Great piece explaining Chavez's plan to subsidize heating oil for impoverished U.S. citizens. Contains some great Chavez quotes and gives some very important statistical data leaving no doubt Bush's recent speech lambasting Chavez was a petty attempt to distract people from the fact Bolivarian policies help people while neoliberal policies harm. Lastly, you have to love any prose that employs the phrase "predatory capitalism."
The draft dodger had the gall to make a speech on Veterans' day. A day he knows nothing about. In line with the right-wing extremist tactic of always going on the attack, his diatribe against those starting to speak out on his long standing lies was something for the annals of infamy. The above piece deals with his accusations of revisionism.
Many see the party of pure reaction as pro-veteran. After all, don't they all adorn their vehicles with the imperative "support our troops" ribbon magnets? Those of us who have actually served know different. The draft dodging commander in chief's best photo opportunities, from donning a flight suit and posing in front of a mission accomplished banner to having carefully scripted and rehearsed "spontaneous conversations" with troops abroad are the extent of his calloused support of troops.
Since this administration was appointed by the court in 2000, I've seen my VA co-payments for prescriptions and clinic visits steadily increase. VA actually charges interest on partial medical payments now, something I found out after only being able to pay half a bill last summer. My mind drifted back decades ago to when that slick recruiter told me enlistment guaranteed free medical care at the VA for life. Their ability to lie to young working class kids has only improved since I volunteered for active duty (as opposed to the Texas Air Guard).
VA is woefully underfunded and the preemptive war party's best response is to vote against increasing funding five times this year. All the while they fill Walter Reed hospital with the human aftermath of their failing imperial adventures. Support our troops indeed. They support young service people's ability to further their delusions for oil and empire. After that, they are on their own. I'm just waiting for Bush to suggest a "faith based" solution to depleted uranium poisoning. We all know the Connecticut born child of privilege has never needed Veteran Administration services himself. Not that his cowardly "service record" somehow warrants it.
Reckless even by their low standards, the Bush administration's treasonous outing of a covert CIA operative and subsequent cover up has brought attention to tissue thin WMD arguments used to justify the brutal invasion and occupation of Iraq. Strangely the voices of reaction are now saying they barely stressed the WMD issue, that it was only mentioned in passing while ramping up for invasion. Tom Tomorrow takes this revisionist lying to task in Everything old is new again. About midway through the post he lists a portion of the countless times Cheney, Bush, Rice, Frist et al lied without conscience to the Congress and the nation. The list, while seemingly long, is only a selection of WMD quotes. It debunks completely and irrevocably the notion that WMD wasn't used as fear club to bludgeon the nation into acceptance of PNAC's imperialist plans. The list of falsehoods contains Bush's most famous lie of all:
Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.
We've seen Bush's "a few bad apples" alibi disproved in that the chances of individuals from a whole range of organizations, from regular Army, to SEAL Teams, to OGAs (read CIA), and even private sector paramilitary employing the exact same methods and techniques are simply impossible. This doesn't even take into account the same torture techniques are employed by countries the administration hands off individuals enduring extreme rendition. The methods and techniques in Abu Ghraib are identical to those in Guantanamo Bay, to those in Afghanistan. They are the same in many other places as well, and harken back to the same methods employed in Latin America during Negroponte's reign of terror. The notion that somehow all these individuals from completely different organizations in locations separated by huge expanses somehow employ exactly the same methods of torture by accident--not by policy is preposterous at best. The "bad apples" argument is no argument at all. Scapegoating seriously sick and misguided low ranking enlisted personnel through courts martial, while deserved (these are cases in which military personnel are compelled to disobey orders -- Nuremberg set precedent that orders to commit war crimes are invalid), doesn't address the problem. This administration's policy is torture.
Rumsfeld's even more loathsome statements of U.S. torture is akin to "college pranks" is just as ridiculous as the "bad apples" nonsense. A recent report from autopsies on U.S. held captives show that 21 of the detainees were homicide victims. This chilling news in the reactionary corporate media is only what is publicly known about the brutal, inhuman policies the U.S. ruling class visits upon persons held with no legal justification. The report mentions "detainees were smothered, beaten or exposed to the elements." Bush's torture policies feature the rape and sodomizing of male and female detainees. It features beatings, exposure to extremes, and the most inhuman treatment. Not to mention racist and ethnocentric treatment of other people's religions and ethnic beliefs. The brutality is so bad that hunger strikes and attempted suicides have become the norm for those kept in U.S. concentration camps. Not sure what college Rumsfeld went to, but if the above is what he considers college pranks, I am glad I didn't go to his school.
So much more could be written about their rationalizations and excuses, but it boils down to one thing. There is never, ever, a justification for torture. This is the most barbaric of barbarisms, and even the ultra reactionary U.S. Senate voted 90 to 9 against it. Still Cheney lobbies for torture. This has to stop. It has to stop now. We must demand the reactionary corporate media stop calling torture and murder "abuses" and call it what it is. The amount of evidence proving torture is policy is overwhelming. Soldiers and officers have come out and told the truth about it. The terrible photos and videos that shocked the world are unfortunately the tamest of those in existence and rest need be released. Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice et al need to appear at Hague and tried as the war criminals they are. Although the ruling class often places itself above the law, and although the neocons are the most extreme example of lawless beasts, they shouldn't be allowed to ignore Geneva Conventions. No one should be allowed to systematically commit the most flagrant human rights violations without consequence. None of the reactionary apologist (Malkin and friends call themselves conservatives, too politically ignorant to know what they really are) excuses stand up to John McCain's statement "This isn’t about who they are. This is about who we are. These are the values that distinguish us from our enemies." No person should ever have to endure torture. Bush and his ilk have clearly taken the lead in the 21st century as the monsters we read about in previous century.