DEFENDING RON McGUIRE, PEOPLE’S LAWYER — STUDENTS BEAT CUNY IN COURT. NOW CUNY-EDUCATED JUDGE PUNISHES THEIR ATTORNEY

by MITCHEL COHEN

I wrote this story ten days ago and it was published in the Queens Free Press, which is edited by Joel Kuszai, a professor at Queens Community College. Since that time, additional information was published by columnist Juan Gonzalez, whose article on Ron McGuire appeared in today’s New York Daily News, and by civil rights attorney Bill Simpich in ReaderSupportedNews (RSN), which added a great deal of background to Ron McGuire’s story as an activist, before he became a lawyer.

As this battle picks up steam to defend the attorney who defended the students in the City University of New York system, the courts as well as the de Blasio administration will be deciding this matter’s fate. I urge you to contact your local press and the Mayor’s office and City Council members in support of Ron McGuire. This case may seem on the surface like it’s only about a lawyer trying to recover funds from the City, but there’s really a lot more that’s at stake. As Juan Gonzalez accurately puts it,

“If lawyers like McGuire can’t receive adequate compensation for defending the rights of low-income students, then no one else will even try.”

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THE FEAR THAT IS GRIPPING FRANCE

BY RICHARD GREEMAN

The fear that is gripping France today stands in ghastly contrast with the positive national mood during the days immediately following the horrific Nov. 13 attacks in Paris. (See my report,  “France at War.”)

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30 YEARS AGO: THE GREAT AMERICAN LYING MACHINE

Thirty years ago I wrote this essay. I solicit your feedback on how the same patterns used then — Secretary of State Alexander Haig‘s holding-up for the cameras of falsified photographs (which was itself a repeat of Sen. Joe McCarthy‘s use of cropped photos in the Army-McCarthy televised hearings in 1954, as shown in the great documentary, “Point of Order”), were repeated by Colin Powell in his televised testimony to the United Nations about alleged (but false) Iraqi mobile biowarfare labs, as one of the bases for sending U.S. troops into Iraq, along with the lies orchestrated by the U.S. government of infants tossed out of Kuwait’s incubators by Iraqi forces — continue to this very day.

by Mitchel Cohen

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
‑ Voltaire

We take for granted that our government lies to us. The Left agrees with that, the Right does as well, and so do those attempting to straddle the ever‑narrowing fence in the middle. In fact, one of the great, unifying themes of American democracy is the belief by an overwhelming majority of our population that the government
regularly and consistently lies to us.

Depending upon whom you listen to, the reasons behind the lies vary. Sometimes it’s “for your own good”. Sometimes it’s for the sake of “National Security”. Sometimes it’s to “protect corporate investments and private interests from public scrutiny”. But whatever the reason, we all agree that the government lies to us. That’s part of what unites us as a country. It’s a cherished American tradition. We are a nation of “the lied‑to’s”.

Of course rarely will anyone admit to actually believing the lies. Oh, no, we’re much too sophisticated for that! I have yet to meet a single person who believes, for example, that President Reagan is actually trying to support an end to Apartheid in South Africa with his “constructive engagement” ruse. It’s clear that’s just a phrase to make palatable the U.S. government’s continued funding of the apartheid regime. Still, Americans have a collective appreciation for a well-constructed euphemism. My current favorite is the President’s dubbing of the MX nuclear missile “The Peacekeeper”! We chortle gleefully at the glib turns of phrase while all the while knowing, of course, that a ruse is a ruse is a ruse. We are a nation of bedtime story-lovers, and no one is better than President Reagan than spinning tall tales, often right on the spur of the moment, to tuck us in at night.

I admit that it did take me a while to imagine our so-called “founding fathers” — Tom Jefferson, George Washington, and John Adams ‑‑ let alone Benjamin Franklin, to whom President Reagan compared the contra death squads in Nicaragua ‑‑ carrying M-16s and slogging through the muck of Honduras, along its border with Nicaragua. Even more preposterous, their distribution of “how‑to‑murder” manuals, which were in fact prepared in secret by the CIA! I much prefer the bed-time story of the founding fathers’ distribution of the declaration of independence celebrating freedom from foreign domination.

When one hears first hand accounts by peasants living in Nicaragua of how the contras, funded by the U.S. government, raped their mothers while they (as kids) were forced to watch, and how the contras jabbed knives into their mothers’ vaginas and jagged upwards, flaying them open while still alive, one wonders which of our “founding fathers” President Reagan was dreaming of.

Was it true that “the contras really cut off the heads of doctors and teachers just north of Jinotega,” as the newpapers reported, and rolled them down the dirt streets like soccer balls as a lesson to the poor peasants for housing such “communist” medics who treated the sick for free and taught the illiterate to read and write? I had to find out for myself. And so in 1983 I visited that beautiful mountain town, very poor, and heard the stories. To my horror, I found that the worst things said about the contras in the U.S. barely scratched the surface! The U.S. government’s lies to the contrary, the Nicaraguan people despised the contras, even those who voted for oppositional candidates to the Sandinistas in the recent elections.

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DAYS OF ATONEMENT

Some outrages are worse than others. Still, why should we set one injustice against the other, as though seeking greater exhibitions of revulsion at the one oppression or injustice than at the other.

And yet we do. The murder of Eric Garner last year at the hands (literally) of one of New York’s “Finest” is one such outrage. It stands out from the “normal” horror story, so beyond the pale as to be unspeakably inhuman.

Garner’s murder in Staten Island, along with that of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has triggered a movement across the U.S. against all outrages, known as “Black Lives Matter.”

Equally outrageous is the sentencing by the regime in Saudi Arabia of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr to death by crucifixion and beheading (!) for his participation in “Arab Spring” pro-democracy protests in 2012.

Ali was 17 years old when arrested and tortured. (Support Ali Mohammed al-Nimr HERE.) Meanwhile, the Saudi regime continues to receive billions of dollars each year in “foreign aid” and military hardware from the United States. Saudi Arabia was just chosen to head the United Nations Council on Human Rights.

And this week, just in time for Yom Kippur (Days of Atonement), we learn of Israeli soldiers’ assassination of 18-year-old Hadil Salah Hashlamoun at a checkpoint in Hebron.

An image published by Youth Against Settlements shows Hadil Hashlamoun surrounded by Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint in Hebron. Note the wood fence Hadil would have to climb to get past the guards.

Hadil was ordered to open her bag. When she did, an Israeli soldier screamed at her in Hebrew (which she did not understand), and shot her in one leg and then the other, and other soldiers opened fire on the poor girl. She collapsed and, while still alive, her body was dragged over the ground to a corner where she waited for more than 30 minutes for an ambulance (while Israeli emergency personnel stood by joking with the soldiers). She died later in the hospital.

You can listen to Amy Goodman’s story about Hadil on Democracy Now!:

Amnesty International has issued a scathing report following its examination of photographs from the scene and interviews it conducted with witnesses, concluding that “the killing of Hadeel al-Hashlamoun by Israeli forces in Hebron, in the occupied West Bank, on 22 September 2015 was an extrajudicial execution.”

The Amnesty International report goes on to say that when one of the Israeli soldiers was standing half a meter away from Hadeel, he fired a shot at the ground and she moved away and stood behind a metal rail next to a wall. According to witness Abu Aisheh,

al-Hashlamoun had her hands inside her niqab (full-face veil) throughout this entire period and at no point tried to approach any of the soldiers. The four soldiers who had just arrived pushed Abu Aisheh 3-4 metres back and refused his offer of translation. At this point, according to Abu Aisheh, the girl was behind metal rails separating her from the soldiers and the same soldier who had fired the first shots moved back, dropped to one knee, and shot al-Hashlamoun in her left leg. According to Abu Aisheh, she fell to the ground and dropped her bag, as well as a knife with a brown handle that she had been holding under her niqab. The first witness, who was slightly farther away than Abu Aisheh, did not see any weapon.

According to Abu Aisheh, the soldier who had shot first got up and moved closer to her, until he was about a metre away, and then shot at her upper body four or five times again while she was lying motionless on the ground. He said that the soldier shot a few times despite other soldiers yelling at him to stop. The first witness also described the soldier moving closer to al-Hashlamoun and shooting her in the chest.

Amnesty International’s report continues:

Even if al-Hashlamoun did have a knife, Israeli soldiers, who are protected with body armour and heavily equipped with advanced weapons, could have controlled the situation and arrested her without threatening her life. Open fire regulations of the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank allow soldiers to open fire only when their lives are in imminent danger, and Amnesty International concludes that this was not the case in the shooting of al-Hashlamoun, as she was standing still and separated from the soldiers by a metal barrier. There was no attempt to arrest al-Hashlamoun, according to the eyewitnesses, or to use non-lethal alternatives.

To then shoot al-Hashlamoun again multiple times as she lay wounded on the ground indicates that her killing was an extrajudicial execution.

Such utter disregard for human life! The Israeli soldiers are reminiscent of the Chicago police force — another (but similar) kind of occupying army — in December of 1969 following their murder (while he slept) of Black Panther organizer Fred Hampton, snickering as they carried away his body.

Chicago police carrying out Fred Hampton’s body, after they assassinated him while he slept, on December 4th, 1969.

I want to make it clear to the world — or at least anyone who cares to read this blog: This Jew (me) is outraged at the behavior of the Israeli occupation forces. I — and many other Jews — denounce such inhumanity, such callous disregard for the life of another human being. They claim to be doing this in my name and in the name of all Jews everywhere! I am numb. Not in my name! Their actions (and the policies that led to them) are horrible beyond all comprehension.

I have only one question: Checkpoints? When did we, as human beings, come to accept permanent checkpoints as legitimate “standard operating procedure” to begin with?

 

REMEMBERING ADAM PURPLE

There was a time in New York City when the purple footsteps were everywhere, leading to the City’s wreck of a beautiful garden of Eden (thank you Ed Koch). Adam Purple had been building his zen masterpiece garden a little bit every day for a decade, while living in the adjoining tenement building (where he once had been the super), which the landlord abandoned and Con Ed had turned off the electricity and water, in the rubble of the then “not quite trendy” Lower East Side.

Adam Purple died on Sept. 14th, 2015 at age 84 while biking from Brooklyn across the Williamsburg Bridge.

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WIDE ASLEEP IN AMERICA: SLAUGHTERING THE TRUTH & THE FALSE CHOICE OF WAR ON IRAN

Yes, support the “Iran Deal”. However, there has been so much propaganda around the “Iran Deal” that even peace organizations have been sucked into supporting it for the wrong reasons, repeating the “preventing a pathway to nuclear weapons” line and joining the “Stop Iran!” hysteria. Please click on the logo below to listen to this brief radio interview with journalist Nima Shirazi and read his latest piece, below, which clearly explain what’s wrong with the assumptions underlying the “Iran Deal”.

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STOP NYC’S PESTICIDES SPRAYING, NOW!

While being sprayed with Anvil 10+10 pesticides including carcinogenic piperonyl butoxide (2006) without warning, young Sunset Park Brooklyn residents try to cover up.

Posted originally to http://www.NoSpray.org

August 11, 2015 — The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOH) renews its annual pesticide-spraying assault on the people of New York City tonight in Staten Island and Queens.

Areas of New Jersey are also being widely sprayed.

All mass spraying of pyrethroid and organophosphate pesticides are dangerous to human health (especially to children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems), as well as to pets, fish, and other animals. The spraying must be halted immediately.

LISTEN TO DR. ROBERT SIMON, TOXICOLOGIST, TALK ABOUT PESTICIDES ­ CLICK HERE

Every year, the NYC DOH grants itself waivers from New York City Local Law 37, a law passed in 2005 in response to growing concerns over the health and environmental consequences of mass-spraying of Malathion (and other organophosphates) and Anvil 10+10 (and other pyrethroids, especially those containing the carcinogen Piperonyl Butoxide).

Only through application and granting of such waivers is the Department of Health enabled to legally conduct the pesticides spraying.

But the NYC DOH is circumventing the law. It applies for a waiver to itself, and then it grants itself pro forma the right and authority to spray deadly pesticides in NYC. No other agency reviews its application. The checks and balances envisioned in Local Law 37 are thus thwarted. Continue reading »

The Problem of Greece Is Not Only a Tragedy. It Is a Lie.

By John Pilger

Global Research, July 13, 2015

An historic betrayal has consumed Greece. Having set aside the mandate of the Greek electorate, the Syriza government has willfully ignored last week’s landslide “No” vote and secretly agreed a raft of repressive, impoverishing measures in return for a “bailout” that means sinister foreign control and a warning to the world.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has pushed through parliament a proposal to cut at least 13 billion euros from the public purse – 4 billion euros more than the “austerity” figure rejected overwhelmingly by the majority of the Greek population in a referendum on 5 July.

These reportedly include a 50 per cent increase in the cost of healthcare for pensioners, almost 40 per cent of whom live in poverty; deep cuts in public sector wages; the complete privatization of public facilities such as airports and ports; a rise in value added tax to 23 per cent, now applied to the Greek islands where people struggle to eke out a living. There is more to come.

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PACIFICA RADIO’S BERKELEY STATION KPFA CENSORS PRODUCER BONNIE FAULKNER (‘GUNS & BUTTER’)

Just when you thought Pacifica Radio might be turning the corner, it seems to always findKPFA censorship a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

In the most recent travesty, new Program Director at KPFA, Laura Prives, decided that she would not allow long-time producer Bonnie Faulkner to interview alternative health practitioner Gary Null to present his position (and mine) on the California bill now before the legislature making vaccines mandatory. She also rejected Bonnie Faulkner’s selection of Gary Null’s excellent film, “Silent Epidemic: The Untold Story of Vaccines”.  This is the first time in memory that a producer at a Pacifica station was banned from selecting her own guest to be interviewed.

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ROUNDUP READY? DRINK UP, IT’S GOOD FOR YOU … NOT!

by CATHRYN SWAN

reprinted from WashingtonSquareParkBlog.com

Environmental advocacy groups, Beyond Pesticides and the No Spray Coalition are calling for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to “stop the use of the country’s most popular herbicide, glyphosate, in the wake of an international ruling that it causes cancer in humans.”

In addition, the No Spray Coalition, is calling on the New York City Parks Department to finally halt the use of glyphosate, manufactured by Monsanto and sold as Roundup, in our city parks. The No Spray Coalition has, for the last fifteen years, advocated against pesticide spraying for West Nile virus in New York City and beyond and other forms of pesticide use. Continue reading »

CALL TO ACTION: FREE 18-YEAR-OLD STUDENT LINA KHATTAB, IMPRISONED IN ISRAEL

FREE LINA KHATTAB!

Palestinian student Lina Khattab, 18 years old and a first-year media student at Bir Zeit University, was sentenced by an Israeli military court to six months imprisonment, a 6000 NIS ($1500 USD) fine and three years probation, after her arrest by Israeli occupation forces during a student protest to free Palestinian political prisoners.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/FreeLina/ FreeLina

Lina is also a folkloric dancer with the world-renowned El-Funoun Popular Palestinian Dance Troupe and is active with cultural and political student activities at the University. She was charged with “throwing stones” and “participating in an unlawful demonstration,” two charges frequently used by the Israeli military against Palestinians who participate in public protests against the military occupation.She was sentenced by Israeli military courts, reserved for Palestinians under occupation, which have a 99.74% conviction rate.

Earlier, on January 12, she was denied bail at a hearing in which the military judge said, “looking at her, I can see the characteristics of a leader.” Active Palestinian students frequently face arrest and imprisonment for their campus activities, including involvement in student union elections, student protests, and campus activist organizations and student government blocs. Continue reading »

ALL JEWS EVERYWHERE (A.J.E.)

A MESSAGE TO ALL JEWS EVERYWHERE
FROM ALL JEWS EVERYWHERE

Our organization, All Jews Everywhere, wishes to voice our appreciation to Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of All Jews Everywhere, Inc., for speaking on behalf of the Chosen People before the Israel Funding Association (sometimes referred to as the U.S. Congress).

While we applaud Mr. Netanyahu’s invitation to members of Congress to emigrate to Israel, we advise him to drop that “coming home” theme. Bibi, Israel needs our Congress here to keep that spigot open and the funding flowing.

Many have suggested that Israel should finally relent and apply officially for U.S. statehood. However, we reject that notion, since Israel would then only be represented by two senators, as opposed to 100.

We are thrilled that Congress will be hosting this noted peace warrior. Bibi Netanyahu routinely provokes more standing ovations than the President of the United States when he addresses Congress. Fortunately, thus far, few self-hating Jews have been so petty as to criticize Mr. Netanyahu for actions he’s taken in his role as colonial administrator.

We are appreciative of the fact that, like most great leaders, Bibi has been able to negotiate many settlements. Some of those settlements are secured by walls, barbed wire, machine guns, helicopters, drones and tanks, and some argue that Israel is engaged in the oppression and ethnic cleansing of people living in Gaza and the West Bank. We beg to differ! The bulldozing of the houses of the families of 12-year-old terrorists throwing rocks at our tanks is essential in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s “Broken Windows: Eternal War for Eternal Peace” program, which of course requires U.S. aid to finance and maintain. Thus, All Jews Everywhere believes it is reasonable that Mr. Netanyahu is preparing to spend three full days in meetings with the executive committee of Congress — known locally as AIPAC.

We fully endorse Bibi’s cogent point that the problems between the so-called “Palestine” and Israel (whose right to exist as a Jewish state is biblically inscribed — thank you G-d for choosing us!) are caused by Iran. It is a known fact that all the problems in the world are a direct result of that rogue nation’s undeclared nuclear ambitions, which pose a serious threat to Israel’s monopoly of undeclared nuclear weapons.

Although secret cables from 2012 have just surfaced in which Mossad — Israel’s CIA counterpart — judged Iran incapable of manufacturing and deploying nuclear weapons, if the U.S. and its allies do not bomb Iran soon there could be a war gap. As Mr. Netanyahu stated this week while touring Israeli military bases, “I will go to Washington to address the American Congress, because the American Congress is likely to be the final brake before the agreement between the major powers and Iran.” If too much time passes without war, the momentum for war, along with funding, will erode, threatening our way of life. Alarmed at such a possibility, we in the AJE endorse 2016 Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s request to continue U.S. taxpayers’ annual outlay of $3.2 billion in outright gifts to Israel, plus another $9 billion in loan guarantees and funding for projects that provide jobs there as snipers and tank-operators.

All Jews Everywhere prays for G-d’s assistance in preventing the same methods used to privilege Jews in Israel from being applied by other countries to privilege them against Jews. We reject the anti-Zionist idea that a single humanitarian standard should be applied to all. Otherwise, where are the perks in being the chosen people? We do however suggest that Bibi exchange his camouflage yarmulka for a more conservative one, to keep open his direct pipeline to Adoshem. We worry whether Bibi’s desert camo kippah makes him invisible to G-d. How can G-d protect him, then, and by extension Eretz Yisrael?

“Money for occupations” or “Money for war”? America is wealthy enough to continue funding Israel’s occupations as well as its wars, and make them our own. Yes we can!

Next Year in Tehran!
AJE Executive Board

WBAI RADIO THANK YOU GIFT — DRONES & TARGETED KILLINGS, ed. by MARJORIE COHN

Contributors to WBAI Radio can click on this link to receive a very special thank you gift:
CLICK HERE

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It’s the book: “Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues”, edited by Marjorie Cohn, with a Foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The book is part of a thank you gift package for donating to listener-sponsored, commercial free, non-profit, anti-war WBAI radio (99.5 FM; www.WBAI.org). The package, originally put together for WBAI’s “Arts Express” show and now being made available to other producers and listeners, includes

  • the book, plus
  • a CD of Mitchel Cohen‘s interview with the author, Marjorie Cohn, and with Jeanne Mirer, Chair of the International Committee of the National Lawyers Guild

plus (on the same CD)

  • Kathy Kelly‘s inspiring speech in NYC in January 2015 (just before she began a 3-month prison sentence for protesting the U.S. government’s deployment of assassination drones)

and, (on the same CD)

  • an interview with a former drone pilot

all for a $75 donation to WBAI radio that you make at the URL above.

And, if you’d like to listen to the interviews with Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne Mirer now, Here’s the link to the full interview: CLICK HERE

Feel free to re-broadcast, and please let me know if you do.

 

REBELLION IN EUROPE & THE ROLE OF THE LEFT

January 29, 2015. Three years ago, an eternity.

Three years ago I published right here on my website the following articles, often contradictory, with an attempt to understand and predict the situation in Greece (and Europe), and to support radical left organizations there. I will be posting shortly a similar debate taking place today within the Left, following the progressive coalition party — Syriza’s — winning of a plurality of seats (and control of the government) in last Sunday’s elections in Greece, based largely on its anti-austerity promises.

*   *   *

Over the last few years, Leftist resistance in Europe has been growing by leaps and bounds against back-breaking austerity measures forced on the working class in a number of countries by the German (and American) banks, who are calling the shots. These measures have been acquiesced to and implemented by the in-name-only “Socialist” parties in power in such places as Greece and Spain, and in other countries such as Italy and Iceland.

The banks are squeezing the working class dry in order to break the  advances won by workers over decades of struggle,

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ON PHIL OCHS, MALCOLM X, & JE SUIS CHARLIE

Mitchel Cohen resurrected an interview by 18-year-old Kenny Bromberg with Phil Ochs at SUNY Stony Brook, recorded in 1967. Mitchel turned it into a new show, for Steal This Radio.

Listen here.

Guest Post by Carol Lipton

Phil Ochs penned the famous lyrics to “Love Me I’m a Liberal” about Malcolm X:

I cried when they shot Medgar Evers
Tears ran down my spine
I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
As though I’d lost a father of mine
But Malcolm X got what was coming
He got what he asked for this time
So love me, love me Love me, I’m a liberal

He wrote those lyrics to contrast the assassinations of Medgar Evers and Malcolm X. Medgar Evers, in the eyes of white journalists, was the “good Negro” who died a martyr, having marched for civil rights, while Malcolm X was the dangerous black man, the heretic who dared to expose the nature of American capitalism, and the collective delusion that we were a democracy for anyone other than white people.

The comment which most inspired the tidal wave of wrath in the media was his statement after JFK’s assassination that “the chickens have come home to roost”. Those words referred to what happened in Vietnam just three weeks before before President Kennedy’s assassination, which the world has now largely forgotten.

That was the November 3, 1963 assassination of Ngô Dinh Nu, younger brother and chief political advisor of South Vietnam’s first president, Ngô ình Diem, and Diem himself, who were installed largely as the result of support by the US.

The coup was the culmination of nine years of autocratic and nepotistic family rule in South Vietnam. There was even a meme I recall seeing in newspapers: “no Nus is good news”. Numerous coup plans had been explored by the army before, but the plotters intensified their activities with increased confidence after the administration of U.S. President John F. Kennedy authorized the U.S. embassy to explore the possibility of a leadership change.

The generals initially attempted to cover up the execution by suggesting that the brothers had committed suicide, but this was contradicted when photos of the Ngôs’ corpses surfaced in the media.

When Kennedy was then assassinated on November 22, 1963 , Malcolm X quickly made the connection between US foreign policy and the potential inherent in that policy for a coup d’etat in our own country. It was a perspective that took into account the long and bloody history of CIA coups, from Greece in 1948, to the mass assassinations and coup that deposed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, to the assassination of Patrice Lumumba in the Congo in 1963.

His statement that “the chickens have come home to roost” was no less in bad taste, or any more incendiary, than the hundreds of political cartoons penned by Charlie Hebdo. But as we approach the 50th anniversary of Malcolm X’s own assassination in February, 1965, nowhere do liberal pundits celebrate Malcolm X’s right to free speech, or his value to our society.

There was never was a je suis Malcolm, and there never will be. Phil Ochs was right.

https://stanleyrogouski.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/on-phil-ochs-malcolm-x-and-je-suis-charlie/