"Also, this never happened:
"Among the graphic statements, which were later released under US freedom of information laws, is that of Kasim Mehaddi Hilas in which he says: 'I saw [name of a translator] ******* a kid, his age would be about 15 to 18 years. The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard screaming I climbed the door because on top it wasn't covered and I saw [name] who was wearing the military uniform, putting his **** in the little kid's ***". and the female soldier was taking pictures.'"
The list goes on, but I think you get the picture.
Now for some good news.
Do the People Have a Choice?
Yes, but not through voting and the other means that those in power tell us are our only options. There's a reason why they say around elections time, "it doesn't matter who you vote for as long as you vote." They say it because it's true: it really doesn't matter who you vote for. They want you to think that you're making the decisions along with your fellow citizens when we aren't doing that at all, which is why what matters is that you vote, not who you vote for.
As GOP pollster Frank Luntz confessed while meeting with Republican governors in the fall of 2011: "I'm frightened to death" of the Occupy Movement. "They're having an impact on what the American people think of capitalism." He did not say, "I'm frightened to death that people will vote for the Democrats." He said, I'm frightened to death of this movement that is changing the way people think about capitalism.
Luntz thus blurted out one of the biggest secrets in political life: the way you change the political policies is by movements that influence how the people think. You don't do this through voting. You do this through impacting public opinion. And the ways of doing that are various, including participating and helping to organize protests and speaking out through your body, your voice and/or through your pen/keyboard and where you donate your time, energy and money.
The powers that be are deeply and clearly aware of this, which is why they are deathly afraid of people saying and doing things that challenge the perspective that authorities work so hard to make the normative perspective. "Here's what is possible," they say. "This is what must be and now, would you rather have the Republican do it or the Democrat?" Would you rather have a guy in a red tie or a guy in a blue tie deciding how much to cut from public services and how much to give to the 1%?
When we vote for presidential candidates from either the Republican or Democratic Parties we are not deciding whom we like better. We are legitimating what those candidates do and stand for. When and if you cast a vote for Obama you are saying that you are okay with what he has done -- his presidential kill list, his drone attacks, his refusal to prosecute torturers, his perpetuating of torture and places like Gitmo, his suspension of habeas corpus, due process, and the rule of law, his vengeful attacks on whistleblowers, his mass incarceration and mass deportations, his failure to address global warming, his failure to defend women's abortion rights, in general, his Janus faced attitudes towards nearly everything under the sun that matters. You're saying that you endorse this because you are not refusing to delegitimate it by publicly refusing to vote in their elections charade. This is the message you are sending. Is that the message you want to send?
The momentousness and virulence of Obama's legacy cannot be overstated: he has completed the rupture from the rule of law and unaccountability that Bush and Cheney pioneered so spectacularly. By refusing to prosecute Bush and Cheney's numerous crimes - not only their violations of domestic and international law with aggressive wars and torture et al and their ubiquitous and warrantless surveillance, but their repeated overruling of Congressional intent and laws - he has legitimated those lawless and tyrannical actions. He has made them the new norm. Not only, however, has he legitimated them and thereby greased the path for every subsequent president who does the same and worse, but he has himself forged forward in the reactionary direction of Bush and Cheney and gone even further than they dared. As he has done this, he has covered it all under the thick coat of honeyed words and shameless deceitfulness and through his skillful two-faced presentation of self won over those who otherwise resisted these same horrid behaviors when they were being committed by Republicans.
As neoliberal policies that tout the market and globalization as the solution to all problems spread, they can only do so by assiduously obscuring what they actually are for and the results that they inevitably bring. Because neoliberal policies are so damaging to the living standards of the people, bringing on disaster after disaster on the micro and macro levels, they cannot honestly be presented or else the vast majority of the world would rise in rebellion against it.
Here then is where people like Obama play such an important role in rebranding these policies as either the opposite of what they are or as the ineluctable necessity compared to an allegedly even worse outcome and in so doing, thereby quelling resistance to these atrocious measures. With friends such as these, as the saying goes, who needs enemies? The kind of people who tell you that you should ignore the fact that Obama has been a disaster for the people's interests and has one-upped even Bush and Cheney in the wrong direction because he's at least better than Romney are the kind of people who tell battered women that they should stay with their battering husband. They are the kind of people who you need to tell to shut the hell up and get real!
The upfront purveyors of neoliberal policies are people like Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney who declare that government is the problem, not the solution, even as they and their superrich friends spend untold sums relentlessly and aggressively pursuing the reins of power in government, the very institution they claim to despise as useless and harmful. But because not everyone can be won to celebrating the demolition of the New Deal and because too many people recognize that the market forces left to themselves will destroy and are destroying them, their neighbors and friends, and this planet, people who are much more artful and subtle must also be present, good cops like Barack Hussein Obama, to disarm the people and get them to accept the unacceptable.
First posted at DennisLoo.com.