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Name: William Rivers Pitt
Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 57,452

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Happened to flip on NBC just now, and they're running a segment titled:

"VETERANS DAY AMBUSH MAKEOVERS: Honoring Servicewomen With A Whole New Look"

"Ambush," really? Fucking REALLY?

I was going to eat. Not so much any more. I swear to God and sonny Jesus, I am not built for this place. I want to crawl out of my skin.

"Ambush makeovers" for veterans. It beggars language. My tongue is in my teeth.


A nation that does not care for its veterans has no business making new ones.

Period. End of file.


"The Last Letter": A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran

"The Last Letter": A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran
By Tomas Young

18 March 2013

I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.


My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.

Full letter: http://www.truthdig.com/dig/item/the_last_letter_20130318

Tomas Young has passed.

One of these days I'm going to buy a serious camera

so as to do justice to what I see in this place.

I tried again tonight with this massive 3/4 moon, and I suppose the effort yields its own rewards...but man o man o man...this ain't the half of it.

About the most gut-wrenching, terrifying thing I've ever seen...

...because of how many people in positions of incredible power hold this to be Gospel truth.

Reaping the Whirlwind, Again

President Barack Obama during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington,
November 5, 2014. (Photo: Doug Mills / The New York Times)

Reaping the Whirlwind, Again
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Friday 07 November 2014

I am tired. I am tired of speech
and of action. In the heart of me
you will find a tiny handful of
dust. Take it and blow it out
upon the wind. Let the wind have
it and it will find its way home.

- Tennessee Williams

Here in rural New Hampshire, in this town without a traffic light, with a population so small that it would have trouble filling a Pop Warner football stadium, the old folks came out to vote in force on Tuesday.

We vote here at the Community Center on Main Street, an old clapboard building with a coat of white paint that remembers the Eisenhower administration. It has wheelchair access, and thank God for it, because squadrons of elderly voters on Tuesday went through the long endurance required in order to simply leave the house, and came out, and made it inside the polling place, and got their ballots, and cut their chosen "X" through the provided spaces, and slipped their ballot into the box, and left the way they came: proud voters, each wearing an "I Voted" sticker that announced they had done their duty.

I am world-weary enough at this point to swallow my tongue when I witness this kind of phenomenon first-hand while reading about how national turnout for Tuesday's midterm elections was historically low. When the President of the United States gave a press conference the day after an electoral wipeout of historic proportions to basically apologize for even feigning to represent the things that inspired people to vote for him in the first place, I didn't blink. People for whom voting requires half a day's hard effort showed up to cast their ballots, while the President could not summon the will to explain why his party might deserve their vote, and I refused to be surprised or astonished or disappointed.

Par for the course.

Hell, I called it on the third of October. "Come November," I wrote at the time, "if the Democrats wind up flopping and flailing for an explanation as to why they got routed at the polls, let me offer a succinct reply: You stand for nothing. You are the Washington Generals to the Harlem Globetrotters. Everyone expects you to go down to defeat, because you always lay down, because you are paid to do so. It doesn't have to be that way, but that's the way it is. When the midterms eat you alive, remember what I said. When you stand for nothing, you get nothing in return."


We managed here, with the geriatric squad being the only crew with the requisite number of damns to give in order to summon the will to actually raise their hands on the most important day of the year, to jettison the unendurable political herpe that is Scott Brown. Maggie Hassan likewise managed to hold the governorship. It's a hell of a thing when New Hampshire comes off as the liberal whackadoo state that actually votes for people who intend to govern. Go figure.

I'm really glad the DCCC sent out those thousands of doom-and-gloom fundraising emails over the last couple of months. You know, the ones that said "It's over" and "Don't bother" and "TRAGIC NEWS" and the like. That really seemed to do the trick, yeah? I hate to quote myself again, but I'm going to: "Here's a memo to whoever came up with this particularly obnoxious fundraising tactic: You suck. I hope you get fired with such velocity that you can't even get a job drowning puppies in a kill shelter."


The environment. The wars. The economy. The living and the dead, and the damned besides. We are not our brother's keeper, despite all the strident oratory that would have us believe this nation actually stands for something beyond bedrock greed, lazy coddled indolence, and bluejeans on the cheap. That much, at least, was proven on Tuesday.

"God is a comedian," said H.L. Mencken, "playing to an audience too afraid to laugh." The old folks here in rural New Hampshire came out on Main Street to vote on Tuesday. Most of the rest of the country couldn't be bothered, or weren't given a reason, or were denied the chance, and we will all reap the whirlwind because of it, again. So it goes.

The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/27300-reaping-the-whirlwind-again

Remember, remember the fifth of November...

Remember, remember
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot...

A message for the President

Do it, Mr. President.

Take the executive action on immigration today, when you have your press gaggle this afternoon. Make it big. Make it loud. And, yes, make them squeal. There is nothing else you could do that so effectively could force the carefully camouflaged extremism that won last night out into the open. There is nothing else you could do that so effectively could energize the fault lines underlying the Republican position on this issue. There is nothing else you could do that so effectively could call the bluffs of all those anonymous Republicans who are whispering to Luke Russert that they know they have to "govern" over the next two years. (Look at the new House over which John Boehner has to be the hall monitor. Ken Buck from Colorado, who was too extreme to elect in the previous Republican wave year, got elected. Jody Hice got elected in Georgia with 67 percent of the vote. There are other land mines out there, too. There's no governing his caucus, let alone the country.) There is nothing else you could do that so effectively could force the issue, change the narrative, charge up your stunned party, and reassert what's left of the power of your office. There is nothing else you can do.

Last night was a defeat for the idea that circumspection ever leads to anything except timidity. The president delayed taking executive action on immigration to help out Kay Hagan, Mark Pryor, and Mary Landrieu. Hagan and Pryor are out, and Landrieu is on borrowed time. Harry Reid's actual contribution to the dysfunction was to keep those same Democratic senators from having to take tough votes that might hurt them on the campaign trail. It didn't work. They all got hung with the votes they didn't take. Alison Lundergan Grimes wouldn't even say whether she'd ever voted for the president. (Kudos to whoever thought to plant that question.) Nobody was fooled. The president's party proved itself utterly unwilling to stand behind the president's policies and, therefore, the president's very real achievements. This was not clever. It was suicidal.

The rest: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/The_Only_Thing_Thats_Left

Charlie Pierce, folks. The man is on fire today. If you haven't read his blog yet, do so with dispatch.

Charles P. Pierce sums up last night succinctly.

Let us dispense with some conventional wisdom before it petrifies. First of all, the president's basic unpopularity was unquestionably a factor, but not anywhere near as much of a factor as was the reluctance of the Democratic party -- from the president on down -- to embrace the actual successes that the administration has achieved. The economy is, in fact, improving. It is the responsibility of the president and his party that we have the paradoxical polling that indicates that the elements of the Affordable Care Act are popular, while "Obamacare" is not. (Mitch McConnell told a transparent lie that Kentucky could get rid of the ACA and still keep its very popular state exchange. He didn't suffer at all for that.) The senatorial candidates who lost were senators who ran away from the administration. Alison Lundergan Grimes wouldn't say if she'd voted for the president. Kay Hagan endorsed the Keystone XL pipeline. Michelle Nunn practically ran as an independent. How much worse could it possibly have been for all of them had they stood by the president and his record? How much worse could it possibly have been for them had the president come to campaign for them?

Second, it was a great night for voter-suppression, which has been central to the Republican response to the fact that the president has been elected twice. Kris Kobach, the architect of the strategy, was re-elected as Secretary of State in Kansas, and Jon Husted won the same office in Ohio, over Democratic candidate Nina Turner, on an election that was a referendum on Husted's voter-suppression tactics in that state. Thom Tillis, who piloted North Carolina's incredibly stringent voter-suppression law through the state legislature, is going to the Senate, and Scott Walker, who oversaw the same kind of effort in Wisconsin, is going back to his day job, running the state into the ground and dodging subpoenas, until it's time for him to run for president. It's going to take days to sort out the overall effect of these laws on the general electorate, even if anyone cares to do so, which I've come to doubt, because the Supreme Court created a new normal when John Roberts gutted the Voting Rights Act and declared the day of jubilee, and the people in the country who are not those inconvenienced by these laws, and who are not those against whose franchise these laws were directly aimed, seem perfectly content with this situation.

Last, and I hate to break this to Tom Brokaw, and to Kasie Hunt, who talked about how the Republicans know they have to "govern," but this election couldn't have been less of a repudiation of the Tea Party. As the cable shows signed off last night, it was dawning even on the most conventional pundits that the Republicans had not elected an escadrille of Republican archangels to descend upon Capitol Hill. It was more like a murder of angry crows. Joni Ernst is not a moderate. David Perdue is not a moderate. Thom Tillis is not a moderate. Cory Gardner -- who spiced up his victory by calling himself "the tip of the spear" -- is not a moderate. Tom Cotton is not a moderate. And these were the people who flipped the Senate to the Republicans. In the reliably Republican states, Ben Sasse in Nebraska is not a moderate. James Lankford in Oklahoma is not a moderate. He's a red-haired fanatic who believes that welfare causes school shootings. Several of these people -- most notably, Sasse and Ernst -- won Republican primaries specifically as Tea Partiers, defeating establishment candidates. The Republicans did not defeat the Tea Party. The Tea Party's ideas animated what happened on Tuesday night. What the Republicans managed to do was to teach the Tea Party to wear shoes, mind its language, and use the proper knife while amputating the social safety net. They did nothing except send the Tea Party to finishing school.

The rest: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/Election_Night_2014
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