An amazing song by an amazing musician. While Gary Moore played this song he was one with the universe.
“[What information consumes is] the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”
This quote is attributed to Herbert Simon, a 1978 Nobel winner in economics. I saw it recently and my mind starting wandering…
The quote seems to be a clever comment about the overabundance of information (much of it useless) in society. However, it also could be perceived as a clever way of convincing people that the collecting of information for the purpose of forming opinions is fruitless. Why bother reading and trying to gather information if there is so much out there you can’t possibly tackle it – or better yet, ever hope to sort the worthwhile information from the worthless?
I’m not insinuating that Herbert Simon personally intended to mislead people with that statement. I am inferring that others could possibly use it as one of many clever tools in preventing people from attempting to inform themselves on complicated issues. Often, these issues aren’t actually complicated. They merely appear to be because members of the corporate information control field fear losing their stranglehold on “truth” – or, more specifically, what they preach as truth. They know that if the ability to sort through raw information and see patterns spread through the masses it could lead to an informed populace that isn’t easily manipulated into making decisions that go against their interests (particularly in the voting booth). So, they tell us that we shouldn’t waste our time attempting to navigate the difficult waters of information about issues that require a high level of intelligence and are too lengthy and full of technical jargon to bother with.
They convince us to go back to our mindless consumption of strategically managed information and dysfunctional entertainment. They assure us we can see snippets of easily digestible pabulum on popular news shows or websites when we have the time.
Actually, an overabundance of improperly organized information CAN (as opposed to “does”) lead to a poverty of attention. This is the cleverness shown by the corporate powers as they’ve switched gears in their Dumbing Down Plan. Previously, the strategy was simply to conceal the (most critical) information from the masses and release enough to allow the majority of the population to think that they are informed. In the age of the internet, since it’s easier to come across important information, they’ve enhanced their stategy by flooding the internet with a (potential) wealth of information without an intelligently thought out way of organizing it. People become overwhelmed with the sheer number of sources of raw information and, when they find summaries which are more easily digested, they feast on disingenuously worded propaganda which fits neatly into the very well thought out indoctrination process (as well as into the belief system the individual reader has invested so much time and energy into). It is one tool which, when coupled with the immensely successful technique of shortening attention spans with video games, moronic movies and television and the cleverly designed soundbite/talking point system of disseminating what passes for news, is extremely effective in preventing a majority of the masses from seeing through the smokescreens and discovering the true agenda of our corporate masters.
Of course, this is just one opinion in a society full of opinions, many of which either conform to the state religion of Consumerism or are convenient avenues of dissent that merely scratch the surface of what’s wrong in modern society and allow a certain amount of anger at the powers that be. It helps release just enough frustration to prevent the desperately needed revolution that would free the human race from its self-induced bondage of mental slavery.
URGENT PRESS RELEASE ON MUMIA ABU-JAMAL
April 2, 2017
Joe Piette: 610-931-2615
Mumia’s Treatment Expected, But Not Yet Delivered
Delayed Hep C Treatment Leads to Death
On March 31, 2017, Mumia Abu-Jamal received a cruel mix of bad and good news from a prison doctor. The doctor shared the results of his recent lab test, which showed clear signs of cirrhosis, an irreversible scarring of the liver caused by his untreated Hep C. The doctor also informed Mumia that he would be treated with the Hep C cure within a week.
The impending victory was bittersweet. Mumia shared his feelings with those he called that morning. His rare expression of emotion was also captured in an interview that evening in which he stated: “My first reaction was really shock, anger, disbelief. If I had been treated in 2015, if I had been treated in 2012 when they say they first diagnosed it, I wouldn’t be this far advanced.…For a lot of guys and a lot of gals inside the Pennsylvania prisons, I think it is a step forward and a great day, but I assure you I don’t feel that way right now.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections’ apparent concession to treat Mumia with the Hep C cure was achieved through an agonizing two-year battle waged in the streets and through two court suits. However, Mumia has not yet been treated and will not be without our vigilance and continued protests.
If he is treated immediately, Mumia can expect to return to good health; but patients who have developed cirrhosis are more susceptible to developing liver cancer in the future and have to be monitored for the rest of their lives.
In the face of Mumia’s battle for humane medical treatment, the PA DOC had adopted a retaliatory posture and accelerated its efforts to silence and kill Mumia by delaying treatment. Because of the failure to treat his Hep C, over the last two years, Mumia fell into a diabetic coma, experienced severe brain swelling, and suffered a painful skin condition that disfigured his body. In the last year, he and others in the prison have been forced to bathe in and drink water that is often visibly contaminated—“black and turbid,” as Mumia put it.
Many of Mumia’s supporters around the world believed that Mumia received treatment back in early January 2017 because a federal judge ordered the DOC to provide it. But a stubborn and stonewalling PA DOC refused to comply with the ruling. The judge ordered Mumia’s immediate treatment citing the unconstitutionality of the PA DOC’s Hep C treatment protocol. The judge denounced the DOC, whose protocol “deliberately delays” treatment with the standard Hep C cure until the prisoner experiences bleeding of the throat, among other deadly symptoms. The decision cited eight amendment rights violations prohibiting cruel and usual punishment.
The ongoing foot dragging by the PA DOC was confirmed this week. On the same day that the prison doctor delivered the news to Mumia, PA DOC attorneys filed a scandalous motion in court. They asked the judge to dismiss Mumia’s legal health suit on the basis that the DOC had decided to treat Mumia under the guidelines of pre-existing HEP C treatment protocol —the same protocol that the judge previously declared “unconstitutional.”
These arguments demonstrate the DOC’s attempt to undermine the legal implications of Mumia’s legal suit and the DOC’s own misconduct. When Mumia is finally administered the cure, his treatment will establish precedent for the treatment of thousands of PA prisoners with Hep C, as well as people on the outside who can’t afford the medication. Mumia’s battle has exposed the deadly crisis of medical care in the prisons and the barbarism of the U.S. for-profit health care system that charges 90K for the Hep C cure.
As history shows, a judge’s ruling does not ensure its implementation, especially when it challenges ruling interests. For this reason, we are asking you to take action and demand immediate Hep C treatment for Mumia, for the more than 700,000 prisoners with Hep C across the country and the millions suffering with the untreated, deadly disease outside the prison walls in our neighborhoods.
This moment has also created an opportunity to uphold Mumia’s innocence and fight for his freedom. On Monday, April 24, 2017, the day of Mumia’s birthday, his attorneys will challenge his conviction in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. We are calling on you to join us at the courthouse and in the streets.
On April 24, his conviction attorneys, Judith Ritter and Christina Swarns (NAACP Legal Defense Fund), will take advantage of the recent Supreme Court ruling in Williams v. Commonwealth to show how judicial and prosecutorial bias in all of Mumia’s state appeals have kept him behind bars. This important Supreme Court ruling determined that a judge cannot fairly adjudicate an appeal of a case for which he/she has previously had a personal role in a significant prosecutorial decision.
In Mumia’s case, Judge Ronald Castile, the same judge under scrutiny in Williams v. Commonwealth, also was the elected Philadelphia District Attorney responsible for the arguments made to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1988 to uphold Mumia’s trial conviction and death sentence. Castille had also been a high-level assistant DA during Mumia’s trial. After he was elected to the PA Supreme Court in 1994, he was involved in deliberating and denying all of Mumia’s state appeals against the decisions of “hanging judge” Albert Sabo and Pamela Dembe who upheld Mumia’s death sentence and denied him a new trial during multiple appeals between 1998-2007. These judges denied a new trial despite Mumia’s innocence, that evidence of his guilt was manufactured by the police and prosecution and that he had been denied virtually every due process right and protection owed under the U.S. constitution.
During the appellate filing, Mumia’s attorneys asked Judge Castille to recuse himself because of this bias, citing also the judge’s close relationship with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), which lobbied for Mumia’s conviction. The FOP funded Castille’s bid for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and honored him as “Man of the Year.” In response to Mumia’s attorneys, Justice Castille responded stridently that he would not step aside, noting that he should not be singled out because five of the seven judges of that Pennsylvania Supreme Court were also supported by the FOP. It is no surprise that the court did not find one single error in the original court proceedings and thus upheld his death sentence and denied Mumia the right to a new trial.
We demand the immediate release of Mumia!
We are calling on people who care to do two things:
1. Call the DOC to demand immediate treatment for Mumia and all PA prisoners with Hep C —
PA DOC Secretary John Wetzel, (717) 728-2573
(Email) email@example.com —
(Twitter) @johnewetzel * @CorrectionsPA
2. Join us in Philadelphia on Monday, April 24, 2017 at 8:30AM, at the the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to assert Mumia’s innocence and call for his immediate release.
Center for Criminal Justice
1303 Filbert Street
Signers in solidarity,
International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
Campaign to Bring Mumia Home
Abolitionist Law Center
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC)
Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal
Committee to Save Mumia Abu-Jamal
Mundo Obrero/Workers World
Philly REAL Justice
Sankofa Community Empowerment
Millions for Mumia/International Action Center
Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal/Northern California
Le Collectif Français “Libérons Mumia”
German Network Against the Death Penalty and to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
Amig@s de Mumia de México
Saint-Denis Free Mumia Committee
UPDATE on Mumia’s demand in court for hepatitis C treatment and what you can do to help him —
Good News! Today [March 27] the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit denied the Department of Correction’s motion to “stay” Judge Mariani’s order that the DOC provide Mumia the Hep-C treatment pending appeal. The DOC had filed a motion saying that until the appeal is decided, they need not comply. The appeals court has now rejected that argument.
This does not mean that the DOC will comply and treat Mumia ASAP. We don’t know what they will try next. There has been a motion pending in front of Mariani for almost two months to find the DOC in contempt for failing to comply with his order to treat Mumia. Mumia’s lawyers–Bob Boyle and Bret Grote–are consulting to figure out the next step.
Meanwhile, this is indeed a great victory, but Mumia has not been treated yet. Protest, pressure, and publicity are needed to get Mumia and other prisoners Hep C treatment.
Department of Corrections Secretary Wetzel:
GIVE MUMIA AND ALL OTHER INFECTED PA PRISONERS THE DRUG THAT CURES HEPATITIS C —
DO NOT APPEAL JUDGE MARIANI’S
JANUARY 3 RULING
l A Federal Court judge ruled on Jan. 3 that not treating prisoners with chronic hepatitis C is barbaric and unconstitutional.
l The judge ordered the Department of Corrections to treat Mumia Abu-Jamal with the hep C cure within 21 days.
l Prisoners have already died from the delay of treatment. Delay and foot-dragging it will extend Mumia’s suffering and dangerous deterioration of health.
Please call DOC Secretary Wetzel
§ Tell him to immediately give the Hep C cure to Mumia and all other PA prisoners with the deadly disease.
Call: 717-728-2573 or 717-728-4109 or
Tweet: @johnewetzel or
The issue of women’s rights has been one of paramount importance for a long time. For millenia, we’ve had a serious problem of male domination in human society. This has led to innumerable acts of mindless violence as we have forgotten our feminine side. Life is about balance and we are significantly out of balance in respect to this. Compassion is not an option. It is not something to ponder the value of. It is part of life. We will not be able to consider ourselves civilized until we act upon this and find balance as a race.
As with correcting most ills in society, it begins with illuminating the problem – specifically to those who, for some reason, are curiously deficient in moral courage and wisdom. Corporate media has an incredibly powerful indoctrination process which strengthens these destructive deficiencies, but that is no excuse. We’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions. This takes on added significance when we consider that a large portion of the people who suffer greatly from this dis-ease are people who praise strength, courage, morality and self-determination. You’d think they’d be enthusiastic about correcting this deeply ingrained problem that has plagued humanity for so long.
The current political climate adds an additional layer of urgency to this issue as the executive branch of our government has been taken over by an oligarchy of predators who not only feed on economic terrorism but on racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, religious intolerance and, especially, fear. They deal in fear as a form of currency and, sadly, are “led” by a self-described sexual predator with questionable intelligence and a serious anger issue.
I’ve decided to end my introduction with a quote from Ida Bell Wells-Barnett, popularly known as Ida B. Wells. She was a brilliant journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, sociologist, feminist and an early leader in the Civil Rights Movement. Anyone who doesn’t know about this courageous leader who passed on more than 80 years ago needs to brush up on their history.
“The way to right wrongs is to shine the light of truth upon them.”
The following is from the informative website FREEDOM SOCIALIST Voice of Revolutionary Feminism:
In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, we send you this Freedom Socialist article written just in advance of the truly epic Women’s March on Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21.
February-March 2017 – Volume 38, No. 1
Women’s Rights Are Not Negotiable
Fighting for women’s rights means fighting for good jobs and good pay. Women who fight back are beautiful. When women of all colors, ethnicities, ages and sexualities come together to demand full equality, they are absolutely gorgeous — and so are the men who are standing with them!
The Women’s March on Washington, a week ahead as of this writing, is a howl of defiance against the sexist, racist and xenophobic rhetoric that characterized the presidential campaign. What is predicted to be the largest gathering of feminists in at least 10 years is a priceless opportunity to revitalize a militant women’s movement. And to recognize that the U.S. government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich will never grant full equality to all women, no matter who sits in the White House!
Twenty-five years into the third wave of feminism, the victories of the 1970s are under more vicious attack than ever. Activists are continually using precious energy to shore up this reform and that one. Wouldn’t it be simpler just to push this rotten system over?
Knowledge is power. Black women and other women of color know that they and their families are targeted by racist cops and bigotry at every level of society. Muslim and immigrant women know that they are being used once again as scapegoats by white supremacists and right-wing politicians; so too do lesbians and trans women. Working women, whose wages have once again been effectively cut as prices for food, gas, housing and healthcare go up and up, know that homelessness is one unlucky break away.
Young women going off to college learn that their safety from rape and sexual assault is not as important as their school’s or attacker’s reputation. Older women, whose life savings and pensions have disappeared into the off-shore bank accounts of billionaires, know that privatizing or cutting Social Security and Medicare means the choice between meat and heat.
Victims of domestic violence know what it means when money is cut once again from shelters, job placement programs, welfare and food stamps. It means they are trapped with their abuser because they and their kids can not live on air.
Women’s experiences make them acutely aware of the suffering caused worldwide by the wholly corrupt capitalist system. Many understand that its insatiable need for ever greater profits can only be met by more war, by more environmental destruction, by more trampling of Native rights, and by more exploitation of the working class. That is why women are at the core of any movement for social and economic justice. They have no choice but to defend themselves and their families.
Anyone paying the remotest attention to feminist blogs, video postings, articles, artwork and protests knows that women have had it with unfulfilled goals and the rollbacks of hard-won rights.
Feminists are still fighting for access to safe abortion and contraception and against forced sterilization of women of color or women with disabilities. Parents still need free, quality daycare and early childhood education. More than ever, women need free college and trade school educations. We want universal healthcare. We want affirmative action. We want equal pay for equal work. We want an end to discriminatory laws aimed at LGBTQ people. We want to live in a society free from rape and assault.
These are our survival needs and our human rights!
A strong movement fights for everyone. Capitalists own the media and bankroll the politicians. They own the banks and the factories and most of the farms; the energy industry, the “defense” industry, the retail giants, and the slickest lawyers.
They’ve got it all, baby. And just what have we got?
We have the only thing we have ever had — we have each other. That’s all the people in the anti-slavery movement had, that’s all the suffragettes who won the vote had, that’s all the fighters for the eight-hour day had, that’s all the people in the civil rights movement who ended Jim Crow had — each other. And that’s all the feminist movement of 40 years ago had when it fought for female control of female bodies and lives. When working people of all colors and genders stand together and demand justice not only for themselves but for all the people who are marginalized, the capitalists must either concede or break themselves on the rock of that solidarity.
To put it simply, solidarity is our best defense and our best weapon. It is the beating heart of all the great achievements for human rights and dignity in all the movements the world over.
But a tragic thing happened on the way to women’s liberation in the 1970s. A large sector of the feminist movement focused on career advancement for more privileged, predominantly white women and for reform within the system — translation, getting Democrats elected. Lesbians were told that their issues were distracting from more important goals. The issues of women of color rarely made it onto the agenda. Socialist feminists were politely and not so politely asked to leave their “scary” socialism at the door and “just be feminists.”
Those breaks in solidarity caused the second wave of the feminist movement to fracture along race, class and sexuality lines. This must not happen again.
Building solidarity through action. There is no doubt that many of the feminists coming together for the Women’s March on Washington have learned the lessons of their foremothers’ successes and failures. The original organizers were white and didn’t address racism and xenophobia. To their credit, they responded to criticism, broadening their ranks to include Black, Latina and Muslim organizers, and addressed their issues.
The mission statement for the march says it well: “We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”
Some dissension has continued over whether women of different races can or should work together, and if so, how. Who could expect otherwise in today’s fractured USA? The only road forward is by breaking down the barriers dividing us with unshakable solidarity.
The women of today possess the imagination, intelligence and organizational skill to push for much-needed reforms even under a President Trump. But if we leave the capitalist system in place, our daughters will have to fight these same battles all over again.
Let us commit to each other that no one gets left behind this time, that no one’s rights get negotiated away. That this time we don’t stop at reforms. This time we go for a socialist feminist revolution. And yes, you can dance in this revolution.
Send feedback to FSNews@mindspring.com.
Announcement from the MumiaNYC Website on the sudden passing on of Civil Rights Legend, The People’s Lawyer, Lynne Stewart:
LONG LIVE LYNNE STEWART, A REVOLUTIONARY EXAMPLE FOREVER, A FIGHTER FOR JUSTICE TO HER LAST BREATH!
We extend our deepest condolences to Ralph, Betty, her children, grandchildren, and all those who loved her.
INTERNATIONAL CONCERNED FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL
FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL COALITION (nyc)
A LETTER FROM BOB LEDERER:
Ralph Poynter told me the following very sad news last night, and has authorized me to distribute it publicly: Our beloved People’s Champion (and WBAI Local Station Board member) Lynne Stewart suffered a major stroke last Wednesday, the latest complication from the cancer that has now spread throughout her body and invaded her brain. She is resting comfortably at home and is not in pain, but can only speak sporadically. Her doctor has said she does not have much time left.
Ralph and Sister Betty Davis are of course taking good care of her, as are her doctor-daughter Zenobia Brown and long-term friend of 63 years Virginia Gernes. Ralph welcomes your emails (at firstname.lastname@example.org). Because of the high expense of Lynne’s ongoing care, Betty has launched an online fundraising campaign. (Link: https://www.generosity.com/emergencies-fundraising/financial-appeal-for-lynne-stewart-health-crisis. Please donate generously.
I learned all this minutes after Ralph accepted an award for Lynne at a major public event by the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee, which honored a large group of lawyers and doctors who have supported U.S. political prisoners. As we know, for years Lynne went out of her way to provide strong representation to a pantheon of dedicated radical activists facing prison — before she herself suffered a similar, cruel fate.
Let’s all send Lynne, Ralph, & Betty our hugs, love, and best wishes for this final journey. Such a heroic fighter — Lynne, we love you!
P.S. Ironically, her latest stroke occurred hours after a New York Times article (link: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/24/nyregion/lynne-stewart-lawyer-for-omar-abdel-rahman.html?emc=eta1&_r=1) appeared based on an interview with her, which noted that she had survived three years beyond the compassionate release granted her (on Dec. 31, 2013), following a statement by her prison doctor that she would not likely survive beyond 18 months: Ms. Stewart said in a 12-page handwritten letter to the judge in 2013: “Isolated, in hospital, as I now am, I have time to contemplate life and death. I do not intend to go ‘gently into that good night,’ as Dylan Thomas wrote. There is much to be done in this world. I do know that I do not want to die here in prison — a strange and loveless place. I want to be where all is familiar — in a word, home.” This is a fitting reminder of that people’s victory three years ago, brought about by Lynne’s will of steel, Ralph’s indefatigable barnstorming, and the movement’s rallying behind her.