Friday, December 21, 2007
First off, let me repeat my warning to hedge against a falling dollar. Don't delay, get off your butt and buy durable goods, food, and prepare for a severe gas shortage today!
Second, I want to comment on a blurb I saw on CNN -- "How much for the Magna Carta?"
Answer: OUR RIGHTS ARE NOT FOR SALE.
Lastly, since the title of this blog is "What They Don't Tell You," here's something you probably haven't heard on the mainstream news:
Descendants of Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse break away from US
Monday, December 17, 2007
(Don't worry, we didn't litter ... some hearty soul in a wetsuit fished it out later :)
Friday, December 14, 2007
Support Cindy Sheehan for congress in '08!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
The day before there was a Code Pink bridge walk over the Golden Gate Bridge (as there is every second Sunday in San Francisco -- gather at 12 noon at either side of the bridge, wear pink and bring a sign that doesn't have a stick in it).
Cindy Sheehan had a wonderful open house at her campaign headquarters on Saturday (she's running against Pelosi in '08).
Monday, December 10, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
"Fear is just another word for ignorance." -- Hunter S. Thompson
"I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket." -- Major General Smedley Butler USMC
I was sick about a week ago and I used that for an excuse to go on another cleansing fast. I highly recommend fasting as a way to induce clarity and get rid of the poisonous waste that permeates our general piggish lifestyle as Americans. This post kind of speaks to that:
What We Truly Seek
"America must do what it fears most to do - contract; a direction opposite to its self image of limitless expansion, its belief in a Divine national preference."
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
So, even though I'm certainly not suggesting that this is anything more involved than some crazy idiot who wants attention (Lord knows there's plenty of people like that out there) once again "anti-democratic" forces would seem to gain. It would be a good exercise in critical thinking to keep a jealous watch on our access to our elected officials and political candidates in the near future.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
"I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the Vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the President himself."
From Robert Parry: Bush's Plame-Gate Coverup
"... McClellan has become the first White House insider to acknowledge the original lies that senior administration told about the Plame-gate affair - and to put the President in the middle of the cover-up."
Here's a reminder that
Outing Plame was Much More than Political Revenge
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
State Department Inspector General Linked to Blackwater
For those of you who know a bit about 9-11, "Buzzy" Krongard also managed the firm that handled the “PUT” options on United Airline Stock.
Maybe they should call them "Buzzard" and "Crookie."
Here's a youtube video that reports on the whole thing, including Cookie's jaw-dropping testimony.
TPMtv: Watch the Cookie Crumble
Here's the news update from truthout.org:
State Official, Brother Are Called for Hearing
I wish I had more time to do research, because let me tell you this, the oil spill here in San Francisco Bay is too strange *not* to investigate. I was living in Fairbanks, Alaska when the Exxon Valdez oil spill happened. I remember it well -- it was a Bonanza for us college students looking for quick cash -- people were scrambling from everywhere to get the oil spill cleaned up, and the work paid *very well*. Here they are actually (almost "Katrina like" ....!) turning away volunteers, actually arresting people who come to help. [ http://www.firedoglake.com/2007/11/11/thanks-but-no-thanks/ ]
How did this oil spill happen? What is going on with the weird non-response by the Coast Guard? Isn't it creepy that crab season is being opened as scheduled and the actual fishermen are stunned in disbelief? http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iAFBygtO5mNUnjSgieRSJbAFAO6AD8SU2JD80
Like I said, I have no time to actually investigate this stuff, but it begs to be investigated. Having followed the Exxon Valdez spill response, I can tell you this ... there's something very creepy going on.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
As I mentioned earlier on this blog, I actually met with Dianne Feinstein after fasting at her house several days. The first thing I did after shaking her hand was thank her for calling for the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Senator Feinstein was actually quite responsive to a letter I wrote her about the horrifying experience of a renditioned torture victim -- I know she actually cares about this issue. I think I know why she's voting to confirm Mukasey ... they probably got some sort of "deal" out him about putting an end to waterboarding, but giving grandfather clause free-passes to those who have practiced this evil up until now. She's probably afraid that if Mukasey doesn't get confirmed, Bush will put in somebody worse during a recess appointment.
A caller on the Stephanie Miller show (of all places!) made a good point -- Bush would *never* appoint anybody who would say that waterboarding was torture, because that would identify Bush with war crimes. So is Mukasey the best we can get???
Why can't we just impeach this bastard and not go on recess until we've cleared house???
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
There are a couple of quirky things that I choose to interpret as inspirational signs of things to come ... one is that the campaign office used to be a "massage parlor" (it's still painted red and black, but we'll be taking care of that this weekend) and another is that during the meeting we actually had an earthquake.
As Cindy explained her platform, which I'll take the liberty to distill into 3 words -- "People over Profit," she described a new and hopeful vision for the world, and it's going to start "right here, in San Francisco."
The way I see it, politics in this country has degenerated into a brothel ... and we're due for a tectonic shift in our way of thinking. Let's do it in a powerful, non-violent way! If you live in the San Francisco area, or even if you don't, check out Cindy's website at http://cindyforcongress.org/ for ways you can donate or volunteer for her campaign. I understand it will be going through a major upgrade this Tuesday, and you'll be able to contribute on-line.
Also, if you live in the Bay Area, please come to see William Rodriguez -- hero and last man out of the World Trade Center -- Thursday, November 1st at 7 pm at the Grand Lake Theater, 3200 Grand Avenue in Oakland, California. Cindy Sheehan will be there and so will I. Meet us both and find out more about 9-11! http://www.communitycurrency.org/nov1.html
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Condoleezza Rice was about to speak to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on a “two-state solution” in the Middle East when a policeman tapped me on the shoulder and said,"You can't have that backpack in here." Surprised, I asked him why. He knew my backpack had already been through a metal detector. "You just can't," he told me. I've learned that the capitol police often make up rules to suit their needs at the time.
I'm sure he knew I'd have to leave if I couldn't keep my backpack, because there was no place to put it outside, so I objected. When our conversation got lively, he said he'd be willing to discuss it, but outside the room. I was leery about leaving alone, so I asked Liz to join me. Liz is ALWAYS there for a friend. After much confusion and consternation, the officer finally received orders from higher up, giving me permission to keep my backpack. We returned, happy with this small victory ... and unaware that a world event was just seconds away.
Desiree had taken advantage of this unplanned distraction in the room. She'd dipped her hands into the fake blood and told the young man from Canada sitting next to her,"I'll need to move quickly." "Just tell me when," he said with a nod.
When Condoleezza Rice walked to the front of the room, Desiree took a deep breath and jumped to her feet. She approached the Secretary of State displaying her "blood" soaked hands. "The blood of millions of Iraqis is on your hands!" she said. As they took Desiree away, she kept shouting, "War Criminal!" Then, with one last burst of courage, she yelled,"Take her to the Hague!"
Tom Lantos (D-Calif), the chair of the committee hearing, told the capitol police to “Take them all out of here.” The police started grabbing people in pink. Liz was the first to go. They pulled her over the chairs, onto the floor, and then dragged her from the room. Lori was writing in her notebook when she was removed. Leslie heard Liz’s cries for help and left the hearing room. They had pushed Liz against the wall, breaking her glasses and cutting her face. She was screaming, ”You’re hurting me!” as she fell to the floor. Leslie was crying out “You’re hurting her! Stop hurting her!” Angry, an officer pointed at Leslie and shouted, “Take her!” A policewoman approached Leslie with handcuffs while another gently pushed her away from Liz and said,"Step back, I don’t want to have to arrest you.”
Approximately one hour later Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK, and Zool were also arrested ... Zool for waving a sign that read "Liars" and Medea for holding up a peace sign. “What has become of the United States of America when you get arrested for holding up two fingers in the form of a peace sign?” Medea asked.
CODEPINK has been described as “the conscience of the nation”. Their antics on Capitol Hill often make people in Congress smile ... and sometimes they don't. "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." (Mahatma Gandhi). Many of us are frustrated with Congress and its unwillingness to hold the Bush Administration accountable for its war crimes. Thank you, Desiree, for having the courage to do what many of us wish we could do, but haven't done yet ...
Peace and Freedom,
Jes and Leslie
CNN clip of Desiree's encounter with Condoleezza Rice:
http://www.cnn. com/video/ #/video/politics /2007/10/ 25/moos.code. pink.cnn
One of the most challenging things I've ever done ... film my friend Liz as she was being manhandled by the police:
Medea Benjamin arrested for holding up a peace sign:
The CODEPINK DC House needs people ... please call 202-290-1301 if you can contribute a few days of your life ... YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE ... and have fun doing it!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
As a reminder, here's a link with a lot of interesting video but no narration or dot-connecting -- a perfect invitation to figure things out for yourself.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Speaking of protesters confronting those who would ignore them:
"I started just doing Google searches to try and figure out. You know, arson, arson, it was like crazy trying to figure out why is that being downplayed? Why is that, you know, just a small part of the story? And you know, every time I look for it what comes up, believe it or not, is that Blackwater wants to move to San Diego and build this giant complex in San Diego right where most of the evacuations are taking place and you know. You just know wherever there is fire, this administration will be out there doing what it does best and that is fanning the flames, you know. It just spooks me, I can’t explain to you how creepy this whole thing is that you know, you’ve got these fires. Some of them are thought to be the work of arsonists and in the same breath you’ve got a community that’s on fire that just recently protested Blackwater West. Just recently said no to Blackwater and apparently you don’t do that. I mean, I don’t even know what to think. You know, nobody is saying Blackwater set the fires, that is nobody that doesn’t want their house burned down. Nobody is saying that, but it is all so bizarre that this is America and you have to sort of sit there and wonder … arson, same place Blackwater West wants to be, people protesting. And then you find out that some of the guys that used to work for Blackwater are now in Schwarzenegger’s administration. It’s all so creepy."
(Old story from Democracy Now)
Blackwater Plans for New Military Facility Near San Diego Draws Fire From Residents, Peace Activists and Local Congressmember
Breaking News on local firesby FYI Sunday, Oct. 21, 2007 at 7:43 PM
The following events are currently unfolding in the fire zones and going largely unreported by corporate media:
1. Forced evacuations by LA County Sheriffs: Homeowners are not being allowed to stay and defend their homes.
2. Much of Canyon Country is gridlocked with people fleeing the fire zones. Reports of fist fights at blocked intersections.
3. Fire fighters are unable to get to all the homes. Some homeowners in Canyon Country are watching their homes burn up with no fire fighters on scene to fight the fire. Homeowners are pleading with sheriffs to call fire fighters but the fire fighters are too few and too late for many homes to be saved.
4. Some of the fires in Malibu are confirmed arson. Witnesses report a car throwing liquid plastic bags out the window that burst into flames on ground impact. Other fires are of suspect origin.
10/30 Update --
I just read this intesting article.
A Town Beseiged: Potrero Residents Battling Blackwater Now Suffer Ravages of Wildfire
Friday, October 19, 2007
Supporters, protesters wage a war of words over Berkeley recruiting station
A Code Pink group in Berkeley has been working hard to shut down the Marine Recruiting Center there. I know they are saving lives and limbs by trying to stop young people from signing up for an illegal and immoral occupation. Nevertheless, I did feel a bit awkward because I have nothing against the Marines per se, I'd much rather see the Marines defend this country than outsourced rent-a-soldiers like Blackwater. I see what is happening, and the truth is that Bush and his cronies are deliberately setting out to break our military -- to privatize it the same way they've tried to privatize our communications, education, social security, transportation, voting system, and elected representatives. So this was a very interesting experience for me.
When we got there (Medea Benjamin drove me and one of my fellow Camp Pelosi fasters, Nancy Mancias) we were outnumbered in a sea of pro-war military families -- everyone was mixed together -- a potentially explosive situation. I guess Rush Limbaugh called for his dittoheads to support the counter-demonstration. I've heard that a faction of these guys, called the "Gathering of Eagles" actually beat up a peace protester (Carlos Arredondo, whose son was killed in Iraq) while in D.C.
I was holding up one end of a "Code Pink" banner while another guy tried to block it off with a Marines flag. The "Move America Forward" people yelled things like, "USA!" and we'd answer, "-- out of Iraq!" They'd yell "Support our troops!" and we'd answer, "-- bring them home!" Then they started chanting, "Support our troops AND the war!" And I started yelling, "Support our troops, END the war!" Which got me to strike up a conversation with a lady on the other side. She reminded me of the soldier's mother on Fahrenheit 911, Lila Lipscomb, before her son was killed. She was very proud of her son, who was a Marine. I told her I had nothing against the Marines, and I was in fact very concerned that this war was breaking our military. She asked me if I had any family in the military, I told her no but I was in the military myself once -- the Coast Guard. We took an oath to protect the constitution, not oil contracters. I liked that woman, frankly, and I hope her son returns home safe. It struck me that a lot of what divides us Americans is artificial and we're being used and lied to -- and many good people are getting killed and hurt in the process. I'd write more about this, but yet again, I'm running out of time so I'll end here for now.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Dance to Heal the Earth
by Dee Smith
Native American wisdom about how we can heal the planet -- by dancing!
The Necessary Embrace of Conspiracy
by Robert Shetterly
"They have conspired to change reality. We must conspire to live in harmony with Reality."
We Are Wide Awake
(I haven't had time to check out the whole website, but I love the quotations she lists in the sidebars and whatnot ... here's one of my favorites: "May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world; So that you can do what others claim cannot be done.")
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
I have to tell you, my life has never been particularly "normal" (okay -- that's an understatement), but ever since, say, 9-11-01, things have really gotten pretty freaky for me. I don't think I'm alone:
Post-9/11: Life as a comic book
I May Have Gone Insane
Small wonder, when the people who've seized power in this country truly believe what this Bush aide told New York Times journalist Ron Suskind:
“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to study what we do.”
Speaking for myself, since 9-11 I've become increasingly aware of an influence that seems ... well, outside of the regular "rules" of how we expect the universe to work. Almost as if the world I grew up in is experiencing an increase in the amount of "extra-dimensional" influence that is allowed to "show its hand." I don't like using words like "ghosts", "the Supernatural" and terms that automatically label the person using them as some sort of a flake. Most people, for some reason, don't call physicists who believe in more than four dimensions (like string theorists) "flaky," and that's really what I'm talking about.
I've always been very aware that there are certain things many can't satisfactorally explain away as coincidence or mental illness. Things that end up on shows like "Unsolved Mysteries" and "Ripley's Believe it or Not." It seems like most people I know have experienced strong hunches that may have had a hand in saving their life or otherwise helped them tremendously. Many people I know have experienced beautiful coincidences that seem to be a form of communication with loved ones who have passed away. These are positive manifestations of what I like to think of as "extra-dimensional" influence. But since 9-11, it seems I've experienced a lot of "negative" influence from outside our normal plane of perception, as well.
I feel there's something demonic about how much power and influence George Bush, Dick Cheney and their ilk have gained over the American people in only a few short years. I would have *never* thought I'd see this country openly talk about about torturing people, getting rid of Habeus Corpus, unapologetically wiretapping its citizens, etc. Yet know one seems to care! People seem to walk around like zombies, oblivious to the loss of rights their ancestors gave their lives to preserve.
We've seen this kind of acquiescence to evil before. Most recently in the Western World, Nazi Germany comes to mind. It's no secret that Hitler and his "inner circle" were actively involved in the occult. We know that Bush (George W., George Sr., and granddaddy Prescott), John Kerry, and several other prominent officials are members of a strange, elite secret society called "Skull and Bones." Prescott Bush and many of his fellow bonesmen, were, in fact, instrumental towards funding the Nazis. I believe the members of Skull and Bones [also known as the "Order of Death"] actively engage in what might be called Satanic rituals, that draw upon a dark power beyond our normal 3-dimensional perceptions. Because most people aren't aware of this, they can be influenced by it -- though most entities with access to "higher dimensional technology" are benevolent.
I may have a streak of paranoia, but ultimately I'm an optimist with faith in the loving-kindness that dwells in people's hearts and the universe at large. Martha Beck quotes Albert Einstein in her book: "The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe." I believe that positive "extra-dimensional" help is always available to us. But we have to ask for it, because those "on the other side of the veil" cannot or will not violate our own free will.
So as flaky as this post may seem, please do me a favor today. Whatever your favored religious dogma [or lack thereof], if you would like to see more love and compassion expressed in our world today, please ask for help from whatever loving, compassionate, benevolent forces are out there that might want to help you and don't want to control you. You don't have to be specific about what you ask for (in fact it's better you're not) -- just be vigilent against allowing malevolent forces to start granting all your wishes without reading the "fine print". I like prayers from Saint Francis like, "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace" [ http://www.folsoms.net/peace.shtml ] and "God (Great Spirit, Buddha ... whatever loving, selfless power you believe in) please show me what it is I need to know today, even if I don't realize yet what that is ..."
Friday, September 28, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I was arrested before the nearly two dozen code-pinkers and war protesters were kicked out of the hearing, because I came specifically to denounce Negroponte. I made a fairly large, black banner with "DEATH SQUADS FOLLOW NEGROPONTE" painted in white letters. When Negroponte started to testify, I went behind him and held up my banner. I've heard from others that were there that "the cameras went crazy" but I've yet to see any mention on the internet of my action. Oh well, at least the Senators and their staff saw it. I spent a few hours in lock-up and got out later that day. Who really belongs in jail, that's what I'd like to know.
(New: There actually is a shot of me holding up the banner as we "welcome" Pace, Gates, and Negroponte -- though it wasn't until he actually started to testify that I came up right behind him and got arrested. This is a pretty astounding, if low-quality video)
Here's an embedded video of the hearing being broken up by Pace's remarks on homosexuality:
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I don't have a lot of time to blog, but please check out this video -- one of the best I've seen in a long time -- about lies, liars, and the kinds of things we are doing to restore the truth:
Thursday, September 20, 2007
"Prison libraries limited the number of books for each religion to between 100 and 150 under new rules created after a 2004 U.S. Department of Justice review of how prisons choose Muslim religious services providers, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Feldman said." -- [Assosciated Press]
Prisons Purging Books on Faith From Libraries
Among the banned books are seemingly innocuous titles like: "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner and "The Purpose-Driven Life" by Rev. Rick Warren. Weird. The excuse, of course, was that religious books were being used as tools to recruit terrorists. Just how long will it be before certain religious books start disappearing from public libraries? Is someone trying to resurrect the Spanish Inquisition?
Monday, September 17, 2007
"The Network of Spiritual Progressives is joining with the National Council of Churches and many other organizations to sponsor an interfaith fast for peace, October 8th. We hope you'll participate. We also are supporting the Moratorium this coming Friday, Sept. 21st, and urge people to make the moratorium visible in the following way: wherever you are at noon on Sept. 21st, stop what you are doing and stand in silent attention, meditation and/or prayer in solidarity with the peace movement's call for an immediate end to the US occupation of Iraq and in solidarity with the call for a Global Marshall Plan and a national rejection of the Strategy of Domination in favor of the Strategy of Generosity. If you are in a car, pull it to the curb and stand silently next to the car. If you are in a hospital, classroom, govt. building, or wherever you are, a restaurant, or anywhere else, and just stop what you are doing and stand up in silence for 5 minutes. And spread the world to others. We urge this to be repeated each third Friday of the month till the troops have been totally withdrawn from Iraq and environs."
Speaking of prayer/meditation, please send your positive thoughts to Sami al-Haj, an al-Jazeera journalist who is dying from his hunger strike in Guantanamo Bay Prison [ http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m36296&hd=&size=1&l=e ]. What has this man done? He has a wife and 7-year old son he hasn't seen since he was 1 year old. This man has a story to tell the world. He has yet to be tried, I'm not sure he even has access to a lawyer. God forgive this country for what has been done to him in our name.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
" ... last Wednesday, Congressman Paul Gillmor (R-OH) was found dead in his home. This was reported as a heart attack, until word leaked out that he had blunt trauma to the head and neck. www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20649320/ Now we're being told he fell down the stairs. Gillmor was investigating a series of option trades that are suspicious- someone is betting billions of dollars that the market will fall 50% by September 21st. Even with the housing crisis, it would take a major catastrophe, like a 'terrorist' attack, to precipitate such a plunge. As part of his job on the House Finance Committee, Gillmor was investigating this deal. Was he murdered because he was about to reveal something?"
I don't know about this site, but it seems to concur:
EXCLUSIVE: Private Eye Calls Rep. Gillmor’s Death a Murder; Odd Finance Sector Discovery a Likely Motive
BTW, Carol Brouillet just had some great new "dollars" printed up -- but unlike the famous "deception" dollars (featuring a picture of Bush and links to many 9-11 truth sites) this one is called a "conception" dollar, with a picture of Cindy Sheehan and links to positive, hopeful sites with solutions and hope for a brighter tomorrow. Check it out! http://www.communitycurrency.org/conception.html
For this offense the minister was arrested, joining his good friend Cindy Sheehan and several other peace activists taken into police custody that day:
Anti-war protesters disrupt Iraq hearing
I was watching the hearings with other Code Pinkers in San Francisco. It was really remarkable -- Petraeus's microphone went dead and he couldn't speak for the longest time, when peace advocates jumped in to fill the gap. One of them was patriot Ray McGovern, who, observing that Congress had neglected to follow customary procedure, shouted "Swear him in." For this McGovern was kicked out of the hearing room. http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/091107K.shtml
Here's video of Rev. Yearwood discussing the arrest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4t0vImR4ag&NR=1
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Saturday, September 1, 2007
It should be obvious to anyone not deliberately wearing blinders that this country has been setting up for a confrontation with Iran (not to mention passing laws that would deign to "legitamize" the sudden implementation of Martial Law) for months now. Much of our Navy is tied up in the Persian Gulf. This is lunacy. China and Russia aren't just going to allow us to choke off such a large percentage of the world's oil in the event of us attacking Iran -- and our military is precariously overstreched already. I often wonder if that isn't the point -- to destroy our military, to destroy America's standing as the world's remaining "superpower" so the "New World Order" (under the dictates of World Bankers, Illuminati, whoever the hell they are) can more easily assimilate us into an Orwellian nightmare.
Bush: Iran 'the world's leading supporter of terrorism'
Showdown Over Iran
We can stop the coming war with Iran – but concerned Americans must act quickly
The War Criminal in the Living Room
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
TOWNHALL: Speaker Nancy Pelosi Meets With Her Constituents!
[mock town hall meeting]
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
My elected representative won't have a public dialogue with her constituents about peace, and Code Pink wants to know why.
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House and congressional representative of my district in San Francisco, hasn't held a public meeting with her constituents about anything since Jan. 2006 -- months before she became Speaker. One could easily argue she would still be Minority Leader were it not for the dedicated work of peace activists all over the country to get Democrats elected in November ... yet Pelosi's aid has told us she has no room on her agenda this recess to publicly dialogue with any of her constituents about peace.
For this reason, I and perhaps five other people are on their 12th day on a hunger fast. As far as I know, all of us have been been taking juices and broth as well, and no one has had any serious health concerns so far. Four of us fasters were arrested in the action in front of the old Federal Building (Pelosi's local office) yesterday, along with another girl. We blocked the building with perhaps 10 other protesters, wearing pink duct tape over our mouths to symbolize our voices being silenced when it comes to peace. Has our government become so privatized the public can't expect to have a dialogue with their elected representatives anymore? Isn't the Iraq war the number one issue in our country today? Yet Pelosi has no room on her agenda for peace. And according to her, impeachment is off the table. As one of my fellow protesters said, when you take impeachment off the table, you take the Constitution off the table. This should have been much more widely covered story than appearently it was. If only I had more time to document it!
I have limited time to work with the computer these days, but here are some links to posts about our event yesterday:
Here's a link about Camp Feinstein:
The day after those pictures were taken, Senator Feinstein surprised us by actually coming out and meeting with us. I and about 4 other campers spoke to her for about 20 minutes. She was very cordial and urged us not to continue our fast for the sake of our health, but she didn't really say anything new when I asked her why she voted for the spending bill for the "surge" in Iraq. It seemed to be a very polished and tired answer about how there wouldn't have been enough votes for cloture and we needed to fund our troops while they were there, but at least she promised to give us a formal, one hour meeting sometime after late September. We decided to leave her house early and concentrate our efforts on Camp Pelosi.
I haven't been back there since last night, but as far as I know we still have a tent pitched in the street by Madam Speaker's house. I went to knock on her door last night to ask her when she thought she *would* have a meeting with the public, but a man I presume was her husband opened the door and told me I was trespassing before I got to the front steps. Check out http://pelosiwatch.org/article.php?list=type&type=195 .
Also check out my earlier blog posts on this subject at http://jpaulson.blogspot.com/ .
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Speaker Pelosi was returning home, escorted by Capitol Police, and was met by around four campers representing Code Pink. Ms. Blome greeted her with a flower-covered peace sign and asked, "Nancy, why won't you meet with us?"
Speaker Pelosi replied, "I will NEVER meet with you. Get away from my house."
Then Ms. Blome, who emanates quiet, principled integrity, said something like, "but what about the Iraqi people's homes that we invade every day?"
"Get away from my house, you NUT!" Pelosi spat back, as she went inside.
As you know from my previous post, I've been fasting and (mostly) camping out with Code Pink over the last week. We were at Senator Dianne Feinstein's house to protest her vote towards funding the "surge" in the Iraq occupation, and for the last three days or so we've been in front of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's house to try to get her to meet with us. I went with a group of about 15 peace activists (from various organizations, including the Quakers and Code Pink) on Thursday to try to set up a meeting with Representative Pelosi. We were shuttled off to a private meeting room on a different floor and essentially stonewalled by one of her aids. Though August recess is the time when representatives traditionally meet with their constituency and Pelosi hasn't held a public meeting since long before she became speaker of the house, we were told was that there was no room on Nancy's schedule for peace. That struck me as rather odd, since I doubt she would be Speaker of the House if it were not for America's desire for that very thing.
I'll admit I haven't been active with Code Pink for that long, but from what I understand we have been asking for a meeting with Speaker Pelosi for 8 months and 5 months ago we were promised a meeting within 3 months that never materialized. So the very next day Medea Benjamin, Toby Blome, a lady named Nancy and I (representing Code Pink) came back to, once again, politely ask for meeting. We were given a timed minute with the same aid (a guy named Dan) and pretty much given the brush-off. We ended up unfurling a banner and walking up and down the halls singing (to the tune of "Row, row, row your boat"):
Nancy, Nancy, you're our Rep
It's time to end the war!
Meet, meet, meet with us,
That's all were asking for!
We're moving back to Senator Feinstein's house today, so if you're in the area, please stop by and show us your support!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Essentially, we want Feinstein to stop funding the illegal occupation in Iraq. I'm also pretty mad at her for voting for the increased powers to wiretap American citizens, but to be fair I am glad she called for the closure of Guantanamo Bay Prison recently.
Today Code Pink moved their camp/hunger strike to Speaker Nancy Pelosi's house, because Nancy has refused to hold a town meeting that we have been requesting for months -- we want her to put impeachment on the table and (as for me personally) I'm pretty upset that she allowed the money for the "surge" in Iraq to come up for a vote, as well as the vote for increased powers to wiretap Americans, even though she voted against those measures.
Here's an excellent article on our Sunday walk over the Golden Gate Bridge (about 100 very colorful participants showed up): http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/08/13/BACARHF0R.DTL&tsp=1
Camp Feinstein: Lyon and Vellejo street (go up the stairs to the big garden with the heart in it)
Camp Pelosi: Corner of Broadway and Normandie (Normandie is by Divisadero)
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Here's the AP article:
I tried to get to the press conference, but I misjudged how much time it would take to get there and had a hard time finding the place. But I was fortunate enough to actually sit at Cindy's table when she met with supporters last night and meet her in person. She struck me as a remarkably approachable, warm, and politically savvy person. I think she can beat Pelosi, and I'm not the only person who thinks so: check out Justin Raimondo (former Republican candidate for that seat) at http://antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=11269
The political meaning of the conflict between Cindy Sheehan and the Democratic Party
"I don't have the power to destroy the Democratic Party as some people have written. The Dems themselves are doing a good job of that and if they don't wake up and distance themselves from George faster than the Republicans are, and if they don't realize that people are more important than politics, they will go the way of the Whigs, and sometimes endings are as appropriate and constructive as beginnings." -- Cindy Sheehan
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Saddam Hussein May Get the Last Laugh
This reminds me of an old radio commentary of mine:
One of the best hedges against a falling dollar is to invest in precious metals, like gold. If I had any money a few years ago, I would have doubled it today because I would have invested in silver and gold. Too bad I've been totally broke since the end of 2001.
BTW, I'd also recommend keeping your gas tank full this summer. You never know when the price might suddenly shoot up a few bucks a gallon ...
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Anyway, there's some big news relating to the congressional district in San Francisco that doesn't appear to be getting any coverage at all -- not only was Cindy Sheehan, the most recognized peace activist in the country, arrested at Congressman Conyers's D.C. office yesterday, she has announced that she'll be running against San Franciscan congresswoman and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi [ http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/072407F.shtml ].
Amazingly, I can't find anything about this on the SF Chronicle right off-hand ... the front page story appears to be a hit-piece on the homeless, and how they are ruining Golden Gate Park. (This is ridiculous, BTW. I've lived in scores of places in the last couple of decades, and Golden Gate Park is the grandest, most beautiful city park I've ever seen.)
Anyway, I'd like to share some interesting articles and internet items I've come across recently:
Paul Craig Roberts: "Impeach Now -- or Face the End of Constitutional Democracy"
A must-read article by a noted conservative about why impeachment is absolutely necessary.
September 11: See and Hear For Yourself
A valuable archive of first-hand audiovisual resources on the events of September 11.
The Whitehouse Coup
A BBC radio program about a fascist coup plot in 1933 -- backed by right-wing American businessmen (including Prescott Bush) and foiled by General Smedley Butler (author of "War is a Racket").
Saturday, July 14, 2007
A black-and-white educational film details the difference between democracy and despotism.
Andy Griffith vs. the USA Patriot Act
Andy lectures Opie: "Whether a man is guilty or innocent, we have to find that out by due process of law."
'Fantastic Four' # 21, 1963
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower this speech before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16,1953:
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Six weeks after announcing her departure from the peace movement, Cindy Sheehan said yesterday that she plans to run against Nancy Pelosi unless the House speaker introduces articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush in the next two weeks.
I think this is a brilliant move on Cindy's part. I'm one of Nancy's constituents, and I've been carrying around a sign that says "IMPEACH CHENEY" for the last few weeks -- and let me tell you, people are ready to force the issue.
Last November, almost 60% of San Francisco voters backed Proposition J to impeach the Bush and Cheney. [ http://sfgate.com/election/races/2006/11/07/CA/c/i_measure_sf/i_j_call_for_bush_cheney_impeachment/g_general/c/san_francisco.shtml ] I think Cindy has a genuine chance of winning, especially since San Francisco uses Instant Runoff Voting, which gives third party candidates a fighting chance because it eliminates the "spoiler effect." [ http://www.fairvote.org/irv/?page=1895 ] If Nancy won't put impeachment back on the table as the Constitution requires, I'll be one of the voters to show her the door.
Friday, July 6, 2007
"I am glad that the new Constitution will be, as you tell me, adopted by more than Nine States. I hope however they will alter some parts of it; and particularly that they will divest the president of all Military Rank and command; for though General Washington might be safely trusted with such tempting power as the Chief Command of the Fleet and Army, yet, depend on it, in some other Hands it could not fail to Overset the libertys of America. The President should be only the first Civil Magistrate, let him command the Military with the Pen; but deprive him of the power to draw his Sword and lead them, under some plausible pretext, or under any Circumstances whatever, to cut the throats of a part of his fellow Citizens, and to make him the Tyrant of the rest." [Source: Jefferson papers, Sept. 9, 1788]
It turns out that the Constitution has held up pretty well over the centuries, and most of America's recent problems stem from our subverting or ignoring it. But it also seems to me that our recent forays into Imperialism stem from the President's power to order major military actions without any Congressional or public oversight. How many millions of people have suffered or died because of the "police action" of Vietnam?
One can only speculate on how prudent it was to give the president the power of "Commander-in-Chief." But it seems to me should be more difficult to conduct a war, and that people who have deliberately avoided combat (like Clinton, Bush and Cheney) should not be able to individually and personally order young people to their deaths on missions they would never have performed themselves.
Monday, June 25, 2007
What Every American Should Know About Iraq
On 9/11 a THIRD Skyscraper Plunged to Earth:
The Sudden Implosion of WTC Building 7
20 Amazing Facts About Voting in the USA
When I first started to become interested in 9-11 truth, this was a important article for me to reference. I understand there are many other versions of the 9-11 timeline that have since been updated many times, but I haven't had a chance to read them thoroughly.
Oh Lucy! - You Gotta Lotta 'Splainin To Do
Jennifer Van Bergen's truthout series, "Repeal the USA Patriot Act" isn't short but it's a comprehensive treatment of the issue loaded with facts and references.
A few years ago, I did a radio commentary called
Mysterious Deaths of Microbiologists
Here's an article I found today that has more recent reports of scientists dead from questionable circumstances:
List of Dead Scientists
Here's my commentary listing neo-con quotes about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (you know, the reason why we're killing and maiming people and getting killed and maimed ourselves over there): http://www.radio4all.net/index.php?op=script&program_id=10932&version_id=13012&nav=&session=
Dan Benham does a great job lifting the wool out of our eyes about the Federal Reserve in
A Phone Call To The Fed
That's all I can think of for right now. But I'd love to get more links to articles like this -- the kind that compile and list provocative information. If you know of any more, please post them!
Friday, June 15, 2007
"Pamela Richardson, a 51-year-old black veteran whose legs were both amputated, claims she was treated far worse than [Paris] Hilton because of her race and disability. [...]
"In jail, deputies removed Richardson's prosthetic leg and provided her with a wheelchair. The wheelchair did not fit inside the jail shower, and Richardson was unable to bathe herself for eight days.
"'I've had to crawl at night to the toilet, had to be told to crawl to the shower, which was very humiliating for me. I felt I had my dignity taken away from me,' Richardson said."
I've lived in homeless shelters and an "SRO" (city-funded hotel room) where I've had to share a bathroom for months. Trust me, having to crawl to use the shower in one of these places is like expecting someone to bathe in a urinal. I can just imagine how nasty prison bathrooms are.
Now consider this story:
Woman Ignored By 911 Dies In Hospital
"A woman who lay bleeding on the emergency room floor of a troubled inner-city hospital died after 911 dispatchers refused to contact paramedics or an ambulance to take her to another facility, newly released tapes of the emergency calls reveal."
And this one:
Police probe alleged L.A. homeless dumping
" A hospital van dropped off a paraplegic man on Skid Row, allegedly leaving him crawling in the street with nothing more than a soiled gown and a broken colostomy bag, police said."
How can the people in charge call themselves Christians when they preside over this kind of state and corporate-sanctioned disregard for human beings? Haven't they ever read Matthew 25 [ http://bibleresources.bible.com/passagesearchresults.php?passage1=Matthew+25%3A31-43&version1=31 ] and the parable about the good Samaritan?
And come on, Mr. Bush. The reason you're so opposed to publicly funded stem-cell research is because "When research is funded entirely by the private sector, the government has no license, and it is strictly a private matter whether, and under what terms, new intellectual property is made available to others for commercial or research purposes." [ http://www.hhs.gov/asl/testify/t990112a.html ] This is about private research companies making a mint off the patents they'll get for privatized stem-cell research, not about saving the lives of blastocysts. But I digress.
As Joel S. Hirschhorn says in his article Are Americans Unready to Boil?:
"America is no longer close to what it should be – or once was. It no longer fairly serves and protects all Americans. Too many Americans are working poor, hungry, homeless, poorly educated, imprisoned, debt-ridden, crime victims, facing economic insecurity, nonvoters, and lacking health care."
This is not the America I know and love. We saw the best of America and its citizens on 9-11-01. We saw firefighters risk their lives to help a crippled lady get down the stairs. Later on, we saw hundreds more put their health at serious risk trying to find survivors. We saw millions of concerned citizens send in money to help the victims.
Just a few years ago I was in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and the river threatened to flood several homes in town. I heard an announcement on the radio calling for volunteers to help fill sandbags. I was unemployed so I had plenty of time to help. When I arrived at the huge municipal station I was astonished to see the place was filled! Many people took off work, workplaces sent teams of employees ... high school sports teams were represented too. It was such an inspiring scene. People were smiling and working hard, the radio people were down there playing tunes, local businesses donated some great food. The mayor came down to help fill sandbags and personally thank us all for helping. There were literally hundreds of people, all working together to help save the low-lying areas of town. I spoke to many of them, and most did not have a house in the flood's path. They were there to help out their neighbors.
This is the America I know we can be. But it seems we have to step out of our carefully designed corporate cages to get there.
I originally saw this article on whatreallyhappened.com. It linked to an article in French, I translated it using google and my own rusty knowledge of that language. As far as its authenticity, "germerican" from Portland Indymedia posted:
here are two links that confirm the incident:
"Sources told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that US security men tested German security by trying to smuggle C4 plastic explosive past a checkpoint at Heiligendamm. German surveillance machinery detected the tiny stash in a suitcase in a car and the Americans in plainclothes then identified themselves. German police declined comment."
"US-Sicherheitskräfte haben die Gipfel-Kontrollen nach dpa-Informationen mit dem Transport einer geringen Menge Sprengstoff getestet. Der in einem Koffer versteckte Plastiksprengstoff vom Typ C4 sei von deutschen Beamten an einer Kontrollstelle in einem Auto entdeckt worden. Die G8-Polizeieinheit Kavala wollte den Vorfall vom Dienstag nicht bestätigen."
The german one states the US 'security forces' TESTED the Summit secuity by transporting a small amount of explosives. The plastic explosives of the type C4 which were hidden in a suitcase,were detected by German Officers at a checkpoint in a car. Interestingly enough, the special G8 police unite 'Kavala' denied to confirm the report.----------------------------------
German police thwart an attempted US attack against G8
Deutsche Press-Agentur and Agenzia Giornalistica Italia reported Thursday June 7, 2007 that German police had surprised "US security service men (Secret Service?) trying to smuggle C4 military explosives through a control point in Heiligendamm" where the G8 summit was taking place. After the bag containing the explosives was detected by the testing devices, specify the agencies, the American agents, dressed in civilian clothes, were immediately identified. German police refused to comment on this event (see dispatches below).
With the exception of an Iraqi episode in which British special forces were uncovered sowing terror disguised as Arabs [I did a radio commentary on this -- see below -- Jody], it is the first time that Western news services have reported the failure of a "False flag operation" in Europe.
On July 7, 2005, at the beginning of the G8 summit, an attack killed 56 and wounded more than 700. The summit's agenda was modified, the principal topics being abandoned to address the fight against global terrorism. As we explained then, the terrorists introduced their explosives under the cover of an anti-terrorist exercise in an identical fashion (to read our articles "Attacks of London: the same scenario was going on simultaneously in the form of an exercise!" and "London joins again with the strategy of the tension", by Thierry Meyssan, Réseau Voltaire, July 13, 2005.).
[Jody again. Here's my radio commentary from 2005:] http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2007/02/354070.shtml
INCIDENT AT BASRA
On Sept. 19, 2005, two British soldiers in wigs and dressed as members of the Shi'ite Mahdi Army, fired on Iraqi Police, killing one and injuring another. After a car chase they were arrested and taken into custody.
According to Sheik Hassan al-Zarqani, a spokesman for the Mahdi Army, "What our police found in their car was very disturbing -- weapons, explosives and a remote control detonator."
But the Brits from the Special Reconnaissance Regiment didn't stay in custody for long. Sources in the Iraqi Interior Ministry said that six Allied tanks were used to smash a wall in police headquarters to rescue the pair. This touched off a riot, causing Iraqis to lob Molotov cocktails at the armored vehicles.
You could have heard all about this incident if you scoured the papers -- albeit with a heavy pro-British spin. So why do I mention it on a commentary called "What they don't tell you?" Well, first off, most Americans haven't heard about it, or if they did the story was overpowered by dissembling and dramatic photos of a flaming soldier jumping from a tank.
Rest assured, however, the Iraqis haven't forgotten this story. Many have suspected foreign occupiers of perpetrating "insurgent" bombings all along.
More recently, a somewhat dubious Russian news site ( http://iraqwar.mirror-world.ru/article/66432 ) reports that a number of Iraqis caught two Americans in Arab dress trying to detonate a car bomb. The Americans were then said to have been whisked away by "Iraqi puppet police." Given what happened in Basra, does anyone out there still believe that this whole adventure is to give Iraqis their freedom?
Some freedom. Freedom to install Western-approved government puppets, but not the sovereignty of incarcerating two men who fire on your elected government's own police force while packing hi-tech explosives in their car.
Oh, and here's an article I wrote that talks about what I think of the official story on the London bombings: http://jpaulson.blogspot.com/2007/03/meet-london-bombers.html
Sunday, June 10, 2007
As I wrote in the comments, I can't think of anything more evil than the idea of developing seeds that grow into sterile plants so poor people can't save seed. And what happens if this "technology" somehow contaminates the rest of our food supply? What will it do to the food chain in general?
Please get the word out there. I mean, this kind of thing is right out of Lex Luthor's "World Takeover" playbook!
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Somehow I don't think it's a coincidence that the most lucid people I know are either vegan or vegetarian. If you need one, here's another reason to drop meat:
Food safety fears over plans to feed pigs to chickens
Didn't we learn our lesson from mad cow disease (caused by cows eating other cows)? I guess not. Meanwhile, pigs given melamine-tainted feed have been cleared for the U.S. market:
Wait a minute! Wasn't melamine, an industrial chemical used to make plastics and fertilizers, the stuff in pet food linked with China that poisoned a bunch of American cats and dogs? http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/30/business/worldbusiness/30food.html?ex=1182484800&en=ea849a09ab97d42d&ei=5070
And by the way, what's with the Chinese selling us poisoned toothpaste?
Toxic Toothpaste Made in China Is Found in U.S.
Kind of reminds me of the time they sold children's cross necklaces made of lead, causing several cases of lead poisoning here in the United States. Sometimes you wonder if they're doing it on purpose, don't you? Kind of makes you think twice about the Pentagon buying computer chips from them, doesn't it?
Faulty Chips Could Cripple U.S. Attack On Iran
Please excuse my paranoid ravings. Soylent Green, anyone?
Monday, June 4, 2007
Many people know that Cindy Sheehan has officially resigned as "the face of the anti-war movement," but how many know that she also came out in favor of the 9-11 truth movement by making the statement that the "Twin Towers' Collapse Looked Like Controlled Demolition"?
Anybody hear about this story?
Former White House Communications Deputy Tim Griffin Resigns after Evidence Ties Him to Alleged Voter Suppression
No, but we know all about Paris Hilton going to jail. Believe it or not, I don't even know what Paris Hilton looks like and I don't particularly want to know (I don't have a television). She doesn't sound like anyone I'd want to be friends with. Yet I know all about the fact that she's going to jail and will be going to a special program to protect her from other inmates and her jailers have been warned not to take pictures of her.
I also know a bunch of losers with a plan that wouldn't have worked sat around and chatted on the Internet about bombing JFK airport.
Meanwhile, the vast majority of our troops don't realize that Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks on 9-11-01. And many of them are dying for it.
What's wrong with this picture?
Friday, June 1, 2007
I know a little something about TB. It's something, generally, poor homeless people get. It's not something, typically, globe-trotting lawyers get. Yet here's this lawyer guy (rich enough to get married in Europe and honeymoon in Italy, the Greek isles and other spots in Europe) who has a "super-rare" untreatable case of TB, and we're told it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that his new father-in-law, Robert C. Cooksey, is a CDC microbiologist whose specialty is TB.
Hmmm. So now they're starting to mandate TB quarantines for the first time since 1963. http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/news/2007/06/quarantine_law Does anybody else smell something rotten about this?
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Hi, this is Jody Paulson from Moscow, ID with what they don't tell you.
If you woke up to the Washington Post on Aug 5, 1964, you would have read in big bold letters, "American Planes Hit North Vietnam After Second Attack on Our Destroyers; Move Taken to Halt New Aggression." We now know there was no second attack, just as we now know there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
At the end of 1964, three years after the war had officially begun on Dec 11, 1961, 216 American soldiers were killed in Vietnam. At the end of 1965, that number rose to 1,926. Today in Washington DC there's a wall with over fifty eight thousand names on it. Perhaps there's a few names you know. A generation later, as of Feb 7th '05, almost 2 years into the current war, 1,448 American soldiers have been shipped out Bagdad in a box.
In the March of 1968, after weeks of their ranks being culled by maiming and death, Charlie Company entered the village of My Lai and massacred over 300 unarmed civilians including women, children, and the elderly. Recently a doctor told Dahr Jamail, one of the only unembedded American reporters in Iraq, that he had videotaped the testimony of a 16 year old girl who was trapped in her home in Fallujah for three days with the decaying bodies of her family members. "When the soldiers entered she was in her home with her father, mother, 12 year-old brother and two sisters. She watched the soldiers enter and shoot her mother and father directly, without saying anything." The girl and her brother hid behind a refrigerator as "they beat her two sisters, then shot them in the head," causing her brother to fly at them in a rage. He was shot dead.
The doctor's first hand assessment of the besieged city is "All I can say is that Fallujah is like it was struck by a tsunami. There weren't many families in there after the siege, but they had absolutely nothing. The suffering was beyond what you can imagine. When the Americans finally let us in people were fighting just for a blanket."
We are engaged in a war we cannot win. George Santayana once wrote, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." With a looming economic disaster and the whole world against us, can this nation really survive another Vietnam?
I'm Jody Paulson, and I just thought you should know.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Hi, this is Jody Paulson from Moscow, ID with what they don't tell you.
There are two kinds of bravery: The bravery of the wise and the bravery of the fool.
The bravery of the fool comes fairly cheap. All you really have to do is be thoughtless -- thoughtless of the risks you are taking, thoughtless of the consequences that might ensue from your action. A high-school game of chicken on a stretch of road does indeed require some form of bravery, but it's nothing that can't be bought with a few sixpacks of beer.
Then there's the bravery of the wise. This kind of bravery requires you to be thoughtful, not thoughtless. You know what the consequences are, you've weighed them, and you've decided to take action anyway. This is the bravery of those willing to fight for what they believe in. Or in the case of Sgt Kevin Benderman, refuse to fight for what they don't believe in. If the rest of America had half this man's integrity, maybe this really would be the "land of the free and home of the brave," instead of what it really is, "land of the wage slave and home of the lemming."
Sgt. Benderman spent 10 years in the Army and recently, 8 months in Iraq. While he was there he witnessed dogs feeding off mass graves. When his convoy passed a girl no older than 10 clutching a burn-blackened arm, her mother pleading for help, their executive officer refused due to limited medical supplies. Benderman sent a letter to his wife referencing many scholars' belief that Iraq was home to the biblical Garden of Eden. He wrote, "Here I am in the Garden of Eden, and what am I doing here with a gun?" Benderman became troubled with the contradictions he saw in his own culture. "Why do we tell our children to not solve their differences with violence, then turn around and commit the ultimate in violence against people in another country who have nothing to do with the political attitudes of their leaders?"
When Benderman's unit returned to the United States, he sought discharge as a conscientious objector. His unit was to redeploy under stop-loss policy a month later, and commanders ordered Benderman to go with them. Here's what was going through his mind: "As I went through the process which led to my decision to refuse deployment to Iraq for the second time, I was torn between thoughts of abandoning the soldiers that I serve with, or following my conscience, which tells me: war is the ultimate in destruction and waste of humanity."
Of course, Benderman did not show up for his flight to Baghdad, knowing full well what the consequences might be. Last Friday it was announced that Benderman will be tried by a general court-martial, the most serious form of court-martial, on charges of desertion and missing movement. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison, reduction in rank to private and a dishonorable discharge. An officer called him a coward. His battalion chaplain shamed him in an e-mail from Kuwait. But I think it's a very brave, rare man who can stand by his convictions, as evidenced by these words from Sgt. Benderman: "I cannot tell anyone else how to live his or her life, but I have determined how I want to live mine -- by not participating in war any longer, as I feel that it is stupid and against everything that is good about our world."
I'm Jody Paulson, and I just thought you should know.