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Name: William Rivers Pitt
Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 57,875

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The Rank, Reeking Horror of Torturing Some Folks

(Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)

The Rank, Reeking Horror of Torturing Some Folks
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Thursday 11 December 2014

Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it.

- John Lennon

"Let me put it plainly: these people do not belong on my television. They belong in prison, for the crimes of theft, torture and murder. They shattered the lives of thousands of American soldiers and millions of Iraqi civilians. They savaged the American economy paying for it all, and several of them got very rich in the process. They should be in orange jumpsuits and fetters, picking mealworms out of their gruel while shuttered in very small, very grim, very inescapable metal rooms."

I wrote that back in June of this year because I thought I knew the whole deal. I saw all the pictures from Abu Ghraib, knew about the so-called "Black Sites" where innocent prisoners were sent to be torn apart, read all the books, and listened to the words of those who endured these seven hells and lived. Quite a crowd of people, including several prisoners who cannot be accounted for to this day, did not survive to tell their tale.

I thought I knew, I really did, and then the Senate dropped their Torture Report, and we all got to hear about a guy whose dinner of hummus, pasta and nuts was pureed and then blasted up his anus in an act of violence and humiliation that isn't even the worst of what was reported. They tied prisoners to beds and made them stand on broken legs for dozens of hours. A description of one photograph of one waterboard - there were others, of course - called it "well worn." Several of the people tasked to deliver these horrors are described as having "issues" that should have disqualified them from government service altogether, including "histories of violence and mistreatment of others."

In my name. In your name. In our name.


Back in August, President Obama - who saw this report and all of its grisly details coming a mile away - let drop the least anonymous penny in history: "We tortured some folks." Later in his remarks, the president said, "And, you know, it's important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had. A lot of those folks were working hard under enormous pressure and are real patriots, but having said all that, we did some things that were wrong."

Those who tortured are patriots. Those who call it wrong are sanctimonious. Got it?

That, right there, is why this whole nightmare came to be. Not because of President Obama, but because of the soft-pedal smooshy attitude he so clearly expressed. He knew what was going to be in this report when he made those remarks - of course he did - but still chose to butter it up with "patriots" and "9/11 you guys" and "Oops." This level of institutionalized cowardice and knee-jerk ass-covering is exactly and precisely what allows sociopaths in positions of unimaginable power to run wild and bathe in the tears, blood and viscera of their victims.

In my name. In your name. In our names.


As far as the perpetrators go, the Bush-era chieftains, the half-assed lords of war who delivered this disgrace to us all, I comfort myself with an old anecdote:

Once upon a time, there was a man who went to the news stand every morning, bought a newspaper, snarled at the front page, and then threw the paper away in anger. He did this every day, day after day. After a time, the newsboy asked the man, "What is it you're looking for, sir?"

"The obituaries," said the man.

"But sir," said the newsboy, "the obituaries are on page 30."

"When the bastard I'm looking for dies," said the man, "it'll be on the front page."

Thin gruel, to be sure, but time always wins in the end. There will be justice done, on this side or the other.

The whole thing: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/27939-the-rank-reeking-horror-of-torturing-some-folks

If you are interested in stopping the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal

...here is a place to start: a White House petition created by a good friend.


Whether or not you believe in the effectiveness of online petitions, lending your name to the argument is at least a step. Have at it.

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time, there was a man who bought a newspaper every day, snarled at the front page, and threw it away. One day, the storekeep asked, "Sir, what are you looking for in the paper?"

"The obituaries," said the man.

"But the obituaries are on page 30," said the storekeep.

"When the bastard I'm looking for dies," said the man, "It'll be on the front page."


But we "knew that already."

Gotta look forward, don'tcha know.

William Rivers Pitt | They Belong in Prison, Not on TV

I am SO PLEASED the "Eaten by an anaconda" thing turned into a giant Failburger.

I am SO HAPPY this turned out the way it did.

There are not enough electrons on the internet to adequately explain just how brain-murderingly stupid this whole "I'm going to get eaten by an anaconda on television" thing was, but let's start here: Say you were successful, fuckwit, in goading the snake into devouring you. HOW THE PRECISE FUCK WERE YOU PLANNING ON GETTING OUT? Wait for it to poop, like, next month?

I'll tell you how: they would have to cut the thing open, thus killing an absolutely magnificent miracle of nature so you and your asshole TV buddies could fill an hour of broadcast time.

But nope, the snake just decided to beat the shit out of the guy and live to fight another day.


Anaconda Tries to Kill Dumb Human Who Wanted to Be Eaten Alive

Seventy-three years of war.

Seventy-three years ago today, Japanese forces bombed the American fleet at Pearl Harbor.

We have been at war for every single one of the seventy-three years since.

...and someone's getting paid for it. It ain't you, or me, but that's fact.

Question about police violence, Black citizens, and President Obama

Question: How much do you think the dramatic rise in police violence, especially against Black people, has something to do with America's latent racism that has been brought roaring out of its cave by the fact of a Black president? I'm not thinking that's the whole answer, of course - we were a racist nation before January 2009 - but it seems as if it's gone into hyperdrive since then.

Seems pretty straightforward to me, but it also seems like the elephant in the room no one is talking about. Thoughts?

...and then this happened.

Apropos of absolutely nothing political, but we got smacked with an ice storm all day today, and this happened right outside my door. I thought posting it might help anyone in need of a dose of beauty. I sure as hell needed it. Hope you like.

Trying to Breathe in These "Post-Racial" United States

(Photo: Ryan Sorensen)

Trying to Breathe in These "Post-Racial" United States
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Saturday 06 December 2014

It was 1984, and I was in love for the first time in my little life. We had met at a dance, and for a few magnificent weeks we drowned in each other's waters in the way you can only do at that sapling age. She was incandescent, hilarious, beautiful, funny and whip-smart, and I plumbed the depths of my barely-there personality just to keep up. She was wonderful.

And she was Black, and on the day of the Boston Marathon that year, I was walking down Commonwealth Avenue with my arm around her, and a car cruised by filled with a pile of upperclassmen from the school I attended, and the car slowed, and the faces in the windows were all turned my way, and they were a thunderstorm, a caricature of disgust and revulsion and rage and hate. She didn't see it. I did, but I didn't fully realize what was coming.

The day after, back at school, those upperclassmen formed a pack and swarmed me. There was a dress code, so I enjoyed the experience of being pummeled by large people in Navy blue sportcoats, felt their blows raining down while their terrible 1980s ties dangled in my face, and all the while they screamed, "Did you f--k that ni---r? Did you f--k that ni---r? Did you dip your wick? Did you?" as the fists flew.

The experience was profoundly formative. I was a boy when that happened, when merely being in the presence of a Black person was cause for violence, and this was in the "enlightened" Northeast. I understood much more about my country the day after than I'd ever known the day before.

It happened thirty years ago, and we all like to believe in the concept of progress, but Michael Brown is dead today with no consequences, and Eric Garner is dead today with no consequences, and cops send wildly racists tweets back and forth to each other stoking their hatred for the Black men who get shot down.


Eric Garner was murdered by a clot of police officers on a public street in broad daylight for the crime of selling individual cigarettes. Michael Brown was cut down by a police officer who, based on the preponderance of evidence collected by that particularly ludicrous grand jury, panicked and shot an unarmed teenager to death, and that teenager's body was left to lie in the street for hours, and hours. The Medical Examiner, by his own testimony, did not photograph the body because he claimed the batteries in his camera died.

Res ipsa loquitor. The thing speaks for itself.

Hank Johnson, the Democratic Representative from Georgia's 4th district, took to the floor of the House to deliver a cry for simple justice that must resound in the halls of history for as long as memory exists:

Men and boys killed by police.

I can't breathe.

Impunity for the killers-no justice, no peace.

I can't breathe.

Militarized police met peaceful protesters on their knees.

I can't breathe.

Weapons of war-a show of force on our streets.

I can't breathe.

Disenfranchised youth driven to violence as speech.

I can't breathe.

Cynical media think this makes great TV.

I can't breathe.

This cowardly Congress afraid of losing our seats.

I can't breathe.

Half-hearted reform when there's more that we need.

I can't breathe.

Just thinking about the despair that this breeds.

I can't breathe.

Black lives matter. Hear my pleas.

I can't breathe. I can't breathe.


The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/27846-william-rivers-pitt-trying-to-breathe-in-the-post-racial-united-states
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