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Goodnight Gun

New poem:

My special gun cannot sleep.
My gun is black steel and cold as a stone.
My gun talks to itself in the wee hours.
It has a soul.
It is lonely.
It dreams about hitting the bull’s eye,
Never missing.
Bam-bam-bam-bam, rapid fire.
The smell of gunpowder
Lingers over the dusty street
After a Western shootout.
One bullet through the heart of a terrorist.
Mother approves.
My special gun is Mama’s hero every time.
The third eye of the moon
Opens in my gun’s hypnagogic vision.
The moon is smiling down on the planet.
Smiling tenderly into a little pond.
A wave silently crossing the pond
Lifts the face of the moon.
Something sliding under the surface
Is pushing the water up.
Turbulence followed by stillness.
My gun sleeps.
Goodnight my special gun.

--Gary Lindorff

Mumia Abu-Jamal Battles For His Life...Again

More Pennsylvania Court Scandal

Philly City Hall ProtestPhilly City Hall Protest
 

The first in a three-part series on Mumia Abu-Jamal's fight to force the Pennsylvania prison system to treat his active Hep-C infection, and that of thousands of other infected state inmates, and on the raging Hepatitis C epidemic in the nation's prisons. (Click here for Part II)
 

The big courthouse news in Pennsylvania this week does not involve yet another sordid revelation in the sleazy racist-pornographic email scandal now soiling top justice system officials in the Keystone State that include a state supreme court justice and ranking prosecutors.

This big news is rare courtroom testimony from Mumia Abu-Jamal, the renowned jailhouse journalist considered by many around the world as an authentic political prisoner in America.

On December 18th Abu-Jamal is scheduled to testify during a federal court hearing on his lawsuit attacking medical mistreatment from Pennsylvania prison authorities, and demanding –- negligent treatment that almost ended his life earlier this year. The lawsuit also seeks a court order mandating that he and other Pennsylvania inmates diagnosed with Hep C, a potentially deadly diseased, get treated with medications that, while costly, have a proven cure rate that is quite impressive

Abu-Jamal has rarely testified in court during the thirty-plus-years he’s waged legal battles in criminal and civil courtrooms at state and federal levels. Abu-Jamal spent nearly thirty-years on death row improperly due to calculated error by the judge at his 1982 trial for killing a Philadelphia policeman. Pennsylvania appellate courts cavalierly upheld that trial judge’s error but that error was eventually overturned in federal court leading to Abu-Jamal’s current life-without-parole sentence. Pennsylvania is the state with America’s second largest number of inmates with life-without-parole sentences

This federal court hearing arises from a lawsuit filed over failures of Pennsylvania prison personnel to properly treat medical problems that produced painful rashes and open sores all over Abu-Jamal’s body. Medication given to Abu-Jamal during the mistreatment of those rashes produced dangerous side effects including diabetes, a serious condition that went untreated by the prison medical personnel that also refused to inform Abu-Jamal about the diabetes. Earlier this year that untreated diabetes caused Abu-Jamal to blackout. Prison officials reluctantly rushed him to a hospital emergency room in diabetic shock close to death.

The Zuckerberg Donation and a Legacy of Control

Where will that money go?

When I was very young, my parents used to tell me why having "lots of toys" wasn't a good idea. "The more you have, the more you want," they would say. I didn't have many toys -- we were poor -- so the idea of possessions feeding greed didn't make much sense to me then.

But I've learned the truth of that statement from observation over the years and lately I've been observing Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg is a 31-year-old computer programmer who did two things that made him famous: he founded Facebook, the social networking super service, and, as a result, he amassed a fortune worth about $46 billion. His bank account is as large as the capitalization of many countries.

The Zuckerberg FamilyThe Zuckerberg Family

How he got to these lofty heights of wealth and cultural impact is a matter of often fierce debate -- he's been sued by former "partners" several times. But what's more important than how he got control of Facebook is what he's constructed with it: a ubiquitous presence in the lives of a billion people with the potential to frame and manipulate their communications, their relationships and, to a frighteningly large extent, their lives.

So last month, when Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced in a letter to their new baby -- a rather novel way to package a press release -- that, over the course of their lives, they will give almost all their Facebook shares to a project called the Chan Zuckerberg Iniative, the world took note.

The Initiative, they explained, would "advance human potential and promote equality" in health, education, scientific research, and energy. In short, change the world: on its face, a worthy cause. But, like many of Zuckerberg's plans and projects, this one has another side that is darker, more cynical and, even if only partially successful, a potential nightmare for the human race.

Can Capitalism and Mankind Both Survive?

US Journalists Duck the Big Climate Question

 

Scientists have for decades recognized climate change as an existential crisis facing mankind, but the US media, hamstrung by a self-inflicted obsession with presenting “both sides” of every story even when there is only one, have only begun recognizing its gravity. And a huge barrier still prevents climate change from being honestly reported.

That barrier is a mainstream journalistic inability to address the central role global capitalism plays in propelling climate change, and to expose the determined, collaborative and usually carefully hidden, role it plays in stymying the profound government actions needed to prevent or at least fend off catastrophe.

We see plenty of heartening news reports in the mass media about companies becoming “greener,” investing in “sustainable” production technologies like solar panels on rooftops or geothermal heating systems, for example. We learn that some tycoons like Bill Gates plan to pour billions of dollars into research on carbon-free energy alternatives. But wholly missing are stories about how economic growth and marketing-driven consumer demand guarantee increased carbon emissions and enhanced global warming that will swamp any such baby steps.

Consider Newsweek’s annual list of America’s Greenest Companies. It includes many financial corporations which produce nothing but paper, and whose greenhouse gas contribution is limited to their office buildings. Look closer, though, and it’s clear that sustainable or not, such companies don’t belong on any “green” list. Case in point: Topping the list’s financial companies are two insurance firms -- Metlife and Aflac Inc. -- followed by that arch-villian of the 2008 Fiscal Crisis, Goldman Sachs. All three financial giants, while perhaps running green offices, invest heavily in industries that contribute massively to climate change. Metlife, for example, is one of the country’s largest institutional investors, with almost half a trillion dollars invested worldwide. The company touts its goal of becoming carbon neutral in its global operations, but says nothing about running a carbon-neutral investment portfolio, and that’s because it does not run one. The same is true of Aflac.

Investment policies aren’t even considered by the compilers of the Newsweek list.

Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, was the 11th-largest global coal-fired power plant investor in 2011, according to a Banktrack report. This top-ranked Newsweek “green” bank isn’t alone; all the biggest US banks are big on coal. A few have started to back away in the past year, but that’s mainly because coal company stocks are falling, largely due to the temporarily increased availability of relatively cheap natural gas and oil, not because of any climate change concerns.

Companies can say they run green offices so they're "green," even as they spew ever more carbon into the admosphere making their profitsCompanies can say they run green offices so they're "green," even as they spew ever more carbon into the atmosphere making their profits and products
 

Here's a Way to Support ThisCantBeHappening! that Won't Cost You a Penny

A message to all our readers:

We have to admit that most of our readers are failing to take up our modest proposal that everyone who reads us should commit to sending us $5 a year to support out work. It's just not happening. We do get generous support from some of you, but most readers just read us and then move on.

But if you appreciate what we're doing and just don't want to spring for some cash, there is an important way you can help us that takes only a few seconds of your time, and doesn't cost you anything. When you read an article on our site that you think is important, just scroll down to the bottom of the article's first page and click on the "send by email" button. That will give you a page that lets you send up to three email notices at one time (addresses separated by commas), to people whom you think should be reading us, but who may not know about our site.

It's a small thing to do, but if you all did it whenever we ran an article that you really valued, our circulation would grow exponentially, and that would be even better than monetary support.

Thanks for supporting our work.

The TCBH! Collective

Jess Guh, Activist Physician Journalist in Seattle, Has a Lot to Say, and Plans to Say It Here

A new member of the TCBH! Collective:

ThisCantBeHappening! is happy to welcome Jess Guh to our news collective. Jess brings a passion for justice and equality, especially in the medical profession and in the delivery of health care, to our group, as well as a talent for making medical issues clear to the lay reader.

Of herself, she writtes:

Jess Guh hails from a home just outside of Philadelphia where two Taiwanese immigrants were delightfully surprised to have raised a queer, outspoken radical. She attended Stanford University where she officially majored in film and unofficially majored in activism, Ultimate Frisbee, co-op living, and consensus decision making. Deciding that medicine could be the perfect union of her nerdy self and her passion for community well being, she went to medical school at the University of Michigan.  She moved to Seattle for her residency in Family Medicine and has been living there ever since. Currently she works as a primary care physician at a community health center dedicated to serving people that the American healthcare system has traditionally ignored.

Jess Guh, physician journalistJess Guh, physician journalist
 

Spurred by the egregious health inequities that she witnesses on a daily basis, as well as her own experiences as a minority in the medical profession, she has found her voice through writing. She has also presented nationally about the impacts of race and implicit bias on medical outcomes and consults on strategies to diversify the medical workforce.

Jess also writes at her personal blog at: www.jessguh.com

Cover-up of a Police Murder Requires Resignation of Chicago Mayor Emanuel

Regime change in Chicago!

 

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a bold yet belated move when he fired his embattled police superintendent in the wake of a national uproar surrounding the release of a chilling video that captured the police killing of a teen--a ward of the city of Chicago.

Included in that uproar is anger over mounting evidence of a cover-up connected to the brutal and unjustified shooting graphically displayed on that video. Political and civic leaders in Chicago had demanded the removal of Chicago top cop Garry McCarthy months before Emanuel's uproar-triggered ouster of his police superintendent.

If Mayor Emanuel is really serious about his stated desire to rebuild “public trust” he needs to do two other things and do those two things quickly.

 Two cops draw guns on unarmed youth walking in opposite lane. One cop shoots him 16 times, as he poses no tThe long-hidden video of a police murder: Two cops draw guns on unarmed youth walking in opposite lane. One cop shoots the 17-year-old ward of the city 16 times in 15 seconds, as he poses no threat to them. See puff from one bullet fired at the victim Laquan McDonald when he was lying on the ground dying (click image to see the full dash-cam video)
 

The first thing Emanuel needs to do is issue a strong public rebuke of Chicago’s top prosecutor, Anita Alvarez.

This prosecutor dragged her feet for over a year on indicting the policeman shown in that video firing 16-shots in the space of 15 seconds into Laquan McDonald. That police video clearly shows the 17-year-old McDonald walking away from police, not lurching towards officers. Chicago’s Police Department, then headed by McCarthy, along with its police union had maintained since McDonald’s fatal shooting in October 2014 that the teen was approaching the officers.

The Desperate Ones

Guest poem:

 
 
Desperate people do desperate things.


 
They flee from their homes

because they are not safe there,

or because there are no longer

any homes there,

only enemies and rumors.

They break the law 

because they are hungry

and their children are crying.

They sleep in the rain.

They risk their lives to reach lands

where they have heard

there are doctors and medicine.

They look for work.

The desperate ones wander empty roads

that go nowhere.

They are thirsty, and tired.

They have no money.

And wherever they die,

they die in a ditch.
 
Desperate people do desperate things.
 
Have you ever been that desperate?

No, I haven't either.
 
 
--Tom Cowan
 

Tom Cowan is the author of several books on shamanism and Celtic spirituality. He lives in New York's Hudson River Valley. He contributed this poem to ThisCantBeHappening!

Torture And Other Abuses Makes Turkey American As Apple Pie

Ballad of reading (Mumia in) gaol

 

On the topic of torture the nation of Turkey could teach some gruesome techniques to ISIS, the terrorist movement executing a savage reign across Syria and beyond (reportedly with Turkish government support).

That reality of brutality in Turkey – another problematic American ally – is a fact known all too well by Turgay Ulu, a Turkish journalist who endured a 15-year imprisonment in Turkey, where he was tortured. During Ulu’s long imprisonment, Turkish authorities justified his conviction on their claim that they had evidence against him –- evidence authorities obtained from two other victims of torture.

“I was tortured with electro shocks,” Ulu said during an interview earlier this year in Berlin, Germany where he is a leading figure in a movement for refugee rights. Ulu’s long imprisonment in Turkey led many, including Amnesty International, to consider him a political prisoner. Ulu was released from a Turkish prison in 2011 and he immediately fled to Europe.

Ulu was initially arrested in 1996 when Turkish authorities accused the then 23-year-old of belonging to two communist organizations. Ulu admits being a “Marxist” activist in Turkey but denies membership in those two organizations. A report Amnesty International released in 2006 examining serious flaws in Turkey’s justice system cited Ulu’s case. That AI report noted it was “highly improbable” that Ulu would be involved in “two ideologically unrelated” armed organizations.
Turgay Ulu, Turkish dissident and political prisoner caught in a Kafkaesque trap between Turkey and GermanyTurgay Ulu, Turkish dissident and political prisoner caught in a Kafkaesque trap between Turkey and Germany

 

We're over 20% of the Way to our Goal. Let's make it 90%! Readers, please step it up!

Big donations are great, but what we really want are lots and lots of small ones


Good news! Some of our readers are starting to come through. We have, six months into this first-ever fund-raising effort, raised one-fifth of our goal: $4000 in mostly small donations. That is great as far as it goes, but really, people are paying into all kinds of crazy Kickstarter campaigns. Why not just support great journalism?

Think about it a second. What other news source is willing to point out that obviously, Turkey would not have dared to shoot down a Russian fighter plane using its American-supplied F-16s and heat-seeking missiles unless it first got the go-ahead from the US? And yet in a potential threat of a WWIII confrontation between the US and Russia, you and all Americans need to know that. Only TCBH! is telling you. What other news site calls out the US government and its Afghan operation commander for blatant lying about a history of US bombing hospitals deliberately?

What's been raised so fare is not nearly the kind of money that would allow the dedicated members of this collective -- who put out the reports on this award-winning site for nothing, doing the reporting and writing in our spare time -- to cut back on our day jobs and actually devote serious time to alternative news reporting, but it's the start. If you, our readers, can get into the habit of occasionally supporting a site like this that you turn to regularly or even occasionally to know what's happening, big things will happen here.

We know this can work. You all clearly want what we are producing, and value our reports (we know that because you keep coming back and reading what we write), and yet still far too many of you, our readers, are just taking what we do for free. That isn't going to help build a movement. We need solidarity to build a new media model. And solidarity aside, just from the point of view of self-interest, we could provide so much more of the unique news we have been providing for almost four years if we had some serious money coming in to support us in that work.

So readers, hear our call! Join those TCBH! readers who are coming through with support, show some solidarity for a change, support what we do, don't just take it, and send us what you can. We're hoping from $5 per reader, but even $1 would help, if you all did it.

It's easy: use the handy Paypal button above, or send cash or a check made out to Dave Lindorff/TCBH to POB 846, Ambler, PA 19002

Watch what happens if you all finally start coming through with that support!
If you haven't contributed yet, please try sending even $5 (we know we're worth at least that much).

And please spread the word about this site to friends and acquaintances using the envelope icon below. That doesn't even cost anything. Together we can do this!

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This is the video tape of Davis in Lahore police custody


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Live Stream of the Occupation of Wall Street! The Revolution will be filmed after all! (Courtesy of Globalrevolution)
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Fightin' Cock FlyerFightin' Cock Flyer

Listen as Chuck, John, Dave and Linn Join Prairie Radical Mike Caddell of the Fightin' Cock Flyer on Radio Free Kansas

Here's the link to prairie radio radical Mike Caddell's Radio Free Kansas program, where you can hear the podcast of the whole group interview that was conducted on Saturday, May 8.

Also, listen to Dave Lindorff on Chris Cook's Gorilla Radio on CFEV Radio in Victoria, Canada.

Donate $50 to ThisCantBeHappening.net and get a free signed copy, postage paid, of Dave's classic tome The Case for Impeachment (St. Martin's Press, 2006). Just click on the cover image to go to the Paypal payment page, make your payment, and send a note to Dave calling his attention to the payment, and giving your mail address and the name you want the inscription addressed to.

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by Dr. Radut