Thoughts On Torture
The recent revelations came as no surprise. Now we know with certainty that the United States tortured people. What are the repercussions? The Senate Team spent five years researching and putting the CIA torture report together. Apparently, it is quite thorough. What now?
Knowing this puts us in quite a bind. We can’t simply say (or at least we shouldn’t say), as Obama did a few years ago, that we need to look forward, not back. The flaws in this thinking are apparent, as all crimes necessarily happen in the past. With this logic, the defense of a bank robber or rapist would be very simple: “hey, that was last week. Why are you bringing it up now?”
The whole idea of cutting SNAP (Food Stamps) may well be the most heartless and mean-spirited proposal our Congress has ever made. It is literally taking food from the mouths of our most vulnerable citizens. This includes millions of children. All at a time of high unemployment and a growing wealth disparity. I don't know if we can stop these cuts but I certainly would like the Congress to know what we think about it. Perhaps, if there is enough push back members of Congress will need to factor in their next reelection bid. Please sign this petition from Daily Kos:
Can We Save Our Democracy?
Is a country with true universal single payer health care, free higher education, a concerted effort to reverse the climate crisis, and reasonable choices at the ballot box a possibility? Drs. Jill Stein and Margaret Flowers are convinced that this world can be transformed into a world of social, economic, and ecological justice. They are sure enough to have given up their respective medical practices to work full time on the changes that would lead us to this better world.
I am usually a skeptic, fluxuating between despair, anger, and a sense of hopelessnes. That being said, I have found what I believe to be a possible path out of the current mess in what these two women are saying. I plan to follow up on their suggestions, you should too.
What Advice Could Kissinger Offer
It is difficult to trust the judgement or the veracity of what the Secretary of State John Kerry says. If it weren't bad enough that his talking points don't explain the real reasons he wants to drop missiles in Syria, the point is further made by the fact that he found it useful or proper to consult with the accused war criminal, Henry Kissinger.
Based on his history, we can get a sense of what Kissinger's position is on Syria. At least we can discern what doesn't motivate him, which may be enough. He is not moved by a sense of compassion or a humanitarian interest in protecting the innocent people of Syria.
Syria: The Most Logical Answer is Usually Right
I have said and continue to say that the party that has the least to gain as well as the most to lose by using poison gas is Assad's Syria. Not that he would likely have any moral reservations about doing so, but very practical reasons not to. With Syria's well equipped military, Assad has the momentum. The only thing that could shift that momentum is intervention by outside forces. The clearly stated position of the US (the dreaded redline) makes using chemical weapons a huge risk. Doing so when the UN weapon inspectors are in Syria and only 10 miles away to boot, makes it at best moronic, at worst, suicidal.
We should ask ourselves what could he possibly hope to gain. There is no reasonable answer to this question. Assad would be exposing himself to retaliation and worldwide scorn, and no doubt he understands this. Here is a video of Acronym TV (part of The Young Turks network) detailing some of the facts. Furthermore, President Obama clearly says himself that the problems in Syria won't be solved militarily but only with a negotiated diplomatic solution. In addition, there is a well documented post by Dennis Trainor Jr. at FireDogLake.
Fool Me Once…
Let's not make the same mistake that we made in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. I grant that Assad is an awful person. Maybe he could use nerve agents to kill his own people. But this isn't about "could," either he did or he didn't. There are some nagging questions about Syria and the chemical attacks.
Why would Assad pick the exact time that UN inspectors are already in Syria to launch a large scale chemical attack? Seriously, Assad is a bad guy to be sure but how could he run Syria for decades if he, his generals, and top advisors are all morons? This is what we are asked to believe. The regime is determined to retain power, they have the opposition forces out manned and totally outgunned. Why would he do the one thing that could instantly shift this balance of power?
Manning: A List Of Hard To Believes
It's been about a week since Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison. I find the whole affair hard to believe. Hard to believe that her pre-trial cruel and inhumane intentional punishment didn't play a substantial role in the process. Hard to believe that the abuse of her constitutional right to a speedy trial, despite being the longest pre-trial incarceration in US military history was ruled to not be a big deal. Hard to believe that the majority of the defense witnesses were disallowed. Hard to believe that the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture was denied a private meeting with Manning. Hard to believe that the Commander in Chief of the military by declaring her guilt 2 years before the military trial had even begun wasn't seen as influencing the outcome. Lastly, I find it hard to believe that Judge Lind was rewarded with a promotion in the middle of presiding over the case.
WE ARE BRADLEY MANNING
We stand with WikiLeaks whistle-blower US Army PFC Bradley Manning
We are American military veterans, artists, journalists, educators, homemakers, lawyers, and citizens. We live in red states and in blue states, in communities urban and rural. We ask you to consider the facts, and join us in declaring:
Enough is enough. Free Bradley Manning now.
In a time of endless war and economic distress, a cloud of government secrecy has eclipsed our republic. We are told that these secrets are necessary, that they save American lives, and we are told the growing National Security state is beyond question. More secrecy does not make us secure when it allows leaders and politicians to avoid accountability. We’ve learned these secrets also conceal crimes: torture, illegal surveillance, and corruption—all committed in our name.
A video developed by some well-known cartoonists who have joined together to make the case for stricter gun legislation. I liked the thought and was touched by the message but I also recognize that even with 90% of the people wanting even something as simple as universal background checks, the politicians are too beholden to the NRA and gun manufacturers to pass anything meaningful. It's a sad commentary of the political realities of today. Maybe this will act as a wake up call that makes clear who our "representatives" see as their true constituents.