquire, possess, sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition, unlike the US. The minimum age for gun ownership in Israel is 27 years. Applicants for a gun owner’s license in Israel are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example self-defense, hunting and sport, unlike the US. The US ranks 91st in the world for per capita murder rate, compared with Israel at 144th.

So the next time you hear gun pornographers from the right and the NRA say we should look to Israel as an example on guns, maybe the Right is, well right!

http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/israel

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_guns_per_capita_by_countryjesus with guns1

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Exclusive: Anita Alvarez on Que4 Radio

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez will hold a very exclusive press conference on Que4 Radio’s Revolution and Beer program Saturday at 11am. Alvarez, embattled over her handling of the Laquan McDonald case, which took more than a year before charges were filed in that case, reports that her office will file charges in a case her office reports will be groundbreaking, shocking and historic. We don’t know many details and have been asked not to report or speculate ahead of the announcement Saturday at 11am. What we do know is that the murder investigation spanned several continents and involved tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of investigators. Reports are that the victim was killed by a knife or knives, but details remain very sketchy right now. One unconfirmed report from Que4 Radio indicates a possible connection that includes the Cooking Channel. That is all we know. Ms. Alvarez and her office is keeping a very tight lid on this, and is deflecting inquiries with “No comment at this time,” or complete denial.

A photo from the crime scene leaked to Que4:
bloody_knife_by_uchihavenger1_xlarge


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 www.que4.org.
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 www.revolutioandbeer.com

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Mass Shooting Rating System

Love me or Hate me. Tomorrow I guarantee it will be one or the other…

Be honest, do you really care about the shooting in San Bernadino, except for the same fleeting outrage you feel over any other reality TV story? The happiest man in the world right now is the guy who shot and killed three, including a police officer and a war vet, at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs last week. Both of whom were forgotten by a Press that routinely uses cops and vets to argue for guns and against the Black Lives Matter movement. The unhappiest group in the world? ISIS who thought this would engender some sort of backlash against a national minority, reminding the world yet again how hypocritical we are about fake phrases like “civil liberties,” and “freedom.”

We’re still hypocrites on all of that, don’t get me wrong, but surprise, this reality series featuring endless episodes of carnage and mass murder, about which America reacts like an 8 year old on a school playground just doesn’t drive Americans into the streets with pitchforks and torches to smite the wrong-doers. They certainly aren’t serious about the perverse gun religion and violence porn paraded daily on the news.

Incidentally, at my local grocery store Cleavage the cover of Cosmopolitan is covered by a plastic shield, while Guns and Ammo; no shield. The lesson is simple, America loves gun violence. its like someone gave us video game, and every American could own one even though each year the video game was guaranteed to explode in the faces of 33 of every 100 thousand people and would kill 11 of them. To be fair we aren’t the worst for gun violence. We are still beat handily by Swaziland, Guatemala and El Salvador. Still, not as safe as Bosnia and Ukraine, despite their ongoing civil war. No figures currently for North Korea, although they definitely lead us in Anti-Aircraft gun deaths, so that’s something.

Mass murder in American is entertainment. Its a game show. Who’s going to get shot tomorrow? Let’s spin the wheel of potential shooters. Muslim zealot of antiabortion white Christian? Anti-government nut or crazed kid off his meds? How about the crazy bat-sh@t “Its not Happy Holidays, its Merry Christmas,” mongrels? Will it be a church? A school? A mall? Will there be video? Hey mom and dad, look, that’s me leaving the scene with my hands in the air, I’m the 8th in line!

So, taking a page from George Carlin, in a great bit he did on terrorism years ago, let’s not be shy. Let’s really turn this into the proper industry it has become. I am proposing a Mass Murder rating system. The worst, you know, no one killed and no good video would get a Single Bullet rating, one and a half if the shooter goes down in a hail of bullets. Sand Hook Gets 4 1/2. San Bernadino, eh, 2 1/2. It just wasn’t that exciting. Not even the out of their minds Right wing media could muster any hysteria.

Honestly, the lack of real national hysteria over this latest massacre has me rethinking the whole brand. Paris would have gotten 5 bullets easily, except that it didn’t happen here. Sorry, Ricky Gervais’ The Office-the British version- didn’t qualify for an Emmy; wasn’t made here. Maybe time just to cancel the whole series. Doubt if America will do that any time soon.


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 www.que4.org.
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 www.revolutioandbeer.com

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Thoughts on Censorship, Oppression and Revolution

My wife’s grandmother lives near the center of Sarajevo. from the window of her small two room flat is a stunning view of green slopes of Mount Trebevich, its lowest approaches a patchwork of terra cotta rooftops. in a sheltered alleyway, pressed between buildings and shaded by small tress is a cluster of small booths; something of a flea market for books, clothing, and kitchenwares. Near the center, almost directly beneath Ana’s grandmother’s window was a small booth where a couple local boys sold music CDs. I would show up with beers and ask the guys to play for me local artists. It was just after the war and before the internet had proliferated to any meaningful extent around the planet. I was eager to discover local music and, with the abject destruction of the war, even save and preserve some of that lost culture.

Yugoslav Rock musicians throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s had been eager to show relevancy and solidarity with the audaciousness inherent in Rock, punk and other genre’s of contemporary music that heralded, it seemed a cultural revolution. I found, however, that Yugoslav Rock musicians, as well as emerging Bosnian, Serbian, Slovenian and Croatian Rock musicians always incorporated strong elements of regional folk. there was always a traditional element regardless of how contemporary the banded intended to be. It caused me to look at contemporary music in the US differently. bands I’d grown up with like Three Dog Night relied heavily on songwriters like Hoyt Axton and Paul Williams whose roots were in folk and country. Paul Williams penned the lyrics for “The Love Boat” theme.

all too often those who run the spectrum in society between discontent and revolutionary forget or ignore their own traditional underpinnings. Rarely if ever is anyone truly transformed completely in their humanity. The relics, the attitudes and ideas of our times and places are woven deeply within each of us. nit is imprinted, or becomes imbued without our realizing just how fully we are compromised, or incorporated into our world, our history and our culture.

It has become vogue in our culture to extol and demand the right of free and unencumbered expression. We can insult the police, berate the president and verbally assault one another with relative impunity. The First amendment becomes our shield and our burden. never in human history has the common citizen held this degree of expectation of free speech. It is revolutionary, but is it so revolutionary that we are free of those traditional underpinnings of a past in which speech was much less free. We all believe in our right to free expression while conjuring ways to curb the expression of those we disagree with.

I am in broadcasting. Broadcasters are the one place in which it is possible to understand the hypocrisy of what it means to assert truly free and independent and unencumbered speech. Stations in the past have cautioned me about certain limits about what I could and could not say. One station promoted verbal attacks on one political party while quietly forbidding dissent against its opposition. Today I was researching FCC rules on obscenity. In training new hosts I brag about the station’s policy of non-censorship, then advise them that they can be fired for not supporting the station’s policy of defending diversity in the community.

While I defend the right of groups, minorities and traditionally oppressed segments of society to fight against the willful and blatant use of offensive language and terms I also understand that there is a right of free expression that even protects offensive speech. The goal there should be to teach and build a society that respects the rights and sensibilities of others, and that often speech is the cornerstone of oppression. Offensive and oppressive speech should go out of vogue rather than be legislated out of existence. Words must never be banned, because words by themselves are not culprits. We are the culprits.
book
The American tradition is strongly rooted in reactionary politics and justice. While a narrative has arisen that positively challenges the reactionary and oppressive rhetoric and systems it also has characteristics of that other heritage. We have seen it with attempts to ban certain types of speech. Groups like Anonymous, which has done great work against oppression and injustice too often condoned by society and government, also at times acts extra-constitutionally as judge, jury and executioner. There is tremendous responsibility in that, and great peril as well. Across colleges and universities there are movements to highlight oppressive and offensive speech. That effort is vehemently resisted by the powerful forces benefitting from and supporting oppression. The frustration level pushes one to the point of restricting speech, but that ultimately is a zero sum game.

The effort is never to trade one type of oppression, one oppressor for another. the ideal is to create true revolutionary change, not merely have the oppressed and the oppressors change hats in an endless cycle.

The ideal should be not only justice; but fair, honest and humane justice. It should be equitable and accountable. The system change we champion must be that or we become the oppressors, while the newly oppressed, or those who believe they are oppressed scheme and conspire to overturn the balance.

The same is true for the incarcerated and those who have been incarcerated. What sort of justice and society do we pretend if those who have been sentenced and deemed to have paid their price are forever branded and excised from society. We eschew other cultures for the barbarism of cutting off a hand, or a foot, or putting out eyes, and yet we do the same to those who have been punished. There is no evolution of thought or justice or society. We are the lynch mob on the lawn circa the early 1900s. We are not learning from and evolving out of the relics of the past which have done nothing but perpetuate societal cancers.

Revolutions should be by revolutionaries, striving to create something new with a critical sense of where our common shortcomings exist and where are common strengths lend themselves to actual and demonstrable positive progressive change. anything less shows we are as culpable and guilty and destined to repeat the mistakes and injustices of the past as our reactionary predecessors.


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 www.que4.org.
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 www.revolutioandbeer.com

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So Long Mustafa. A Great artist passes

An excerpt from “Everything for Love,” WC Turck, available on Amazon and at barnesandNoble.com

Mount Trebevich loomed high above the school and city center. Smoke drifted lazily from the Serbian trenches there. Those trenches could see up and down every street and alley in Sarajevo. They weren’t shooting today, despite the clear weather. They didn’t have to. Fear and unpredictability were as formidable to maintaining the siege as bombs and mines and bullets.
It was dusty and cold inside. The walls were covered with graffiti, so much that it seemed like something of a work in progress, a final assertion of a dying city, or the cynical conscience of the world. The building became a living history of lives that faded like echoes. There were declarations of love, calls to revolution, an homage to Che Guevara, filthy words and phrases in a dozen different languages and scripts. There were sketches, cartoons, Rock bands, rap verses, poetry and bits of prophetic wisdom like:

Ever since Tito died the world has gone to shit!
Elvis


Hasan was waiting for us in one of the first floor sculpture studios. The room was empty. Everything that could be burned had been pilfered. The books, desks and easels were all gone. Hasan looked so forlorn surrounded by that emptiness. He looked up smartly as we entered. His face was filled with worry.
“Where have you two been?” he asked.
“It’s my fault,” I said. “I had to deliver some things to a friend at the hospital and we got held up.”
He said we were late to meet with one of Sarajevo’s premiere artists. His name was Mustafa Skolpjak. He lived in the Academy of Arts building across the river. We hurried across the Princip Bridge, the spot where a young Slav nationalist had assassinated the Austrian archduke Ferdinand in 1914, beginning a series of events precipitating the First World War. The academy was an odd looking building with a prominent silver dome. At a glance it appeared abandoned. The tall windows had been blown out and shells had punctured the dome. The once carefully manicured lawns were overgrown with tangled weeds.
The heavy wooden door groaned loudly on its hinges. For a moment we stood in a narrow channel of daylight, illuminating part of a long staircase to one side, and a dark hallway to the other. We followed the hall past deserted studios to the small office where Mustafa lived.
“So would you like to meet Sarajevo’s greatest artist?” Hasan asked.
“Besides you and Nadja?” I winked, with a grin. He chuckled and said something about going into politics as he knocked at the door.
There was a long pause before a shadow disturbed the sliver of light beneath the door. I had read a good deal about Mustafa in the Press back home and was expecting someone fiery and philosophical, someone who exemplified the defiant persistence of the Sarajevo Arts community. Instead the man who opened the door was rather short and kind of dull. He had a thick, brushy mustache and heavy gray stubble. He smiled broadly when he recognized Hasan, though it seemed a terrific effort for him, as though it was not at all a natural act.
In jeans and a beat up leather jacket, his hair somewhat askew, Mustafa was more like a character from a Kerouac novel than anything else. He was quiet, hardly an egoist like Picasso, and certainly not the swashbuckling sort like Hemingway. At first impression Sarajevo’s greatest living artist was rather mundane.
“You’ve gotten big,” he rubbed Sulejman’s head. He invited us inside, apologizing that he had nothing to offer.
Stepping into the studio was like stepping into a small attic crammed with undreamed of treasures. The air was stale like an attic and filled with dust that hung like constellations among nebulous clouds of cigarette smoke. Midday sun flooded through a translucent sheet of UNHCR plastic covering a small window. The light was quickly scattered by abstract constructions of colored glass collected from around the city. Renderings and small paintings covered the walls or were stacked around the room. To one corner a mattress was braced between two burgeoning file cabinets. A tiny sink was filled with dishes and a pair of socks. Below the sink was the obligatory collection of buckets and jugs. At the end of his cluttered desk was a giant stack of magazines and newspapers from around the world. I mentioned that I read articles about him in America.Mustafa_Skopljak_vertikala
”America,” he pondered. He stroked the stubble of his square jaw. “What do they say for me in America?”
“Mostly how you’ve led Sarajevo’s art scene, and how you’ve triumphed and found inspiration in the war.”
“Hmm,” he considered. “I don’t find inspiration in the war. Other people’s words. I only find survival, but that doesn’t pass the time quite so well, and certainly doesn’t feed the soul.”
“All of these magazines and newspapers have stories about Mustafa,” Hasan motioned to the stack on the desk.
“Amazing,” I said.
Mustafa seemed almost ashamed of the attention. “It was only necessary to destroy a nation and murder two hundred thousand people so that I could become famous.”
We all looked to the window as a shell exploded on the mountain. The long, low rumble could be felt through the floor. It shook free more of that ever-present dust, but there was more to the sound. It made Mustafa’s life and talent so fragile and fleeting. Like every other man in the city he was a soldier, and if the Serbs tried to take the city his celebrity would afford him no special privilege. A single bullet or shell could instantly extinguish his rare gift. The artists of Sarajevo were a brave and resilient bunch, but they were also mortal.
We didn’t stay long at the academy. Mustafa was a private man, and despite his graciousness, our visit was something of an intrusion. Besides I was still suffering from the day before and wanted to go home and take a nap.
Hasan was headed back to school. Sulejman wanted to meet his mother at Markale (pronounced MARK-A-LAY), but Hasan didn’t want him to go there alone. The boy begged me to go with him, but I wasn’t really interested. Hasan could see that I was beat and scolded Sulejman about pestering me. With that Sulejman pouted and complained that he was sick and tired of sitting in the house with nothing to do. Out of sympathy I relented.
The Markale outdoor market filled a small square just off Marshal Tito Street, at a place where the street was at its narrowest. Markale was protected on three sides by the high walls of surrounding buildings. It was more than a market. It was an integral part of the city’s social fabric. Neighbors met to swap news and gossip. That simple function was even more important during the war.
Hardly a year had passed since a Serbian mortar slammed into the market killing sixty-eight, but old habits were hard to overcome. Within days of the attack Sarajevans returned to reclaim the market. As Sulejman and I crossed the street it was already jammed beyond capacity with shoppers, beggars and gawkers. I recalled Serbian assertions that the Bosnians had inflated the number of dead by dragging out cadavers. As packed as the market was on any given day it was a miracle that only sixty-eight had died that day.
Shopping was, of course, a relative term in besieged Sarajevo. People were crowded among the tightly packed tables, ogling a pathetic offering of goods. There were putrid looking chicken and pigeon carcasses, some washes with bleach to kill the smell. Not that it mattered. Even at ten or fifteen marks for a scrawny one the price was well out of reach for most. The NEW YORK TIMES some months earlier had celebrated the falling price of food in the city. Over the summer a pound of beef had plummeted from around a hundred Marks to twenty-five. The paper failed to mention that twenty-five marks represented one or two month’s income for most families. Prices fluctuated wildly with the fighting. A single egg might cost a few Marks in the morning, and go for six or eight or ten by afternoon.
Nadja was at the back of the square, looking over a paltry collection of small vegetables grown in the many war gardens that sprang up around the city. I stepped across the small crater punched by the February shell to reach her. It struck in a corner reflecting the full force of the blast into the square, turning tables and body parts into lethal missiles.
Nadja and Hasan had just been paid for the month with a carton of smuggled Drina cigarettes, or roughly the equivalent of one small chicken. She was haggling over a pile of little potatoes, scrawny carrots and some mangy garlic cloves. I gave Nadja a twenty Mark note, but the old Gypsy woman behind the table complained she couldn’t possibly make change for that. Nadja was a shrewd negotiator and managed enough vegetables to make a pot of soup for the next couple of days. She stuffed the precious goods into her tattered purse and, clutching it tightly, hurried out of the market.
“Did we do good?” I asked.
Nadja nodded. “I’m satisfied.
The street opened to a wide boulevard. Cafes had sprouted along sun drenched sidewalks as an assertion of the city’s undying spirit, as if the war was a distant thing. But reminders of the war were never very far away. There was the shriek of a patrolling NATO warplane, a firefight on the mountain and the grating annoyance of a passing UN tank. Just beyond the fringes of the cafes, where patrons chanced a Mark for a moment of normalcy, disowned refugees and the homeless begged for mercy or some small hope from those who had lost both a long time ago. Only the dead or the insane could truly escape the war, and at every given moment everyone in Sarajevo teetered at the edge of one or the other.

So long, Dear Friend

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VETTING A REFUGEE LIE

boatpeople1Republicans, like Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson and Rebublican Governors want to haIt settlement of Syrian refugees in the wake of the Paris attacks. They claim a necessity to fully vet each individual. They are lying. It is the excuse of bigots and bureaucrats. Republicans, the Right and weak-kneed Democrats on the Left merely throw around the idea of vetting Syrian Refugees, but it is a ruse to excuse their personal bias, inaction and lack of conscience.

There is no vetting process for Refugees. There is no process to “vet” a refugee as if they were accepting a position in the NSA, or even applying for a job at Taco Bell. Rarely do refugees have valid identification. That is the definition of Refugee. These are people fleeing burning villages, imminent death most often in a panic. The likelihood they will have carefully packed and carried three forms of ID, school and government records, an itinerary and a list of references is unlikely. Usually those references are either trying to kill them or drive them from their homes, are dead or also a refugee.

Why wasn’t the same panic applied to the estimated 2 million Vietnamese boat people who fled their war torn country in flimsy and overcrowded boats and ships. There were no cries to leave them floundering at sea just in case there was, out of 2 million, a couple of Viet Cong infiltrators. Or Cuban refugees from the Castro regime, who were welcomed in part as a slight because of the political impasse between the US and Cuban governments. Some of those actually went on to commit acts of terrorism against Cuban civilians with the support of the US government, such as Cubana Airlines Flight 455. In the United States some 11 million Undocumented Immigrants are not filtered through some fraudulent “vetting” process, hence the “Undocumented” part. The same was true from German and European refugees after the Second World War, including orphans and Holocaust victims. boat bosnia199507-refugees_1508531i

This wholly new effort to stop Syrian Refugees from being settled in the US, or even receiving nominally humane shelter and treatment as Winter encroaches is rooted in anti-Muslim fear and bigotry. Crime in Muslim communities is far lower than in many other communities. No community is without crime. There are no official statistics, nor should there be, on crime broken down by religion. It should be noted strongly, however, that Muslims are the only group singled out in news stories by their religion. That is, the media specifically mentions religion, unlike headlines describing Catholics, Jews, Hindus or even Atheists. A headline reading “Jew robs bank,” or “”Christian guns down 3 in shooting spree” would cause immediate outrage.


Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, with Jack Hammond and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
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 www.revolutioandbeer.com

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From the Editor: Paris Coverage

Revolution and Beer will not post reports or news items specifically about the attacks. The events of November 13th, 2015 will become fodder for conspiracies, political posturing, bigotry, fear mongering and propaganda. Revolution and Beer has no interest in pandering to such unproductive and regressive perspectives.

It is not a fear of any single group. Revolution and Beer fears no one and no groups. It does hold ultimate contempt for ignorance. In solidarity of freedom of expression we ran just once a Charlie Hebdo cartoon, but vowed not to repeat the publication out of respect for our Muslim friends and neighbors. We have and will continue to confront ignorance and racism of all kinds be it by members of the Islamic, Jewish, Christian or any other religious affiliation. We also stand in full opposition to systems and groups who rely upon or construct or impose oppression on others, regardless of racial make up, or social ideology.

Revolution and Beer will run stories that contrast or frame the debate in its truest light, such as the media’s tendency to focus on one tragedy while ignoring greater tragedy’s, such as the recent slaughter of thousands in Nigeria, or the systemic oppression of Palestinians or the overt racial antagonism against Jews, the mocking of the Black Lives Matter movement, impositions upon a woman’s sovereignty over her own body, LGBTQ rights, the struggle of immigrants world wide or the ghoulish insanity of groups like ISIS, neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

We hope that you understand and support our position. You can find headlines regarding the Paris attack everywhere, we hope that for the most honest and humane perspective you will rely upon Revolution and Beer to carry that torch. We have vowed at Revolution and Beer, and at Que4 Radio in Chicago to be a true alternative to the hyperbole, reactionary reporting and propaganda paraded now as news. We strive to be better, with the longest possible view on events and the broadest possible application of our collective humanity.

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The Paris Judgment

Paris was a turning point on Friday. Certainly this will affect the economic debate in the US presidential election. As I wrote back in May and June, election predictions too far out are dangerous, as they can turn on a dime. The West and the US will edge a bit closer to fascism paraded as security. Europe’s ultra-right wing will be invigorated, and while the West, particularly NATO and the US will appear to take a more aggressive stance against ISIS and its affiliates, like yesterday’s airstrike by US warplanes in Libya, that is merely a matter of competition now between the US and Russia over oil and gas in the Mideast. The US is simply attempting to keep pace and compete with Russia.

Following the French terrorist incident Friday in which at least 129 were killed France found resolve with Russia, paving a new boost in prestige for Russia. Russia, smarting from an attack on an airliner two weeks ago in Egypt is benefitting from a resurgence of nationalism. It is likely, even predictable that a new more powerful rightwing, anti-immigrant and aggressively violent, will grow to prominence across Europe and Russia. This comes at a time when Europe is struggling to cope with hundreds of thousands of predominantly Syrian refugees. The timing of these attacks is hardly coincidental.

The attacks in Paris by ISIS is a rebuke of a renewed assault, now including Russia, but they are also a calculated political move. Europe is already polarizing in the wake of the attacks. That means two forces are attempting to radicalize immigrants and Muslims in Europe as a resurgent rightwing drives division through hate and opportunism. The refugees lay squarely in the middle of that equation. The attacks will also slow or stop progress in addressing the refugee crisis just as winter begins. That will mean a rise in desperation that will drive more violence potentially.

In this country whatever initiative Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton may have had will evaporate quickly as fears rise, valid or not, of possible terror attacks within the US going into the holiday season. The narrative will be on security and guns, not economy. The attacks immediately undercut the so-called million student march on pressing economic issues here. Rightwing commentators have already begun describing the #BlackLivesMatter effort as terrorism. This weekend would be dictator Donald Trump capitalized ghoulishly by criticizing the French for gun control laws. He is just the first of what will be a gleeful orgy on the right concerning guns. they will point to France as an example against any sort of reasonable gun legislation.

In fact, French citizens are allowed to own guns. In this country there has been a call for screenings based upon mental illness. French law requires competency exams by a doctor annually, along with a regular check up. The weapons used in this weeks attacks are smuggled into the country illegally. French gangs receive many combat style weapons from the former Yugoslavia where in the aftermath of war unregistered guns still proliferate. It is the same issue facing Chicago’s violence with straw purchases from gun stores ringing the south and west borders of Chicago. One of Friday’s gunmen, Omar Ismail Mostefai, born in France, was a petty criminal with access to illegal weapons before becoming radicalized. The suddenness of attacks and the nature of those attacks would have neutralized any would-be pistol packing party-goer in a dark crowded, loud and confused environment. Furthermore, the attackers were already resolved to die.

The truth is, gun laws in France work. There were just 665 murders in 2012 in France, with a per capita rate of 1 compared with 15,000 and a per capita rate of 5 for the US. The United States has FAA rules and licensing for aircraft, but that did not prevent 9-11, so by the gun lobby’s logic we should close the FAA. To drive a car Americans must have a valid license, which doesn’t stop car thieves.

ISIS is calculating and the West is still reacting blindly. More security undermines democracy and civil liberties. They are shrewdly sowing discord in target countries. Attacks and threats of violence driven by FOX and the right in this country from these attacks will increase pressure on American Muslim and immigrant communities, exactly what ISIS hopes to achieve. They want unrest and division in Europe by enlivening radical rightwing groups and politicians and by polarizing normally reasonable communities. In the US, the Paris attacks fit perfectly to the Republican effort to polarize whites by sowing fear from immigrants and Muslims, since they have all but lost Hispanic, and Black voters.

It remains to be seen how this will turn out. Given the level of narrative and its tolerance by the American people, that does not bode well for civil liberties, the election, civility and democracy in America, in Europe and beyond. Put this one in the win column for ISIS. This was an attack on social and community fault lines, which just became wider and more dangerous. Just like Osama bin Laden and September 11, 2001, the attack was on the crumbling vestiges of democracy and civil society.

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