Friday, March 21, 2008

Presidential Dream Team

In an ideal world, this is what my subjective Presidential Dream Team would be:

President- Ralph Nader
Vice President- Cynthia McKinney
Secretary of State- Scott Ritter
Secretary of the Treasury- Joseph E. Stiglitz
Secretary of Defense- Ron Paul
Attorney General- John Edwards
Secretary of the Interior- Winona LaDuke
Secretary of Agriculture- Peter Camejo
Secretary of Commerce- Keith Ellison
Secretary of Labor- Noam Chomsky
Secretary of Health and Human Services- Russell D. Feingold
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development- Michael Bloomberg
Secretary of Transportation- Chris Paine
Secretary of Energy- Al Gore
Secretary of Education- Howard Zinn
Secretary of Veterans Affairs- John Conyers
Secretary of Homeland Security- Dennis Kucinich

This post was originally posted by me on facebook on Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Cartoon Controversy

Over the course of the past three years, there has been a considerable controversy over the various Danish newspapers (and, subsequently other newspapers) decision to publish highly offensive cartoons that negatively depicted the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh). The controversy over this, from the Muslim perspective is that, first the depiction of images is discouraged. Specifically, the depiction of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) has been traditionally prohibited. Beyond that, to depict the Prophet (pbuh) AND do so in a highly offensive manner angered many Muslims. I have written two Op-Ed pieces on this topic, which I will post below, and beyond that, I will post some additional information.

Freedom of Speech?
Nausherwan Hafeez, 2-14-08, Op-Ed

The decision by Denmark’s leading newspapers to reprint a cartoon that depicts the Prophet Mohammed wearing a bomb-shaped turban displays a gross misuse of the liberal ideal of freedom of speech. This ideal, enshrined in the US as sacrosanct through the first amendment, has been misused to couch hate-speech within the legitimate framework of acceptable discourse. It increasingly appears acceptable to denigrate Islam in the press and to defend these attacks as freedom of speech. Yet when it comes to other topics, such as say race or sex, the use of freedom of speech appears to be restricted.

The most recent example of this is the case of Don Imus. When Imus referred to Rutgers University women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos” there was a huge outcry by the press and general public. Many people questioned how Imus could say such racist and sexist filth. What followed was a concerted campaign by civil and women’s rights groups to get Imus off of the air for his hate-speech. Time magazine even did a cover story that probed the extent to which freedom of speech can be legitimately exercised without crossing the line. After all was said and done, Imus publicly apologized for his comments and had his show taken off of the air.

Now consider the reaction to the publishing of this cartoon in some US newspapers last year. Almost clear cross the political spectrum people defended the cartoon as an example of freedom of speech. There was no apology or significant outcry against the cartoons by either the press or the general public. This inequity between what Americans and Westerners consider freedom of speech feeds the perception that there is a cultural war going on between the West and Islam. This cultural war adds fuel to the idea of a “clash of civilizations” and increases the divide between Islam and the West.

The legitimization of attacking Islam under the guise of free speech and the delegitimization of racist and sexist speech smacks of hypocrisy. These double-standards serve to increase tension with the Muslim world and hurt our image abroad. To defend the use of freedom of speech as a tool to attack a religion or group of people is certain to cause more anger and resentment in the future. While it is important to defend the right to free speech we must also understand the consequences of exercising this right.

The Art of Hypocrisy
Nausherwan Hafeez, 2-17-06, Op-Ed

Recently, there has been a huge uproar across the Muslim world about the appalling depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. Many countries have experienced violent protests and have called for a formal apology from Denmark. Meanwhile, most Western governments have responded to these protests by saying that the portrayal of the Prophet is legitimate and cannot be stopped based upon the idea of freedom of speech. However, this depiction of the Prophet goes well beyond the legitimate use of freedom of speech and is, in effect, a hate crime purported against a quarter of the world's population.

This depiction is a hate crime because it unfairly portrays the Prophet of Islam as a terrorist. Muslims view any portrayals of the Prophet as blasphemous, much less the depiction of him as a terrorist. To make this suggestion and then stand by and not expect a violent response from the Muslim world is ludicrous. How would the Right-wing Christians of America respond to the depiction of Jesus as a terrorist? How would the world respond to a cartoon claiming that the holocaust was a fraud? Incidentally, a similar event has recently occurred and the response was far from shocking.

In the middle of last December, Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, denied the holocaust and called its portrayal a "myth". What was the West's response to President Ahmadinejad's use of his freedom of speech? The response was harsh and swift. The Western world quickly condemned the statement and even convened an emergency session of the UN Security Council to further condemn the statements. That resolution was passed and the world stood united against this callous exercise of Ahmadinejad's freedom of speech. So my question now is this: Why can't the West react the same way they did to Ahmadinejad's statements and condemn these vicious cartoons? If there is no apology or condemnation of these cartoons by the West it will only go to reinforce Islamic anger and distrust against the West.

Ultimately, this defamation was libelous and illegal under articles 19 and 20 of the International Covenant on Civil Political Rights. After September 11, everyone in America wanted to know why the Muslim world "hates us so much". The answer to that question is exemplified by the West's response to these blasphemous cartoons.

Danish Law, and Debates over the Cartoon Issue

February 2006

Denmark has laws regarding blasphemy as well as racism. Both of these laws have been violated in the current case, the assertion of the newspaper that it broke no laws, notwithstanding. Section 266b of the

Danish Criminal Code provides:
Any person who, publicly or with the intention of wider dissemination, makes a statement or imparts other information by which a group of people are threatened, insulted or degraded on account of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religion, or sexual inclination shall be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for any term not exceeding 2 years.

And its section 140, which deals with blasphemy, reads:

Those who publicly mock or insult the doctrines or worship of any religious community that is legal in this country, will be punished by a fine or incarceration for up to 4 month.

Similarly section 142 of the Norwegian Penal Code provides for punishment for any person "who publicly insults or in an offensive manner shows contempt for any religious creed...or for the doctrines or worship of any religious community lawfully existing here."

My friend, after reading my article and the Danish law stuff, posed a question concerning the violent response to the cartoons across the muslim world. My response:

Nicely put...I agree, the violence must end, b/c those who perpetrated this act will eventually be punished (according to Islamic belief, in the afterlife). Its a shame that western govts, wouldnt condemn the cartoons...I mean look at what happened to the Historian David Irving for challenging the holocaust (he got sentenced to 3 years in prison for saying that the statistics of the holocaust are exaggerated, and other such things). The media performs self-censorship everyday; they won't print pornography, excessive use of curse words, or racial epithets. And yet, these foolish Danes feel that they what they did was okay? When Bush announced after 9-11 that the US would go on a "crusade", Muslims around the world took heed. This modern crusade against Islam has taken the form of political ( e.g. international pressure on multiple Muslim countries around the world...think of Iran), military (e.g. Afghanistan, Iraq, alleged "war on terror"), psychological (e.g. Danish Cartoons), and cultural (e.g. Western Cultural influences on traditional Islamic societies...including many western criticisms about the treatment of Women in the Islamic world...while I recognize that some Islamic countries are at fault, the West cannot expect the rest of the world to hold to the same cultural/religious traditions that they do…think cultural relativism) attacks against Islam. 5 years after 9-11 and the Muslim world is very apprehensive. How many more ways will the West attack Islam...Only time will tell.

Following this, Someone asked me about the things going on in Iraq and Radical Islamists. Below is how I answered:

This issue is when you get into very tenuous grounds. Above all, I think the sectarian violence that is gripping Iraq is wrong. Muslims should not be fighting other Muslims. Unfortunately, this has been a impossibility throughout Islamic History. To give you on example (I'll give you more and discuss this issue further when we meet up), think about the breakup of the Ottoman Empire in the beginning of the 20th century. Arab Muslims fought Turkish Muslims for independence...which in reality never really came (first there was colonialism, then despotic home rule, and now neocolonialism). It is sad when their is so much interreligious warfare. Unfortunately, that is the situation of today. Hopefully, it will get better.

On your other question, "How many ways will Radical Islamists attack Islam"?, we enter even more mudied waters. There are so many issues and ideas brought up with this question that it would be an injustice to discuss this over an email. The topics are too broad, the definitions extremly nuanced, and the portrayals always slanted. Hence, I will also defer this question to a face to face meeting. Nonetheless, to indirectly answer your question, I don't think their are that many "radical Islamists" out there right now; rather, there is a media concoction of hobgoblins which make it APPEAR that there are many "radical Islamists". Furthermore, some of the greivances that these "radical Islamists" hold to are completly legitimate; e.g. occupation of their countries, attacks against their peoples, etc. However, I do not want to seem like an apologist for some of their actions, nor should you construe that I am justifying some of their actions. What you should gather, though, is that this is an extremly complex issue due to its sensitive nature in the modern day. We will discuss this later.

Also, the only major Newspaper in the US to publish these cartoons was the Philadelphia Inquirer. It
was obviously stupid for them to print it, and I sent this preface to them along with my editorial. They never gave me a response:

After hearing about your newspapers decision to run the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, I was quite shocked. Out of all of the major newspapers in the US, you guys were the only ones who choose to run these insensitive cartoons. Just as you would not print cartoons lampooning the holocaust, or print something condoning African-American slavery, I feel that you guys should not have run these cartoons. Since you all have, I have written a short editorial piece concerning this issue. If you all wish to show multiple sides of this debate, I would like you all to consider running this piece. Thank you for your consideration and, in the future, try not to run articles which offend peoples sensibilities.

"When Hitler attacked the Jews, I was not a Jew, therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists [sic!], I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then, Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church--and there was nobody left to be concerned."
-Martin Niemöller
To add to this, when they came after the Muslims....

The Muslim Vote in 2008

The Muslim Vote in 2008
Nausherwan Hafeez, 2-4-08, Op-Ed

The Muslim vote in Florida could very well determine who will become the next President of the United States. President George W. Bush won the infamous 2000 Presidential elections in part because of overwhelming support from the Muslim community in Florida. In an election that was won by less than 100 votes, the Muslim swing voters gave Bush the election. Bush appealed to Muslim voters largely because of his social conservatism and promises to protect civil liberties. Since Bush clearly did not live up to his campaign promises and instead launched attacks across the Muslim world, the vast majority of Muslim voters turned to John Kerry in 2004. So where does the Muslim vote look like it is headed this year and what are the key issues that Muslims care about?

The Muslim vote appears to be headed towards the Democratic Party. In this current election, the two top priorities for Muslim voters are foreign policy and protection of civil liberties. With the primary season in full swing, a closer look at both party’s candidates and platforms indicates why the Muslim vote will be go to the Democratic Presidential candidate in 2008.

The GOP candidates for President have largely attacked Muslims and their interests throughout this campaign season. Rudy Giuliani has complained that the Democratic candidates, “never mentioned the word ‘Islamic terrorist,’ or ‘Islamic extremist’”. Why the Democrats have not resorted to this strategy is obvious: labeling a religion as having tendencies towards terrorism is completely baseless and shameful politicking. This sort of Islamophobia has had a blowback effect on many GOP candidates, and has been one cause of why Rudy Giuliani and Tom Tancredo have been forced out of the race. Mitt Romney has been criticized by civil rights group for his stated objective to double the size of Guantanamo Bay. John McCain, the current front-runner, responded to an inquiry about what should be done about Iran by stating, “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” to the tune of the Beach Boys song Barbara Ann. Attacks against the religion and threatening future attacks against Muslim countries is a self-defeating strategy that will ensure that the Muslim vote does not go to the Republican nominee.

The Democrats, on the other hand, have shown more sensibility towards the concerns of Muslim voters. Barack Obama has shown particular strength in galvanizing Muslim support due to his emphasis on a balanced foreign policy that relies upon engagement rather than the threatened use of force. Obama has said he would be willing to meet with Iranian leaders to discuss their nuclear program without conditions attached. His emphasis on diplomacy and multilateralism makes him the ideal candidate for Muslim voters on foreign policy. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has shown a hawkish tendency by both voting to authorize the war in Iraq and for voting in favor of the Kyl-Lieberman amendment
targeting Iran, which called for the United States to declare the largest branch of Iran’s armed services a terrorist organization. This vote, which has been harshly criticized by Obama, has been interpreted by many political observers as providing the Bush administration with a rationale for going to war with Iran. In terms of civil liberties, both Clinton and Obama have indicated a willingness to change the Patriot Act to correct some of its most egregious abuses.

It appears likely that regardless of who the Democrats end up nominating, they will get the Muslim vote. The Democrats have been more responsive to Muslim concerns about a balanced foreign policy, protection of civil liberties, and because of Republican Islamophobia. Democrats will likely have a greater chance of winning the general election especially because of the Muslim vote in the key swing state of Florida.

Lions for Lambs

For those who have not seen this movie, I would highly recommend that you do. It is an absolutely fantastic movie that is a critique of both American society and our War of Terror. The movie is heavy on dialogue, so don't expect much action. The movie does an excellent job raising some contemporary questions facing America, but does not preach a particular solution.

The movie did poorly in the theaters (it only grossed $15 million) and received mostly negative reviews. Regardless, I think it was the best political drama of 2007. The reason I think it did poorly is because:
a) people didn't understand the movie
b) it is not a typical "war movie" in the sense that the central emphasis is on dialogue, rather than action. This film feels like an indy film and failed trying to be mainstream
c) poor release date--it would have done better in the box offices if they had released it as a summer movie
d) People don't like Tom Cruise, which I think is ridiculous. His personal politics are his own and he should be viewed in light of his performance in the movie, not outside of it.
e) people are sensitive to challenging the traditional narrative of these past six years. Again, this is why I think it did poorly here in the US; its interesting, though, because it has done much better internationally. I suppose its hard for many Americans to take a critical look at the state of their nation...

This post was originally posted by me on facebook on Monday, Jan 28, 2008

Top 20 Articles of 2007

This is my subjective list of the Top 20 Articles of 2007:

1 Terrorized by ‘War on Terror’, Washington Post, Zbigniew Brzezinski, 3-25-07

2 Discovering What Democracy Means,, Bill Moyers, 2-12-07

3 Pearls Before Breakfast, Washington Post, Gene Weingarten, 4-8-07

4 Why We Must Leave Iraq, The Nation, A Nation Editorial, 9-7-07

5 Why We’re Losing the War on Terror, The Nation, David Cole & Jules Lobel, 9-24-07

6 The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush, Vanity Fair, Joseph Stiglitz, December 2007

7 Is Imperial Liquidation Possible for America?,, Chalmers Johnson, 5-16-07

8 Calling Out Idiot America,, Scott Ritter, 3-24-07

9 Bush’s SOTU: Annotated, Foreign Policy in Focus, Stephen Zunes, 1-24-07

10 Broken Peace Process, Foreign Policy in Focus, Stephen Zunes, 11-27-07

11 Base America, Islamica Magazine-Issue 19, Ranna Kabanni, 2007

12 Oil, Israel, and America: The Root Cause of the Crisis, the Britannica Blog, Scott Ritter, 10-9-07

13 A Declaration of Independence from Israel,, Chris Hedges, 7-2-07

14 The Politics of Naming: Genocide, Civil War, Insurgency, London Review of Books, Mahmood Mamdani, 3-8-07

15 Iraq, Israel, Iran, Huffington Post, David Bromwich, 9-5-07

16 “Enduring” US Bases in Iraq,, Joseph Gerson, 3-19-07

17 There is Apartheid in Israel, Arab News, Shulamit Aloni, 2-12-07

18 Civics 101: USA v. Al Arian,, Russell Mokhiber, 12-3-07

19 Anti-Capitalism in Five Minutes or Less,, Robert Jensen, 4-30-07

20 What if Iran Had Invaded Mexico?,, Noam Chomsky, 4-6-07

This post was originally posted by me on facebook on Monday, Dec 31, 2007

Excerpt from "Outsourcing Torture"

We are losing the war in Iraq. We are an isolated and reviled nation. We are pitiless to others weaker than ourselves. We have lost sight of our democratic ideals. Thucydides wrote of Athens' expanding empire and how this empire led it to become a tyrant abroad and then a tyrant at home. The tyranny Athens imposed on others, it finally imposed on itself. If we do not confront our hubris and the lies we tell to justify the killing and mask the destruction carried out in our name in Iraq, if we do not grasp the moral corrosiveness of empire and occupation, if we continue to allow force and violence to be our primary form of communication, if we do not remove from power our flag-waving, cross-bearing versions of the Taliban, the despotism we empower abroad will become the despotism we soon experience at home.

Taken from:
Outsourcing Torture,, 10-15-07, Chris Hedges

Boycott Israel

Boycott Israel?
Nausherwan Hafeez, Op-Ed
At what point does a citizen-led boycott of a state become morally justified?

This question has been raised with regards to the growing academic, cultural, and economic boycott of Israel. In 2004, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)—a coalition of more than 50 Palestinian civil society organizations—called for a program of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) in response to Israeli actions in the Occupied Territories. This movement has gained support from trade unions, churches, and academic institutions based in the US, Canada, Europe, and South Africa. In reaction, a growing number of American academic institutions have come out against the boycott. This leads one to question: Why was the boycott called? Is there merit to a boycott? And what is the way forward?

The boycott was called in response to Israeli policies of illegal annexation and colonization of territories, extrajudicial killings, collective punishment, and the restriction of movement of native Palestinians throughout the region. In addition, America has a unique relationship with Israel that requires us to analyze the logic of a boycott critically. Each of these areas deserves further explanation.

Israel has instituted a concerted effort of colonization and expulsion in the West Bank. The most visceral example of this is the “apartheid” wall that has been built throughout the West Bank in violation of the International Court of Justice’s ruling that its construction is illegal. Former President Jimmy Carter noted in Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid that, “[The Wall] is projected to be at least three and a half times as long as Israel’s internationally recognized border and already cuts directly through Palestinian villages, divides families from their gardens and farmland, and includes 375,000 Palestinians on the “Israeli” side of the wall, 175,000 of whom are outside Jerusalem.” This land grab has allowed for the ghettoization of the Palestinian people in violation of international law.

Israel has used the tactic of extrajudicial killings to eliminate those it deems a threat. One of the most heinous cases of such killings occurred in March of 2004, when an American-supplied Israeli Helicopter gunship bombed and killed the quadriplegic Sheik Ahmed Yassin. The “collateral” damage from this bombing was 9 innocent bystanders, including 6 children. The assassinations of alleged criminals are a gross violation of the rule of law.

Israeli policies in Gaza exemplify the idea of collective punishment. Israel has blockaded most imports and exports in Gaza by declaring it a “hostile territory”. Consequently, about 70% of Gaza’s workforce is now unemployed or without pay, according the United Nations, and about 80% of its residents live in harsh poverty. About 1.2 million of them are dependent for their day-to-day survival on food handouts from the UN or other international agencies, without which the population would starve. This deliberate attempt to destroy Gazan livelihood is in direct violation of the Geneva Convention—which Israel is a signatory to—which obliges an occupational force to ensure the well-being of the occupied peoples.

Israel has set up over 500 different checkpoints throughout the West Bank. These checkpoints prevent Palestinians from moving freely within their own territory. To add insult to injury, there are numerous “Jew-only” roads throughout the West Bank that the native Palestinians are denied access to. This process of restricting Palestinian movement and access to roads throughout their territory is chillingly reminiscent of Nazi Germany’s policy towards their Jewish population during the early part of the 1930’s.

These Israeli policies have incited widespread international disapproval and formal criticism from many countries and international organizations. These policies have significantly isolated and discredited Israel in the global political arena. American policies, however, directly support and aid Israel in its transgressions in the Occupied Territories. Our unique relationship with Israel thus makes the idea of boycott more relevant. The American-Israeli alliance has benefited Israel tremendously. The US has given Israel more than $140 billion in direct economic and military assistance. Israel receives about $3 billion in direct assistance annually and is exempt from accounting for how this aid money is spent. Funds are often siphoned off to build Jewish colonies in the West Bank and provide funding for the “apartheid” wall. The fact that we, as American taxpayers, fund Israeli programs that actively oppress the Palestinians is something that needs to be questioned.

Just as in the 1970’s when boycott campaigns were mounted against Apartheid South Africa, it seems that the actions of Israel meet the criteria of a boycott. Yet, the opposite has occurred. Academic institutions—led by Columbia University President Lee Bollinger—have launched a counter-boycott to show solidarity with their Israeli counterparts. However, this action deflects the point of the boycott, which is an attempt to protest the inhumane policies carried out by Israel against the Palestinian peoples and to change these policies toward ones in line with international law. The American Jewish Committee—which is notorious for attacking anyone critical of Israel—has provided funds for the counter-boycott. Ultimately, this action is not helpful. Instead, what is desperately needed is an active debate on how we should approach our relationship with Israel. The knee-jerk defense that most American institutions give towards Israel is both unhealthy and counterproductive in the sense that it deters from the long-term objectives of pressuring Israel to modify its unjust actions.

I believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the great moral issues of the twenty-first century. America’s unconditional support for Israeli actions has directly led to an increase in international terrorism in addition to an increase in anti-Americanism across the world. The American population, who I believe is reasonable and compassionate, lacks a holistic understanding of the complexities of this conflict due to misinformation and political spin. Thus, we have allowed our government to implement policies that exacerbate the tensions in the Middle East and hurt the cause of peace. We, as a democratic society, need to debate our special relationship with Israel and decide upon a just action for the future. Hopefully, our act of civic engagement can prevent the powder keg in the Middle East from erupting into what would most certainly be a cataclysmic explosion.

This post was originally posted by me on facebook on Thursday, Oct 11, 2007

Depleted Uranium

The Truth About Depleted Uranium, 1-8-01, The Independent (UK), Robert Fisk

America's Perpetual Nuclear War, 3-11-07,, Robert Weitzel

Study Suggests Cancer Risk from Depleted Uranium, 5-8-07, The Independent (UK), James Randerson

An in depth look at DU by the BBC

A website that links to lots of articles concerning DU

This has some good links

This post was originally posted by me on facebook on Thursday, May 10, 2007

Slow Down Culture

An interesting reflection : Slow Down Culture
Author Unknown

At Swedish company, Volvo, any project here takes 2 years to be finalized, even if the idea is simple and brilliant. It's a rule.

Globalize processes have caused in us (all over the world) a general sense of searching for immediate results. Therefore, we have come to posses a need to see immediate results. This contrasts greatly with the slow movements of the Swedish. They, on the other hand, debate, debate, debate, hold x quantity of meetings and work with a slowdown scheme.

At the end, this always yields better results.

Said in another words:
1. Sweden is smaller than Thailand
2. Sweden has 2 million inhabitants
3. Stockholm has 500,000 people.
4. Volvo, Scania, SAAB , Ericsson, Electrolux, are some of its renowned companies. Volvo supplies to NASA.

The first time I was in Sweden, one of my colleagues picked me up at the hotel every morning. It was September, bit cold and snowy. We would arrive early at the company and he would park far away from the entrance(2000 employees drive their car to work). The first day, I didn't say anything, either the second or third. One morning I asked, "Do you have a fixed parking space? I've noticed we park far from the entrance even when there are no other cars in the lot." To which he replied, "Since we're here early we'll have time to walk, and whoever gets in late will be late and need a place closer to the door. Don't you think?" Can you imagine my face.

Nowadays, there's a movement in Europe named Slow Food. This movement establishes that people should eat and drink slowly, with enough time to taste their food, spend time with the family, friends, without rushing.

Slow Food is against its counterpart: the spirit of Fast Food and what it stands for as a lifestyle. Slow Food is the basis for a bigger movement called Slow Europe, as mentioned by Business Week.

Basically, the movement questions the sense of "hurry" and "craziness" generated by globalization, fueled by the desire of "having in quantity"(life status) versus "having with quality", "life quality" or the "quality of being". French people, even though they work 35 hours per week, are more productive than Americans or British. Germans have established 28.8 hour workweeks and have seen their productivity been driven up by 20%.

This slow attitude has brought forth the US's attention, pupils of the fast and the "do it now!".

This no-rush attitude doesn't represent doing less or having a lower productivity. It means working and doing things with greater quality, productivity, perfection, with attention to detail and less stress. It means reestablishing family values, friends, free and leisure time. Taking the "now", present and concrete, versus the "global", undefined and anonymous. It means taking humans' essential values, the simplicity of living.

It stands for a less coercive work environment, more happy, lighter and more productive where humans enjoy doing what they know best how to do.

It's time to stop and think on how companies need to develop serious quality with no-rush that will increase productivity and the quality of products and services, without losing the essence of spirit.

In the movie, Scent of a Woman, there's a scene where Al Pacino asks a girl to dance and she replies, "I can't, my boyfriend will be here any minute now". To which Al responds, "A life is lived in an instant". Then they dance to a tango.

Many of us live our lives running behind time, but we only reach it when we die of a heart attack or in a car accident rushing to be on time. Others are so anxious of living the future that they forget to live the present, which is the only time that truly exists. We all have equal time throughout the world. No one has more or less. The difference lies in how each one of us does with our time. We need to live each moment. As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans".

Congratulations for reading till the end of this message. There are many who will have stopped in the middle so as not to waste time in this globalized world.

This post was originally posted by me on facebook on Saturday, March 31, 2007

Detainee Interrogation Bill, Illegal Wiretapping & The Silent Coup

The passage of the Detainee Interogation Bill today has terrible implications for American Democracy. This law- passed by the senate today- among other issues, eliminates the most fundamental premise of the American constitution; i.e. the writ of habeaus corpus. This writ guarantees that individuals will have the right to a trial and NOT be arbitrarily detained without a day in court. For shame...
[The House resolution is HR 6166. The Senate bill is S 3930.]

In addition, the House has passed a bill that would legalize the illegal domestic wiretapping program in the US. This is also terrible; Amy & David Goodman comment on this issue in their book Static-
" There has long been a legal way to monitor the electronic communications of Americans: Obtain a warrant from the secret court authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The warrants are readily given as Russel Tice [NSA whistle-blower] explains "I kinda liken the FISA court to a monkey with a rubber stamp....It just stamps 'affirmed'...and banana chip rolls out, and then the next paper rolls in front of the monkey. When you have like twenty thousand [eavesdropping] requests and only, I think, four were turned down, you can't look at the FISA court as anything different."
He continued, "So, you have to ask yourself the question: Why would someone want to go around the FISA court in something like this? I would think the answer could be that this think is a lot bigger than even the president has been told it is, and that ultimately a vacuum cleaner approach may have been used....That's ultimately why you wouldn't go to the FISA court." "
[The House bill is H.R. 5825; the Senate bill is S. 3931.]

The Silent Coup
Op-Ed, Nausherwan Hafeez, 9-28-06

Ever since the Supreme Court handed down its ruling in the landmark Hamdan v Rumsfeld case- which, in effect, put a check on the Bush administrations ability to detain prisoners indefinitely- civil liberty groups have hailed the success of our judiciary system in its move to check the powers of our President.

Undeterred, President Bush made it clear that he would go above the judiciary to receive approval for how detainees held by the US can be treated. He was able to circumvent the courts and receive approval of the Detainee Interrogation Bill from Congress after a charade of compromise. This “compromise” was pushed for by three Republican senators who felt that allowing the President the ability to revoke the writ of habeas corpus and reinterpret the Geneva Conventions went beyond the Presidential mandate; however, through closed door political wrangling, the President was able to receive essentially everything he was asking for. In an election season, no member of Congress wanted to seem weak on security. Consequently, the largely-unimpeded abrogation of the fundamental legal premise of habeas corpus-i.e. protection from indefinite detainment without trial- has further undermined our constitution and will prove to be a Faustian deal in years to come.

Ultimately, a coup has occurred in the American system of federalism; Congress has rubber stamped away its authority to President Bush. How far will our constitution be destroyed in the name of "security"?

This post was originally posted by me on facebook on Thursday, September 28, 2006

Articles of Impeachment


Articles of Impeachment


President George W. Bush


Vice President Richard B. Cheney,
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, and
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. - - ARTICLE II, SECTION 4 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard B. Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have committed violations and subversions of the Constitution of the United States of America in an attempt to carry out with impunity crimes against peace and humanity and war crimes and deprivations of the civil rights of the people of the United States and other nations, by assuming powers of an imperial executive unaccountable to law and usurping powers of the Congress, the Judiciary and those reserved to the people of the United States, by the following acts:

1) Seizing power to wage wars of aggression in defiance of the U.S. Constitution, the U.N. Charter and the rule of law; carrying out a massive assault on and occupation of Iraq, a country that was not threatening the United States, resulting in the death and maiming of over one hundred thousand Iraqis, and thousands of U.S. G.I.s.

2) Lying to the people of the U.S., to Congress, and to the U.N., providing false and deceptive rationales for war.

3) Authorizing, ordering and condoning direct attacks on civilians, civilian facilities and locations where civilian casualties were unavoidable.

4) Instituting a secret and illegal wiretapping and spying operation against the people of the United States through the National Security Agency.

5) Threatening the independence and sovereignty of Iraq by belligerently changing its government by force and assaulting Iraq in a war of aggression.

6) Authorizing, ordering and condoning assassinations, summary executions, kidnappings, secret and other illegal detentions of individuals, torture and physical and psychological coercion of prisoners to obtain false statements concerning acts and intentions of governments and individuals and violating within the United States, and by authorizing U.S. forces and agents elsewhere, the rights of individuals under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

7) Making, ordering and condoning false statements and propaganda about the conduct of foreign governments and individuals and acts by U.S. government personnel; manipulating the media and foreign governments with false information; concealing information vital to public discussion and informed judgment concerning acts, intentions and possession, or efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction in order to falsely create a climate of fear and destroy opposition to U.S. wars of aggression and first strike attacks.

8) Violations and subversions of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, both a part of the "Supreme Law of the land" under Article VI, paragraph 2, of the Constitution, in an attempt to commit with impunity crimes against peace and humanity and war crimes in wars and threats of aggression against Afghanistan, Iraq and others and usurping powers of the United Nations and the peoples of its nations by bribery, coercion and other corrupt acts and by rejecting treaties, committing treaty violations, and frustrating compliance with treaties in order to destroy any means by which international law and institutions can prevent, affect, or adjudicate the exercise of U.S. military and economic power against the international community.

9) Acting to strip United States citizens of their constitutional and human rights, ordering indefinite detention of citizens, without access to counsel, without charge, and without opportunity to appear before a civil judicial officer to challenge the detention, based solely on the discretionary designation by the Executive of a citizen as an "enemy combatant."

10) Ordering indefinite detention of non-citizens in the United States and elsewhere, and without charge, at the discretionary designation of the Attorney General or the Secretary of Defense.

11) Ordering and authorizing the Attorney General to override judicial orders of release of detainees under INS jurisdiction, even where the judicial officer after full hearing determines a detainee is wrongfully held by the government.

12) Authorizing secret military tribunals and summary execution of persons who are not citizens who are designated solely at the discretion of the Executive who acts as indicting official, prosecutor and as the only avenue of appellate relief.

13) Refusing to provide public disclosure of the identities and locations of persons who have been arrested, detained and imprisoned by the U.S. government in the United States, including in response to Congressional inquiry.

14) Use of secret arrests of persons within the United States and elsewhere and denial of the right to public trials.

15) Authorizing the monitoring of confidential attorney-client privileged communications by the government, even in the absence of a court order and even where an incarcerated person has not been charged with a crime.

16) Ordering and authorizing the seizure of assets of persons in the United States, prior to hearing or trial, for lawful or innocent association with any entity that at the discretionary designation of the Executive has been deemed "terrorist."

17) Engaging in criminal neglect in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, depriving thousands of people in Louisiana, Mississippi and other Gulf States of urgently needed support, causing mass suffering and unnecessary loss of life.

18) Institutionalization of racial and religious profiling and authorization of domestic spying by federal law enforcement on persons based on their engagement in noncriminal religious and political activity.

19) Refusal to provide information and records necessary and appropriate for the constitutional right of legislative oversight of executive functions.

20) Rejecting treaties protective of peace and human rights and abrogation of the obligations of the United States under, and withdrawal from, international treaties and obligations without consent of the legislative branch, and including termination of the ABM treaty between the United States and Russia, and rescission of the authorizing signature from the Treaty of Rome which served as the basis for the International Criminal Court.

This post was originally posted by me on facebook on Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Impeach King George!

It is past time that we, the people of the United States, join together and impeach one of the greatest tyrants of our time.

The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office
by Dave Lindorff, Barbara Olshansky
Editorial Reviews
Book Description
It's time for the American people and Congress to act. With so much at stake, we have a president whose administration stands out in its criminality and disdain for the rule of law. The Case for Impeachment explains the legal history and grounds for impeaching George W. Bush and brings forth more than a half dozen articles of impeachment the likes of:*Lying and inducing Congress and the American people into an unjust war.*Allowing his friends and business cronies to profiteer off the war in Iraq.*Authorizing torture and rendition of prisoners of war and suspected terrorists--a complete violation of the Geneva Conventions, a treaty the U.S. has signed and is therefore part of our law.*Stripping American citizens of their Constitutional rights--holding people with no charge, wiretapping them illegally, offering them no trial, and never allowing them to face their accusers.*Failing in almost every way possible to defend the homeland and our borders.Hard hitting and persuasive in its argument, The Case for Impeachment will be one of the most talked-about political books for the pathetic remainder of the Bush Presidency.

About the Author
DAVE LINDORFF is a journalist for over three decades who has written for numerous publications including, BusinessWeek, Salon, and The Nation. He's also the author of three books, This Can't Be Happening!, Killing Time, and Marketplace Medicine. BARBARA OLSHANSKY is the Director Counsel for The Center for Constitutional Rights who is currently managing habeas litigation on behalf of 300 detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.

This post was originally posted by me on facebook on Sunday, September 10, 2006

A Return to Blogging

I have not actually taken to blogging over these past couple of years, outside of a few random posts. I do intend to start uploading various pieces of writing that I have written in the past, and will probably start regularly blogging latter on this year. I plan on importing a some material from my facebook, which will add some data to this blog.