What’s an Empire without an Emperor?

The US chief executive has long kept all Earth inhabitants under his imperious thumb — it’s the thumb that presses the scale of balances down. An empire requires an emperor. Every four years we get to meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

But what’s an empire without an emperor?

Stanley Cohen‘s recent article “From War to More War” addresses the role of the US military in preventing the threat of peace.

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From wingtip to shining eagle wingtip. One wing to rule them all. One wing to find them. One beak to snatch them all and in the darkness bind them.

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I watched the Nixon-Kennedy debate in real time 1960, not yet knowing that both candidates stood on the shoulders of an ever stronger military incarnate — sow the seeds, harvest the weeds. 

U.S. bombs dropped in 2016.

I see dead people.

The School of the Americas is located near Columbus, Georgia. The other Georgia (the one in Eurasia) had a favorite son: Joseph Stalin, seminary dropout.

The SOA is a training site for staffing all the tyrants needed to maintain global control in the “Free World.” Graduates are groomed to play the part of imperiously moved  chess pieces. Sing the national anthem while waist-deep in the Big Muddy for the land of the Atlanta Braves and the home of the free (from freedom fries).

In the 1940’s the radio sports broadcaster Bill Stern aired a tribute to a certain regular Joe, a guy who hailed from Georgia (hint, hint). Stern’s weekly radio program Colgate Sports Newsreel produced serial hacks — fake news of the day. Fake news is another phrase for propaganda. A country never reveals to its patriots that propagandists are prevaricators. 

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I like Ike famously warned of the military-industrial complex in December 1960, but it received little attention in a country focussed on Camelot —that was before a Bay of Pigs epic fail of 1961. Guantanamo is one of many bases enforcing Pax Americana.

American celebrations anchored by celebrities reside in the culture’s marrow. Saying “thank you for your service” is as mandatory as standing for the blood-spangled banner. It’s a pledge of compliance. Freedom fries are not free. Football is a metaphor for war. And what are sport metaphors?

What if you rage against the military-industrial complex and its close relative, the prison-industrial complex? You become a valued resource of some isolated prison “campus.” Prisoners are human resources that yield “GREAT” profit.

teddy-big-stick

Here is a link to my other 16 posts on Mr. Cohen.

Thanks for reading.

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.

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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

Chris Hedges Interviews Stanley Cohen

I now report back on my favorite human rights attorney (bar none), Stanley Cohen. I am here to put his name forward. A good place to start is his blog: Caged but Undaunted. Chris Hedges interviewed Stanley on RT last month and it’s posted at On Contact.

So what’s new? Attica lives, written 4 days ago, is. Here we have a retrospective from 2016 on the prison riot of 1971.  This Friday, September 9, marks the 45th anniversary of the rebellion. Long penetrating read. Five stars.

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In Caged but Undaunted

You can tune in to @StanleyCohenLaw for live coverage and commentary first hand. I have not posted much on Twitter recently, but what I’ve written and recommended there is @billziegler1947

Possession of a human soul is the resource Stanley uses to represent super marginalized people (like Palestinians) trapped by powers that still be. His clients are people who speak truth to power, I recommend that muchly. 

stanley-cohen-haaretz

The IRS is still a go-to place in the federal government for expedient rulings requested by other arms of the federal government.  Their long arm searched for secreted funds but found nothing. That did not stop them from incarcerating Mr. Cohen in the Canaan PA prison-industrial facilities while they continued their search. By the way, they still haven’t found anything on him. 

No one touches the thief with multiple billion dollar caches and über high-level positions. Think large in this environment and expect things to come your way, such as the Presidency.

The idea was to silence him. Instead they gave Stanley Cohen insight into the inside. His witness is invaluable for all of us out there who believe that justice is not deferrable in a human society.

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Attica 1971

 

To paraphrase Joe Friday “Just none of the facts ma’am, just none of the facts.”

#UpTheRebels

Thanks for reading.

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?

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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.

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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.

Ethnic Cleansing Begins At Home

Nazi ethnic cleansing began with a single unknown undesirable, but within a decade the 1 became the 6,000,000. To observe that number from the perspective of coincidence, it’s the number of Palestinians alive today: each a refugee still. There is no statute of limitation for war crimes. Just ask someone on the receiving end of genocide.

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Have I mentioned that the Palestinians are from Palestine? Roots matter to olive trees and to Palestinians. Water, hummus, olives. An incomparable Mediterranean coastline. Countless cities and villages cleansed of long-established inhabitants.

Viva Palestina!

The time for Israel to stop Palestinian home demolition and pacification was 68 years ago; both demolitions and executions are crimes against humanity, against an indigenous people living under occupation today or as refugees in planet-wide diaspora.

Daily life for the indigenous Semitic people of this land: constant torment by mostly non-Semitic settlers indigenous to Europe. IDF and IOF combatants may commit any crime of their choosing, without fear of consequence or inconvenience. Any day, every day, all day. Which Semites are not included in a blanket inditement: Antisemitism! Antisemitism!

celtic.fans.for.palestine

A strange celebration of Sparta and ungodly decadence: a failed experiment, a way of life that requires several billion dollar annual infusions from the United States and the Marshall Islands.

A land-based aircraft carrier with a hundred nuclear weapons, a laboratory for testing weapon systems and conducting security experiments. Well chosen people? Well…

From the layout of the house housing a 12-year-old rock-throwing terrorist. IDF soldiers show up at 2:00 A.M. No proverbial knock on the door, just break it down and rattle the sleeping. Rattle and curse the ugliest phrases a fighting man can muster. And, so a final enough solution: indefinite incarceration for the kid, a house removed by a wrecking ball or dozer, a homeless family. But it doesn’t matter: they are annoying Arabs. Ptui.

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Some sources for guidance in non-violent resistance. Think Warsaw Ghetto.

Jews Against Genocide

Jews for Justice for Palestine

Jewish Voice for Peace

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:

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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.

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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.

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

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Repeat these three letters three times: USA

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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African Voices: a Tribute to Kalief Browder by Jennifer Gonnerman

Thanks for reading.

Hedy Epstein, Fascism and Prison America

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Hedy Epstein (née Wachenheimer) was born in the city of Freiburg in the year 1924, a nine-year old kid when Hitler took over. She was one of the fortunate few who left Germany for the United States in 1939 (Kindertransport).

Hedy reported on Israel’s behavior during the 1982 Lebanon War. That behavior brought familiar the memories of childhood in a Freiburg in the 1930’s.

Hedy ist eine Menschln presently living in St. Louis, Missouri. In 2014 she was arrested at a protest in a suburb of Ferguson on a charge of “Failure to Disperse,” a charge similar to “Failure to Communicate.” Both “failures” are euphemisms. A “communication failure” took the life of Mr. Michael Brown.

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Fascism is never a good idea, but many fervently long for it every day.

Fascism is never subtle, it’s better at blurting and wallowing.

Fascism is filed in billziegler1947 under jailers or nice people.

Fascism proclaims that ethnic cleanliness is next to godliness. 

Fascism is proud and nasty, upfront and in your face foul.

Fascism believes that “the others” are impurities and impediments.

Fascism winks, nods and smiles at efficient and early dispatch of undesirables.

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Be aware of how well Hedy Epstein is accepted in Israeli society. Beware.

This diminutive 91-year-old icon of freedom and justice is loved and adored by everyone whose lives she has inspired or touched. As far as many Israelis are concerned, though, she can burn in hell. Some of them have actually said much, much worse about this frail, gentle, loving little Jewish lady who has put her life on the line continually for Palestine.

A Great Friend of Palestine


Prison America is alive and well. It promises profit for idle capital and is certainly a growth industry. Good ROI.

“You are fettered,” said Scrooge, trembling. “Tell me why?” “I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost.

“I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”

Shutting down prisons is a force for peace. Jesus the Jew of Nazareth knew that. 

Jesus was a true-blue Jew. He would not strew white phosphorous upon unsuspecting children.

https://islampeace1.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/israel-using-white-phosphorus-during-thier-operation-at-gaza/
White Phosphorous over Gaza

Just for the record: Jesus of Nazareth was not of European descent.

Fascism always festers fulsomely under the surface of polite society.

Question the plea “We must return to our commonly shared Judeo-Christian values as established by our Christian founding fathers.” What about the other third of the triad of a monotheism rooted in the Levant?

The monotheist religions are in number three:

  • Islam
  • Judaism
  • Christianity.

Abraham is patriarch to each.

Translations lie. Oft repeated lies lie big-time. Repeat a lie enough and it becomes the stuff of conventional wisdom. Watch out for the fallacy of affirming the consequent when presenting a logical argument.

Joseph Goebbels knew how to lie at world-class levels.

Ignore news cycles, soundbites, repeated headlines, rehashed dead horses.

Politics is warfare.

we.too.are.trying.to.stay.afloat

The Jailer Mentality and Alternate Histories

One of the oldest entries in my “Commonplace Book” is from an article titled simply “Science Fiction” in the small but wonderful book Of Other Worlds by C.S. Lewis. I still own that book, but have decided to quote a passage via internet; I originally typed it on an Underwood manual typewriter in 1974 (it’s one reason for my deformed fingers).

people are so ready with the charge of ‘escape.’ I never fully understood it till my friend Professor Tolkien asked me the very simple question, ‘What class of men would you expect to be most preoccupied with, and most hostile to, the idea of escape?’ and gave the obvious answer: jailers. The charge of Fascism is, to be sure, mere mud-flinging. Fascists, as well as Communists, are jailers; both would assure us that the proper study of prisoners is prison. But there is perhaps this truth behind it: that 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.

A Pilgrim in Narnia reflects my own lifelong role as pilgrim and longer for other worlds. It feels like that “visit to the deck” when I go there. Science Fiction brought me instantaneous wonder one summer in Northern Michigan: 1963. In the checkout aisle next to the Snickers was this:

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Looking at the calendar to discover that it is the present year. Modern telephone on the wall.

It turned out to fit right in with Davide Mana’s Karavansa. Certainly recommended for those who have read this far.

Alternate histories locked in as a theme the moment I saw the calendar on that seemingly medieval wall. May 1964.

H. Beam Piper’s Gunpowder God provided precise detail on combining sulphur, charcoal and sodium nitrate. I was already combining every household chemical available to discover what the periodic table let me know about free ions, so I was among kindred.

gunpowder_god-schoenherr
Looking at the calendar to discover that it is the present year. Modern telephone on the wall.

Within the next month I had found a brown-paper wrapped Analog and the first printing in magazine form of Frank Herbert’s Prophet of Dune series.

It was in this mailbox on 315 Glenroy for firsthand accounts from the 50’s and 60’s. I still have the large-format magazines in mylar sleeves. They’re over there in the dining room. Make yourself comfortable.

Language, geography, literature and wonder.

And a recognition that our record-breaking incarceration economy and military armament madness destroys far more souls far more innocent than me.

An alternate history that does not press world armament manufacture and mega prison complexes loom in my mind 53 years hence.