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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!
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Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet at the Turkish/Syrian Border was an Act of Madness

An invisible US hand leading to war?

 

In considering the terrifying but also sadly predictable news of a Russian fighter jet being downed by two Turkish fighters, let’s start with one almost certain assumption -- an assumption that no doubt is also being made by the Russian government: Turkey’s action, using US-supplied F-16 planes, was taken with the full knowledge and advance support of the US. In fact, given Turkey’s vassal status as a member of US-dominated NATO, it could well be that Ankara was put up to this act of brinksmanship by the US.

Let's be clear, with the US the major supplier of Turkey's military, and also its major guarantor vis-a-vis Russia, there is simply no way Turkey would have taken the huge risk of downing a Russian fighter aircraft without first clearing that action with it's US master.

What makes the downing of the Russian jet, and the incendiary videotaped machine-gunning, by Turkmen or Syrian rebels, of the plane's pilot as he helplessly descended to earth by parachute, so dangerous is that, with Turkey a member of NATO -- supposedly a “mutual assistance” treaty that binds all members to come to the defense of one that is attacked -- it means if Russia were to retaliate by downing a Turkish military plane, NATO countries including the US would be obligated to come to Turkey’s defense. (The Russian plane's navigator was rescued by Russian marines via helicopter.)

Russia knows this, and that is why so far Moscow's response to the downing has been relatively measured. Had it been a Jordanian, Saudi or Kuwaiti jet that downed the Russian SU-24, Russia’s response would have been instantaneous and brutal. The guilty party would have had some of its planes shot down, or perhaps even bombed on the ground. But Russia so far has limited itself to demanding a meeting with Turkey's ambassador, and to warning that Russian-Turkish economic relations would be threatened, etc.

The Russian restraint so far is good, but clearly, President Vladimir Putin will not stop there (already, late in the day of the plane's downing, in a sign of what may be coming, Putin put the Russian cruiser Moskva, stationed off the Syrian coast and equipped with state-of-the art long-range anti-aircraft rockets, on hair-trigger alert, letting Turkey know that any planes headed its way will be presumed hostile and downed immediately, with no warnings give.). Even putting aside domestic considerations (imagine the public clamor for a military response here in the US if some small country shot down a US plane!), he will have to respond resolutely to Turkey's action or his whole project -- so far stunningly successful -- of restoring Russia to its pre-USSR-collapse position as a global power, would be a failure.

Putin’s options are actually quite broad, though some carry considerably more risk for everyone, not just for Russia and Turkey. He could have his own air force in Syria, where Russia is legally acting at the request of the Syrian government to defend it against rebel forces of ISIS and Al Nusra, some of which are backed by both Turkey and the US, calmly wait for a Turkish military jet to cross into Syrian airspace. At that point it could be downed by Russian planes or missiles. No doubt Turkey will be extraordinarily careful going forward to have its pilots keep well away from Syrian air space to avoid that happening, but it could happen nonetheless. My guess is that Russian fighter pilots and anti-aircraft batteries in Syria already have their marching orders and are itching to take that action, which probably would not activate NATO confrontation with Russia and lead to World War III, as long as there was a reasonable case to be made that Turkey’s plane was in Syrian airspace.

A Russian Sukhoi SU-24, like the one shot down yesterday along the Syrian-Turkey border by two Turkish F-16sA Russian Sukhoi SU-24, like the one shot down yesterday along the Syrian-Turkey border by two Turkish F-16s
 

Learning How Not to Rule the World

Warmongers & Peacemongers

 

[Al Qaeda’s] strategic objective has always been ... the overthrow of the House of Saud. In pursuing that regional goal, however, it has been drawn into a worldwide conflict with American power.
             - John Gray, Al Qaeda and What It Means to Be Modern

Al Zarqawi ... is an example of how the west has created bogeymen. Al Zarqawi is also an example of how the bogeymen have a habit of, eventually, fulfilling the role we give them.
             - Jason Burke on the founder of al Qaeda in Iraq and, by extension after his death, ISIS
 

I know it’s not patriotic, but every time I hear some politico talk of bombing Iraq and Syria in response to the gruesome massacre in Paris I think of The Battle Of Algiers and the scene where a leader of the guerrilla movement is captured by the French military. A French reporter asks the man how he can justify the gruesome carnage from explosions in cafes and bars. “We’ll be glad to exchange our satchel charges for your jet bombers,” he says.

"Bomb the shit out of ISIS!", screw civilian casualties, save Christians and one of the refugees might be a bad guy
 

Always angling to be the farthest right of his fellow Republicans, candidate Ted Cruz honed in on the moral issue from Dick Cheney’s dark side. Cruz questioned whether a concern for civilian deaths was fitting when it came to the need to bomb ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Jeb! said we should only protect Christian refugees. Trump hollered to his fans, "We need to bomb the shit out of ISIS!" Rubio decried not having thorough dossiers on the refugees. The brilliant surgeon smiled beatifically. Pressed by the reactionary right of Marine Le Pen’s National Front, French President Hollande publicly declared war (whatever that meant in 2015) and increased the number of bombing raids on targets inside Syria provided by US intelligence. Reports suggested there were significant civilian casualties. Anti-Assad activists pleaded on Twitter for the French and other western forces to restrain their bombing, since, as Cruz understood, western bombs kill lots of people victimized by ISIS. Being caught in the crossfire between ISIS and the bomb-crazy West helps drive refugees to flee to Turkey and Europe. Sympathy for these refugees is evaporating rapidly, since fear-mongering demagogues are stigmatizing them as potential terrorists. Twenty US governors have said, "Not in my backyard. Send them back to where they came from." MSNBC's Chris Matthews got worked up into a lather and wanted all the able-bodied refugee males to return to Syria as a fighting force. Not a bully Teddy Roosevelt type, the Peace Corps veteran didn't volunteer to lead it.

It’s not a pretty picture of western humanity in crisis. Narcissism is not a wholesome trait.

Time to Contemplate Peace, Not to Celebrate War and Warriors

No more veterans!

 

I had two grandfathers who fought -- and I mean fought -- in World War I. Both of them were in the trenches in France. One, my paternal grandfather William Lindorff, received a Silver Star for heroism under fire. He was an ambulance driver on the front lines because although he had been in the US since he was three, he had been born in Germany, and knew German from his German mother, so the US military in its wisdom wouldn’t let him carry a gun. My other maternal grandfather, a sprinter who missed the Olympics because of the war, was hit with German mustard gas, and with his lungs permanently scarred, never got to excel as an athlete after that, but had a career as a high school coach in Greensboro, NC.

Neither of my grandfathers ever spoke about their wartime experiences.

My father and mother both served in WWII -- my dad as a Marine and my mother as a Navy WAVE. Mom found her experience doing secretarial work at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to be an adventure, and talked fondly of it often when I was growing up. But my dad, who worked as a technician in the top-secret Radiation Lab crash program to miniaturize radar so it could be put on planes, hated the military and loathed the Marines as an organization. Both my parents were pacifists by the time I was old enough to be thinking about such issues.

I thought about this today, on a date that once was all about pacifism, back when it was established as Armistice Day at the end of the first World War, but which has become a day for glorifying war and the veterans who have had to fight in our nation’s countless wars.

 World War I, World War II, Vietnam War. A never-ending slaughterBodies of the dead: World War I, World War II, Vietnam War. A never-ending slaughter

 

The TPP: An Attack on the Internet

Regulating trade and restricting communications

 

The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, initialed by the delegations of the 12 participating countries in early October, is one of the most talked-about mysteries of our time. The moment the treaty was announced, there was a tidal wave of commentary and criticism: most of it based on previous versions, speculation and a few leaks. Because it won't be published for months (even years perhaps), nobody really knew what the document actually said.

Then Wikileaks, the on-line bible of revealed secrets, published several leaked sections of what its editors believe is the final edition and the collective groan morphed into an outcry. It was, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation puts it, "all that we feared." The TPP internationalizes some of the worst inequities and abuses specific signing governments are currently committing and nowhere is that more true than with surveillance and communications repression.

We now know the answer to that question.We now know the answer to that question.
 

Its measures deepen the illegality of whistle-blowing and broaden who can be held responsible for it. They use copyright law to make online dissent and online scholarship and research much more difficult. And they chop away at the rights to online privacy.

The deal would fundamentally repress the Internet and, while proponents insist that the agreement would not over-ride the specific laws of each country, it allows and even encourages countries to pass more repressive laws.

It is, in short, a nightmare.

Police Brutality Unites Demonstrations In Paris and DC

Trans-Atlantic abuses and protests

 

Protests against rampant police brutality occurred recently in the respective capitals of France and the United States – two nations that proclaim strict fidelity to the rule of law yet two professed democracy-loving nations where officials routinely condone rampant lawlessness by law enforcers.

The 20th Anniversary of the 1995 Million Man March – captioned “Justice Or Else” – took place in Washington, DCk with a core complaint being police brutality. During that protest rally held outside the U.S. Capitol building and along the National Mall relatives of police brutality victims were invited speakers. Those relatives included the father of Michael Brown, killed in 2014 by a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri and a sister of Sandra Bland, who died in a Texas police station this past summer following a flawed and brutal arrest for an alleged minor traffic violation.

On the same Saturday as the “Justice Or Else” rally in DC, protestors gathered outside the Gare de Nord train station in Paris to demonstrate against the death earlier this year of Amadou Koumé. That 33-year-old father of three died during an encounter with police at a bar in Paris when he was put in a choke-hold while being handcuffed. The Paris protestors demanded a judicial inquiry into the death of Koumé, rejecting what they contend has been a cover-up by police and prosecutors in Paris regarding his death.

While nearly 4,000-miles separate Washington, DC and Paris, the issue of police brutality connects the two capitals through a chain of similarities surrounding police brutality, for example the fact that the principle targets of police brutality in France and across America are persons of color.

 Amadeu Koumé in Paris, France and Tamir Rice in the Cleveland, OhioTrans-Atlantic Police Murders: Amadeu Koumé in Paris, France and Tamir Rice in the Cleveland, Ohio
 

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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.

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by Dr. Radut