Saturday, February 03, 2007  

The US does not

use terror, this I know. (How do I know? )Because (someone at) the State Department tells me so!

Excuse me while I laugh uncontrollably.

Wow, I had NO idea, really, I didn't, that things like Operation Condor, the kidnapping and murder of nuns, extra-judicial kidnapping, hopped up Johnny wacking Iraqis with riffle butts were not terrorism. Boy. I am so glad I got that straightened out!

I'm sorry, but could I possibly be on the wrong mobius strip?
Check out this hilarious exchange between blogger Sabbah and his new buddy with the Afghanistan Desk at the State Department:
You state that the pictures you posted February 1 depict victims of terrorism by the United States. The U.S. does not use terror. You have no evidence to support your claim and are intellectually dishonest in doing so. If you are truly concerned about the plight of the Palestinian people you will lend your support to the “Roadmap” - which represents the fastest path to an independent Palestine - rather than making baseless and inflammatory charges.
(courtesy of the Arabist.

This should keep me giggling until we invade Iran sometime before Easter.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007  

Rep supports Lt. Watada

On Tuesday (Jan 30), US Rep. Honda wrote the following in the San Francisco Chronicle in support of Lt. Ehren Watada, who is facing courtmartial February 5 for refusing to serve in what he terms "an immoral war." Two of the charges, "conduct unbecoming" are being dropped- the ones for which the prosecution subpoenaed independent journalist Sarah Olson and threatened to subpoena independent journalist Dahr Jamail (see sidebar for links to Dahr's site).
Watada Chose to Stop Fighting

By US Rep. Mike Honda
San Francisco Chronicle
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Ehren K. Watada volunteered for military service following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on our country out of a desire to protect his family and compatriots. His service record has been exemplary, and he was deemed "among the best" by his superiors.

All that changed on June 22, 2006, when Watada was ordered to deploy to the Middle East as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Opposed to the premise and conduct of the war in Iraq, Watada refused to comply with this order. He now faces a court martial and up to six years in prison.

Lt. Watada has taken a solemn oath of allegiance as a military officer. With the order to deploy to Iraq, he found himself with a dilemma: Either follow this oath or risk the severe consequences of disobedience. In the spirit of Henry David Thoreau, this young man searched his soul and found himself unable to suppress his conscience and opposition to what he views as an immoral, illegal war.

Watada is not alone. Poll after poll points to an ever rising tide of public opposition to President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq. This soldier is unique, however, in that he is the first commissioned U.S. military officer to refuse Iraq deployment.

I am neither a lawyer nor a veteran, and it is not my place to opine on the legality or military propriety of Lt. Watada's actions. I am, however, a proud and patriotic American solemnly entrusted by his friends and neighbors to represent them, their hopes, their dreams and their principles in the greatest deliberative body in the world.

I voted against giving President Bush the authority to use military force in Iraq, and do not believe his justifications for taking us into war were even minimally adequate. As a duly elected member of Congress, I express my admiration for a young American who, in the same spirit, has heeded his conscience at tremendous risk to livelihood, reputation and personal freedom in order to right what he and the vast majority of his compatriots see as a tremendous wrong.

This soldier is neither a conscientious objector nor a pacifist. He volunteered to serve his nation in the armed forces, has expressed his willingness to fight in our struggle in Afghanistan, and declined his superiors' offer to deploy to a desk job in Iraq, out of harm's way. There is not, nor can there be, the slightest doubt as to this young man's bravery, patriotism or commitment to his fellow soldiers.

In facing charges of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, it is my belief that Ehren Watada has laid bare a fact that is becoming increasingly plain: Mr. Bush has handled this war in a manner unbecoming a United States president.

At best, our president misled the nation on the rationale for going into Iraq. He has embroiled this great country in a cycle of brutality there that has grievously tarnished America's international reputation, has further destabilized an already precarious Middle East and has taken the lives of more than 3,000 American fathers, mothers, sons and daughters.

Watada has risked being deemed guilty of breaking one law in furtherance of a higher, moral one, rather than participate in a fight that, in his and my view, needlessly sends our compatriots to their deaths.

In Watada's own words: "To stop an illegal and unjust war, the soldiers and service members can choose to stop fighting it" (, click on YouTube video).

Democrat Mike Honda represents San Jose in the U.S. House of Representatives.


The Great Pumpkin, that rock over there...

or whatever.

This hilarious but thought-provoking column on religion, Shrub and the decision to invade Iraq.
The Great Pumpkin Goes to Washington

I don’t care a fig about our next president’s personal religious views. The candidate can worship the Great Pumpkin, for all I care, as long as he or she doesn’t assume that the rest of us do too, and that the Great Pumpkin told him to do things such as, to take a case at random, invade Iraq.

But I certainly want to know what any presidential candidate thinks government should and should not do to protect freedom of religion and freedom from religion. The candidate may be a person of deep faith or a godless atheist, but what matters to me is the candidate’s willingness, and ability, to ensure that the law protects the rights of other people to have their own deep faith or godless atheism, and keep them from messing with one another.

I pledge allegiance to the first amendment, which I interpret to mean that government shouldn’t traffic with religion—neither promote it nor persecute it—and this means that, in the public arena, the candidate should not use religious rhetoric, which does nothing but harm, fogging over the clear lines of argument on the issues and eliciting irrelevant and irrational choices in the electorate.
(more here.


The Righteous are

those who know in their hearts that crimes against humanity are wrong, no matter the color of one's skin, the religion one professes, or one's origin.
JERUSALEM - At the height of World War II, Khaled Abdelwahhab hid a group of Jews on his farm in a small Tunisian town, saving them from the Nazi troops occupying the North African nation.

Now, Abdelwahhab has become the first Arab nominated for recognition as "Righteous Among the Nations," an honor bestowed on non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews from Nazi persecution.

The nomination of Abdelwahhab, who died in 1997, has reopened a little-known chapter of the Holocaust in the Arab countries of North Africa.

Contrary to what many people think, the Jewish populations of many Arab nations lived in relative harmony with their fellow Arabs until the end of WWII with the establishment of Israel and the seizure of Palestinian lands.

IN North Africa, the Jewish population came from many sources. Some were indigenous Berber tribes, others were the descendents of Andalusian Jews who were expelled from Spain, still others had immigrated at one time or another.

When the Vichy France asked for Morocco's Jews, the Sultan Mohammed V is reported to have said,"there are onl Jews here, only Moroccans, and if you take anyone, you will have to start with me." a courageous position for someone whose country was in pretectorate status.

To read more about Abdelwahhab and others like him, go


The US Government v Sarah Olson, Independent Journalist

I am absolutely delighted to say that the US Government has dropped its decision to subpoena SF-Bay Area-based independent journalist Sarah Olson in support of its case against Lt. Ehren Watada who is due to be courtmartialed in early February.

In developing its case of "conduct unbecoming" against Lt. Watada who has refused to continue to serve in Iraq (in what he considers an immoral military action), the US Government subpoenaed Sarah Olson based on interviews of Watada she published. The US Government also threatened to do the same to independent journalist Dahr Jamail, despite his strenuous objections.

While the prosecution is within its rights to call various people, the act of calling journalists to testify to and comment upon material they wrote connected to the individual before the court (especially a court-martial) walks a very fine line between a free press and indirect censorship through legal intimidation.

In this case, it is/was the independent press which is secondarily on trial here. While the subpoena does not strike directly at the concept of a free press, it does cast a chilling pall over the whole process of independent reporting and the War on Terror, the War in Iraq and the upcoming War in Iran (don't think that's coming? Wait til we take out the wrong Iranian in Iraq). This is particularly insidious under this Administration which has sought to silence, intimidate and render inactive the alternative press through vicious anti-free speech propaganda to outright attempts at manipulation.

For more on this situation and to sign a few petitions directed at preserving freedom of the press (First Amendment), go here.

A free press is the hallmark of a healthy democracy.

Sunday, January 28, 2007  

You think?

"The number of women aged between 15 and 50 is fixed," Mr Yanagisawa, 71, said. "Because the number of birth-giving machines and devices is fixed, all we can do is ask them to do their best per head ... although it may not be so appropriate to call them machines."

Really. I can't imagine why...
(read the rest)
(PS: those machines? AKA women)


Governance by numbers

Well, the Decider has announced to Congress that he is the one who gets to decide things.

Well, well, well. A little unclear on the concept of American Democracy (which is becoming an oxymoron a little faster every day...), are we?

Today, 1,000's of American were very clear on the concept of democracy as well as that of free speech and marched in protest against the war across the US.

Say, what was that number again?
In DC, it was tens of thousands.
As in way more than five, as in the size of an American town.

Think of that- a group the size of a town moving towards the White House, protesting the Decider's decision to decide to send more troops in, stay the course, win at all costs.

In a democratic system, the voice of the people carry weight.

Unless, of course, the Decider decides to emulate Louis XIV and declare his version of "L'Etat c'est moi."

And we all know what happened to the French Monarchy...

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