Take Back the Blog Swarm

With a cutoff of April 28th, 7pm, Crablaws Maryland Weekly is hosting the Take Back the Blog blogswarm (hat tip Jessica at Feministing):

As announced, this page will host the April 28, 2007 Take Back the Blog! Blogswarm in support of the rights of women to participate fully in all aspects of our society, including specifically online in the world of blogging but indeed everywhere and at all times, day and night, without fear of harassment, intimidation, sexual harassment, online stalking and slander, predation or violence of any sort. This page will be modified without notice during the next several weeks to accommodate the incoming structure and content for this Blogswarm.

If the term “blogswarm” does not appeal to you, that’s ok! You can call it a “virtual march” or, if you contribute, anything you like!

NEW: HOW TO SUBMIT POSTS to the Take Back the Blog! Blogswarm. I have set up a new email address at:

TBTB2007 (crablaw.com) [Edited to be a bit less spam friendly]

solely to receive links for TBTB. If you don’t have a blog, but want to contribute, email me and we will work something out. The “cut-off” time will be 7 PM on Saturday, April 28. Submitting early is GREAT – whenever you find it convenient,

This is about the right to live and act without fear and violence. So join in and write a post or three. Write about personal experiences, write about local laws. Write about marches and protests and the underlying principles behind equality.

The goal is both to provide a convenient compilation of (undoubtedly excellent) content for readers’ benefit and to make a show of strength and of organization within the blogosphere from bloggers with different perspectives towards common concerns.

This is a show of strength. Come on and add your voice!

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War, Lies, and Videotapes

Via Lindsay (Majikthise), golden boy Petraeus wants to rev up the old propaganda machine:

Don’t look now, but that universally beloved and clever General Petraeus wants to let the military lie to Americans the way they lie to foreigners.

Currently, the military maintains a firewall between “public affairs” and “information operations.” The former is PR and media relations for American, the latter involves deception overseas

Last month, Petraeus sent a memo to the Pentagon asking that the internal firewall be dissolved. The DOD says they’re developing a new policy.

Maybe then our war with East Asia will finally start yielding victorious results for our Empire. The funny thing is, in addition to planting blatantly false pr pieces crafted for the purpose, the military already lies to US citizens. The Huffington Post has a lot of links regarding the exploitation of Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch and the military’s role. The military confirmed that it staged the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue.

Given what they have already gotten away with domestically, exactly what is Petraeus planning?

Why does a US General think there is a pressing need to lie to the American public?

Abortion Question: Do Women Have Any Value?

In a very long comment thread on one of my posts, zasz2003 had this to say about the worth of a woman’s life:

How many children could be saved, even if a mother is lost.  It is a very stoic conlcusion but just because the Mother can yell and scream and plead doesnt mean she is worth more than the fetus.

I had read this post by Amanda at Pandagon, but I just didn’t see anyone actually forcing birth upon women at the expense of their lives:

more to the point, if you allow that women have value and shouldn’t be forced to die because of pregnancy or shouldn’t be forced to bear a child because of rape, then you open yourself up for the argument that women have rights.

But that comment by zasz2003 really stuck with me.  So I have a question for the anti choice crowd:

Are you prepared to force a women to go through with a pregnancy, even if it is certain she will die, and the fetus will absolutely not survive?

This is why the anti-choice crowd are most properly called anti-women.

War, Religion, and Misunderstanding

There are a few misconceptions about war, religion, and the Iraq war in particular that need clearing up.

Iced Lightening has a follow up post in response to a comment of mine in an earlier thread.

In Response, meant to be polite but of a differing opinion

The growing dialogue between myself and a number of participants here and at Silent No More has been a fun and respectful exchange of ideas.  I look forward to seeing what other thoughts manifest over there.  Now let’s dive in, shall we?

The War on Terror has been counter-productive? I guess that means I was foolish to think that the removal of Saddam Hussein was a positive event.

Unfortunately, just mislead.  The war in Iraq was never part of the war on terror, or a response to 9/11, except in the propaganda of the Bush administration.

Does not the freedom of the oppressed in at least a small way strike a blow at the terror-makers in that region?

Except that with hundreds of thousands dead, the death squads, and civil war, we’ve hardly made things better.  That is saying quite a lot, given the previous regime in Iraq.  With regard to terror, we’ve just made recruiting easier (New York Times):

A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Back to Iced Lightnings post.  Iced then goes on to detail good things that have happened in Iraq, and contrasts them with the bad state of affairs pre-invasion:

There is still much to be done, but it has to begin somewhere.

True, and Saddam Hussein was hardly a man who should have stayed in power.  He was a man who needed to be brought to justice.  But ignoring the UN and flouting the law is hardly the way to go about it.  There are lots of repressive regimes in the world.  To truly transform them into non repressive governments (of whatever kind their people choose), we must work together as a world, not as a single nation.  The question is, why Iraq?  Why did we have to make up a reason to attack?

I am sorry, but in all respectfulness, I hardly wish to acknowledge the very disrespectful comment about ‘stooping to religion.’ If religion is what comes when one stoops, than I hope that I may stoop to the ocean’s floor.

Iced is referring to this comment of mine:

Do not try to stoop to religion to boost your argument for war either. There is nothing of God in war, and there never will be. War is a human necessity, one we ought to avoid, not pursue with fake patriotism, false piety and bloodlust.

This was very poorly phrased on my part, and I must apologize.  It is not to suggest that religion is something low, but rather that religion is something antithetical to war and killing.  To appeal to piety and a religious authority to justify violence is itself low.  It cheapens religion.  Here is what I was responding to (from the original post by Iced):

Are there times when war is a must? If you ask the Bible, the answer is ‘absolutely.’

War?  God says “Heck Yes!”.  The idea of God taking sides in a war evokes older religious traditions.

Iced continues:

War is fake patriotism?

Here is what Iced was responding to:

War is a human necessity, one we ought to avoid, not pursue with fake patriotism, false piety and bloodlust.

This looks like a simple misunderstanding.  I was saying war should not be pursued with fake patriotism.  Wrapping oneself in the flag does not make one’s cause just.

Now here is where we get to the gory part:

I would be willing to assess that the dead would gladly die again so that their children, spouses, friends, countrymen, and future generations could live, grow, and thrive in a world that was safer, freer, and without a doubt better than the one they left behind. I know that I would be willing to make such a sacrifice.

So Iced Lightening is willing to say that all the dead in Iraq gave their lives willingly for freedom and a better world.  Every man, woman and child who died in a suicide bombing.  Everyone who was kidnapped, tortured, and executed by a death squad.  Everyone who was killed in “collateral damage”.  Everyone.

Claiming to speak for the dead can send quite a powerful message when one is claiming to speak for the victims of the most powerful nation in the world.

Such a harsh and callous view utterly decimates the value of a single human life.  When you add in “My God approves”, is it any wonder we are seen as crusaders?