Oakland, Berkeley, And East Bay News, Events, Restaurants, Music, & Arts
wow, this is so well written. what a great review--beautifully brings out the humanity and the soul of the people and the setting.
strict vegetarians, watch out. the thin fries at saturn (at least the one in santa cruz) are dipped in a batter made with eggs, and almost no one will tell you this--even when you specify that you are vegan. many a time, i explicitly ordered VEGAN versions of sandwiches and indicated that nothing should have egg or dairy in it. time and again, i ordered thin fries. finally, after going to saturn for over a year, i was told--in an offhand way--that the fries have egg in the batter. for those of you who love vegetarian greasy-spoons, saturn is okay. it's nothing, however, compared to the truly amazing chicago diner in boys' town in the windy city.
i am so heartened by these deeply right-on comments from all the progressive, clear-sighted, historically informed brothers and sisters out there. this might not have been the subject of the story, but josh stanton--homeland security blogger--needs to be outed. in one posting this past year on his "one free korea" blog, stanton suggested that christine ahn and john feffer (a rare sane policy expert on north korea) be placed in a cage and poked with sticks. he is disturbingly out of control--his absolutely revolting comments should be classified as hate speech--and even if he isn't blogging while at his homeland security desk (though you do have to wonder given how lavishly he updates his korea-hater site), his employer would do well to consider whether these "off-time" comments are a sign of a person on the verge of violence.
folks might be interested to know the following background information about josh stanton: he was stationed in south korea as a u.s. army judge advocate from 1998-2002. his tenure coincided with the 2002 crushing to death of two thirteen-year-old korean girls by a u.s. armored vehicle--an event that triggered national soul-searching in south korea regarding the continued presence of tens of thousands of u.s. forces but apparently left josh stanton with a permanent hatred of the korean left.
in september 2006, josh stanton testified before congress as someone who, in his own words, firsthand witnessed "a disturbing rise in violence against american servicemembers and installations [in south korea], and the korean government's inadequate response to that violence." in his testimony, he likened anti-american sentiment in south korea toward u.s. occupying forces to a "creeping" form of south korean "apartheid." in case you might be confused, in this deeply flawed analogy, u.s. occupying forces in south korea = blacks in the south african apartheid system. in particular the subjection of u.s. servicemembers to south korean criminal law without the benefit of fortified extraterritorial protections, josh stanton argued, was akin to "justice" within the apartheid legal system for south african blacks. in his presentation to congress, josh stanton further showcased images from storefronts in taegu emblazoned with signs refusing service to u.s. soldiers ("no american military allowed") and astonishingly compared these signs to anti-semitic slogans and stormtrooper violence against jews in nazi germany prior to the holocaust.
this, in a nutshell, is how far out there josh stanton is. for him, the u.s. army in south korea occupies the same position as blacks during apartheid. for someone who professes such deep interest in the human rights in north korea, josh stanton would do well to consider the human rights of the two girls crushed to death by the u.s. military vehicle.
progressive activists as "conspiracy theorists," BenA? you've got it entirely backwards. those who merit that label are the vast majority of people who announce themselves to be north korea experts in the mainstream media--hawks, area studies clowns, and jingoists who report on the slightest innuendo and rumor (often originating, as most south korean journalists and policy experts know, from seoul) with all the prurient gusto of the tabloid press. kim jong il's gay middle son? his fondness for busty blonde women? lee and ling kidnapped? rusty north korea tanker carrying nuclear weapons to myanmar? PUH-LEEZE--every one of these unverified stories is proof positive that the western media is hopeless when it comes to investigative reporting on north korea. when the stakes--with regard to the stalemated war between the u.s. and nk--are no less than a return to hostilities, when nukes are in question, and when the u.s. has a truly atrocious track record when it comes to "raining ruin" in the pacific, then let us be judicious before swallowing, as you apparently have done, hook-line-and-sinker the paranoid narratives that pass for fact about north korea. lest you be tempted to argue--a la the u.s. state department--that information simply cannot be ascertained relative to a "closed country" like north korea, consider the fact that the international aid community is now stationed in a full 80% of the country. knowledge, with some effort, is to be had, but few in the western press seem to prize knowledge as their goal.
also, do take pains to read the article more carefully--as you can see, professor elaine kim indicates that south koreans, in a widely publicized poll, are immeasurably more afraid of a u.s. attack on the korean peninsula than they are a north korean attack on seoul. however much you need to believe in the latter to justify an ongoing u.s. military presence in south korea, you've just got the popular sentiment in south korea all wrong. it behooves you to think beyond the narrow confines of your "knowledge" base.
many thanks to wentz for a courageous perspective on progressive korean american activism. for the most part, there is nothing resembling an informed press out there when it comes to north korea coverage--just a great deal of speculation and neoconservative "punditry" from so-called korea watchers (in josh stanton's case, "korea hater" would be more apt--his marriage to a south korean woman notwithstanding). in wentz's article, we get--at long last--a historicized view of us-nk relations. what a breath of fresh air.
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