Believing what you are told can be harmful to your health and the well-being of others. This year has given voice to a few widely held dark beliefs that threaten everyone, and that includes all sentient fellow travelers.
Ignorance is still equated with strength, multi-multi-multi-trillion dollar industries must maintain market share and stockholder confidence. Chanting JobsJobsJobs convinces many to do unspeakable things. Why tell us about the index of Dow and Jones 24 times a day?
The occasional North Korean escapes the country. The occasional cow escapes a death camp. Let us express amusement at the hapless cow wandering on a local highway as its tale spreads onto social media, only to disappear in the morning drone.
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.
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.
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.
To paraphrase Joe Friday “Just none of the facts ma’am, just none of the facts.”
Thanks for reading.
Just when will an article on Palestinian human rights ever go viral? My hope is NOW.
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:
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.
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.
Previous stuff on Stanley Cohen that you won’t read this on NYT or NPR. Unfortunately they follow the expedient.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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
Repeat these three letters three times: USA
Post late-stage capitalism has its growth industries. Last month gentle souls seeking gain gathered in Texas.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks for reading.
Linked below is the fourth installment in Stanley Cohen’s new series on Prison America. It is an account told firsthand from within the walls, cells and bunks of Canaan Prison in north-east PA.
A direct witness account of a system of justice steaming along in a totally broken system. The economy of our nation relies on a dead-set devotion to a Kafkaesque/Orwellian existence within institutional walls, inside the cells on the bunks. Among the complicit are highly placed, comfortable and secure community pillars, known by many as nice people.
The war on drugs began with Prohibition; it’s driving itself to an ever darker gulag state. Dick Cheney underlined the “need to go to the dark side.” Our sense of justice in on track to drive our country deeper into the darkness.
In this installment Stanley brings us evidence of our darkening national spirit. Being alive black is enough to qualify you for prison, the whims of the “justice” system assures that you rot there or sell out your cell neighbor in exchange for freedom. The year is 2016, the year is 1984. What Stanley Cohen writes is terrifying to anyone not a psychopath or a sociopath. What he writes is truth. May it rouse us to action.
Remember Kalief Browder.