Oh, THAT Michael Berg…


hen he emerged on this post sticking up for the Palestinians, I kept thinking, I know Michael Berg. Where do I know a Michael Berg from, but I just couldn’t picture him or put him in context.

Then he appeared on our Saturday op-ed page, and I had to slap my forehead. That’s Michael on the left end of the banner, marching against the war in New York City during the Republican National Convention in 2004.

The thing is, I don’t think I’ve seen Michael since that day. He left the country soon after, and I hear he was in Paraguay with the Peace Corps, or something like that. (Jump in and correct me if I’m wrong, Michael.)

Anyway, I’m glad when I get things straightened out like that. I’m also glad when I get to use one of the dozens of photos I shot at the convention. That week was when I first decided I had to start a blog. There was so much to see and write about, and show people in pictures (I hadn’t started doing video yet), and my three columns and one "notebook" piece I did for the paper just weren’t enough to cram it all into. I finally started the blog the following spring.

The irony is, I haven’t been to such a perfect blogging opportunity as that since then. Just as well, I guess — everyday life seems to produce far more ideas for posts than I have time to write as it is.


11 thoughts on “Oh, THAT Michael Berg…

  1. Michael Berg

    That is correct, I just returned from two years serving my country in the United States Peace Corps in Paraguay, working with Municipal Services Development program. If you want to know more about it, I’d be happy to write or talk with you.

  2. Elizabeth Herring

    It is the Michael Berg, lately of the Carolina Peace Resource Center. He did go to Paraguay, per their website: http://www.carolinapeace.org/content/archivecategory/2005/05/1/
    As a CPRC member, he was involved in counter-recruitment activities and even published a letter about it (Wednesday, February 23, 2005, The State, Military Recruiters Have Unrivaled Access to Schools)
    His group foolishly thought it would be a good idea to waltz into a middle school job fair on Ft Jackson and give anti-military propaganda to the dependent children of our brave fighting men. Their eviction earned a mention in The State.
    Anyone with an ounce of curiosity can visit the DoD website and read all the news releases from GITMO. They are full of info on al Qaeda and other combatants who are clearly a threat. As for his claim that Homeland Security has yet to detain a single member of al Qaeda, the Ft Dix 6 come to mind. I am sorry (not) if he is offended by the act of identifying and deporting those who are here illegally from Middle eastern countries…nowhere in his piece did I see a realistic proposal for keeping us safe. It is obvious that he sees no threat and believes any threat can be nullified by being nice.

  3. Mike Cakora

    Elizabeth –
    Thanks for the info! Berg also spoke to some of the alternative press during the protests at Bush’s second inauguration:

    “I’m here to voice my opposition to this administration’s policy of war, occupation and destruction,” said Berg, the director of the Carolina Peace Resource Center . “Pretty much everything this president does and stands for, I’m against.”

    I used your words (with credit) in my blog entry on peace activists. I contrast his activities with those of Anh Duong, a refugee from South Viet Nam who, as a scientist at the Indian Head Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center became known as “the bomb lady” in recognition of her work in developing accurate and lethal munitions for US troops to use against bad guys in Afghanistan. She’s my kind of peace activist.
    I also note that his current employer, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, is really hot to trot over at least nine of the first ten amendments. Guess which one is missing?

  4. weldon VII

    You see, Brad, you fret when someone says you’re on the left, but when you said Michael Berg is “on the left end of the banner,” you described his politics, too. He’s on the left end of the left side of the left wing’s left bank, and you gave him space to spread his anti-American, anti-Zionist propaganda in The State.
    Yeah, I know the two of you argued about Palestine on the post you linked, but blog or no blog, people judge you by what shows up on the two opinion pages in The State.
    Giving him a voice didn’t do much for the newspaper’s credibility, and it might make people wonder just which wing is keeping you aloft.

  5. James D McCallister

    No, Elizabeth. Michael thinks that the threats do not outweigh the loss, both potential and real, of the very civil liberties for which our country is supposedly known, admired, and theoretically emulated.
    When they knocked down those buildings and then showed it to people like you over and over on your TV, you all became convinced that you’d be willing to give up everything to prevent a danger to your personal safety by a potential event (terrorism) that is less likely than a lightning strike. Is that worth torturing people? Is that worth you giving up your rights to legal counsel? Is it worth what will happen to you and your family if the government decides you are a threat? (And please don’t say, but if you’re not up to anything, you don’t have anything to worry about. Our government is an enormous, inefficient, lumbering bureacracy that makes ruinous mistakes all the time.)
    Frankly, I’m surprised The State’s endlessly pro-war editorial page printed Michael’s column at all. Three cheers, Brad. Mr. Berg is a fine young man who’s put more effort toward promoting reason and peace than most people put toward raising their own children.

  6. bud

    We need more Michael Berg’s to counter the insane, violent pro-war policies of the Bush administration.

  7. Mike Cakora

    Hmmm. Methinks we need more stuff like this to promote peace.
    James D McCallister — So tell me where I can read up on the US citizens having to give up rights to legal counsel. Where is the government rounding up the citizenry it views as a threat?
    Sheesh! We have almost thirteen more months of this before Bush leaves office. You folks need to get ready to blame someone else. Unless of course you too are rounded up and thrown into the camps…

  8. Michael Berg

    It’s a little strange to have this article here that was written about me, but there are a couple things I think I should respond to.
    The first response to protect ourselves from violent attacks on civilians needs to be actual homeland security. Improved security at our ports, securing nuclear facilities, and these types of actions to reduce the likelihood of a large disaster. And if their is a disaster, whether caused by terrorism, accident or natural causes, we need a well functioning FEMA to deal with it.
    Well done detective and intelligence work can do a lot to protect us. But if the actions taken violate the fundamental principals on which our country was founded, if they violate our constitution, they not only destroy our reputation abroad, but they destroy us from within.
    Being nice doesn’t protect us. But neither does being cruel and vindictive, and acting without the checks and balances on which our country is based. Our Constitution is the backbone of this country.
    And I need to respond to Mike Cakora, who I believe insinuated that the Bill of Rights Defense Committee opposes the Second Amendment. This is not true. The organization focuses on the recent loss of habeus corpus protections, and present attacks on our first, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth amendment rights. But the organization does not oppose the Second Amendment nor the right to bear arms. Maybe somebody wants to take away peoples rifles, but it’s not us.

  9. Mike Cakora

    Michael Berg:
    I’m please to know your position on the Second Amendment. Thanks for supporting all ten.
    While I agree with your sentiments on homeland security, the facts are that port security, nuclear facility security, shore security, border security, and the like require some amount of data collection and verification of personal information. Want to visit a nuke site? ID please. Want a visa? Please provide the following information. Ah, returning from a visit to West Farkistan? May we see you passport please?
    Depending on the Department of Homeland Security’s FEMA does not comfort me, but I’m not sure why you bring it up. One the rules I’ve adopted is is this two-parter:

    1) People are often stupid
    2) Bureaucrats are the same stupid people, with bad incentives.

    I should add that FEMA has a system that works in concert with the locals; each party has to develop and articulate plans, then execute the plans when disaster strikes. It seems to have worked well during the Bush administration in Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. Why it “failed” in Louisiana during Katrina may have more to do with the locals’ ability to execute than with my amazement each time it appears to succeed.
    I certainly agree that our Constitution is the backbone of this country. Where are the violations? Failure to grant habeas corpus to folks rated lower on the “we care” scale than POWs? Granting such would be unprecedented as near as I can tell, but I welcome your view on that. I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with POWs of all stripes, no pun intended, and found that while those held by US forces had a pretty good time, those held by our enemies did not. I should add that I’ve not met any US forces who survived al Qaeda captivity, but I don’t get out a lot… I should add that while vacationing in the Tyrolean Alps I met one ethnic German / Italian citizen who regarded his time as a POW in the US as the best years of his life.
    I’d also appreciate hearing your organization’s objections to the Patriot Act. Most of the provisions therein have applied to drug dealers and other unsavory folks, so your view on how their application to what we call “terrorists” is somehow unsporting is of interest to me.
    Is it the so-called warrantless wiretaps? If NSA complies with the long-standing USSID 118, where’s the worry?
    I look forward to hearing from you. Perhaps we can meet over the holidays for a brewski and extended conversation. I’m in the phonebook.

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