…don’t say anything at all

Bill, you have crafted the perfect post title. Please take you own advice — say nothing…at all

 

Nice and Kind

Random acts of niceness?

One of first posts I wrote for this blog is Nice People Explained — 22 months ago. It’s about a philosopher who is tut-tutted in many circles: Bertrand Russell. That particular essay introduced me to the very concept of what it means to be nice in polite society — a form of expedience that keeps the wheels of industry churning and chugging, becoming accustomed to certain niceties. Leo Tolstoy was ahead of his time and ours.

Leo-Tolstoy-Quotes-27-I-Sit-On-A-Mans-Back-Choking-Him-And-...-Quotes-768x756

Yesterday I read great stuff on a great  blog that I recommend to you. May I direct your attention to the eponymous ShelbyCourtland. Great and timely stuff there IMO. Coincidentally, some people would not think Shelby very nice. Speaking up for the exploited doesn’t get the job done. Well, that’s nice, BUT.

Well, there’s a wide chasm between nice and  kind. Kurt Vonnegut did not say be nice, the word Kurt chose was “kind.” Many do not consider him a very nice person either. I once met an unkind person who had met Vonnegut once, and reported that he was not very nice.

You are wasting your time, my friend. By the way, have you ever heard the one about the nice nun who, let’s say ‘got the job done’ in certain elementary school classrooms of the 1950’s?

By “getting the job done” I think you mean training classroom bullies on the nicer points of humiliation? Yes. Thought very nice, very nice indeed.

nuns.with.rulers

Here’s my hypothesis: Nice people conform to the expectations imposed by authority to perpetuate the way it’s always been done and the ways that always work. They never rock boats or speak out of line. They don’t laugh at crap hounds like Jeff Sessions, lest they be likewise incarcerated. There’s nothing remotely fascist about that, is there?  Boats are not for rocking — unless the boats are carrying refugees from profitable wars initiated by the nicest country on Earth. Endless war to stop all those wars that end inconveniently: for armament suppliers. Endless slaughter of fellow sentient beings in technologically advanced death camps — it’s what’s for dinner.

Perform random acts of kindness when they are totally unexpected. Do them often. Do them creatively, even playfully. Get off someone’s back?

Smart and Pleasant

I’m asking Elwood P. Dowd to take over here while I visit the restroom. Please be kind to Mr. Dowd, who knows both smart and pleasant:

“Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” – she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.”

Here is a clip from the 1950 version starring Jimmy Stewart featuring the snippet above.

elwood.p.dowd

My mother, in addition to always calling me Billy, used to say to me “If you don’t have anythingnice to say…”

Or was it “…good to say?” Well let’s find out what good old Google reports on good and nice:

  1. Hits for nice: About 793,000 results (0.93 seconds)
  2. Hits for good: About 220,000 results (0.46 seconds) 
OK, let’s divide 793 by 220 and see if we obtain a result. Right.
Nice Defeats Good
Rather dour fare for a Saturday morning, don’t you know? Your really should have followed through with “… don’t say anything at all.  
Quite right, time for something restful and delightful, in full measure 🙂
The best place I know for taking a breather is upon a sentient cloud. Let’s jump in for a worthy discussion on the proper use of the ellipsis, to whit one written by Esme.

I understand that the shortest distance between two dots is another dot. So let us lose ourselves  in aethereal clouds; particularly after sloughing through this dour post.

Hey, did you know that fog is a cloud resting on the ground? We live just south of Cincinnati, I once saw the tallest building in town pointing out above a wonderful white cloud one morning while driving to where ever the heck I was working at that time.

Thanks for reading.

Question Mercatorian Authority

 

In 1974 German cartographer Arno Peters developed a projection that ignited a firestorm by introducing a map that far more accurately portrays land-area distribution on planet Earth.

Listen Bill, firestorms hurt innocent people. It’s not nice to start fires; however, if we may say one good thing  about firestorms: they just might melt the snowflakes who start them.

 

do_not_question_authority_by_graffitiwatcher

All projections are approximations — you peel the surface of a sphere and press the peels onto a two-dimensional surface. Each attempt compromises something, but that god-awful Mercator (invented in the year 1569) compromises everything except convenience for sextant users in the year 2017.

The higher the latitude, the more profound the misrepresentation. Now what value could that have for propagandists? None I guess.

There must be something worthwhile in a technique that has survived 500 years of history, Bill. We think you have too much time on your hands. Watch some March Madness, Bill.

Yesterday my son turned me on to Cartographers for Social Equality — a cult classic from The West Wing episodes.

Bill, this sounds like something you could put on a business card to alert the innocent of the foolish views that seem to stick in your craw. Can we help you get the help you need?

WordPress uses the Mercator for data analytics by country.  Canadian and Russian visitors make me feel globally successful, simply by dint of all that map-shading.

I’m still waiting for visitors from Grønland (grøn is Danish for green). For no reason at all let me tell you that the German for green is grün.

Stay on task. Do your job. Sit down and shut up. Capiche?

What of those massive islands in Northern Canada? They are actually tiny islands. Take a look at a globe the next time you’re in a furniture store. Observe how the lines of longitude join at the North and South Poles —those antipodes are infinitely distant from the Equator. Literally. Only the places close to 0º depict areas accurately — the North Pole on a Mercator is as impossible to reach as the mythical elvish workshop.

mercator.brittanica

Geography glommed many generations ago into a mash-up called branches of social science. In effect a spattering of soundbites in an already watered-down curriculum.

Here are two of many remarkable cartograms by Benjamin Hennig that you can access on his website: viewsoftheworld.net. You can directly compare area and population density for the insight that this brings — if you’re into this kind of thing.

USelection2016Cartogram

We’re not ‘into’ things. We’re on to things — we’re on to you.
The map on the right resembles a vascular circulatory system, doesn’t it? Perspective matters perhaps.
EUreferendumCartogram
Read Hennig’s blog for more cartograms that portray other dynamics at play.

The Guardian published an annotated series for comparing map projections in 2009.

Why reinvent something that Mercator already settled 500 years ago? But you have to be different, don’t you?

Thanks for reading.

 

Another Billboard the Mainstream Media Can’t Quite Fathom

from: Fig Trees and Vineyards

Banksy is a gifted and prolific artist. He informs his audience with paintings that tear at the fabric of disinformation perpetuated by those who will perpetuate apartheid if not confronted.

banksy_calais__01_2015

The Palestine Poster Project is another source for powerful portrayals of the Nakba, Naksa (the occupation of 1967). An abundant source for inspiration and resolve.

 

Fig Trees and Vineyards

bethlehembillboard

A TV station in North Carolina has published a report on a strange, new billboard that has cropped up in their area that some local residents, at least those who work in the media, are having trouble figuring out.

View original post 569 more words

The Tyranny of the Majority

Majority rule is an expedient way to exercise authority over the unwanted and to marginalize unpopular ethnic groups, such as Native Palestinians in Palestine.

That guy on the $20 bill made the South safe for democracy. Somewhere in Jacksonian Democracy lies a lesson, one learned by 10,000 despots: if undesirables are out of the picture, they are not a problem. Future generations can safely and comfortably observe “mistakes were made.”

After the Trail of Tears, America was made safe for slaveholders again. Cherokees are for westerns or in teepees next to a Stuckeys. Have you heard this one: “I’m 1/24th Cherokee.” Really?

trail.of.tears
Look up Nakba for a similar trail of tears.

America was great I hear. But them Indians got it made now, every tribe has a casino. Sad to say, they’re fat and lazy and coddled by Washington. Things never change, I guess. Wink. Nod.

Grocery stores near reservations are food deserts. If a vehicle becomes available a real supermarket is only 70 miles away. While you are 70 miles away from home you can stock up on health care services and relax a while at the local casino. Chill with your fellow ingrates.

Native Americans are number one in death by police.(The Counted: 2016) among all ethnic groups.

The Guardian compiles this database, but for some reason such information is not collected in the US.

screen-shot-2016-09-06-at-12-38-31-pm

DJT is not a reader, but profound ignorance is no barrier to enormous wealth or monstrous feats of racism. Just a casual side note.

Ethnic cleansing silences voices of dissent.

Israel expelled 700,000 native Palestinians in 1948. Today the growth of settlements in the West Bank make population distribution look a lot like reservations in the formerly unoccupied American West.

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.

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.

A Free Palestine

Is Occupation better than Independence?

free.palestine.end.apartheid

Honest reporting and genuine research relies upon listening to others, hearing repugnant points of view, bearing them.

Stepping onto the dark side does not lead to a more gentle peaceful world for anyone or any one.

Slavery is not freedom. Occupation is not a blessing.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 1.47.50 PM

 

It’s the thing you think you know, the thing that reassures you but keeps you ignorant.

Gaza needs what Greece is getting” was written on the anniversary of the 2014 War on Gaza. How did Gaza become the world’s largest open air prison?

gazavillages.refugees.nakba
Refugee genesis and exodus.

Occupation is not freedom: not for the occupied and not for the occupier. Prison is not paradise.

From H.L. Mencken (1880 – 1956), born in Baltimore, died in Baltimore, wrote for the Baltimore Sun:

“The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer offered advice on when you must speak out.

Silence-in-the-face-of-evil

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Niemöller, Johst und Bonhoeffer

Niemöller was not a narrow-minded person

Pastor Martin Niemöller’s timeless quote is larger than his name.

First they came for … then … then …there was no one left to speak for me.

first.they.came.for.the.palestinians
from Mondoweiss

Xenophobia is dangerous and narrow-minded. It flourishes on ignorance. It has no redeeming social value.

Ignorance of algebra combined with chutzpah-level arrogance recently became equated with terror. My advice: spend less time removing innocent passengers from flights and spend more time learning about other cultures. 

The Arabic word “InshaAllah” is the most common word spoken by Arabic speakers to express the hope that everything will be OK, such as “Let’s hope for the best.” Not all Arabs are Muslims. Most Muslims are not Arabic.

Curiously enough, the word algebra comes from Arabic; actually a long list of English words come from Arabic

aljabr

Should we be more tolerant of the rabidly intolerant? Let’s consider über orthodox Al Kresta, the broadcaster who owns the drive-time slot on Ave Maria Radio. Mr. Kresta always presents himself as a fair commentator. A couple years ago he announced formation of a panel to answer the question “Is Islam a Religion of Peace.” He selected a new convert to Islam as the panel’s scholar and proceeded to bulldoze the poor guy.

Here is an excerpt on the clever ruse from The American Muslim:

“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.”

Al’s guest today was Winston Churchill’s grandson. It did not take long for Kresta to direct the conversation to Islamic jihad and The Church Militant. The takeaway: Winston would have recognized ISIS as a threat similar to Reich 3.

billziegler1947 follows Kresta in the Afternoon so you don’t have to. 

Fear of the stranger may derive from a sense of superiority, privilege or ordained certainty. Xenophobia flourishes best on the dark side: it works like the brain’s autonomic system to profile “the other” as an existential threat. You don’t even have to think about it. Hate goes way beyond rolling the eyes: visceral reactions, racist rants, flying spittle, cognitive dissonance…

cognitive-dissonance-2

We enough personal experience with the human shadow in our cultures, traditions and literatures to know how long that shadow may be cast.

Hanns Johst wrote the play Schlageter

First performed on Hitler’s 44th birthday, 20 April 1933, Schlageter is a play by Hanns Johst. It celebrates the arrival of Adolph Hitler and Reich Number 3. That piece of Nazi theater is the source for “When I hear the word culture…, I release the safety on my Browning!”

SCHLAGETER: Good old Fritz! (Laughing.) No paradise will entice you out of your barbed wire entanglement!

THIEMANN: That’s for damned sure! Barbed wire is barbed wire! I know what I’m up against…. No rose without a thorn!… And the last thing I’ll stand for is ideas to get the better of me! I know that rubbish from ’18 …, fraternity, equality, …, freedom …, beauty and dignity! You gotta use the right bait to hook ’em. And then, you’re right in the middle of a parley and they say: Hands up! You’re disarmed…, you republican voting swine!—No, let ’em keep their good distance with their whole ideological kettle of fish … I shoot with live ammunition! When I hear the word culture …, I release the safety on my Browning!”

SCHLAGETER: What a thing to say!

THIEMANN: It hits the mark! You can be sure of that.

SCHLAGETER: You’ve got a hair trigger.

— Hans Johst’s Nazi Drama Schlageter. Translated with an introduction by Ford B. Parkes-Perret. Akademischer Verlag Hans-Dieter Heinz, Stuttgart, 1984.
It’s not fair to judge a minority of Israelis on the actions of a majority, but the word “Palestinian” twitches thumbs to search for the safety.
Fascism produces no art, no literature. Actually nothing of value, but it is superb at destroying all human values.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Not to Speak is to Speak

Silence-in-the-face-of-evil

 

“Raise high-fives to the home team and its victory. Yeah team. You keep us safe, secure and comfortable. Isn’t that what really matters in the land of the whatever and the home the whatever?” (Bill Ziegler)

I can drive by a squad car and know my features speak of Caucasia (Hey, it’s also a trading company). Why am I nearly autonomically trusted? The answer just might be obvious.

 

May we Voice Criticism of Israel in Public?

Recent Opinions in Jewish Week and Washington Post

A good friend brought this opinion by Seymour D. Reich to my attention today.

A word to the wise…just might…

Multi-million dollar daily cash infusions are the price of eternal vigilance. “Keep moving. There’s nothing to see here. Keep moving…”

pal.nothing.to.see.here

Bernie Sanders did not say many words (measured rhetoric) on a theme of the “disproportionate force” but each word has sprung multiple leaks.

Media in the US and in Israel form the corpus politic. Tangential reporting relies on short attention spans in the audience, a single word must never gain purchase. Hasbara is serious business.

“For decades, most American Jews who cared about Israel’s welfare and security adhered to the maxim that we don’t voice criticism of Israel in public.”

Source: Israel’s Assault On Democracy: Time To Speak Out | The Jewish Week

to.learn.who.rules.over.you
Source: Piercing the Veil or Reality

Speaking of hope, I read David Bernstein’s opinion in yesterday’s Washington Post.

Bernstein is a frequent contributor to the WP and has performed his perfunctory best at pressing the “hate site” label onto Philip Weiss, half of the Mondoweiss founders. Philip keeps getting into Mr. Bernstein’s craw and it’s hard to remain level-headed when your craw is aching. I understand.

cartoon.sheldon.adelson

See also “antisemitism” and “anti-defamation” to learn less of the truth about Palestine and the Palestinian people, as refugees under occupation, as a people in exile for 68 years now.

I admit this: I am a comment reader, an observer of scary stuff that goes on in the worlds of Israel and her BFF. It festers as ever: Israel as promised land (“Because He promised. I swear He did”) Honey, milk, physical and spiritual perfection. A place where birthright yields more independence and recognition than birthplace.

birthright.birthplace

The whole construct relies upon holding fast to denial: the perfected society has skeletons in its closet (carpentered in 1948). PTSD is not unknown among IDF soldiers and veterans. They are breaking their silence.

Witness storied operations inspired by the sling of David, but remain unaware of the murderous occupation maintained for cleansing ethnicity.

Let’s say that your guess is as good as mine.

 

peace.and.conflict.politics

Similarly, a Twitter page for those wishing to band together and fight Arabic fascism.

zvi.lando.arab.fascism
Nothing facile about this logic. It’s from the gentle Zvi Lando.