Friday, July 22, 2005

Sgt. Kevin Benderman

We'll start out this Friday night with Elaine's work at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude where she's filling for Rebecca:

Sgt. Kevin Benderman
Day three. I want to thank
C.I. who is on the phone with me and has been a huge help. I want to thank everyone who's written via I think I've replied to every e-mail. Rebecca didn't give me the password for the e-mail to this site. Mike said some nice words in his post today and thank you for that, Mike.
I've got two things tonight. At the bottom is another peace quote. Before that, I'm posting something in full. I didn't write this and I'm not attempting to claim credit for it. I found it at Not In Our Name which is a great organization.
I'm posting it in full. If I'm asked to take it down, I will do so and put it up in a small excerpt but today is July 21st and, as you will see when you read it, there's not a great deal of time. I'll probably hit on this tomorrow as well.
This is by Monica Benderman and it's entitled "One Soldier’s Fight to Legalize Morality: Army Sgt. and conscientious objector Kevin Benderman to face court martial July 28:"
On July 28, 2005, in a small non-descript courtroom on Ft. Stewart, Georgia, a Courts Martial is scheduled to begin. Again. One Army NCO who decided that he had no choice but to make a conscious choice NOT to return to war is being put on trial for caring about humanity.
This soldier fulfilled his commitment, he kept his promise to his enlisted contract, and when ordered to deploy to Iraq at the start of the invasion, he went, not because he wanted to "kill Iraqis" or "destroy terrorist cells," but because he wanted the soldiers he served with to come home safely. He returned knowing that war is wrong, the most dehumanizing creation of humanity that exists. He saw war destroy civilians, innocent men, women and children. He saw war destroy homes, relationships and a country. He saw this not only in the country that was invaded, but he saw this happening to the invading country as well – and he knew that the only way to save those soldiers was for people to no longer participate in war. Sgt. Kevin Benderman is a Conscientious Objector to war, and the Army is mad.
Sgt. Kevin Benderman, after serving one tour of duty in Iraq, filed for Conscientious Objector status, his Constitutional right. His commander refused to accept his application and one called him a coward. One chaplain was ashamed of his lack of moral fortitude, another, of higher rank, testified to the true sincerity of Sgt. Benderman’s beliefs, in writing. A military intelligence officer decided that he knew matters of the soul better than a man of God, and recommended to deny the CO claim. Five commissioned officers who had never met Sgt. Benderman agreed with the "intelligent officer" and the claim was denied, twice.
More than two weeks after my husband was placed in the Rear Detachment unit here at Ft. Stewart, charges of Missing Movement and Desertion were filed against him, even though he has never missed a single day of duty in almost ten years. At the first Courts Martial proceedings, the investigative hearing was over turned. According to the judge's decision, the presiding officer had shown implied bias toward Sgt. Benderman, and a new hearing was ordered. As the session adjourned, the same command that brought the first charges were marching up the aisle in the courtroom to file a new charge, Larceny, against Sgt. Benderman. The command that brought the charge, had erroneously ordered combat pay to be paid to Sgt. Benderman, along with 7 other soldiers in their unit. Rather than accept their responsibility for the error, these leaders chose to punish Sgt. Benderman for the mistake, and have yet to discipline any of the remaining soldiers for the officers' gaffe.
The new investigating officer strongly recommended dismissing this larceny charge, but the convening authority, Ft. Stewart’s garrison commander, pressed on and filed the charges anyway, along with desertion and missing movement. The Courts Martial is scheduled to begin on July 28. The games began in January.
At the conclusion of the first hearing, I returned to the courtroom briefly for some things I had forgotten. The lights were dimmed, and no one was there. This small dark room, vintage WW II, had a reverent calm. Desks and chairs sat waiting, slightly turned, empty jurist panel, attorney’s podium – the stage had been set. I look back on it now, and the feeling is strangely surreal.
Last week we learned that the United States Supreme Court allows itself to keep the Ten Commandments hanging on the walls of its chambers, as a testimony to another form of law. The guardian of the Constitution of our country, presiding over the human rights of our people, maintains that the Ten Commandments, religious context aside, represent a form of law that is powerful enough to occupy a place in its chambers.
In a small, quiet courtroom, on the Ft. Stewart military installation, the stage is set. One soldier who, after firsthand experience with the destructive force of war, decided to take the Ten Commandments at their word – "Thou Shall Not Kill" – and use the rights given to him to declare his conscious objection to war, to no longer be in a position to voluntarily have to kill another human being, is now on trial for not wanting to kill.
The Army has removed itself so completely from its moral responsibility, that its representatives are willing to openly demand, in a court of law, that they be allowed to regain "positive control over this soldier" by finding him guilty of crimes he did not commit, and put him in jail – a prisoner of conscience, for daring to obey a moral law.
It is "hard work" to face the truth, and it is scary when people who are not afraid to face it begin to speak out. Someone once said that my husband's case is a question of morality over legality. I pray that this country has not gone so far over the edge that the two are so distinctly different that we can tell them apart.
A sixteen year old in New York, was charged with involuntary manslaughter yesterday for stabbing another teen in the chest twice, over a computer game. There is no question of why. He broke a law – a legal, MORAL law – "Thou Shall Not Kill."After seeing war firsthand, Sgt. Kevin Benderman chose to follow a legal, MORAL law – "Thou Shall Not Kill." A form of law significant enough to be represented on the walls of our Supreme Court. The US Army cannot let him go. I have to ask – "WHY?"
Sgt. Kevin Benderman is stationed at Ft. Stewart, Georgia.
He has served on combat tour in Iraq. After seeing war firsthand, he made the decision to file for Conscientious Objector status in December 2004. His command refused the request, and filed charges of Missing Movement and Desertion against him. They have since added a charge of Larceny.
Sgt. Benderman is scheduled to face a second attempt at Court Martial for these charges on July 28, 2005 and Ft. Stewart.
Please try to pass that on.-- Elaine
"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center)
Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.
Thomas Edison

All the flag waving, support our troops spouting, fright wingers turn their heads and ignore this.
July 28th is next week. The media may not tell you about this. You heard it here and that's something but you need to take it to people you know so that they know about it too.

As for Elaine's thanks for my kind words, right back at you!

One thing that I want to note from Democracy Now! is this:

Did Rove and Libby Mislead Investigators in CIA Leak?
The Bloomberg News Agency is reporting that the two figures at the center of the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame may have intentionally misled investigators. The agency says that President Bush's senior advisor Karl Rove and Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff Scooter Libby both gave accounts to the special prosecutor about how reporters told them the identity of a CIA agent that are at odds with what the reporters have said. Libby told special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned Plame's identity from NBC News reporter Tim Russert. Bloomberg says Russert has testified before a federal grand jury that he didn't tell Libby of Plame's identity. Rove, meanwhile, told Fitzgerald that he first learned the identity of the CIA agent from syndicated columnist Robert Novak. But Bloomberg cites a source saying that Novak has given a different version to the special prosecutor. Fitzgerald is investigating whether Libby, Rove, or other administration officials made false statements during the course of the investigation.

Becky e-mailed to thank everyone for their advice. She's thinking it over and will be attempting to talk to her boyfriend tonight on the phone. She says she'll e-mail tomorrow to say how things are going.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

What's My Name Fool?

First off, Dad told me I better recommend C.I.'s "NYT: Nobody Fluffs It Better than Bumiller." Dad says he laughed all day thinking about that so do yourself a favor, click the link and grab a chuckle as C.I. explains why Bumiller is the squad leader of the Elite Fluff Patrol.

Second off, Rebecca's taking a vacation and while she's gone, a friend of her's is filling in for her.
Elaine's filling in and she's doing a great job. So far she's offered a peace quote each day and I hope she continues to do that because I'm really enjoying it.

Now I want to share something from Democracy Now!:

London Mayor Blames Western Policy for London Bombs
The mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said yesterday that western foreign policy has fuelled the Islamist radicalism behind the July 7 London bomb attacks. In an interview with the BBC on Wednesday, Livingstone said: "You've just had 80 years of Western intervention into predominantly Arab lands because of a Western need for oil. We've propped up unsavory governments, we've overthrown ones that we didn't consider sympathetic." Livingstone continued, "I think the particular problem we have at the moment is that in the 1980s ... the Americans recruited and trained Osama bin Laden, taught him how to kill, to make bombs, and set him off to kill the Russians to drive them out of Afghanistan. They didn't give any thought to the fact that once he'd done that, he might turn on his creators." Livingstone also blasted the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the US prison camp at Guantanamo. An opinion poll this week showed two-thirds of Britons see a connection between the Iraq occupation and the bombings.

Shows you that the British people are a lot smarter than their leader Tony Blair and a lot smarter than most of us have been in this country.

Now let's go to the e-mails. Yesterday, I told you about Becky's problem and asked if you had any thoughts or advice. Here's what stood out.

Greg says pour the honey on him and start licking because maybe he'll hate it and stop doing it to you. Lenny says just tell him to knock it off. Starla says Becky's problem's not so big and that when it's dealt with "have I got a real problem, a real one, for you." Joe says that since Becky says it tickles sometimes, she should move her leg real quick and knock her boyfriend's nose and "that'll make him stop." Ellen says she should tell him this isn't working for him.

This time, I'm with Ellen. This isn't about a haircut or an odor that somebody's going to worry about forever. This is about something that can easily be changed. Tell him it's annoying you, not exciting you. You can say that it was fun at first if you want. You can even say that being summer, it's too hot outside to enjoy. But let him know that you're not enjoying it.

Now I want to talk about this great story Amy Goodman had today called "What's My Name, Fool?: Sports and Resistance in the United States." Dave Zirin was the guest and he wrote the book on sports. I listened online via WBIA because I had the day off from school and work and because Jonah's been sharing at The Common Ills that Democracy Now! is two hours long on WBAI this week because it's pledge week.

So you got two hours with Dave and he is just so smart and Goodman's so great at what she does that if you go to the link for the story you still won't be able to picture out how great it was.

AMY GOODMAN: Let's go back to another clip of When We Were Kings. Muhammad Ali was known as an anti-war symbol to some. This is a news clip from that film.
NEWS CLIP: Cassius Clay, at a federal court in Houston, is found guilty of violating the U.S. Selective Service laws by refusing to be inducted. He is sentenced to five years in prison and fined $10,000.
AMY GOODMAN: What happened to Muhammad Ali then?
DAVID ZIRIN: Well, Muhammad Ali was stripped of his title, and he was forced to report to a draft board in El Paso, Texas. Now, this was very interesting, because, you know, Ali was offered the same deal that many past heavyweight champions had been offered, which was, you know, that he could just – you know, it’s not like he was going to be sent to, you know, to Saigon or anything. He could have worn red, white, and blue trunks, boxed at some U.S.O. shows and kept the title.
But instead, what Ali said was – he was quite clear -- he said, "The enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my people, my religion, or myself by fighting against other people" -- speaking about the National Liberation Front in Vietnam – "who are fighting for their own freedom, justice and liberty." And so he came out very -- there was no mistaking where he stood on this.
So they stripped him of his title for his anti-war views, and he was sent down to the draft office there. And as he went down there, it wasn't known exactly what Ali was going to do when he got there, because he was facing a prison sentence of five years, you know, in a federal prison. So there was actually a rally outside the El Paso area that was organized by H. Rap Brown and the students at Texas Western, now Texas El Paso. And they were out there, a couple hundred of them, with a huge banner, and what it said was "Draft Beer, Not Ali." And when Ali went in there and when they called his name to take the step forward, I don't – I mean, I don’t know if this made a difference, but they made quite a mistake when they called his name in that they called for Cassius Clay to take a step forward, and he absolutely refused. Then they asked for Muhammad Ali to take a step forward, and he absolutely refused.
And there’s a tremendous quote by a writer named Gerald Early who said that "when Ali refused to take that step forward, I felt more than pride in him, I felt as if my honor as a young black boy had been defended. He was the dragon slayer, and I went home into my room that night and I cried. I cried for myself and I cried for our black possibilities." I mean, that's just the power that that moment had for people was incalculable, but not something that’s talked about when ESPN Classic does a look at Muhammad Ali.

There's a second part to it that I hope they air tomorrow but the second hour on WBAI isn't in the link. And he was talking about so many important things and talking about Steve Nash and so much more. His book sounds way cool and as soon as I finish the book I'm reading for The Third Estate Sunday Review. So make a point to look for it, it's called What's My Name Fool?
It sounds incredible. I'm going to suggest we all read it for next week, not this Sunday but the one after, for The Third Estate Sunday Review.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Iraqi casualities continue to mount, recruiters want to raise age limit, spicing up foreplay and a song

From Democracy Now! this morning:

New Study Says 24,000 Iraqi Civilians Killed
A new independent report released Tuesday puts the number of Iraqi civilians who died violent deaths in the two years since the US-led invasion began at more than 24,000. The study found that US and coalition military forces were responsible for 37% of the deaths, with anti-occupation forces and the resistance responsible for 9%. A further 36% were blamed on criminal violence. Figures obtained last week from the Iraqi interior ministry put the average civilian and police officer death toll in insurgent attacks from August 2004 to March 2005 at 800 a month. The report was done by Iraq Body Count and the Oxford Research Group.

24,000 seems like a big number to me. But I guess not to other people. My sister and I were talking about this today and wondering what the magic number was? What magic number do we have to reach before we care?

It's like the guys and gals we have dying over there. I'm looking at ICCC and the count right now is 1770 US soldiers have died.

What's the magic number on that?

You look around and it's hard to believe we're a country at war as we waste time worrying if Brad loves Angelina now and if it's more than he loved Jennifer.

We'll get to the e-mail in a moment but I want to tie in something else.

We are a country at war and for those who still don't get it, let's take a look at CounterRecruiter today:

The Defense Department has asked Congress to raise the age limit for military recruits from 35 to 42. According to a report from the Army Times, this is one of a series of what defense department officials are calling "urgent wartime support initiatives."

Still think it's not serious? They want to add seven years to the age limit. When's the draft coming?

Let's go to the e-mails. There are two I want to note.

First, Tonya e-mailed. She says she appreciates what Ellen's saying but that if she'd been honest with her boyfriend about this, they'd still be fighting over it. She says Ellen's advice may work for some couples but it wouldn't have worked for her.

Now we've got another woman with a question. Becky is in her thirties and divorced for ten years now. She says she's dated a lot of jerks but has a guy she likes now except for one thing.

Here's Becky's problem. He likes to add to foreplay. And Becky really doesn't care for what he adds. When they're in the mood, he brings out things like chocolate syrup or honey and will pour it on her inner thigh and lick it off.

Becky says that besides tickling, it's too hot for her to have someone's tongue on her like that and that even if he licks for thirty minutes, which he sometimes does, he never gets it all off. So she's left with spit and honey or chocolate still on her.

Besides the fact that she likes the guy and he's the first one she's liked since her divorce, she worries about saying anything because before the honey and chocolate got added, she was asking him to "spice it up" a little and this was his idea of "spicing it up."

She says, "It was fun for about a week. But five weeks later, I'm tired of it."

I have a few answers but Becky says he's out of town on business for the week. So I'll toss this to everyone and we'll share some answers tomorrow. I'll stick with mine and I'm looking for ideas that are different. So if Ellen's got an answer and it's different than mine, I'll include it.

If you've followed the news even slightly in the last 24 hours, you know that John Roberts Jr. is Bully Boy's nominee for the Supreme Court and you know that almost any other news has been pushed aside. You know that it's awfully interesting how Bully Boy's buddy Rove has vanished from the headlines and news. The outing of the CIA agent married to Joe Wilson is so pre-Supreme Court nominee.

C.I. had a funny song up about that. Ma sang it to me because I don't know the song it's based on ("It's Only a Paper Moon").

When Ma was singing it, I was laughing so I want to share it with you.

Say, it's only a summer scandal
Bully Boy will soon have the handle
He's the king of the make-believe
Do you believe in me?

Yes, it's only a scandal de sum
Reporters move on if we play mum
King George of the make believe
Do you believe in me?
. . .

It's a Bully and Cheney world
Just as phony as it can be
But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me

C.I. calls it "It's Only a Summer Scandal."

I also want to note that Elaine is filling in for Rebecca while Rebecca's on vacation over at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude. She has a really good post on peace. So check that out.

And let me give a shout out to Common Ills community member Cedric who has just started his own blog called Cedric's Big Mix. It's up on my blog roll.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Violence in Iraq, Seymour Hersh on Democracy Now! and CounterRecruiter

We'll start off with Democracy Now!:

Bloodshed Continues in Iraq
In Iraq, gunmen opened fire on a minibus carrying Iraqi workers to a U.S. airbase in the central resistance stronghold of Baquba, killing more than a dozen people. The deaths came after assailants in two cars attacked the bus. This came a day after gunmen killed at least 24 police, soldiers and government workers on Monday. The latest violence follows a weekend in which more than 150 Iraqis died from suicide bombings.

Maybe it was yesterday or maybe it was last week, but Amy Goodman made a point on Democracy Now! about how we get upset about the London bombings. We should. But when we hear of Iraqis dying we don't react the same way. Why do you think that is? Why do we say "this life is important and that life isn't?"

Which reminds me of something Seymour Hersh said on Democracy Now! today:

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Westmoreland, one of the main U.S. military leaders during the Vietnam War, retired General William Westmoreland has died at the age of 91. You won your Pulitzer Prize covering Vietnam, exposing a massacre, the My Lai massacre. Your response?
SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, Peter Davis, the filmmaker, did a marvelous documentary called Hearts and Minds, in which Westmoreland is filmed saying, ‘Well, the Vietnamese’ he said, ‘are not like Americans and us in the West. They don't feel losses. They don't feel. They don’t have the same kind of family feelings we do. Death to them is not like death to us.’ And that's what he said on camera. I'm paraphrasing because it's a 30-year-old memory.
The movie, the documentary, was done in the 1970s, but his suggestion was somehow they're less human than we are. And that kind of institutional racism, which may have something to do with our, you know, the casualness with which we look at the daily atrocities in Iraq. You know, this is a stigma for all of us. And unfortunately, those who say that this is not like Iraq, should just start listening to the way the military in the last six months have begun talking about insurgents killed, 100 insurgents killed here, 80 insurgents killed there. It's all that talk and the same language we had and the body counts back in Vietnam. You know, they are less than real.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you very much for being with us, Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter. And thank your family for giving us this time on your vacation.
SEYMOUR HERSH: Amy, for you, anything. Bye.

So let's dip into the e-mails.

We'll focus on Ellen who writes that she can't believe I encouraged Tonya to lie to her boyfriend about his crotch rot yestereday. Ellen says nothing gets done with a lie. Uh, war in Iraq?

But her point is that she thinks Tonya should have been upfront with her boyfriend. In fact, she composed a little speech for Tonya to give her boyfriend:

Mr. Happy may still waggle but the fumes are putting me to sleep. Shave 'em, spray 'em but do something because my nose ain't getting near that.

Ellen says he either gets it together or Tonya splits but her boyfriend gets the message and addresses the problem before Tonya's problem becomes some other woman's problem.

Ellen may have a point but I honestly don't know that this solution wouldn't have led to more problems. Besides, we got an e-mail from Tonya.

She tried what my sister suggested. He was rushing around so she had to jump in there and said she was nervous and he was looking at her like she was crazy when she grabbed his deodorant until she pulled off his towel. She said the only problem after that was getting him to put on clothes and that the smell was gone that evening when they got back.

He even commented on it and goes, "I don't know if you noticed but I was smelling pretty gamey." Tonya pretended like she hadn't noticed.

Was it honest?

Probably not.

But relationships aren't strapping lie detectors to your heart. I think sometimes you tell a little lie. I mean the last woman (see I'm watching my words) I was dating got a really goofey haircut and all her friends were telling her that. It was going to be 3 to 4 weeks before it looked half way decent. Did she need me going, "It really does look stupid."

I didn't think so. I told her it was cute and it made her feel good.

You really think she would have wanted to be around me for 3 or 4 weeks if I had told her, "It looks so stupid and it makes your ears look so huge." No.

There are things you can be honest about and there are things where you have to think is this comething you would say? Is there a reason to tell someone something hurtful? If not, then it's better to keep it to yourself or find a nice way to say it.

And from CounterRecruiter, I want to note this on recruiters:

The CBS story also notes that the Army needs over 101,000 new soldiers this year. And this is putting pressure on recruiters, who face declining enthusiam for the military, along with a continuing decrease in new recruits.
"It's very stressful," said former recruiter Jeffery Bacon.
Bacon says he's been busted from Sergeant to Specialist for not meeting his quota of 24 soldiers a year. "I'm losing my house because I'm losing my job, you know. I'm in financial debt," Bacon said.

I'm not feeling too sorry for Bacon or any of the others. They trick people and they do it to meet their quotas. I won't be shedding any tears that they have trouble meeting them. I hope they have a lot of trouble meeting them. Lots and lots of trouble.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Aidan Delgado, Hadley, Rove, crotch rot

It's Monday and before we go any further, thanks to C.I. and Isaiah for letting me rerun the cartoon this morning. A lot of you e-mailed to say you really enjoyed it.
In fact, we all enjoyed it so much that I'm going to rerun it again!

Now let's go to Democracy Now!

Rove Watch: Time’s Cooper Speaks About Grand Jury Testimony
The Sunday talk shows this weekend were dominated by the ongoing investigation into the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame. One of those at the center of the story, Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper, appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" where he discussed his testimony in front of the Grand Jury. Cooper also has an article piublished last night by Time in which he says that President Bush's senior advisor, Karl Rove, was the first person to tell Cooper that Valerie Plame was a CIA officer. Cooper said he told that to a grand jury last week and that Rove ended the call by saying "I've already said too much." Cooper wrote that Rove did not disclose Valerie Plame's name, but told him in July 2003 that information would be declassified that would cast doubt on the credibility of her husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson. Cooper wrote, "So did Rove leak Plame's name to me, or tell me she was covert? No. Was it through my conversation with Rove that I learned for the first time that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and may have been responsible for sending him? Yes. Did Rove say that she worked at the 'agency' on 'WMD'? Yes," Cooper continues, "When he said things would be declassified soon, was that itself impermissible? I don't know. Is any of this a crime? Beats me." Cooper wrote he had previously told the grand jury he had also discussed Wilson and his wife with Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff. He said he asked Libby about Wilson's wife playing a role in the Niger trip, and Libby replied, "Yeah, I've heard that too." This all raises serious questions about whether several administration officials intentionally misled the public and investigators about the involvement of Libby and Rove. White House spokesperson Scott McClellan said in October 2003 that Rove, Libby and another official had assured him they were uninvolved in the leak.

So what's everyone thinking about all this? From the e-mails, most of you are wondering why no one's name checking Hadley? Well I put up C.I.'s thing and C.I. caught that on Saturday. Cynthia wrote in about that and said I could share her thoughts.

Before I do that, I should probably make sure everyone's on the same page. So let me quote from C.I.'s thing:

If people are paying attention to today's talking point, Rove just ratted somebody out (though he probably doesn't realize it). Did he tell who he got the information from?
But the talking point advises us that the deputy of national security knows the press is talking about Valerie Plame being a CIA agent. Did Hadley follow up?
Don't toss out any nonsense that, "They may not have known she was undercover!" Hadley's job should have required him to find out what Plame's position was. Regardless of what her job was, the CIA should have been advised what was about to break. And Plame should have been warned.
Was the CIA advised? I don't know. But from Joseph Wilson's reactions, Plame sure wasn't warned. From his statements, she didn't get a heads up. Novak's column appears on the 14th of July. Rove talks to Cooper on the 11th of July. In those three days, what did Hadley do? What was the administration doing? (Yeah, I know, probably helping the story along, but that's not in their talking points.)
How did Hadley follow up? Did he report it to his superior? (Condi Rice.) What measures did they take to protect Plame? She wasn't assigned body guards at the time. Wilson's made no reference to her getting a call that said, "Hey Val, just a heads up, the press are talking about you, you're probably going to be the topic of a story and be named. Those friends and neighbors that don't know anything about who you really work for -- you might want to break it to them."
Hadley's job was not to protect Bully Boy from fading poll numbers. His job was national security.
If people are paying attention to today's talking point, one question should be, "What was done when Hadley was informed?" What steps got taken?
Was the CIA informed what was coming down the pike?
Or was everyone who is supposed to be working for the nation suddenly under the impression that their job was serving on the election committee for the Bully Boy?

Let me toss out something else before I get that topic. Know how Cynthia found the thing C.I. did? Not from my site. She just started going to The Common Ills this weekend and she's been going around to different links and getting to know the community. So how she'd find it?

Something called Waypath. It indexes posts by things mentioned in them and all. Cynthia found it at Waypath while looking up news on Matt Damon!

C.I. does this thing in there where there's an illustration of what Rove did and C.I. asks you to pretend you're a reporter and C.I. is a flack for Matt Damon. It's funny and you should read it.
But like Saturday when we were all working on The Third Estate Sunday Review, Jim was telling C.I. how great the post was and the only thing he'd change was the Matt Damon part. And C.I. goes, "Really, cause that's the only thing I wouldn't change." I have Jim's permission to tell that story and Jim doesn't think C.I. will mind because it goes to one of C.I.'s big points and all.

Which is? People need to speak in their voices. If I'm answering a question about oral sex who knows who comes by to read that? And this is advice C.I. gave me and I think it's okay to share and it's when I get on to blog, I don't need to try to sound like Bob Somerby. C.I. goes "Bob Somerby is the best Bob Somerby. You be the best you. That's how you'll enjoy yourself and how you'll reach people."

And it may not be serious enough for some people (and I'm not attacking Jim who's a buddy now) but that might be just what gets someone to notice. Jim is against talking points too. And he'll tell you that the talking points have pretty much reached everyone that they are going to reach on any subject. You have to do more than talking points unless you just want to reach only the same group of people.

And I called Jim when I read Cynthia's e-mail and he goes, "See, I was dead wrong. C.I. was right about the Matt Damon part." (There's a longer version of that conversation Saturday and if I get C.I.'s permission to put it up here, I will.) Jim goes it's like Ava & C.I.'s TV reviews and how they pull people into The Third Estate Sunday Review. And some of those people will check out the editorial and other stuff but the drawing power is the TV reviews that Ava & C.I. do. And Jim went into this thing about how their TV reviews are political and they are political but I don't want to get lost on that.

But Jim goes he was really amazed that Matt Damon grabbed someone and that proves C.I. was right to do it that way because I told him what Cynthia said about being burned out on going to some sites that are just too cut and dried and "have a stick up their ass" and she just wants to scream, "Okay, I got that already!" She said reading that stuff is like sitting in her geomerty class and "politics shouldn't be boring!" (She uses a lot of exclamation points.) "Make me laugh! Make me angry! But don't make me bored!!!!"

I hear you, Cynthia!!!! :D

So Cynthia's theory is two parts. She thinks that in terms of online, people didn't notice Hadley and they won't now because it's out there and it wasn't them that noticed. She's talking about people who wrote about that article. Now in print ("coporatocracy" is what Cynthia calls it), they're not going to touch it. "Maybe later but right now it's too scary!" Why is that?

Because it does lead up. It does ask questions. She said it's like any other scandal, the "corporatocracy" will focus on the individuals named already because "they don't lead!" And she's right. They haven't led on any of this. Online has driven this story for two years. So Cynthia thinks that unless they're "forced to get their heads out of their asses" they won't do a damn thing on this.

For the people who wrote going no one touched this, it was brought up at The Third Estate Sunday Review. I'm going to reprint their editorial (I helped with it and so did others, there's a credit at the end):

Editorial: What did Hadley know and what did he do?

Karl Rove's latest defense (as pointed out by The Common Ills) is that after speaking with Matt Cooper when Valerie Plame's name came up he immediately e-mailed then deputy national security advisor Stephen J. Hadley. And then what?
And then what?
Did the e-mail confuse Hadley? Was their a follow up conversation of "Karl, what's this e-mail about?" Did Hadley immediately notify his boss (Condi Rice) what was going on? Did she follow up by notifying the Bully Boy?
For those who forget, before she moved over to the State Department, Condi Rice was in charge of national security issues. It's easy to forget that because 9-11 happened while she was in charge and there was no accountability for her. There needs to be accountability on this.
Did Hadley do his job? If so, did others do their job?
We're not foolish enough to think the White House wasn't orchestrating the outing of Plame. But if that's going to be the spin point ("I prove I'm not guilty with my e-mail to Hadley!") then let's examine that spin point.
The spin argues Rove passed the news on up. Did it stop there? If so Hadley didn't do his job.
Did it go higher? How much higher? A CIA agent was a national security issue. The outing of an agent was a national security issue.
No one's attempting to say Rove's absolved and innocent. We think he's neither. But if he's going to push this latest point, then we say let's explore it.
Once someone in charge of national security was notified, it was incumbent upon them (due to their position) to immediately determine the nature of Valerie Plame's work. It was also incumbent upon them to notify then CIA director George Tenet. If they themselves did not alert Plame, the reason should be because they were given assurance from within the CIA that someone in the agency would alert Plame.
Plame doesn't appear to have been alerted. Nothing in the public record suggests that she was anything but surprised when Robert Novak outed her in a July 14, 2003 column. Cooper spoke to Rove on the 11th of July. Rove's spin is that he e-mailed Hadley immediately upon getting off the phone with Cooper. What was being done by the administration in those three days? Rove's conversation with Cooper, by Rove's account, made it obvious that the press knew Valerie Plame was CIA. What did Hadley do? If he didn't know who Plame was or what her position was, he should have checked with the CIA (or maybe read the memo that the State Department prepared). That was Hadley job.
Unless Condi relieved him of the responsibility. Then it became her job. (And regardless, his actions reflect upon her because she was his boss.)
Did anyone contact the CIA to alert them? If Plame had been a translator for the CIA, we'd argue a notification would be required. If she'd been an office assistant, we'd argue a notification would be required. If Hadley and/or Rice had done any work on the issue, they'd know that she had been an undercover agent.
And as such, regardless of when she was last undercover, it was their job to ensure that she and those she worked with while undercover knew what was coming. This goes beyond the quibbling by Republicans of whether a law was broken due to some five year rule on when you were last undercover. Plame appears to have been undercover as late as 1999 so the rule is in place and outing her was a violation of the law.
But in terms of procedures and responsibilities, it didn't matter if Plame had retired from the CIA ten years prior. It terms of procedures and responsibilities, the administration should have been working overtime to ensure that all working with Plame and Plame herself knew what was about to come out.
Whether you personally favor the use of undercover CIA agents or not, it should be obvious that having gone undercover for their government, when their cover is about to be blown, it's the government's responsibility to alert them.
That was the administration's responsibility. Did they carry it out? If not, why not?
Were any agents currently undercover and in the field, agents who had worked with Plame, alerted that someone who'd taken part in missions with them was about to be outed and that, therefore, their own cover was in danger?
It doesn't appear that they were.
The latest spin is "Rove's not guilty! He alerted Hadley!" The spin doesn't prove that. But the spin argues that the administration knew (Hadley) and that they did nothing. The spin suggests that Plame was outed with the administration's knowledge while the administration (with at least a three days heads up) sat around and waited for the explosion.
The spin's imploding. This talking point is cratering. Not only does it not clear Rove, it suggest incompetence (at best) on the part of the administration. It's time to know what Hadley did after he received the e-mail from Rove. If he did nothing, he needs to explain why. If he passed it up, we need to hear what those above him did.
It's time for Congressional hearings on this matter. We're no longer dealing with only the outing of a CIA agent. We're now dealing with, by Rove's talking point, the impression that the administration sat by and waited for a CIA agent to be outed. There need to be some answers and there needs to be some accountability.
[This editorial was written by the following: The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ty, Jess, Dona, Jim and Ava, C.I. of The Common Ills, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Kat of Kat's Korner and Mike of Mikey Likes It!]

So is Cynthia right? Do you think it won't become an issue? Or do you think some people may start to notice?

It's a good question. Cynthia also said she read some of my old stuff from a few weeks back and was wondering what made me decide to blog?

It was seeing stuff like Cynthia saw at The Common Ills and wondering why no one else was talking about it. Like the Rainbow Warrior getting sunk. Two weeks before the news broke about the president of France in the 70s giving the okay to sink the Rainbow Warrior, a guy who died on the ship, his daughter was in the news. "Who was Fernando Pereira?" was about that. And C.I. didn't pretend to be an expert and even writes about not pretending to know about this event before. So we get a walk through of the events and what happened and the questions that still remain on June 26, 2005. So like when July 10th rolls around and suddenly it's news that the former president of France, they got documents that prove he gave the okay, we already have a basic knowledge of the events when "Where is Fernando Pereira in 'Report Says Mitterrand Approved Sinking of Greenpeace Ship'" comes up. Stuff like that happens all the time and my folks say it's the difference between writing about the same topic everyone else is writing about or going elsewhere. They're big on social justice, my folks, so they really love The Common Ills. (But since I'm their son, they love my site best!)

So, Cynthia, it's like what you're feeling, "Why isn't anyone else talking about this!" That's why I started blogging. And that's why I love Democracy Now! and why I'm really loving Amy Goodman and her brother David's book The Exception to the Rulers. That is an amazing book. I'm half-way through it and I'll talk about it next week because it's one of the books we're going to be doing at The Third Estate Sunday Review this coming Sunday. But Amy Goodman is a candle in darkness. That's why Ma says. She says that if there's a story that matters to you and it's not being discussed anywhere else on a TV or radio show, you know it will be discussed on Democracy Now! because Amy Goodman's not going for the easy stuff. Dad agrees but he says it's also that the network guys anchoring have gotten too fat and rich to give a damn about what effects most of us.

If you haven't checked out Democracy Now!, Cynthia, I hope you'll look into it. From your e-mail, I think it's a show you would really enjoy.

Now for other e-mails. Tonya says thanks for writing about crotch rot but wonders how you bring the subject up with someone? Her boyfriend's got a problem there. It just started in the last week, she writes, and it's never been a problem before. But she's not in the mood for oral and keeps telling him no to her and no to her doing him because she wants to gag. She put "911" on her headling for her e-mail cause she doesn't think she can wait long for an answer.

I thought she should just tell him. Then I thought, "Wait, cause I probably wouldn't just tell some woman I was seeing if she had a problem like that." So I asked my sister to get her point of view.

My sister never had the experience and first thought the guy just wasn't watching. So, Tonya, I told her how you said he takes a shower or a bath at least one time a day and now that it's summer and it's hot and he's sweating, he's taking at least two and sometimes three. (This is my youngest sister by the way. She's still in high school.) I was explaining to her about what I had to do that summer and she said you should be with him when he's getting ready to go out on a date. She said like tell him you want to help him pick out what to wear.

So while he's using his deodorant, she said grab it and go, "I really like the smell of this." And then laughingly start applying it around his groin.

I think it would work too because if you pull off his towel and are anywhere near his equipment, he's not going to argue with you. He's going to be wondering what's coming next. So then go out on your date and see if it didn't clear up the crotch rot by the time you two are winding down.

Hope that helps you, Tonya. If it doesn't, drop a line and I'll try to take another shot at it.

Now I want to note a story called "A Different Duty." It's from In These Times magazine and it was written by Lisa Sousa and it's about Aidan Delgado.

Unlike most soldiers, Delgado speaks Arabic, having grown up in Egypt as a diplomat's son, and was able to communicate with Iraqis. He thought differently about fighting after interacting with prisoners of war. "When I came face to face with the people who were supposed to be my enemies, I thought that I had no reason to fight them," he says. "They were the same as the guys in my unit." The captured men were mostly young and uneducated, and did not have many choices in life.
"I felt like they were trapped in the war as much as I was and we were all victims of it, so I felt that fighting them would be wrong," he says.
During his third month in Iraq, Delgado told his commander that he wanted to be a conscientious objector. "I turned in my weapon, I said 'I'll stay. I'll finish my duty, but I'm not going to fight. I'm not going to kill anyone.'"
Obtaining conscientious objector status was difficult. Delgado endured investigative interviews, bureaucratic paper work, and harassment from his superiors and his peers, some of whom regarded him as a traitor. His commanders also confiscated part of his body armor, rescinded his leave time and assigned him to 16-18 hour shifts. Delgado was granted conscientious objector status and an honorable discharge only after completing his year-long tour in Iraq.

Now the guy goes around trying to educate people about what's going on.

He's really making a difference and I think that's cool and something we should know about.

Cause like, he's trying to make a difference by talking about it. But that only works if people listen and they talk about it. And like that's what Cynthia was asking about kind of. When she was asking me about why I started a blog and all. (And that's also what C.I. was asking about this weekend when I got asked what I was hoping to accomplish.) So that's the sort of thing I feel like we should know about. And maybe you'll see it elsewhere and maybe you won't. But you saw it in In These Times, you saw it at The Common Ills (that's how I found it) and you saw it here. And like maybe it's not being talked about when you get together with your friends? Well you can bring it up. That's the only way word gets out or that we make a difference. The guy's name is Aidan Delgado so try to find someone to pass on his story too.

Why Ain't The Spin Working?

From Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts (with Isaiah & C.I. of The Common Ills' permission), here's a cartoon that made me grin.