A Child Was Born!

shelbycourtland

A child was born, dark as night,
and sent out into the world.
Everywhere he turned,
such insults, people hurled.

He took this all in stride,
grew up and became a man.
Took one look at his skin,
it was darker than a tan.

On a mountaintop, he stood,
looking out on a sea of hate.
He decided that once and for all,
he’d be the master of his own fate.

He had been followed for many a day,
even when he’d stopped to rest.
He thought he’d never feel secure,
knew that to him, this was a test.

God, they said, loved him
and he believed it for awhile.
He carried with him, a Bible.
 It was evidence at his trial.

You see this man, he finally snapped
on a hot, sunny day in June.
One insult was one too many,
a white man called him, a baboon.

View original post 182 more words

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.

 

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.

In the Land of Xenophobia the Rosary is an Assault Weapon

Humans cast some long Jungian shadows. Xenophobia and racism flourish in dark places. 2016 witnesses a political voice “from the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie.”

abrahamic.religions

 

quotes-men-become-civilized-not-in-proportion-to-their-ambrose-gwinett-bierce-4316

 

Two sides of the triangle described above have denoted Judeo-Christian values since the Common Era began: Christianity and Judaism, but never Islam, although Abraham is patriarch for all three faiths.

Broadcasters who welcome the views of demagogues Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer and such ilk become proudly complicit in the crimes committed by members of their audience.

Perhaps I am too easily offended or I am missing the subtlety of radio programs that boast of a battle-ready Jesus. The search argument “A rosary is an assault weapon with a 50 round clip” yields

About 874 results (0.67 seconds)

Ishmael? Do you mean the third word in Moby Dick? Otherwise, no, we don’t talk about that family member. Oh, you meant Israel. Well that’s better.

Well indeed. I discovered that the sentence “Call me Ishmael” is not the first line. My thanks to Ken Jennings for that correction and for his website The Debunker.

Pope Francis reminds us that baptized Catholics are just as ready to become unwitting militants. Islamophobes are not entirely pleased with the Francis’ papacy.

francis.apartheid.wall

Israel is Sparta. It is also a laboratory for weapons and “security” systems. Jeff Halper just posted an item on FB that takes on the euphemism “security.” His suggestion: substitute “pacification.” Propaganda (hasbara) suggests a patriotic rush to judgement and to a false security.

The last thing a spartan state needs is another 1.5 billion dollars to top off the annual contribution from the United States and the Marshall Islands. A response to stones thrown by Palestinian youth. I sense overreach.

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.

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!

 

Jim Crow in Palestine and The American Empire

Co-Authored with Lisa Chieco

Our fellow Americans and Earth citizens could benefit from historical perspective. The mantle of American Exceptionalism, a garb that resembles an emperor’s new clothes, becomes more transparent with each passing year.

pal.apologize.condemn
https://twitter.com/Cre8tvlyLicnsd

Americans carry a lot of shame for things we’ve done to this planet that no other government in the world can match, such as the atomic bomb and agent orange (all of this inflicted on civilian populations, explaining it as “collateral damage”).

Another 9/11, this time 1973 when the elected president of Chile was assassinated.
Another 9/11, this time 1973, the assignation of duly elected president of Chile. Here a boy carries on a tradition that unites the people of Chile who were another victim: wearing Allende glasses

September 11, 1973

We have murdered peoples, starved them and spread deadly smallpox virus via “gift blankets”, a virus previously unknown in the Americas. These gift blankets exposed native populations to a disease that spread like wildfire. Did you learn this in history class?

From trains passing westward millions of bison were murdered. Stacked, the bison heads rested thousands high with a deliberate goal: starve the natives and their nations. Our collective memory ascribes the slaughter to sportsmen shooting from the comfort and safety of train cars. There is a little more to that story. Those “sportsmen” disembarked from the locomotives to murder as many bison as humanly possible and thereby remove the buffalo as sustenance to Native America. We learn soundbites. “The Indians used every single part of each buffalo.”

From Smithsonian.org. This is not a photoshopped image. Would that it were.
From Smithsonian.org. This is not photo-shopped. Would that it were.

Where the Buffalo No Longer Roamed

But connecting the dots leading to genocide is never taught. George Washington as a youth chopped down a cherry tree and owned up to it. Andrew Jackson is the president we have on the twenty-dollar bill. His nickname was “Stonewall.” We store soundbites in our memory and we pass them down to our grandchildren. No mail delivery on Presidents Day, banks close but schools are in session and there are sales at Target. Congress passed a law making Presidents Day a Monday holiday…

We murdered millions of First People to get what we wanted, promises broken as greed expanded.

We witness the same dynamic in the Israel/Palestine Conflict. The misinformed think in black and white terms: Philistina does not exist. I use the name Philistine because that is what they call themselves. Bill speaks to the distinction between Philistine and Palestine here.

This is the Arabic word:

Yes, I meant Palestine. Shukran
Yes, I meant Palestine. Shukran

فلسطين

It looks like a series of squiggly lines but evokes a familiar biblical tribe: the Philistines.

British and the United States bound by “a special relationship” snap the Israel into existence in 1948, a catastrophe for the people already living there. The world was still reeling over the disclosure of concentration camps built by a country with a genocidal dream: Third Reich Germany. We forced villagers living near the camps to march through and to bury the dead found in those camps. Israelis and Americans know little or less about the daily human rights abuses in Israel and the occupied territories. It doesn’t help that the New York Times is corporate and NPR is sponsored by corporations. An independent press is our lifeblood.

There is an American camp established to house “enemies of the state” without legal recourse, or representation: Guantanamo, an American naval base from the days when Cuba was ours to manipulate.

The locus of two eras of imperial ambition on the island of Cuba
The locus of two eras of imperial ambition on the island of Cuba

Close Guantánamo

We invaded, without provocation, the independent country of Iraq in 2003. My husband and I participated in one of many rallies in the days preceding that war, also a catastrophe. We were already in Afghanistan under the guise of chasing the terrorist responsible for the horror of 9/11 in New York City. We lost 3000 that day: it was genuine horror. We responded by murdering innocent civilian “collaterals.” Those fighting back are fighting for their autonomy and the right to own their nation without the foreign interests who run their government. The British set borders in their Middle Eastern colonies to contain rival religious sects that could fight one another and leave the governance to the halls of empire. Divide and conquer.

World Wars and Empire

Lawrence in Arabia reviewed in The Guardian

And we are that remaining world power that installed the puppet Saddam Hussein! But perhaps just say “mistakes were made,” accidents happen. But to the victors go the spoils.

Why border lines drawn with a ruler in WW1 still rock the Middle East

So our uninitiated young people and our more simple and hardline conservatives, tricked and lied to with a propaganda team that manipulates a language of fear alloyed with ignorance, have been at this war for 16 years! In keeping with this embarrassing situation – we also are a, so far, sole superpower gone wild in Israel. We want to make up for what started as humiliation and provocation by the Third Reich and murder of millions of Jews in Europe.

Palestinian Scales Walls

And now the shoe is on the other foot. Out of a vindictiveness, and resources available to the Earth’s fourth largest military, centuries old olive groves are bulldozed to break the spirit and humanity of the Palestinian people. Using humiliation as a daily means of control, cornering them in the same kind of ghetto that the Jews endured in Poland. Install a man with the skills of Joseph Goebbels to orchestrate. Without a military and with weapons on a par with those of the former Ottoman Empire, they revolted using these meager “weapons” and couldn’t gain their freedom.

With fell precision, Israel used a false-flag campaign to tell all Arabs living in ancestral homes that an attack by other Arab nations was imminent and they would be better off leaving their homes until the danger was over. 1948: 700,000 Palestinians lived out a modern incarnation of the “Trail of Tears.” So, building upon a lie Israel moved in and took this land from people who were sharing THEIR land with the new state of Israel. In a word, the Palestinians (Philistines) had their land stolen, with catastrophic (Nakba) results. Israel has a 10 per cent population of Palestinians who did not leave in 1948. Their access to the polls limited similar to Jim Crow. On the very day of his reelection Netanyahu famously warned of those “swarming” voters. It’s as repulsive as our Jim Crow laws in the South. Peaceful demonstrations were the beginning in our nation – because the removal of legal slave ownership should have made black people safe and equal – but let’s not be foolish – it did no such thing until black people got sick and tired of it and revolted – and I would do the same.

Jim Crow in Palestine

There are no shortage of parallels between oppression of blacks in the Jim Crow South and Israel’s present-day oppression of Palestinians. Issam Rimawi APA images
There are no shortage of parallels between oppression of blacks in the Jim Crow South and Israel’s present-day oppression of Palestinians. Issam Rimawi APA images

The Black Panthers were born into a dream denied, to paraphrase Langston Hughes. They demanded equality and freedom, and were also murdered, but the message made it to the fore and legal recourse resulted in affirmative action and enforcement of the 14th Amendment. Now, we have nazi storm troopers of a police armed with military gifted them by the Defense Department who just shoot black people like they’re in target practice! I’m sickened and ashamed – and we are the nation supporting the same shameful behavior of the current governmental leaders in Israel.

I lean on God, knowing in my heart it is the Enemy we need to fight: the evil that flourishes on greed and hate.

Joseph Goebbels: Nazi Rules for Jazz Performers

Joseph Goebbels, Minister for Propaganda in Hitler’s Third Reich (appointed 1933) had a way with guidelines. A well written article on Goebbels’ thoughts on jazz links below.

Editor’s note for the easily cognitively dissonanced: inclusion of this list in this blog does not represent approval of Minister Goebbels.

Josef Skvorecky on the Nazis’ Control-Freak Hatred of Jazz from The Atlantic January 3, 2012 by JJ Gould.

joseph_goebbels_quote

But if you want to get straight to the rules, Josef Skvorecky enumerates in the link above:

1. Pieces in foxtrot rhythm (so-called swing) are not to exceed 20% of the repertoire of light orchestras and dance bands.

2. In this so-called jazz type repertoire, preference is to be given to compositions in a major key and to lyrics expressing joy in life rather than Jewishly gloomy lyrics;

3. As to tempo, preference is also to be given to brisk compositions over slow ones (so-called blues); however, the pace must not exceed a certain degree of allegro, commensurate with the Aryan sense of discipline and moderation. On no account will Negroid excesses in tempo (so-called hot jazz) or in solo performances (so-called breaks) be tolerated;

4. So-called jazz compositions may contain at most 10% syncopation; the remainder must consist of a natural legato movement devoid of the hysterical rhythmic reverses characteristic of the barbarian races and conductive to dark instincts alien to the German people (so-called riffs);

5. Strictly prohibited is the use of instruments alien to the German spirit (so-called cowbells, flexatone, brushes, etc.) as well as all mutes which turn the noble sound of wind and brass instruments into a Jewish-Freemasonic yowl (so-called wa-wa, hat, etc.);

6. Also prohibited are so-called drum breaks longer than half a bar in four-quarter beat (except in stylized military marches);

7. The double bass must be played solely with the bow in so-called jazz compositions;

8. Plucking of the strings is prohibited, since it is damaging to the instrument and detrimental to Aryan musicality; if a so-called pizzicato effect is absolutely desirable for the character of the composition, strict care must be taken lest the string be allowed to patter on the sordine, which is henceforth forbidden;

9. Musicians are likewise forbidden to make vocal improvisations (so-called scat);

10. All light orchestras and dance bands are advised to restrict the use of saxophones of all keys and to substitute for them the violin-cello, the viola or possibly a suitable folk instrument.

joseph goebbels