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.
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.”
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.
“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.
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.
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 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.
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.”
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?
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.
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:
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.
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.
I keep current with Palestine. I witness to counter the countless billions of dollars extinguished every day for the united status of quo. In a large enough way I am personally complicit: The State Department issued a passport that verifies my identity.
Palestinians on their own soil live everyday life in a police state every day. It’s just ironic that Israel is a front-runner in the race for fascism.
Video from December, 2015: holiday season.
Did you know that children throwing stones, reported throwing stones, thought to throw stones or not throwing stones are housed in Israeli prisons? The military uses GPS systems to locate a child’s bedroom for 2:00 A.M. visits.
Many Israelis enjoy the occasional guffaw. Who could even think of being offended by humor on a theme of Rachel Corrie pancakes. No one is suggesting that the society might be depraved, decadent or disgusting. Just wondering why I am so thin-skinned and sensitive. Why does that denim have a dark stain?
Thanks Thlwn for posting this video today on Twitter, and for being who you are. Grateful for the thankless task you serve, for your ability to garner humor in the face of evil most banal. It’s not an easy job.
I don’t read about this stuff in the New York Times. I don’t hear about this stuff on NPR. I don’t see this stuff on PBS. So here I am reporting for duty.
In America principles are goods placed on sale to the highest bidder. Career paths are paved with bricks forged by selling yourself out at every opportunity.
Cash in your chips at the next square and move on to another chance for a sell-out.
Guardians of integrity are rare beasts on our fruited plain. Experience has taught me that wealth management is incompatible with free and open society. But weapons of wealth management are the coin of our realm.
A kind and gentle hint: the system is gamed.
Marking my 50th post on this blog, I leverage what goes for my political capital (49 previous articles) by suggesting that
become essential reading for billziegler1947 readers.
THE SHADOW is the sole remaining underground newspaper in New York, the home of Stanley Cohen and the only living boy in New York. Mr. Cohen is following the same principled path he began in 1969 and his principles are not for sale.
Imagine that you are looking for a source for truth on Palestine. It’s right here on @StanleyCohenLaw all day long.
But if you need an additional source for truth on that occupied land, consider the words of anthropologist Jeff Halper. He graduated from Hebrew Union College in 1969, the same year I graduated from another Cincinnati institution on Clifton Avenue. I am presently reading and recommending his
Jerry Rubin is best known as one of the Chicago 7 of ’68, he was also a fellow University of Cincinnati alumnus who decided that selling stock portfolios was the new revolutionary act. Rubin gave an address in Cincinnati the late 60’s. That was before joining the “revolution” on Wall Street as the Reagan era began.
Today, speaking truth to power is the best way I know to find yourself in a Gulag.
Israel is a state recognized completely and thoroughly by the United States and a few South-Pacific island territory/nations. The prisons in Israel are legally available for detaining pre-teen Palestinians, indefinitely. Not the vision evoked by Leon Uris’ Exodus, more like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.
But if you are looking for an investment opportunity for idle dollars, prisons are wise investments. Billions of dollars accrete to a single individual. It’s where the smart money goes.
Sounding out for solid solidarity in Cincinnati for Palestine. I have included a new category on billziegler1947: cincy4palestine. You can reference existing content on Palestinian independence and human rights by clicking it. CPSC recognizes the need to act locally as we join in solidarity with a purpose.
CPSC is obtaining visibility in greater Cincinnati and the greater world. It began last year with a teach in at the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library, a second at the University of Cincinnati, a third at the Clifton Mosque, a fourth at Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church and we are working on a fifth teach-in.
We are raising our visibility and are joining other like-minded souls in supporting BDS.
At the same time we have sponsored film screenings at several locations to shine truth on a deferred dream and a half century of occupation in Gaza and the West Bank, funded by the monetary and military power of the United States.
We believe that many small voices speaking truth will bring down the Apartheid Wall and end the occupation.
The Oslo Accords of 1993 are dead. 500,000 stakes were driven through its heart by a half-million settlers. These settlers, many of them truculent and militant, live in modern super gateway communities subsidized by the United States. It’s a divide and conquer strategy.
The United States government transfers $10,000,000 per day to Israel ($0 per day for Palestine) as well as the highest tech military support systems. These preserve a lucrative status quo for Israel and for those corporations making a killing from it.
Meanwhile Palestinians’ birthright is reported throughout US media as “stones, knives and poorly guided mortar fire.” Informed readers have to go offshore for the headlines that are ignored in our corporate or corporate-sponsored media.
The Apartheid Wall looms above a complex of modern fenced highways leading to each former Palestinian village and renamed in Hebrew from the original Arabic. Fences and security stations are everywhere. The reason: humiliation and eventual ethnic cleansing for a “greater” Israel.
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.
I stand with Stanley Cohen. Human rights attorneys are as marginalized as the oppressed they represent. Truth does not need multiple billion dollar infusions to move dark agendas forward. Grassroots are strong.
I’m there with my fellows in fertile soil. We are growing together. We flourish: you and I in solidarity. Hello Mensch!
Part Two of a view behind the eyes of a fertile mind and an amazing soul. This is a second look at daily existence in Prison America. It’s dark and it’s depressing and it’s real: the cancer that blooms in the darkness of our prison industrial complex.
A grinding mill for human beings who do not belong there, but we read here about institutional employees working jobs respected by the community. I live in a country where the seemingly nice people of society gorge themselves, their families and their beloved systemic organs with the riches that camps of concentration manufacture. These camps may be found in every corner, but they are hidden from view. My understanding of our “criminal” justice system leads me to think that it may as well be a factory for lamp shades. Stanley Cohen spent eleven months of 2015 in Canaan. Milk and honey? You won’t find it.