Hate laughing darkly? Don’t read this

A good friend, who is as crazy about politics as I am asked why I and Que4 radio did not cover any of the Republican presidential debates. Before I answer that, a reality check on some numbers. FOX News, which carried the debate, is forced through various cable deals automatically on 82 million homes in America. 13 million tuned in for this one, 10 million fewer than the first debate. In fact, despite a blitz of coverage on talk radio and the corporate press, the debates are properly characterized as the Anrea Doria of politics. Those numbers also credit FOX even if someone accidentally lands on the network. “Sweetie, I’m trying to find Diners Drive-ins and Dives and I’m on FOX again!”

To center those numbers a bit more, the episode when Den served Angie with divorce papers in BBC One’s East Enders drew 30 million. 40 million in Portugal, a whopping 85% of viewers caught the soccer game between Portugal and the Netherlands. In fact, the telenovela Torre de Babel in Portugal routinely gets double the viewers of this last debate. Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death, arguably more informative than the debate gets 16 million. here in the greatest nation on earth, MASH scored 125 million for its finale.

But the reason neither I nor Que4 Radio will ever cover the Republican debate is twofold. First, we don’t cover it for the same reason we wouldn’t cover video of a man with no lips attempting to eat an ice cream cone, or the funny faces a dog makes while trying to eat peanut butter, a little people mud wrestling contest or a conversation between flatulence connoisseurs (Its all about the layers).

The second part is that Que4 supports and defends diversity, dignity and respect for all people, and a realization of the broadest possible interpretations and manifestations of personal liberty. we champion our brothers and sisters of every race, religion, gender and sexual identity by standing and shouting against oppression, and that is diametrically opposed to every breath and utterance of every of every single candidate on that stage.


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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Jeb Bush Slays Baby Hitler

Wait, if Jeb Bush killed baby Hitler, there wouldn’t have been World War 2. His dad wouldn’t have been shot down, helping to pave his way to politics, which would have kept his brother out of the Whitehouse, which means Al Gore would have been president, which means September 11th would never have happened because President Gore would have heeded the briefing titled “Bin Laden determined to strike within the…” (Wait), which means we would never have invaded Iraq and instead would have had a national initiative towards green energy and economic reforms, which means no collapse of 2008 (Wait), which means we would have been focused on the environment and learning, which, which means Texas textbooks wouldn’t have Cowboys riding dinosaurs, which means, OH MY GOD! I would be posting this from a vacation pod on the moon while getting the greatest tan in history! Which means “The Martian” with Matt Damon would be a reality show not a movie. Go, Jeb, go! Wait, unless, oh my god, Hitler wasn’t Hitler, but the little baby Schickelgruber, which means that Jeb killed the wrong baby, and World War 2 did happen and…Man, time travel is tricky


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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A Brief Conversation with an Alien-no the outer space kind…

I went for a walk the other night in the woods a few nights back, gathering my thoughts and contemplating my life, the world and the swath of brilliant stars above through the trees. Suddenly one of them moved, seeming to tumble towards me. It veered at the last moment, gliding to an astounding, silent and instantaneous stop among the trees a short distance away, and just above a small clearing. My heart raced, and I had a sense that I should run, but was so taken by this extraordinary moment I remained, even edging from the path, where the grass crunched lightly beneath my feet.
It was indeed an object of some sort. Odd that the light surrounding that smoothly polished body, the color of a blue opal was almost soothing. I angled towards a large maple, placing it partly between myself and the object. Though there w ere no markings seams or rivets of any kind I had a sense that it turned, as though facing me directly.
I had no impression or recollection of a door opening. but I was immediately aware of an opening, and all at once a small figure standing before me.
I might have been shocked or frightened, but I was now looking into the deepest, darkest pools of a small creature’s eyes. There was no emotion in the creature’s pale face, only a feeling that I had nothing at all to fear.
“Thank you,” the creature said.
I can’t say if it was a male of female voice, and I had no impression that its thin lips moved at all. And it wasn’t in my head, but seemed to be in some space between us, where common air existed and in which our own thoughts remained our own.
“Thank you?” I asked. “I, uh, I have a feeling I should be thanking you,” I chuckled. “I really don’t know what…”
“Its understandable. You’ll have a million questions tomorrow, but not a single one right now, am I correct?” said the being.
“Wow,” was all I could think to say. “I suppose I’m not representing the species too well that I can’t come up with one interesting thing to say, huh? I mean, you came all of this way…”
“So why don’t I do the talking and see if I can’t anticipate a few thousand of those questions. How’s that?’
“Thank you,” was all I could think to say.
“There is so much,” began the being. “We just haven’t time for…You are devout to your world, and more devout to your species, and paramount to yourselves. So are we all. You are a miracle. I am a miracle, just as all life is throughout this great universe; and it is great indeed. All of us are the consciousness or a great universal organism. If you take nothing from this, understand that the circle of life is around you in ways yet to be fully imagined. Your world is not merely a host that carries life. It is a living thing, just as the galaxy and universe, and all of the universes are so much more than mere assemblages of random matter. They are teeming, and they are life themselves. Render them from this moment forward in that light and you will begin a new paradigm…oh, crap, look at the time. I really have to fly.”
“Wait,” I exclaimed, ignoring his terrible pun. The being seemed to reappear in the opening of the vessel without the passage of time, as if melting across space between here and there.
“You’ve got questions, don’t you?”
“I think might head might…I just can’t think of a question…Why can’t you stay longer?” I pleaded.
But the vessel was already climbing through the trees where it lingered for just a moment. As fast as I could imagine it disappeared among the stars. I laughed, settling back against the tree, where I tried to take all of this in, to convince myself that it was all a dream, though I knew better.
It was just before dawn then I finally left the forest. The morning dew was already collecting. I could hear traffic in town a mile or so away. Of coarse I would never tell a soul about this. Who the hell would believe such a wild tale, but I tell you it happened, as sure as I’m sitting here. Believe what you will, and if nothing else just ponder the message. All the rest you can discard as the ramblings of a very confused mind…
Turning, I looked skyward, and at just above a whisper said, “, Damn, I just thought of a question…”

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Milwaukee Sheriff calls #BlackLivesMatter Terrorists

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said on Twitter Tuesday that Before long, “Black Lies Matter will join forces with ISIS to b(r)ing down our legal constituted republic. You heard it first here.” It was an open comparison with a foreign terrorist group. Speaking this morning on a rightwing radio show in Chicago Clarke, now the darling o the rightwing media also linked ISIS with Iran, although the two are enemies. Iran currently is a was with ISIs.

He spoke on AM560 in Chicago, known for it attacks Clarke’s conspiracy paranoia would just be the confused ramblings of a fool if his NRA backed elected official did not have the power of life and death over people. This from Salon earlier this year:

“Of course, deflection is an effective tactic. A real organization doing a good deal of terrorizing is Clarke’s own Milwaukee police department, which according to Salon has been sued for dozens of illegal strip searches and has seen multiple officer-involved killings of unarmed black citizens during Clarke’s tenure, including Dontre Hamilton in 2014 and Derek Williams in 2011. What do black citizens of Milwaukee have to fear from terrorists overseas when the threat of death hangs over them from their own police everyday?”

Cark’s framing of #BLM as a terror organization, claiming also that ISIS is infiltrating SEIU and other labor organizations brings up disturbing questions about the safety and civil rights of civilians in Milwaukee County. Will or are his officers harassing or targeting anyone displaying #BlackLivesMatter signs? Even more, Clarke believes and said this morning that America can and should arrest its way out of the current social and economic turmoil plaguing the inner cities and poor.

Yet Clarke is silent on economic development, the banks and Wall Street in creating the foreclosure crisis which has crippled Black, minority and poor communities, and has called for open armed rebellion against any reasonable gun legislation. Most guns used in crimes in Milwaukee, like neighboring Chicago come from guns bought legally which are then given r sold to criminals; so-called straw purchases. Badger Guns in Milwaukee was found liable this month in a straw purchased linked to the shooting of two police officers. Ironically, Clarke’s own department could see a financial windfall from lawsuit against Badger and other gun outlets accused of straw purchases.

Meanwhile, the voters must realize that the true threat of terror faced n Milwaukee County comes from ulra-authoritarians, media hounds and protectors of the culture of greed, racism and corruption that have driven inner cities and the poor into corners of desperation in a society which then blames the symptoms but ignores the disease.

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Denny Hastert Plea Deal will kill Black teens

An innocent man, Thomas Turner, sits in jail, going on 6 months now. I’ll tell you why in a bit…

The nation suffers from a deficit, but it is not the one you ever here about. Unlike the financial deficit, this deficit actually will kill America’s children, particularly the most vulnerable; inner city youth. The deficit I am referring to is one of moral and ethical leadership. Obama’s failure to prosecute anyone for the completely avoidable and absolutely manufactured financial collapse is one example. Denny Hastert’s plea deal, in which he cops to a throw away lesser charge but is allowed to skate on at least on case, and perhaps numerous cases of child molestation while a teacher at Yorkville high school.

A stretch? We maintain and tolerate a culture of corruption spun by the media, highly connected PR firms and government protectionism that conceals crimes with fraudulent corporate speak, dodges and mafia lawyer-like excuse. It all is paraded as free market capitalism or a means to an end. A mayor sells off public property as if the city was his personal fiefdom and explains it as necessary to bridge a budget gap, despite a secret fund of over a billion dollars that is parceled and passed away to wealthy friends and donors without oversight. A Black man with a gun is a criminal, while a white man with a gun is a patriot. An adult white-ish man shoots a black kid he was stalking at night and skates on a stand your ground statute, but a black woman who fires a gun in the air, in the same state to warn her historically abusive husband who later admitted he threatened to kill her and she goes to jail. A young Black woman going to a new job is tricked into a traffic stop, dragged from her car without charge and winds up dead in what the state dismisses as suicide. Wall street sold an fraudulent illusion in derivatives based on almost nothing many times the actual value of the entire global economy knowing it would collapse (timing it to collapse completely just as Barack Obama took office) and yet those very few who profited were never even talked sternly to. Denny Hastert raped boys, like that Sandusky character, but because one was an assistant coach and the other an influential Speaker of the House, guess who got away with child rape. They all have something in common.

There is no difference between the banker who concocts a scheme to foreclose on hundreds of thousands or millions of poor and working class homeowners by constructing a system of bad loans, red-lining supported by the money-corrupted courts and the kid who puts a bullet in another kid’s head over a West side drug deal. The kid who steals a phone is a playing the game exactly the way the banks did by being allowed to write a “new” law about foreclosures (Never mind ignoring all the consumer and banking laws already in place) in which they also wrote into the law that they were exempt from any penalty for violating the new law. Barack Obama, Bush and Clinton all illegally used the NSA, FBI and CIA to collect data and map relationships of American citizens and the whistle blower, Edward Snowden, becomes the criminal, while citizens recording police and public officials in wrongdoing are arrested, harassed and abused.

The kid with the gun, the gang selling drugs, the guy stealing a phone or copping a feel from the women on the el train, the lady going to a business meeting who blows a stop sign, cuts in line at the market, eats the grapes from the produce table without paying or all of it become commonplace in a society in which the powerful and wealthy are allowed privilege and excuse for their crimes. The rest of us are bludgeoned and bullied when we are simply enacting the same deficit of morality, courtesy, society and ethics people like Denny Hastert, or Jamie Dimon or Rahm Emmanuel take full advantage of.

Meanwhile, an innocent man, Thomas Turner sits in jail now going on 6 months. He was arrested on a gun charge despite his then girlfriend later admitting they were hers. They added to that a vandalism charge based solely on a surveillance video that supposedly shows him in the neighborhood, but which the D.A. has still not produced. There is no case. An independent inquiry all but proved that. But for the DA’s resume eventually Thomas will plead guilty just to get out of jail, do the time first and plead guilty without a trial. The DA will have a conviction/win and one day may stand before a room full of potential voters and point to his conviction record as the reason he’s the right man for the job. And the deficit grows faster, deeper and more catastrophic than any other deficit in America.


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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I’m so confused.

So, after watching the video and listening to all of the pundits and advocates of the police state, I am confused. So I picked the top 10 conundrums over the South Carolina school incident. To refresh, a girl who was texting in class was dumped from her chair violently by a policeman, by a policeman, by a policeman…for texting. This dangerous criminal was then dragged, then dragged…dragged by the officer in front of classmates to the front of class where, with a knee in this child’s back, she was arrested. Of course that leaves a couple of glaring questions about the police occupation of America’s schools. So far, they have not stopped a single mass school shooting. All thwarted shootings have been revealed by other students. They also failed to prevent Denny Hastert from abusing boys in Yorkville. But here is the top 10 questions I am confused by:

1. The Right talks a lot about liberty and limited government, but says whenever a cop commands you to do something you must comply. If you need to complain, do it later, or you could get killed. NEVER resist the police, whether its over a cellphone in class, being ordered to disperse during a constitutionally protected protest or if you are a young woman being raped during a traffic stop.



There were more than 4 million results for this in Google, by the way. I had to stop after looking at more than 200 separate incidents.

2. Oversight of police is causing them distress making it impossible for them to do their jobs, but slashing pensions and constant assaults on teachers apparently has no effect whatsoever on the quality of education for our nation’s children.

3. Government is bad, except when it wears a badge and carries a gun.

4. Unions are bad, except when their members carry a gun and wear a badge.

5. We need more oversight of government, except when they carry a gun and wear a badge-unless they are Federal officers and the terrorist organization, the Oath Keepers, thre4aten to shoot them in the desert in Nevada.

6. We must cut costly government pensions, except for those who carry a gun and wear a badge. Listen, we are told, the states and cities are broke. All of the money that you put into your pension, union people, and that we decreed by contract and law would be set aside for your pension was given away to corporations. We are broke now, so solong! $100 billion federally each year by the way in corporate welfare, not including 200-300 billion in tax forgiveness, nor does that include a cumulative corporate welfare giveaway and tax breaks totaling at least $300 billion at the state and local level. If you are keeping count, that’s conservatively between $6-700 billion annually to “free market” capitalism? Welfare to actually in need-imminent starvation and homelessness-is less than a third of that.

7. Abortion is bad because every child is a product of god, except Muslim kids, of course, who are trained to be terrorists from birth, and Black kids, who are thugs and feral children. That’s what they say:

8. Police are shepherds of society, sort of like your parents; if your parents could seize your assets, take away for civil liberties for life and shoot you with impunity. I guess that makes the rest of us Children and sheep.

9. The police… Sorry, I can’t I just need to throw up and take a nap..


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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On the day before our engagement

The next morning I returned to the military hospital for the letters Alto and Emira had written for their family on the outside. Snipers were dueling in the plaza. The halls of the hospital were crowded with patients and doctors chased there by the gunfire. Above the frustrated curses of staff, protestations and the moans of the sick and wounded, bullets could be heard slapping against the walls of the building, sounding like clapping hands. I found Emira calming patients, but I might have thought I had rescued her. Grabbing my arm she led me quickly up to Alto’s room.

“Terrible,” she said of the shooting, “much worse than I have seen it in some time.”

The Serbs were putting pressure all around the city, attempting to force the Bosnians to divert troops from the mountain offensive.

“You will hate me, but I haven’t finished the letter. I simply have not had time, with all the fighting and new patients. We are overwhelmed, you understand. I don’t think that Alto is finished either. I’m sorry, but if you could return tomorrow.”
“I was leaving the city tonight.”

“One more day, if it is not too much of a problem.”

At least I might have one more day with Ana. “No, it’s no problem.”

“It’s funny,” she smiled. “I didn’t know what to write. Is that crazy? After so long I had a million things to say and to know. I could have written a book, but with all this time passed and only a few small pages, what is most important to say? All I could think to say was ‘I love you’ a thousand times.” Emira shrugged and smiled weakly. “So you’re leaving the city.”

“Soon.”

“You don’t sound very happy?”

“I met a girl.” We paused near Alto’s door. The shooting had stopped and he was on his cot working on the letter.

“A girl? That’s fantastic!” Emira exclaimed. “Tell me her name, really you must.”

“Ana.”

“Your Ana is a lucky girl,” she hugged me. “I hope she knows that.”

“If she won’t marry you,” Alto quipped, “I will!”

Emira swatted at him playfully, admonishing him with a sweet smile. “You’re mad! Now finish your letter so this poor man can go home to America.”

“I’m not finished yet,” he said.

“It’s not supposed to be War and Peace!” Emira remarked.

“Just war,” Alto replied.

Two bullets smacked the wall beside the window chasing us into the hall again. Alto hopped around on one foot having abandoned his crutches with the letter in the room. As more gunfire resounded in the plaza below he thought better of returning for either of them.

“Ah, jebim te…!” he swore.

“Relax,” said Emira. “Bill will return tomorrow.” She looked at me, her eyes hungry for every detail of Ana. “So is this serious with your Ana?”

“It was all a mistake, Emira.”

“Real love is never a mistake.”

“I didn’t plan on this. Really, it was never my intention.”

“Did you think that one day you would just wake up and say, this is the day I will fall in love? When you return tomorrow we will have coffee and we will talk more.”

Later that evening Ana and I went to see her grandmother downtown. Ghostly white clouds drifted silently above the dark city and broken rooftops. I said nothing about leaving, and Ana seemed to be in no mood to confront that eventuality either

A soldier was waiting in the war room when we returned to Ana’s. He was tall and handsome, with broad shoulders and neatly trimmed blond hair. He was still in uniform and dirty from being on the line. He paced the room while his girlfriend looked on with a concerned expression. She was equally stunning by appearance, imbued with the grace and elegance of a dancer. Long golden hair was pulled tightly from her small face. Their expressions were severe and tense. Ana knew why they were there. She checked to be sure no one was on the stairs and closed the door tight.

“Bill, this is my friend Damir.”

I held out a hand but he ignored it. “What has Ana told you about the tunnel?”

“Nothing.” I shrank from his girlfriend’s icy stare. Her name was Nina. She and Ana had gone to school together, and had trained at the same dance school.

“Did she tell you that I work on the tunnel?”

“She never mentioned any names.” I looked at Ana. Her expression spoke of the danger and seriousness of all this.

“Damir,” Nina scowled, “this is a big mistake.”

He waved her off and thought for a moment. “Normally I would not do this. There is a reason that foreigners are forbidden from the tunnel. If the Chetniks learned the location the war could be lost.” He sighed heavily. “However, because of my friendship with Ana I will help you, if you can get there.”

“You understand that if Damir is caught he could be shot,” said Nina. “Will you carry that on your conscience?” She glared accusingly at Ana.

“I will be at the tunnel Monday and Wednesday night,” Damir went to the door. Nina joined him there. His eyes met mine, as though second-guessing his decision. “Do not tell anyone of this.”

They left quickly, Ana and I languishing in the heaviness of their departure.

“Do you trust him?” I asked.

She looked so terribly sad as she nodded. I sighed and checked the time. It was nearly curfew.

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Ana and I in Sarajevo. Happy Anniversary

The sun was a sickly yellow ball suspended in the soupy smoke and haze at the end of the valley. The cold reached out from the shadows of the Austrian quarter. What remained of the day ran as a narrow channel of light along the wide promenade. Further on the Western world gave way to the old Turkish bazaar of Bashcharshija. The line was sudden and unmistakable. Vasha Miskin became Sarachi as neatly laced cobblestones changed to uneven quarry stones. The Western philosophy of anonymous commerce gave way to intimate passageways and narrow alleys interwoven with crooked arteries of small shops and Eastern-style kafanas.

Ana and I crossed from West to East past a cordon of soldiers hunting deserters. Muslim men filled the walled courtyard of the Gazi Husref beg Mosque. Its marvelously tall spire disappeared high above ancient maples shrouding the lane. At the head of the valley, the crumbling walls of the fortress Jekovac looked down upon the city. Autumn leaves fell like snow upon the smooth stones. For a moment any distinction between past and present became irrelevant.

“Such a pretty place,” I remarked.

“You should have seen Sarajevo before the war,” Ana remarked wistfully. “It was so beautiful. We really had everything here. We had the mountains and skiing. In a few hours you could be on the sea. There was opera and Rock music. You could go for Chinese food by the river, see a French film at the theater and stop for coffee in Bashcharshija. And friends… we would all go for parties in the mountains: Serbs, Croats and Muslims. It didn’t matter who you were. None of us had learned to hate each other yet. Guys would play guitar under the stars and everyone would eat and sing and…”

Her words trailed away into some distant and private memory. She looked at me as if something had been stolen from her. “You could be any religion or no religion. We celebrated Hanukah with Jewish friends, Bajram with Muslim neighbors and Orthodox Christmas with Serbs. We were so lucky to see the world with so many different eyes. It was like we could see just a little bit more of God.”

“So what happened?’

Ana only shrugged, as if the weight of the answer was too much to bear.

We wandered through the old Turkish market, definitely but not purposely towards the ruins of the Library. It was once a beautiful building, dominating the end of the valley, where the river cut among the deep gorge on its way to Pale. Ana could not bring herself to look at it, and instead kept her eyes to the ground until we crossed to the river. Incendiary shells from Serb guns had destroyed the library, and with it a treasury of Bosnia’s heritage. The steps where Austria’s Archduke stood before being assassinated in 1914 led to the scorched and blackened shell of a building. Ana hurried onto the bridge, and leaned at the rail. I joined her there an instant later.

“Look,” she said as the setting sun cast a pale orange glow upon the shallow waters of the Miljatcka.

The river ran straight through the city between high stone walls. Buildings crowded to either side. The bridges appeared stacked upon one another. As people moved back and forth across them their long shadows were cast upon the glittering sunlit waters of the river. Pigeons gathered in the stone arches of the Princip Bridge. I looked at Ana, her gaze fixed on the city. The city and sunset were reflected in her eyes.

“It’s beautiful,” I said softly, as much about the city as for her.

I could hardly take my eyes off her and would have been content to remain there forever. Ana’s shoulder fell quite casually against mine. The energy passing with that touch was every bit as powerful and fluid as river.

“Do you have a girlfriend somewhere?” she asked.

“No not really,” I said.

“You’re not married, are you?”

“Definitely not,” I laughed.

“How come? There isn’t something wrong with you?” she crossed the bridge and I followed.

“No.”

The cobbled streets of Bistrik climbed steeply before us. This was old Sarajevo, a collection of mostly Muslim neighborhoods called Mahalas. The Mahalas were almost separate communities unto themselves, collections of homes where clear distinctions between neighbor and relation had long ago dissolved. There were houses and families that went back generations, even centuries. Ana was a stranger here as much as I was. The odd looks from doorways and windows only confirmed that fact.

“Be careful what you say here,” Ana warned at barely a whisper. “Many here were supporters of Tsatso.”

I knew the name well In the first weeks and months of the war Musan “Tsatso” Topalovich and other would-be warlords had helped rally the city’s defense. His men fought bloody, wasteful battles from the trenches a few hundred meters above Bistrik. But his forced conscriptions, executions and brutality against Serbs and Croats in the city soon besieged the city from within as well. A government crackdown finally ended his reign of terror. Doubtless, Tsatso’s ad hoc defense those first days and months had save the city, but at a terrible cost. For the Muslims of Bistrik, however, Tsatso was not a criminal but a savior who had saved them from annihilation.

“But Tsatso is dead now,” I observed.

“Here he is a martyr and a hero.”

“Is he a war criminal or a hero, in your opinion?”

The question made her visibly uncomfortable. She kept looking to the darkened houses.

“It is best that we not talk about such things, especially not here, and especially not us.”

I didn’t pursue the subject, seeing how it upset her so. We found a set of stone steps and paused for a moment to look out across the city. Bashcharshija was laid out before us, the red tiled rooftops set ablaze by the final assertions of daylight.

“So how come you never got married?” We started down the uneven steps.

“Honestly,” I replied, “I don’t think I ever will. I have this foolishly unrealistic idea of what marriage is supposed to be: totally equal, friends, lovers, soul mates. I know it’s an unattainable expectation, but I couldn’t be happy if I settled for something less.”
“If you hate it so much why not change your expectation?”

“I don’t know,” I said, a bit forlorn. “Guess I’m just hopeless, and part of me thinks I’ll actually find what I’m looking for.”

“But if it causes you so much pain?’

“Right now I’ve got no reason to change. All I have to worry about is my cat.”

“A cat?’

“A big fat one!” I opened my arms wide.

“How big?” she gasped.

“Well not so big. Seems like it for how much he eats.”

“And his name?”

“Manhattan.”

“Like the city?”

“Like the movie: Woody Allen. I was watching it when a neighbor came over with this little black and white kitten. I had no interest in it, but the kitten sat on my shoulder through the whole movie, and by then I was hooked.”

“Fall in love fast, eh?”

“I wouldn’t say that.”

“And you have no kids?”

“None that I know of. What about you, ever see yourself married?’

“I told you, my parents are divorced. They had an awful marriage. The whole thing really jaded me to marriage.”

“Really?’

“I think that a man expands himself in marriage. He expects to have all his needs filled. He wants a maid, a cook, a mother and a whore. A woman tends to sacrifice to fill that need. She loses herself to become those things. She gives up her need and identity for him, and freedom for her children. That’s what happened to my mom, and I don’t want to lose myself.”

“What about children?”

She smiled mischievously. “None that I know of.”

Our eyes met, and for the first time I thought it would be nice to kiss her. I felt sure she was thinking the same thing, but I blushed and looked away. From the corner of my eye I could see that Ana was blushing too.

We turned down a long sloping lane bounded to one side by the towering walls of the Sarajevo Pivara, or brewery. A fire hose carried water from the Pivara to a gurgling spigot. The natural spring within the walls of the brewery proved to be one of the few reliable sources of water for the entire city. There was a line of haggard looking folks waiting to fill water jugs at the spigot. Ana stopped at the top of the lane. Her face darkened with a memory.

“I hate this place,” she said quietly. “We came here for water the first year of the war, my sister and me. It was a dangerous time. Nobody trusted anybody. A lot of Muslim refugees were coming into the city to escape the Serbs, and they needed some to place to live. Some Muslims in our neighborhood wanted to put us out of our place because our mother is a Croat and my father is a Serb. They wanted to give our place to some refugees. They would see us here waiting in line for water, with the rest of the city, and calls us Chetnik whores. Sometimes others would join in, cursing us, spitting on us or spilling our water.”

“You must hate them?”

“You must remember that real Chetniks were murdering and raping thousands of Muslims, and the Croatian Army refused to help break the siege. There were no frontlines, not as they are now. It still wasn’t certain that the Serbs would not take the city, and they found some Serbs in the city who were preparing for that. There were Serbs in the city with death lists of Muslim neighbors. Many people in the city simply disappeared. We were just two young girls. One word and we would just disappear. So we would stand there and cry, and wait for our turn for water.”

Ana led me to the courtyard of a small Mosque. Dozens of stone markers could be seen through a small embrasure, the stones sinking gradually beneath deepening grass. The branches of a willow hung in mourning above the stones, lightly brushing their round tops. Ana pressed her cheeks to the iron bars of the embrasure. I put my face close to hers, pretending to look in at the courtyard when I was really looking at her. I breathed in her perfume.

“…but the rain is still pouring down as it has for days,” I said softly, relishing in her nearness, “and the pigeons coo in the attic. They announce the day that has not yet come. My hand becomes stiff from holding the pen, the candle spits and sparks a little as it staves off death. I look upon these rows of words, tombstones of my thoughts, and do not know if I have killed them or given them to life.”

“Mesha Selimovich,” she said, surprised.

“Dervish and Death, my favorite Bosnian novel.”

“You know of Bosnian writers?”

“A little.”

“My grandmother knew him.”

We were very near the river again. The city was quiet, the streets nearly empty…

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Our interview with Bill Ayers Tomorrow

I have received a great deal of feedback regarding Saturday’s interview with Bill Ayers. This is the introduction I am working to:

Modern media tends to render the individual as cartoons, filler for an endless news cycle or worse, ideological bludgeons for propaganda and hyperbole. But before us today sits a man of flesh and blood. This interview is not a response to the Right’s demonization of Bill Ayers, but an attempt to render his humanness more fully. Like everyone of us he is filled with contradictions, faults, blessings, burdens, dreams and regrets. Bill Ayers chose a path in life that set him on a collision course with the state in its prosecution of a wholly unnecessary war and its persecution against an American system of racial and social apartheid. On the frontlines of any struggle for justice there is friction, confusion, passion, anger; danger. While the path becomes unclear the struggle becomes everything, the world becomes an outside place eclipsed not by the struggle itself, but in the resistance wielded by the oppressor.

What did the tumult of the 1960s and early 1970s accomplish, with the days of rage, protest, unrest and, yes, violence or the threat of violence? In a speech last year at Dartmouth Ayers asked an audience if they opposed slavery and then reminded that audience that before the civil war and during the founding of this nation that they would have been considered abolitionists in opposition to their nation, government and economy all of which relied on slavery. Ayers, as a member of the controversial and decidedly militant Weather Underground stood, sometimes violently, but always resolutely against the deaths in Southeast Asia, over the course of more than a decade of war, of more than 2 million people, including 58000 Americans. The Vietnam-era lottery and draft was an illusion of populism with disproportionately high numbers of minorities and poor pressed into service, while the wealthy, like Donald Trump, Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, Ted Nugent. Michael Savage and many more able to avoid service.

Ayers and the Weather Underground stood unwavering with Black Americans struggling for basic civil rights. Recall that Black veterans were barred from the benefits of the GI Bill and veterans benefits after the second world war, advantages that built the middle class in this country. The stark injustices and hypocrisies they struggled to correct were no different from the struggle of miners on Blair Mountain, John Brown, Sojourner Truth, Jeremy Hammond, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden.

There is a myth of non-violence in struggles for justice. An emasculated and reconstructed pacifist Gandhi once said “…Hence also do I advocate training in arms for those who believe in the method of violence. I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honor than that she should in a cowardly manner become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor.”

Protest and discontent are words of agitation. Protest should rightly be peaceful if the oppressor is accepting of change and willing to dialogue, but when the tactic of the oppressor is greater oppression and tyranny then violence must always remain in the arsenal of the oppressed. Malcolm X said “Kill that Dog! If a man uses a dog to keep you from what is rightfully yours, kill that dog!” A protest without the possibility of violence, should the state choose the road of greater oppression is a parade, and parades are for children and clowns.

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Bernie’s Benghazi/Biden Bump: Dark Horse 2016

The pundits are shills for the DNC, part of the continuing effort to convince or control Americans against making a choice for a non-establishment candidate like Bernie Sanders. The announcement Wednesday by vice president Joe Biden that he would not run for president on the democratic ticket was widely seen as a boost for Hillary. A CNN poll last week asked voters to rate support for Hillary and Sanders with and without Biden in the race. A significant number of Clinton voters opted for Biden. In fact, 3/4 of Biden’s theoretical support came from Clinton voters. The question becomes, why were so many Hillary voters willing to jump so quickly to Biden?

By midday during the partisan taxpayer funded attack on Mrs. Clinton paraded as a Benghazi investigation the presidential hopeful and establishment candidate for the DNC was taking a bludgeoning by republicans. Skewed by corporate media, she is certain to lose momentum in the hearings. Sanders, it appears will go into New Hampshire still trailing Clinton, but likely not with the deficit predicted, or constructed, by pundits. What all of this shows is more likely that Hillary has been able to capitalize on the name and the legacy and the weight of media coverage relative to the near total blackout of Bernie Sanders. That ship may be turning.

Sanders may have stumbled slightly last week attempting to define Democratic Socialism, and to build a brand nearly from scratch against long held misconceptions, outright falsehoods and ignorance about that moniker, but he stumbled into the right direction with more credibility and confidence than the #Black Lives Matter issue some weeks ago.

The question for Hillary is why so many assumptive supporters were so quick to jump to Biden. That seems to indicate discontent in the Hillary camp and a lack of absolute confidence that she is the best person for the job in 2016.

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