Stanley Cohen: 2016 Person of the Year

Stanley Cohen was a bright silver lining in 2016 — and now in 2017. By simply being himself he bestows hope to the most fiendishly exploited  and he always buoys the spirits of his worldwide supporters.

I flip the calendar back to 2015 and remember when Stanley spent 11/12ths of 2015 in the Canaan PA prison ‘campus’ — down in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania. Imprisoned without cause. His voice temporarily muffled, but he witnessed Prison America firsthand. And so his full-throated voice is back and he’s upped the volume 🙂 Certainly made my 2016 — and not just mine. Click More on Stanley for more on Stanley.

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Trumped up charges raised over the years by a convenient and expedient arm of federal government (IRS) repeatedly found nothing. Investigators found no basis for charges because none exist. So they sent him to Canaan (aIn’t the promised land) anyway.

Wait a minute you may say, this is America.

Read about Kalief Browder. Then discover how he died.

Did the IRS find Stanley Cohen’s secret rumored lucre?

No.

It’s what happens when you speak up for the über disenfranchised on this planet. People such as Palestinians.

See my blog category Palestine for complete details.

How does Israel get away with the longest occupation in modern history? You can stay up to date on that question by following Stanley Cohen on Twitter. He’s eloquent, he’s prolific, he’s been at it for 50 years.

A quick unrelated aside. Does white phosphorous demonstrate characteristic trails?  On Gaza for instance.

white.phosphorous
Distinctive white-phosphorus trails in Gaza

Fortunately, Stanley’s Twitter-feed nourishes the humane soul daily. Click Caged but Undaunted. #UpTheRebels

Stanley Cohen is a dedicated, determined and honest human-rights attorney, a man of integrity — that rare endangered specie of homo sapiens known as Menschen. No vested interest has ever owned Mr. Cohen and none ever will. Truth guides him, honesty defines him.

Few even know that Stanley Cohen exists. Electoral results confirm insatiable ignorance.   

We teeter at the edge of impending dystopia. Thinking critically is passé. Unthinking is the more modern way. I find it curious that George Orwell is the antithesis of Orwellian, but in proper NewSpeak fashion, his very name now defines it.

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Oddly timely that my favorite  NewSpeak website is no longer available.

 

What is Winston Smith’s job. Where does he work? What does he do?

Winston Smith works as a clerk in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth, where his job is to rewrite historical documents so they match the constantly changing current party line.

Wikipedia

“To hear the simplistic denial of those who scream out with naiveté “give Trump a chance” as they condemn others engaged in selfless protest against a certain political and social tsunami in the making, is to ignore his life-time public embrace of policies that tens of millions reject as not just destructive, but evil per se. They are not mistaken. — Caged but Undaunted 

Thanks for reading.

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Source

Leitmotif of a Commonplace Book

A commonplace book is a collection of loosely organized snippets of stuff. It’s a way of thinking that I first encountered by way of detour (my favorite hobby) at the Cincinnati Library — a book caught my eye and subsumed my identity — A Certain World by W.H. Auden. ’twas many a decade ago (4) in what now seems a distant galaxy.

Galaxy (not the magazine) reminds me now of that breathtaking work by Douglas Adams — by golly, esme recently alluded to HHGTTG. Please consult esme for more, much and many. You’ll enjoy the visit. You will, yes you will. Say, I also offer a thread from H2G2 too.

commonplace-book-cartoon-newyorker  

I like to use the word eponymous whenever possible. By gosh, this entire writing adventure is eponymously named billziegler1947. Tell your friends about this ever so clever self-referential weblog, or not.

But WTF is a leitmotif? Doesn’t sound light to us. Har Har.

A leitmotif is a recurring theme in a musical or literary work.  

leit-motif

All so very well Bill, but isn’t it time for an unnecessary ‘detour’, one you cloyingly call a hobby?

A blog is a jarringly clumsy word created in the internet wild-west world: a two character left-string truncation of ‘weblog’ — it removes the ‘we’, or is it the’us’?

Captain’s weblog 2016.366. We is back. Welcome. Just us chicken defenders.

And so, this has all been a rather detour-ridden post. However, it’s a holiday of sorts — the null point , nodding here to Hariod, between 2016 and 2017. Or are we to be taken, in far less than an instant, to arrive in 1957. There to encounter a Back to the Future replay of the fell sort, Biff and all perhaps.

biff-wins-again

Holy heavens, you have completely abandoned every modicum that informs an insistent adherence to proper writing-style. Will you ever stay on task?

No.

Veganism is the best ‘ism’ ever. If you don’t believe that then you haven’t visited Crows Head Soup by Peter Schreiner, have you? Right. Go there now.

As you gather about that soup cauldron, allow me to pass the microphone to a most impassioned advocate, one who brings voice to each and every animal crushed to the marrow for the sake of appetites unending and insatiable — outsidersinsides. Expect no bon appetit if meat be on the table. Thank you! And to all gatherers — grab that mike. My ear enjoys your insights. Always.

Let’s say that you recognize the longest occupation in modern history, one that continues into 2017 and you are also interested in animal rights. Right. Palestinian Animal League.

Let us remind you, Bill, that you are no Laurence Sterne and we fervently pray that you not dash off first lines from Tristram Shandy to cover your untidiness. We merely ask.

First lines

shandy-black-page

Copy. (and paste). But I do recall that page of solid black ink from high school, don’t I?

Yes, I do.

cover-page-tristram

And so, with gratitude for every and each reader, and with appreciation for everyone I follow, a hearty fist in the air on behalf of all the exploited sentient beings who are our fellow travellers.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

Junior Chills: “Wake Up World”

Announcing a new music video from Junior Chills, a three-piece band in Belfast, Northern Ireland. They produce songs of strong feeling. This one is about the stupefying lack of media coverage on a marginalized, ignored, dismissed,  forgotten, unknown people.
strokespic
Many still know nothing of refugees who lost their homes, who are still denied a right of return guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They still possess that right denied. It’s another reason for following Junior Chills.
Did I mention that billions of people alive today are unaware that these people even exist. I am ashamed to report being a citizen of a country whose military and intelligence communities dump enormous taxpayer funds into weapon and security systems that stagger the imagination. Are we exceptional?  Is that not arrogance?
But the name of their occupiers is on the map, methinks the occupiers doth occupy too much. The population of Israelis in Israel-Palestine is approximately the same as the population of the Philistines (the name they actually give themselves) but would you know that from looking at the map below?

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Humiliation is the name of the game, but these people possess joy in the very spite of subjugation.  Prisons for the occupied are stuffed with dissenters. Children as young as 12 are imprisoned daily for throwing stones. Perhaps they throw them at low-flying F-16 fighter jets. Call them terrorists and toss them into prison. Then throw away the key. While you are throwing away keys, break into their grandparent’s house and throw away their family home they had to leave in 1948 (more on that in the next paragraph). So yes, I am complicit in this 68-year ethnic cleansing operation by the “only democracy in the Middle East.” But I don’t yield to those who actually believe that ignorance is strength.
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Wake Up World” is Junior Chills’ latest contribution toward bringing attention to the human rights of the people exiled from their homes in 1948. They are refugees to this day. 700,000 were forced from their land in that year alone. I was eight months old that year.
Many were cast from the paradise of a coast along the Mediterranean into a part of Palestine west of the Jordan River and into an open-air prison known as Gaza. They brought only what they could carry in 1948. House keys used to lock their doors on Nakba Day (the Arabic word for catastrophe).
Damien McGee  writes, sings and plays guitar for Junior Chills. Here is how he described the protest song in our recent communication:
 
“It is called simply Wake Up World. I am going to try my best to share it out there as widely as I can to help do my bit to raise awareness of the daily struggle in Palestine…I hope you like it!!”
 This is a very powerful musical and visual depiction of the massive injustice meted out every day. The bombs you see exploding in the video killed 2200 people in Operation Protective Shield (a lovely name for an excuse to spew death IMO), 500 were children. Just one of many “operations” that are all pretty much alike. One encouraging note for anyone looking to buy shares in corporations such as Halliburton: every round expended is a round for another round of expenditures. Revolving doors. dick cheneys.
terrorist or victim
Lengthy prison sentences can be imposed in Israel for throwing stones
It gives the viewer pause and tears tears from your eyes. The violence depicted in the video is not gratuitous, but know that young innocents were not of concern to those who saw the exterior of the buildings in the crosshairs.




The streaming trails you see in the photograph below spew from two white phosphorous bombs exploding from a height, that height insures horrid deaths and agonizing injuries. Population density is very high in Gaza, there is no safe place. White phosphorous burns to the bone.
white-phosphorous

Veganism, Climate and Election Seasoning

Ignorance and arrogance is a combination that echoes with brute force this very curious year. Unfortunately, both are proudly celebrated. Doubly unfortunate for the entire planet: the sad celebration of ignorance occurs in an election year.

climate-change-conference

The topic least considered is the topic most important, global warming or climate change? Your choice.

What actions would HRC or DJT  take on climate change? And answer came there none. It’s not a convenient time to…uh…next question please.

BTW, I am running on the Vegan ticket. For write-in ballots I suggest

Bill Ziegler (the one on billziegler1947.com). Readers are welcome to apply for cabinet positions in the event that I receive the most electoral votes.

Ironically, in 1912 the climate researcher Alfred Wegener proposed a theory of continental drift, positing that different large landmasses of the Earth almost fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. That they appeared to move. He was correct, but off by two orders of magnitude in the speed of plate movement. GPS tracks it automatically and continually now. 

Sadly a very influential paleontologist name George Gaylord Simpson vehemently fought against Wegener.

Prof. Dr. Alfred Wegener, ca. 1924-1930
Prof. Dr. Alfred Wegener, ca. 1924-1930

When I first began studies in Geography at the University of Cincinnati in 1965 (in the day of slide rules).Wegener was mentioned for his climate work, but the professors at that time roundly dismissed any realistic notion that the Americas ever met Eur-Africa. Tectonic plates. The thought had a romantic and fanciful value, but no evidence supported it.

In 1976 Exxon received the results of a study they launched on the global impact of increasing dependence upon fossil fuels. Exxon risked eventually losing claim to “We’re Number 1” (USAUSAUSA) on the Fortune 500. Ignoring evidence is an enormously profitable enterprise.

Addressing climate change could have begun 40 years ago. Veganism may be the only option available. It’s also great for your personal health. Just expounding.

Unfortunately (very unfortunately) a tectonic shift in political execution began in 1980.

There is great  symbolism in the release of hostages during Reagan’s inaugural address. Allow blame to flow to the Carter Administration, rigorously and self-righteously deny any hint of a deal in Nicaragua. Proceed with an order to remove Carter’s solar panels from the White House roof. The Project for the New American Century raised a toast to the death of the 70’s. I call it mourning in America.

 

Slave-level labor keeps inflation in check. Fill in the blank, Made in …..

Dick Cheney and Henry Kissinger are both still alive, still active and still war criminals. Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.

Meanwhile Jimmy Carter hopes that the Guinea Worm will die before he does. Google guinea + worm for details.

guinea-worm-carter

A question raised in January 2016 by the Party of the Grand Olds: Who will be our next Reagan? That month a friend of mine predicted the total collapse of the Republican Party. In the same month that friend asked my son about his estimation of the number of racists in the United States, he answered 35%. DJT’s hardcore.

January was already a WTF year by February. Lisa joins those explaining zombies in popular culture as a response to the impending doom dropped into their collective laps by preceding generations. As one of them. I can only agree.

iran-contra-bush-reagan-herbert

At least Jerry Rubin did not live to witness the folly of equating a growing wealth-management portfolio with a revolution. RIP stock portfolios.

Details at 11:00.

Thanks for reading.

Taking BDS Viral: Stanley Cohen OpEd

Just when will an article on Palestinian human rights ever go viral? My hope is NOW.

with.bds.and.palestine

It is not cheap to make all the news that’s fetid to print. You have to make it palatable while erroneous. American media giants are like Wonder Bread, not remotely wonderful but they knead a profit. What else matters?

A few days ago an Op-Ed written by Stanley Cohen popped up on Al Jazeera.

Here is my reaction:

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 5.15.12 PM

Stanley Cohen is major league.  Whenever perplexed on the state of the State of Palestine and the refugees living there, listen to someone who has been well informed for something like a half-century.

During that time he has not wavered from representing real Palestinians. Universal human rights belong to all 7 billion individuals on this battered orb. Pleas are not just for the chosen.

Expedience is not the name of the game today, it’s a character flaw that Mr. Cohen doesn’t have, and he is not about to change. Stanley is not a political animal, and that doesn’t play well among multicrats gazing at the weather vane and thinking about trial balloons.

As hard as they have tried the powers that be have never been able to pin a single charge on Mr. Cohen, it’s not the wonders of teflon at play. Actually just simple human integrity at work: rare mettle.

The injustice system of Prison America sent him to Canaan Prison for eleven months in 2015 while they looked for some evidence they could find or that they could convincingly plant. They have never found any, but that’s the genius of the Patriot Act. Make the prison industrial complex the heartbeat of America.

Through 2015 Caged but Undaunted kept his voice alive.  A tip of the hat to Marion Heads., another Mensch out there lighting candles for every fellow traveller suffering under the drang of fascism.

It’s expedient to imprison without cause. Today it’s Orwellian patriotism, though I don’t like calling it Orwellian. The word itself peals like something out of the NewSpeak Dictionary. George Orwell saw it coming point blank.

orwell.1984
Source

Previous stuff on Stanley Cohen that you won’t read this on NYT or NPR. Unfortunately they follow the expedient.

#UpTheRebels

Editor note: I am humbled by my readers. That’s as it should be. However, I published my last article before it could be properly edited and several of you read the more hapless early version, and so I Speak Arabic Openly and Joyfully.

Reporting from the land of the fête and the home of the Atlanta Braves. BDS USA BDS USA!

Thanks for reading. Opposing viewpoints welcome.

Understanding the School to Prison Pipeline, Cincinnati tour: Avondale

billziegler1947.com/category/prison

America’s prison-industrial-complex becomes an ever larger sector of the global economy with every passing year: it’s not going to change until we own the ability to break the vicious cycle at its deepest roots. I’m a citizen of this tiny planet who still believes “Think Global, Act Local.” It’s more than a bumper sticker.

This is also a personal invitation to anyone finding themselves near the juncture of Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky June 25 between 3 and 6 o’clock.

Source: Understanding the School to Prison Pipeline, Cincinnati tour: Avondale

Update: my reaction to the teach-in that I posted on FaceBook.

This teach-in was marvelously planned and conducted. The visual aids were convincing and well documented. My thanks go to everyone who made this possible. The room was filled and I look forward to the next one scheduled for next month in Price Hill. It’s important information for an informed citizenry. Grass-root movements like this one are crucial.
My written stuff is more coherent than my vocal attempts these days, so I’m including a link here to the articles I’ve written this past year on the subject of America’s prison-industrial-complex, how it relates to being a Mensch. Again, my thanks to all and each.

Thanks for reading.

Incarceration Industries and US

Prisons, Portfolios and Humans as Resources

Prisons are like factory farms: in an American mindset they are just there. Small town employment opportunities depend on their existence, it’s what holds many small communities together: the jail, the slaughterhouse, the slightly trained health services workers, the armed-services recruitment center.

The occasional cow (one of a billion) breaks out and wanders onto the local highway. It makes the local news, the cow gets its fifteen minutes and an unlikely pardon. Prisoners are like cows, a link in the foodchain.

Let’s get in contact with a money manager and ask about prospects for spare dollars. Begin with questions:

How can I get in one of the fastest growing sectors of the American economy? Do I have to sell my soul to make the biggest bucks? Should my portfolio include prisons? Are there any risks to me personally? What are the long term prospects? Could growth slow down?

But not everyone is butt-ignorant. There are people who speak honestly of “business ethics” as two words that should go together well. They deserve your ear.

Read what Berna writes.

from Berna’s Vibe: THREE STRIKES LAW

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From Leo Tolstoy: I sit on a man’s back. Yes, we’re still riding that guy with every assurance that “getting with the program” is a good idea and  in full keeping with the best system ever created by man or beast.

Taking a look now at our record since bellying up against the Soviet republics and their union. Who is number one? Who is standing atop a heap of bison skulls?

incaration.rates.nato

PrisonPolicy.org has well presented, well researched information.

Around 1963 I sat in the doctor’s office waiting room. I picked up Esquire and read an aritcle by Gore Vidal on the consequences of stringent controls on certain prescription drugs. He warned of its potential societal harm. It was an introduction to critical thinking.

Welcome to Jail, Inc. from The Guardian

Unless our course is changed, the prison-industrial-complex conjoined with its mighty twin the military-industrial is the future of America. Conceived and directed by our jailer mentality.

Repeat these three words three times: We’re Number 1

prison.pie

Repeat these three letters three times: USA

Post late-stage capitalism has its growth industries. Last month gentle souls seeking gain gathered in Texas.

late.stage.capitalism

American Jail dot Org has a bright red banner stating “I need to be a part of this.” Dystopias need allegiances, selling out is an American tradition and the fourth of July is just behind the corner.

The human body consumes its own molecules when it starves. Its decline is marked by accelerating and seemingly sudden changes (like hitting the pavement after jumping off the top floor), such as viewing the explicable in the rear-view.

We’re not in Kansas anymore, nor is Kansas. Noth the Kansas I knew in 1970 at Kansas State.

Let’s take a drive through Syria from the perspective of the journalist behind the wheel: Mad Max Redux in progress.

Reality shows morph into reality, and back again. The morphed becomes a morpher.

Is anyone watching this? Stanley Cohen is one of the one in a million. He was quite literally in Canaan (a prison complex in northeast PA). It isn’t the Promised Land. Your best source for accurate detailed information about Mr. Cohen is Caged but Undaunted. Soon to leave New York for the Middle East.

Bertolt Brecht posed a question for the audience in Der gute Mensch von Sezuan. (The Good Person of Szechwan) The question his play seeks to answer:

Is it possible to simultaneously exist in this world, yet remain a good person?

The jury is out, perhaps for the count.

Kalief Browder Learned How to Commit Suicide on Rikers

Jennifer Gonnerman is the journalist I credit with introducing me to a young man trapped as thoroughly as the protagonist Kafka introduced in his uncompleted novel Der Prozess (The Trial), a recognition of injustices that compel gentle souls to scream at the every day horror of the everyday.

jennifer.gonnerman.new.yorker.award

One year ago billziegler1947 became a vehicle for transporting readers via metaphor: the ancient and modern Greek for “transport.”

The transport stops here, I turn the wheel over to Ms. Gonnerman:

Before Browder ever attempted to take his own life, he saw another inmate in the jail try to end his.

Source: Kalief Browder Learned How to Commit Suicide on Rikers – The New Yorker

democracy.now.kalief.browder
African Voices: a Tribute to Kalief Browder by Jennifer Gonnerman

excerpt from her New Yorker article published at 10:45 this morning.

On June 6, 2015, Kalief Browder took his own life at his home, in the Bronx. He was twenty-two years old. He had been released from Rikers Island two years earlier, ending an ordeal that had begun on a spring night in 2010, when he had been arrested for robbery, at sixteen. He spent the next three years in jail trying to prove his innocence, and, for about two of those years, he was held in solitary confinement, where he attempted suicide several times. The charges against him were eventually dropped. I met him after his release and wrote a story about him in the fall of 2014.

Please remember Mr. Browder each Memorial Day, acknowledging the fallen and the falling: the failure of a society.

african.voices.kalief.browder
African Voices: a Tribute to Kalief Browder by Jennifer Gonnerman

Thanks for reading.

Xenophobia and the Church Militant

Al Kresta

The über orthodox Al Kresta owns the drive-time slot on Ave Maria Communications (he is also their CEO). His scholarly tones suggest intellectual curiosity, unfortunately that curiosity seems to cast suspicion on  “the stranger” or “the other.”
kresta.in.the.afternoon
 I’m in the Kresta in the Afternoon audience, but not singing with the choir. Al gives me an opportunity to refresh my understanding of logical fallacies, and to remind me that half-truths lead to full-blown lies. I call a partial truth a bold challenges, a euphemism I once overheard in a marketing campaign. how much misinformation can be included in an ad for the king’s latest attire before the clever ruse is noticed.
Open minds threaten xenophobia and racism.
A couple years ago Kresta announced an upcoming panel to definitively answer the question “Is Islam a Religion of Peace?”  He decided to bring people with different ideas to the table to balance the views expressed. As a seeker of truth Kresta would weigh opposing views to see if that mighty question might find a true and everlasting answer.
Big but: Kresta stacked the panel.
robert-spencer-jihad-watch-did-muhammad-exist
comment unnecessary
The American Muslim published an article on the debate. An excerpt:
 
“He will certainly be in over his head, and this “featured debate” will simply be used as an opportunity to humiliate the American Muslim community. Shadid Lewis may mean well, but participating in this very public event without the tools to deal with someone like Robert Spencer is at the very least unwise. And, the fact that Spencer, Kresta, Ave Maria, et al are framing this as a debate between scholars, when that is clearly not the case makes it clear that they have an agenda.”
From my article “The Jailer Mentality and Alternate Histories” published here.
“…those who brood much on the remote past or future, or stare long at the night sky, are less likely than others to be ardent or orthodox partisans.”
Arsalan Iftikhar approaches Islamophobia from a different perspective.

RNS-IFTIKHAR-QANDA

Rod Serling’s “The Monsters are due on Maple Street” gives us some insight into this phenomenon.
Thanks for reading.