Tag Archives: guns

The End of History

954840_10201130282290214_947914457_nDHS has issued an all points bulletin for Johannes Gutenberg for causing history to happen. Authorities say that Gutenberg, a German national, who turned 613 years old this year, remains an unindicted co-conspirator for the proliferation of a technology that led to history taking place. Authorities recently have begun the process of reversing the damage done to the wealthy and powerful, which for centuries has become increasingly abused, led to new and revolutionary technologies, and began encroaching upon the narrative hegemony once enjoyed by industrialists, kings, royalty and wealthy white land owners. DHS officials warn that Gutenberg should be considered clever, informed and therefore extremely dangerous to the status quo.

The dilemma of true history is that is that the immensely complex, the vast avalanche of human experience, success and toil is simplified to a shadow of its true self for the digestion of our limited intellects. It is much akin to a movie, a great book or a digital photograph, behind which whole worlds exist, though we only acknowledge the merest impression of those worlds. But here is the key, remove any part of that background, no matter how miniscule and the image becomes less true.

The anthropological and archaeological records before written history make minor distinction sfor royalty and wealth. The narrative on the advent of farming-which gave humanity beer-is on the farmer, not his or her sovereign. Neolithic villages are described by their social structure and construction. That changed with the advent of writing. When we ponder the flowering of Egyptian culture it is the dynasties, the royalty that comes to mind first. Only recently have we learned details about the daily lives of those laborers and artisans that built the temples and pyramids of Egypt.

Religion-organized, state promoted and enforced religion- it can be argued was a tactic for control of the population, and a vehicle for extending power through warfare. Knowledge and information previously were enjoyed as the privilege of royalty and aristocrats. But technology is too often not shared, shall we say, liberally and freely. It is a failure of our species that new and critically empowering technologies are reluctant to be shared at all levels of society. Their proliferation is slowed by local politics, stuttered by commercialization, and preempted by completion between nations, races and religions.

The lack of voice and its accompanying agency might well be the key to many ills afflicting the planet, from the war to terrorism, racial and religious antagonism and poverty. But those voices are imperative to an accurate accounting of mankind. Imagine the battle of the Bulge told only by Eisenhower, Hitler or Montgomery none of whom were anywhere near the battle. Lost would be the toils and tears of the Great depression, the words of Anne Frank, the horrors of September 11th, the trial and triumph of the handicapped or the lesson of the addict. But it is all those voices which joins the palette to paint the most accurate mural of history.

History is not written by the victor, it is written by the empowered. History is the subject of the bold, the oppressed and the impassioned.

The assault by corporations and governments is not by accident. It is not a naïve reaction to real or vague security threats. There is a duality to the effort. On one hand there is an effort to stem or anticipate terror threats. On the other hand is an insidious effort to control and disrupt public, constitutionally guaranteed dissent and protest. The infiltration, monitoring and technologies applied by government against, not terrorists, but disquieted and concerned citizens of all political stripes is sinister. It is about control. It is a separation of the government from its people in favor of a Kafka-like self preservation of hegemony and power. It illustrates that the government has become its own separate nation, and all of us are perceived by that new nation as interlopers and a threat.

This year, lost among the impressive and historic protests in Turkey, another protest took place in Sarajevo. At one point, 250 foreign bankers and more than 100 others found themselves trapped and surrounded by thousands of angry and outraged Bosnian citizens. It took the better part of 14 hours for the police to reopen the building and allow those inside the Bosnian parliament building to leave. At one point mothers blockaded a street with strollers. The bankers were attending a conference on investment in Bosnia, plagued by massive unemployment, crumbling infrastructure and rampant corruption following the civil war during the 1990s.

The cause of the outrage was over the expiration of laws in February of 2013 that had previously assigned identity numbers to citizens at birth, akin to a Social Security number in the United States. The result was that since the expiration of the law no new-born children have been able to get ID numbers, depriving them of a long list of benefits, such as passports, medical care and more. In reality, it makes these children non-entities, or non persons in their own country. The spark for the outrage came after a 3 month old child was unable to travel to Germany for a stem cell transplant. Attention compelled the Bosnian government to issue travel documents for the child, but the fate of thousands of other children remains in limbo.

Bosnia has long had a history of political squabbling and backstabbing. The cobbled-together parliament is separated by parties representing ethnic Serbs, Muslims and Croats, who were at war with one another until a NATO intervention in 1996 compelled the so-called Dayton Peace accords. The parties have been antagonistic towards one another since the formation of that unified Bosnian parliament. In the current flap, the Serbs are demanding that that identity numbers show what part of the country someone comes from, in effect ethnic identifiers, while the majority Bosnian Muslims, Independents and Croats want those numbers assigned to children randomly.

But behind those lines is something far more dangerous. After two decades travelling and studying the Balkans, nothing is ever quite what it seems on the surface. The Balkans have long been the testing and proving grounds for all sorts of nefarious schemes by internationalists and governments. For example, while not a direct cause, part of the catalyst for the war was a manufactured crisis against the Yugoslav Dinar. The war helped Germany move through reunification easier, and protected the Deutsch Mark, which preceded the Euro and was the Dollar’s anchor currency in Europe.

Not that Yugoslavia did not suffer significant stumbling blocks of its own making, but as Germany reunified and a new Europe, post Cold War, grew on the horizon, Yugoslavia was poised to become a significant player on the European and world stage. Its geopolitical position was enviable, with prime overland access for oil from Central Asia and into the heart of Europe, and with some of the largest, untouched mineral deposits in the region. Before the smoke had cleared during the 1999 NATO war in Kosovo Halliburton had already secured contracts for an overland oil pipeline from the Black sea across the war torn and impoverished region.

That story is important to understand the duplicitous nature of what happens in the Balkans, and how it resonates, even informs strategy and agendas around the planet. Standing on the frontline during the siege of Sarajevo, I had a sense of past and future history colliding, and in the balance stood humanity at a crossroads. There were echoes of the Ottoman invasions of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth centuries, of Austro-Hungarian hubris, the blood lusts of the Second World War and the short-sighted angst of the old Communist order. Poised opposite that past was the crumbling chaos of the old Cold War order, the world dividing and sub-dividing itself among arbitrary tribal assemblages. There would be strife and greed and a disregard for the true challenges awaiting the planet. Amid the destruction and despair of that tragic city that was all crystal clear. Bosnia was a lesson. The world refused to hear that lesson.

So now there is a new lesson, or perhaps a new scheme. Time will bear both out. But here is the alarming part, the disturbing conclusions that can be drawn from this is fairly obvious. The evidence is found plainly in our past and in our present. It is key to the erasure of history. Here’s what I mean.
At the start of the industrial age, the rich and powerful pitted working class people organizing into Unions against the poor, immigrants or disavowed racial minorities, such as poor blacks in the united States as a bulwark against labor organizing. These groups were often camped by company and factory owners at the gates as a warning to would-be organizers. When that failed outright violence was all too ready an option, often with the support of the government, the Columbine Colorado Mine Massacre in 1927 in which police fired into a crowd of mine workers killing six and wounding dozens is but one example.

There are ample examples of state backed anti-union violence, too numerous to list here. Those poor and disaffected minorities were tools, they were essentially non persons for the manipulation of the powerful.
Scrutiny has been growing upon the abuse of third world labor. More than a thousand were killed and nearly 3000 injured in April of 2013 in a Bangladesh factory collapse supplying Western European and American retail outlets with garments. But third world labor has become a mainstay for companies fixated fully on bottom-line profitability. That successive catastrophes has not compelled a moratorium or an outlawing of such labor practices, and has not driven a real conversation on an international minimum wage and a convention on global labor practices only underscores the hypocrisy of American fictions on freedom and morality.

There is a new necessity by the modern industrialists to secure the labor paradigm they are accustomed to. The Bosnian experiment is a signpost of things to come globally. We shall see more of this, as populations are erased from citizenry and relegated to non-person status. In such a world they will have no rights, no agency and no voice. And when the common person loses their voice only the wealthy and powerful will remain to paint the mosaic of humanity. It will be incomplete, and that will mark the end of history.

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Revolutionand Beer.com. Watch for the show on CAN TV in Chicago

Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer and at revolutionandbeer.com. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla and check out the weekly food pairings for our featured beers with innovative and original dishes by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper at revolutionandbeer.com. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com


Revolution and Beer…of the week: Brunehaut Gluten Free Belgian Amber Ale and Blonde Ale.


Continuing with the theme in which all things in the Universe seem to intersect at that beautiful moment in which activism and beer meet. It is what we do at Revolution and Beer. Activism isn’t about over-turning cars, loud chants or Occupying public places. Activism, true activism covers a broad spectrum depending fully upon the injustice or cause being championed. Boiled down into a common denominator, it is about lessening the burden, or sharing the burden from neighbors and those struggling against burden. May is Celiac’s Awareness Month. Brian and I love food and beer, and since there is no cure for Celiac’s currently, what could prove a better mission? The only treatment for Celiac’s is dietary maintenance.

Earlier in the month, we talked about a line of gluten-free beers from New Planet. The regular beer drinker will note the difference in brewing gluten-free beers with sorghum syrup rather than malts. In a pinch, these beers would pass most tastes. For those with Celiac’s or other’s with wheat sensitivities, they are an anchor to a more normal-feeling diet. One of the three from New Planet was very enjoyable. Check out the piece for which beer I’m talking about.

But alas, the Belgians have weighed in with two strong offerings in the Gluten-free arena. Brewed by Brasserie De Brunehaut in Brunehaut, in southwestern Belgium, Brian and I sampled the Amber Ale and Blonde Ale, both touting a respectable 6.5ABV. Following a 1000 tradition, these beers reflect that value and artistry of that legacy. We could not tell, as with other gluten-free beers, that they were indeed gluten-free. Immediately we started talking food. Because of the health dimension to the topic, we reached out to our friend, and author of Simply Healthy Gourmet, Carole Cooper, living an enviable existence in the wilderness overlooking the Lake Superior shore.

A warning, if you have an issue with delicious food, please leave the room now. We’ll wait a moment for those folks to leave. A little more. Some folks seem to be moving a little sl…Okay, their gone. Let’s talk food.

It’s grilling season, so I quickly inquired about a hearty meet dish that would highlight both of these beers simultaneously. The Amber Ale, has these really pleasing toasted hops flavor. The Blonde was full-bodied and a bit sweeter, pouring to a great clean golden hue, with a strong white head. Carole instantly referred me to a roasted lamb dish on page 75, that I thought was the perfect choice, the herbal earthiness of the lamb was a natural for these beers. But her side dish in the book was made with Orzo pasta, a bit of a no-no for the gluten in the pasta. Try as I might, I couldn’t find a gluten-free Orzo.

“How about a Basmati rice?” she offered as a substitute for the Orzo. Add to the basmati, chopped asparagus, juicy, sweet red grape tomatoes with a drizzle of Olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon, and you’ve got a tasty and satisfying side dish. But here’s the kicker, not all rice is gluten-free. Commercial or restaurant rice can have ingredients and additives that add gluten. Make it fresh yourself with a teaspoon of cumin for that smoky taste, or about a half teaspoon of mint to the cup of rice, pinch of salt and 13/4 cups of water for a different twist; Gluten-free and delicious.

We truly enjoyed these beers, and were tossing around possibilities for both gluten and gluten-free dishes. And we are really interested in readers sharing their gluten-free recipe pairings that can be shared with our gluten-sensitive neighbors. In the meantime, kick back with an Amber or Blonde Ale from Brasserie De Brunehaut. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. See, who said that activism couldn’t be fun, and delicious!

Here’s how to find Carole’s cookbook, Simply Healthy Gourmet, and catch her online recipes: http://www.simplynaturalgourmet.com/carole

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Revolutionand Beer.com. Watch for the show coming in June to CAN TV in Chicago

Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer and at revolutionandbeer.com. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla and check out the weekly food pairings for our featured beers with innovative and original dishes by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author carole Cooper at revolutionandbeer.com. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com

Home Occupiers Successfully Demand Possessions from Foreclosure Profiteers

Link'd inTwo home occupiers whose belongings were seized by Invitation Homes in a lockout last month have finally been promised an opportunity to get their possessions back. Today at 11:15 a.m. in front of 1527 W. Birchwood, they will gather to urge the company to keep its word, and will also ask the company to donate the home to a community organization. In addition, they will discuss the ways that Invitation Homes is profiting from the foreclosure crisis.

After supporters launched a call-in campaign on behalf of Michael Donley and Carmilla Manzanet yesterday, an Invitation Homes employee granted permission for the family and their supporters to retrieve their belongings.

Invitation Homes, a subsidiary of the investment giant Blackstone Group, is a management company that gobbles up foreclosed homes at discounted rates, then turns them into high-end rentals. Since it was created last year, Invitation Homes has spent $3.5 billion purchasing homes in cities across the U.S. Many of these homes may have been foreclosed on wrongfully; the foreclosure case of the home that Donley and Manzanet occupied was actually vacated (overturned) because the law firm handling it, Fisher and Shapiro, filed false affidavits (though the foreclosure was re-done, and later went through). In many cases, families victimized by the law firm didn’t have the opportunity to fight their foreclosures, because they had already left their homes by the time the fraud was discovered. This kind of spurious transaction represents an opportunity for Invitation Homes, whose business model maximizes on the misery of the mortgage meltdown.

While banks and investors have done nothing to make Rogers Park a more habitable neighborhood, Carmilla Manzanet and Michael Donley have put $1,000 of their own money, plus thousands more in volunteer labor, into clean-up and restoration of the property. They even rented a dumpster to remove debris from the house, which had been vacant for at least four years.

“We put our own sweat equity into the home, something that no bank or investor has had the willingness to do,” Donley says. “We were giving life to the home, we made it breathe again. A foreclosed home is not an asset to the bank – it is a liability. People are the lifeblood of any home.”

After finding themselves on the brink of homelessness earlier this year, the couple had hoped to make a new life for themselves and their high-school-age children. Neighbors, who had to deal with cutting grass in the eyesore home’s lawn, had previously talked about trying to get it demolished. They were happy that someone had moved into the home.

On Monday April 29, Donley and Manzanet were approached by an employee of of Invitation Homes, which had just purchased the property from Bank of New York Mellon. The employee never identified himself to the couple as a representative of the building’s owner. The Invitation Homes employee asked if the couple had legal papers to the house, then immediately called the police. Donley and Manzanet’s home was swarmed by at least ten police officers, who pointed a gun at Manzanet’s head and arrested the couple on trespassing charges. After a harrowing ordeal, they were released. The next day, the employee set up an appointment to let the couple retrieve their belongings, but reneged. They were arrested again.

IInvitation Homes’ actions were illegal; Illinois law requires written notice as well as legal proceedings before residents can be evicted from a property. Worse, while Carmilla Manzanet and Michael Donley were in jail, Invitation Homes callously boarded up the building with their children’s backpacks and school books, their pet cat and pet turtle, and all their belongings inside.

Says next-door neighbor Jeanne Wirspa: “They should at least be able to get their belongings.”

Press Contacts:
Michael Donley, 312-772-6545
Carmilla Manzanet, 312-725-2983

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Revolutionand Beer.com. Watch for the show coming in June to CAN TV in Chicago

Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer and at revolutionandbeer.com. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla and check out the weekly food pairings for our featured beers with innovative and original dishes by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author carole Cooper at revolutionandbeer.com. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com

Revolution and Beer Reactionary of the Week: The Right, Reality and the IRS

941738_566959616659904_1731243580_nIf you could see the thumb and forefingers of my left hand right now, they would be rubbing together in a slow circular motion. Know what that is? That’s me, playing the world’s smallest violin as I weep for Tea Party groups that may have been audited, or were simply looked askance at by the IRS. That’s right, I said askance, because I like that word and rarely get to use it in conversation.

So here’s the deal, over the weekend the story broke that the IRS had targeted rightwing groups and Tea Party groups before the election. While I’m not prepared to let Obama off the hook for anything, let’s take a look at this with a bit less of a conspiratorial eye. And don’t give me “where there is smoke, there is fire,” blather. If that was true, then we can say that the IRS maybe didn’t look close enough at some of these so-called grassroots Tea Party groups, you know the ones who liked to call Citizens United free speech. Well, it still remains to be seen whether all that these groups got from parents, Dick Armey and Karl Rove, were rightwing talking points.

Please don’t dwell on the imagery of Dick and Karl actually conceiving the Tea Party. I did by accident, and now I can’t get it out of my head. Oh God, make it stop!

The cries of “foul” by the right fall hollow pretty quickly. Particularly thin is their offense at being profiled by the IRS, especially since the Right has defended the use of profiling with regards to Muslim men, Blacks and Hispanics. By that same standard, all of the sudden “patriot” this and “heartland” that, all the slack-jawed spawn of FreedomWorks, American Crossroads or even MoveOn.org, the Heritage foundation and other rightwing pseudo-corporations should surely have thrown up potential red flags to tax auditors. Going into an election, with the scam-artist money changing scheme that in reality is Citizens United, how could anyone not be at least suspicious of shenanigans?

After Citizens United, these sham 501c3 TAX EXEMPT groups covered the national political lanscape thicker than fat flies on manure, like stink on a monkey or pimples on a gamer’s butt cheeks. We started a 501c3 on Chicago’s south side called HelpHouseChicagoHomelessPeople that actually helped people, rather than serve as a payday loan alternative to millionaire politicians pandering to your affinity for Nascar. These front groups for the exchange of political fortunes, hiding behind veneers of “freedom” or “liberty” or some other crap the socially, ethically and politically lazy refrigerator-magnate themselves to did and do nothing positive to improve the nation, its dialogue or its future.

And you have likely heard the leftwing and so-called Progressives chattering about many of these points. They don’t get off that easy. They were also playing this political spit-swap game, but not nearly to the extent of the Tea Party groups.
There is, however, one glaring difference between the Tea Party and Occupy with regard to all this. You’ll only find it here, and it is this; so the Tea Party was audited, perhaps profiled more frequently that say Democrat or Progressive groups. Now you have an idea of what it is like to be Black in America.

More than that, the Tea Party got an audit for supporting austerity and providing cover for the banks. Occupy was beaten, censored, subjected to false arrests and trumped up charges and had their civil rights trampled for accusing the banks, challenging government/corporate incest and for defending the poor. I weep for you, Tea Party. Must have been tough, huh?

But this point makes it abundantly obvious that the Tea Party, the Right and Republicans…and I’ll throw some Lefties in there as well…are not really about the Constitution, only the constitution for them. They are not about defending civil rights, only their civil rights. They aren’t really for Americans, but for themselves. The irony is, the people who were fighting for those things got hammered by the democrats, the media and the right. They were mocked and ridiculed and harassed, but no one made a sound about that. They still haven’t, because for too many in this nation it is still about selfish interests and not about their neighbors.

Suck this one up Tea Partiers. You got played. Now, time to figure out who you should actually be pissed at. Maybe you’ll actually start looking at candidates on both sides of the isle and beyond for who they really are, and not for the slogans they shout, or the feel good barf they feed you. Time to realize that getting involved in your government goes beyond blindly waving a flag at a WWF match, smashing a Keystone Beer can against your forehead while waving a gun and snarling in some tribal grunt, “Don’t mess wit America!”

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Revolutionand Beer.com. Watch for the show coming in June to CAN TV in Chicago

Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer and at revolutionandbeer.com. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla and check out the weekly food pairings for our featured beers with innovative and original dishes by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper only at revolutionandbeer.com. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com

Chicago author Organizes Counter-Protest against Gunmen marching on Washington DC July 4th

Reasonable, responsible and rational discourse has been hijacked by extremists

On July 4th Chicago author and activist WC Turck will lead a counter-protest in opposition to a planned march on Washington DC by armed gunmen with loaded weapons led by radio talk host Adam Kokesh. Turck vows a peaceful counter-protest, which he describes as a “Gandhi moment,” with activists blocking the gunmen’s access to Washington with arms linked. The counter-protesters will not provoke, incite or insult, nor will they yield. “We will not resist, nor will we be moved,” said Turck
Link'd in
This is not about gun banning, a fear of guns or an infringement on the Second Amendment, which very clearly describes a “well regulated militia.” The “regulated” word is critical to mature, rational and moral discussions about the place and importance of guns in contemporary American civil society. That discussion is important in stemming the bloodshed on America’s streets, but also important to people who wish to protect their families. However, the NRA and “gun pornographers,” as Turck describes them, have chosen to raise the rhetoric to a level of hysteria and paranoia. Rather than treating weapons as a tool, the NRA has promulgated them to a near religious fervor, and is forcing gun proliferation upon Americans everywhere in civil society.

This counter-protest, dubbed “Target July 4th”is not about Mr. Kokesh or Turck, but about returning the discourse to a rational, reasonable and responsible level. Kokesh has promised to lead a march of armed protesters across the Memorial Bridge at noon on July 4th. Currently Kokesh claims that 3,000 armed supporters will join him. Turck vows to meet him at the center of the bridge with fellow activists and peacefully prevent the group from entering Washington, but Turck dismisses the idea of potential violence, saying that he believes that this instead should be viewed as an opportunity for substantive dialogue.

Turck welcomes the opportunity for a dialogue with Mr. Kokesh, but adds, “If Mr. Kokesh leads a march across that bridge I will be there to peacefully and respectfully prevent him from entering Washington DC with weapons. I will not prevent his freedom of speech, but this is a threat, and threats are not protected speech. If he arrives without a weapon, I shall stand beside him and not against him as fellow Americans.”

Contact: WC Turck, cell 773-341-8919 wcturck@revolutionandbeer.com, or http://www.revolutionandbeer.com or http://www.facebook.com/revolutionandbeer

About WC Turck
W.C. Turck is a Chicago playwright and the author of four widely acclaimed books. His latest is “The Last Man,” a prophetic novel of a world ruled by a single corporation. His first novel, “Broken: One Soldier’s Unexpected Journey Home,” was recommended by the National Association of Mental Health Institutes. His 2009 Memoir, “Everything for Love” chronicled the genocide in Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo. His third book “Burn Down the Sky,” about the war on terror, is published exclusively on Amazon Kindle. He is currently finishing a new book titled “Tomfoolery is not a guy from Texas: Riffs and Rants in Post-Republican America.”
It was in Sarajevo at the height of the siege where he met and married his wife, writer and Artist Ana Turck. FOX NEWS, ABC, CBS News, the Chicago Tribune and The Joliet Herald covered their reunion after the war. He helped organized relief into Rwanda during the 1994 genocide and publically supported pro-Democracy protesters in China.
Turck hosted the popular segment “Revolution and Beer,” devoted to grassroots activism and craft beer with cohost and partner B.L. Murray on WCPT, Chicago’s Progressive Talk. In June they move the show to television. The podcasts can be found at http://www.revolutionandbeer.com.
Turck has been a guest on WMAQ-TV, WLS in Chicago, WCPT, WBBM radio, National Public Radio, Best of the Left and the Thom Hartmann show. He has spoken frequently on Human Rights, Genocide and Nationalism. In 2011, his play in support of the Occupy Movement, “Occupy My Heart-a revolutionary Christmas Carol” received national media attention and filled theaters to capacity across Chicago. He remains an activist to the cause of human rights and international peace.

Theater with a Purpose: Stone Soup Theatre Project

tamerI was privilaged last night to have one of the most purposeful and moving theater experiences yet in Chicago. Ana and I go to quite alot of local theater. We prefer the intimacy and energy of small theaters and companies that produce art for art’s sake. There tends to be a rawness to the pieces, an honest, untempered and untapered energy, unlike many larger venues or by more commercial companies. Stone Soup Theatre Project is one of those rare companies that makes their effort seem so much larger than the small core group of dedicated members and actors. Last night’s show, Tamer of Horses, was a sublime case in point.

The play, sadly, ends its run today, though Stone Soup is already looking forward to their next project this summer. We had members of the company on the television show last month. It will air in july, amid their next run. Keep an eye out though, when Tamer of Horses, a beautifully and brilliantly rendered story, comes to your town it should be at the top of your must see list. If those actors are half as talented as the trio of characters from last night’s play it will be a memorable experience.

Tamer of Horses is a contemporary tale of a runaway street kid named Hector, played here exquisitely by Chris Vizurraga, who takes shelter one cold winter night in a horse barn and is discovered by a couple struggling with their own issues. The couple, Ty and Georgiane, are played by local standouts, Meghan Powe and Steven Royce Stinson. They take the troubled boy in, pulling all three along a tumultuous and emotionally charged road fraught with tension, fear, misgivings and self doubt. Like life, those hardships are punctuated by illuminous moments of joy, love, comedy and enlightenment. The boy dreams of being a hip hop superstar, a dream that takes shape in moments of fantasy driven my a beautifully crafted original score by local artist AO, Animate Objects.

There is no poetic Disney-esque ending here. The ending is smart and real and poignant. It is as hopeful as it is difficult, but it reflects the dramas and choices, the perspectives and even lack of perspectives that drive dynamics, change lives and cost them on the inner city streets of this nation. At the heart of Tamer of Horses is the urgency and complexity of unraveling violence from the lives and hearts of too many young people. But it is also a challenge that the task is a worthy but arduous one. “Thus,” goes the ending of Homer’s the Illiad, which adds a surprising and powerful subtext to the play, “then, did they celebrate the funeral of Hector, tamer of horses.”

chris pattersonWe’ll bring to you much more in the coming months from Stone Soup. This summer they are adapting the autobiography of friend, author and anti-gang activist Chris Patterson, “21-The Epitome of Perseverance.” Chris’ story is powerful, but more powerful is the man behind the story. More on that to come. Until then, make Stone Soup Theatre Project a favorite and keep your calender open for their upcoming season http://stonesouptheatreproject.org/.

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray only at Revolutionand Beer.com. Watch for the show coming in June to CAN TV in Chicago

Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer and at revolutionandbeer.com. And if you have a cause to champion, please let us know as we work to become the grassroots support network for Chicago Activists and community organizers.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s and check out the weekly food pairings for our featured beers with innovative and original dishes by Chef AJ Francisco. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com

Illinois Lawmakers, Investigate Not Regulate Fracking — press release from The Illinois Coalition For A Moratorium on Fracking: 900poundgorilla 500th Post!

by-michael-hogue-dallas-news--30-32995-20090519-6May 3, 2013

From: The Illinois Coalition For A Moratorium on Fracking

Press Contact:
Dr. Lora Chamberlain
773 486 7660

ICMF spokesperson Dr. Lora Chamberlain today called the April 30th, Republican press conference on fracking led by Minority Leader Tom Cross “absolutely misguided”, and urged lawmakers to continue to block legislative maneuvers in the IL House, such as the one on May 1st by Rep. Mike Bost attempting to move the fracking regulatory bill, HB2615, out of the House Rules committee.

“HB 2615 is insufficient and unenforceable, and will not protect our land, air, and water” she said. “It would give a green light for dangerous fracking in Illinois before legislators have a chance to review important new studies now underway, including the EPA report on water contamination nationwide and the $1million Geisinger study of the effects of fracking on public health in Pennsylvania, due out later this year. We call for Springfield to move on HB3086 instead, the moratorium on fracking with an independent science-based investigative task force,” Dr. Chamberlain said.

ICMF asks legislators to slow down and study the science that is coming out, regarding the health, pollution, climate warming and earthquake risks of fracking.

HB 3086, the moratorium on fracking in the House, carried by Rep. Deborah Mell, is currently stalled in the House Rules committee. ICMF calls on Speaker Mike Madigan to bring it to the floor. ICMF also calls on Senate President John Cullerton to allow similar moratorium legislation to move forward in the Senate, so that the risks of fracking can be discussed in depth by our state legislature.

“This is one of the most important issues facing our state, “ say ICMF member Bev Walters of CAPOW, (Citizens Act To Protect Our Water), “yet discussions have been held behind closed doors. It is a disgrace. The legislators and the public need to be fully included in a discussion of something that will affect the state for decades and generations. We need protection now. Once water is contaminated or a person dies of cancer, it will be too late.”

ICMF members will be going back to Springfield on May 8 to call for action on the moratorium bills. On March 12, over 100 citizens lobbyists from ICMF and Illinois People’s Action participated in an all day lobbying event to push for a moratorium on fracking. Yesterday, May 2nd, there was a very successful Food and Water Watch campaign calling for concerned Illinois residents to call the Gov, AG, Speaker Madigan and Senate Pres. Cullerton asking them to “kill the regulatory bill and slow down with a moratorium and investigations of fracking.” At the same time, there were many environmentalists in Springfield advocating for the moratorium on fracking.

“Members of both houses have been provided with ample evidence of the dangers of fracking and of the failure of the industry to produce the promised job numbers and prosperity. They have been given evidence and it is their responsibility to make decisions for the welfare of the citizens of the state and not for the benefit of out-of-state companies,” charges Dr. Chamberlain. “In addition, we consider that it is unethical, and it should be illegal, for members of the legislature to vote for legislation that will financially benefit them directly. In other states when legislators vote for their own personal financial benefit it is called “corruption”. We ask the Illinois lawmakers who have signed leases with the Oil and Natural Gas companies or who have trucking companies that will have contracts for the fracking companies or those with other financial ties to fracking industry to stand down and recuse themselves from the votes on either regulations or a moratorium. The health and well-being of their constituents should be pre-eminent in their minds but we think that some IL leglisators have been blinded by what seems to be personal gain.”

The legacy of the 98th General Assembly could very well hinge on how it deals, or fails to deal, with the issue of fracking. Spills, poisoned wells, pollution of aquifers and rivers, infrastructure damage, earthquakes, cases of cancer, neurological diseases or death have occurred in the states where fracking has taken place – to think that would not happen in Illinois would be magical thinking.

Critics of HB2615 maintain that it is a sham regulatory bill, which gives only a fig-leaf of protection. Among its many inadequacies cited, the bill fails to limit the amount of water that companies can withdraw and provides for setbacks of only 500 feet from schools, hospitals, and senior centers. As currently practiced, fracking will consume hundreds of billions of gallons of fresh water in Illinois, and return it as toxic and radioactive waste. The State of Illinois has no viable plan for disposing of this toxic waste. Once contaminated, the water will be unavailable for drinking, agriculture, or tourism. The track record of the industry is one of frequent accidents and spills, with resulting contamination of local water supplies. ProPublica reported over 1000 such incidents nationwide in 2011 alone.

The oil and gas industry has acquired leases in central Illinois, near the Mahomet aquifer, putting at risk the drinking water for 850,000 people. The industry, in talks with Madigan’s office, has balked at regulations to require a certified water well driller at each frack site. ICMF maintains that this reticence on the part of the industry to hire certified Illinois water well drillers gives clear evidence that the industry lacks the “good neighbor commitment” to protecting the water and environment of the local residents.

In spite of industry promises of up to 125 jobs per well, employment and income figures in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Texas show that fracking has not created jobs or prosperity. The jobs that fracking creates – few as they will be – are temporary and toxic. Critics of fracking fear that it will create a boom and bust economy as has happened in other states. “The industry projects from 1000 to 47,000 jobs, this is a pseudo-statistic with such a wide range as to make it meaningless,” charges S.A.F.E. member Rich Fedder.

Frack gas (gas obtained by high pressure, horizontal, hydraulic fracturing) has been touted as a bridge fuel. However, the 5-9% of methane released from leaking wells, according to a recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report, means that fracking will accelerate global warming far beyond the traditional impact of burning coal since methane is a potent greenhouse gas 25 times more potent that carbon dioxide.

HB2615 fails to provide for workers’ protection. Without protections, critics claim, we can expect accidents and worker health problems. From a recent PennEnvironment press release, it was revealed that over 100,000 Pennslyvanians had signed a petition for a moratorium to Gov. Tom Corbett. One signatory, Rick “Mac” Sawyer said, “My life has been devastated by working in the gas fields. Without proper training, tools or protection, I was routinely sent out to handle toxic fracking fluid in unsafe ways,” said Rick “Mac” Sawyer. “Now, a year later, I’m sick, with no health insurance. The gas companies don’t care about the health and safety of their employees, or any Pennsylvanians for that matter.” Bev Walters of ICMF asks, “if fracking is so wonderful, why do 100,000 residents in PA want it to stop?”

HB2615 makes no mention of earthquakes though the injection of fluids deep underground has been shown to cause earthquakes along dormant fault lines in Oklahoma and Ohio. ICMF is very concerned that fracking along the active New Madrid and Wabash fault lines in Southern Illinois may induce a major earthquake.

The legislative session is drawing rapidly to a conclusion and there is still no bill on the floor for discussion or vote. ICMF members say, “When the first spill poisons a well, or the first earthquake is stimulated, or the first case of cancer is reported, the victims should hold the Illinois legislators and leadership personally responsible, because they have all been alerted of the many dangers of fracking and they seem to be turning a blind eye to the hard evidence.”

“Fracking is an accident-prone, carcinogen-dependent, climate-destroying enterprise which uses our land as its factory floor and turns rural communities into industrial zones. Instead of subsidizing fossil fuels and nuclear energy to the tune of billions of dollars, we should be investing in long-term, green energy industries, such as solar and wind. “Yes, we want more jobs, but they should be safe, long term jobs. Fracking jobs have been called the most dangerous in the nation,” says ICMF member Rich Fedder.

ICMF is a growing coalition of community and environmental groups which are working together to support a Moratorium on Fracking, the Illinois Coalition for a Moratorium on Fracking includes, Stop the Frack Attack on Illinois, SAFE (Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment), Citizens Act to Protect Our Water, Rainforest Action Network Chicago, MoveOn.org Illinois, PDA Illinois, Southeast Environmental Task Force, Chicago Area Peace Action, Rising Tide, the Chicago Chapter of World Can’t Wait and Illinois Citizens for Clean Air and Water. The Coalition works with other partners who support the moratorium as well such as Illinois People’s Action, Environment Illinois, Food & Water Watch and Sierra Club Illinois.

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