Scranton - One of the most astonishing things to come out of a three-day hearing in federal court in this gritty played-out coal town, where noted prisoner-for-life Mumia Abu-Jamal was last month seeking an injunction to force the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to provide him with medication to treat his raging Hepatitis-C infection was the discovery that the state has been withholding that life-saving treatment not just from him but from almost all of the 6-7000 inmates in state prisons who have active Hep-C cases, and that the state’s doing this not just for medical reasons, but as punishment for prisoners found guilty of “misconduct” or suffering from any “addiction.”
Word of this medieval and sadistic approach to medical care for prisoners in a state that as a colony and later as a young state in the new nation of the United States of America had pioneered humane punishment came late in the hearing when the attorney for the DOC, Laura Neal, admitted that she had at her desk in the courtroom a copy of a “protocol” for treatment of Hep-C.
2016 started with a thud on Monday when news from China sent global stocks into freefall. The Shanghai index plunged 242 points before a system-wide circuit breaker kicked in and trading was halted. All three major US indices followed Asia’s downward slide with the Dow Jones leading the pack with a triple-digit loss on the day.
The news that Chinese manufacturing continued to contract after ten straight months of erosion put the kibosh on any New Years rally as jittery traders dumped stocks at a pace not seen since 2011.
The combination of dreary economic data, shrinking profits, dwindling capital investment, sub-par growth, and higher interest rates has put Wall Street in a foul mood foreshadowing a volatile and bumpy year ahead with little cause for celebration.
While the proximate cause of the current turbulence is China’s flagging manufacturing sector, the underlying reasons are even more important, like the dismal state of the US economy which continues to languish in a long-term coma.
Welcome to our first show of the new year. Beginnings, even arbitrarily designated calendrical ones, offer opportunities for self-reflection and change-making both in our personal lives and in the life of the greater society.
And, looking back at the year just past, it's easy to see there's plenty of change needed in not only the way the World is run, but also in the way we great primates think about our place in it. But what are we to do? A good start, my first guest suggests, is becoming a little more conscious of the preconceptions and biases limiting our understanding.
According to Broze, consciously resisting means, "being willing to engage in self reflection, and pursuing knowledge of the self." The goal is freedom; freedom from the linear patterns of thought and action taught and reinforced by a society with an apparent death wish; or, as Derrick puts it, "Without knowing our own doubts, hopes, fears, dreams, insecurities and strengths we can not truly know what freedom means to us as an individual."
Derrick Broze in the first half.
And; there's no doubt, who informs us about the world effects how we live in it. Currently, Big M media within the Anglo-American power configuration is struggling to maintain the structural integrity of its narrative surrounding the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, and the great refugee exodus that conflict has created. Crucial to any good yarn of course is the villain; in this case the Black Hats are IS. Known variously as ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, and the Islamic State, these are the actors whose dastardliness makes anything done by us, naturally the heroes of this epic, just OK, (if not actually justified).
But what if ISIL, ISIS, Daesh, and/or the Islamic State is not who, or what the storytellers say it is? What if the story is just that, a story invented to cover the real motives behind the nightmare unleashed on Syria, and the whole of the middle east?
Tim Anderson is an Australian solidarity activist and academic at the University of Sydney. He has degrees in economics and international politics, and a doctorate in the political economy of economic liberalization in Australia. While his scholarly studies focus on economic development, human rights and self-determination within the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America, his latest articles, published at Global Research, explore the complex web of local and international interests at play in Syria and Iraq conflict. His latest is, 'The Dirty War in Syria: Washington Supports Islamic State -The Evidence'.
Tim Anderson and the role frenemies play in Washington's great Middle East game in the second half.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emertius and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us news of the coming week from our city's streets, and beyond there too. But first, Derrick Broze, actively raising the consciousness level of alternative journalism.
Day and night, for years, an overwhelming force has been battering this quiet nation, one of the cradles of human civilization.
Hundreds of thousands have died, and millions have been forced to flee abroad or have been internally displaced. In many cities and villages, not one house is left intact. But Syria is, against all odds, still standing.
During the last 3 years I worked in almost all of Syria’s perimeters, exposing the birth of ISIS in the NATO-run camps built in Turkey and Jordan. I worked in the occupied Golan Heights and in Iraq. I also worked in Lebanon, a country now forced to host over 2 million (mostly Syrian) refugees.
The only reason why the West began its horrible destabilization campaign was because it “could not tolerate” Syria’s disobedience and the socialist nature of its state. In short, the way the Syrian establishment was putting the welfare of its people above the interests of multi-national corporations.
This is the time of year and the point in the government’s mandate that analysis of the months to come is de rigeur.
Time will demonstrate that Christy Clark’s big mistake, when assuming the premiership, was not nullifying Gordon Campbell’s Energy Program which has, predictably, enriched large international corporations and bankrupted BC Hydro.
Had Clark tackled this issue, with a courage of which we have seen no sign, restored BC Hydro’s obligation to make new power and abrogated the sweetheart deal with the private companies, BC Hydro would be in decent financial shape and site C would still be the pipe dream of pointy-headed BC Hydro energy assessors.
Premier Clark sworn in, 2013 (Province of BC/Flickr CC licence)
Here in Kabul, last week, at the Afghan Peace Volunteer (APV) community home that hosts me, I watched Abdulhai and visiting activist Aaron Hughes work out ways to secure the greenhouse which they had partially assembled that morning.
Warmed by the effort and with the sun beaming down on all of us, they sat on the garden ledge in their shirtsleeves although it is a quite cold winter here, talking about the greenhouse perched on an uneven garden plot before them.
I had watched Aaron, Abdulhai, Ron and Hakim maneuver the partly assembled greenhouse from a neighbor’s storage area, over a fence, and onto the garden plot. Aaron is 6 ft. 5 inches tall. His strength and height helped the process considerably.
Following three days of contentious testimony in a courtroom in Scranton, PA late last month, a federal district judge is considering a legal petition by Pennsylvania's most well-known prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal for a finding that the state's long-running refusal to treat his active case of Hepatitis-C, a potentially fatal disease, violates his Eighth Amendment right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.
Over the past 16 months Abu-Jamal has suffered an array of symptoms and ailments, from a serious skin condition to diabetes that witnesses at trial testified were symptomatic of and likely caused by an active case of Hep-C. It's an infection the state has known him to have in his body since a blood screening test taken in 2012 when he was first transferred off of death row and placed into a general population prison following the overturning of his 1982 death sentence.
Abolitionist Law Center Legal Director, Bret Grote
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) tried initially to prevent the hearing, claiming that Abu-Jamal had not "exhausted" the department's grievance procedures, and that his complaint about non-treatment was defective, for example because he had not explicitly named all of the doctors who had seen him. but Judge Robert Mariani was dismissive of those dilatory arguments and after rejecting them, ordered that the hearing on the injunction go forward.
byOilPrice.com Is it over yet? 2015 will certainly go down as the worst year for energy stocks since 2008 – that is unless 2016 beats it for misery. Looking at certain sub-sectors, like off-shore drilling, 2016 could unbelievably make 2015 look tame.
We always knew that the bust cycle in oil prices was going to bring a lot of bad times for energy stocks – but no one imagined such carnage, even among the strongest names. I have been focusing on what I have called 'the survivors' and trying to find value in the shares of names like EOG Resources (EOG), Cimarex (XEC) and Hess (HES). With off-shore drillers, I've imagined even more awful times ahead, but took a speculative shot with Seadrill (SDRL), looking down the road two years at the inevitable rebound in deepwater drilling.
But the resilience of many of the unconventional drillers has unexpectedly extended the timeline in this oil bust cycle, catching me by surprise.
When I was a little boy, I used to dream of being reborn outside the hardship of the Refugee Camp in Gaza, in some other time and place where there were no soldiers, no military occupation, no concentration camps and no daily grind - where my father fought for our very survival, and my mother toiled to balance out the humiliation of life with her enduring love.
When I grew older, and revisited my childhood fantasies, I came to quite a different conclusion: if I had to, I would do it all over again, I would not alter my past, however trying, in any way. I would embrace every moment, relive every tear, every loss, and cherish every triumph, however small.
When we are young, they often fail to tell us that we should not fear pain and dread hardship; that nothing can be as rewarding to the growth of one’s identity, sense of purpose in life and the liberation of the human spirit than the struggle against injustice. True, one should never internalize servitude or wear victimhood as if a badge; for the mere act of resisting poverty, war and injustice of any kind is the first and most essential criterion to prepare one for a more meaningful existence, and a better life.
I say this because I understand what many of you must be going through.