Name: William Rivers Pitt
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 56,430
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 56,430
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(Photo: MTSOfan / Flickr)
An Open Letter to All Breathing Republicans
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed
Friday 08 November 2013
You, Mrs. or Ms. or Mr. Bulletproof, are sick.
But you feel fine, you say? Bloodwork normal, all tests clear, no lumps, no limps, no memory lapses, no problems at all?
Wait a while. Live a little longer. Sooner or later, you will make the list.
According to the American Medical Association, more than 81 million people currently suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease.
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 11 million people currently suffer from some form of cancer.
According to the American Diabetes Association, almost 24 million people currently suffer from diabetes; the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that half of all Americans could suffer from the disease by the year 2050.
The Centers for Disease Control estimate that some 50 million Americans suffer from arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or lupus, 21 million of whom are disabled due to the condition.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, more than five million Americans are currently afflicted with Alzheimer's disease, a number that will shortly spike as our aging population grows older.
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, some 400,000 Americans currently suffer from MS.
According to the National Parkinson's Foundation, between 50,000 and 60,000 new cases of Parkinson's are diagnosed in America each year.
The CDC estimates that close to a million people a year become infected with herpes.
More than a million Americans are infected with AIDS.
Some 79 million Americans are infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV), a disease that causes cancer in both women and men.
That, right there, is more than half the country.
That, right there, is you. Sooner or later, and sure as sunrise, you can count on it.
If you're not sick right now, you will be, so if you're one of the people fighting the Affordable Care Act, wouldn't it be an example of enlightened, conservative self-interest to make sure this law is as robust as can be?
I know, I know, Democrat socialist Kenyan no-birth-certificate president and all that, plus Benghazi for good measure, but seriously: he's going to be out of office in three years, and for sure and certain you're going to get sick someday if you aren't already. The ACA makes sure your insurance company can't shaft you if your inevitable illness becomes too expensive for their balance sheet.
How is that not conservative? For the love of God, the whole idea was created in the first place by the Heritage Foundation before getting successfully road-tested by a Republican governor. Once upon a time, that kind of policy pedigree was worthy of a parade in Republican circles.
You are almost certainly going to get sick at some point along your personal timeline. This is unavoidable, and while your guns may give you a degree of psychological protection from ominous neighbors in hoodies, you can't shoot cancer, or stroke, or dementia, or diabetes...and one of these days, one of those things is going to ring your doorbell, and that's your ass, financially, if you're not covered.
Please read the Book your party has claimed sole ownership of.
Proverbs 31:8-9 says, "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."
Matthew 25:41-45 says, "'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.'"
John 3:17-18 says, "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."
Of course the Affordable Care Act is fragile. All things human are, including you.
For you will be sick one day. It is inevitable. Unavoidable. We are made to ail, to suffer, and to die.
Enlightened self-interest is the Republican way.
How are you feeling today?
Think about it.
The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/19907-an-open-letter-to-all-breathing-republicans
Posted by WilliamPitt | Fri Nov 8, 2013, 12:00 PM (36 replies)
(Photo: Peter Dutton / Flickr)
Decisions Are Made by Those Who Show Up
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed
Tuesday 05 November 2013
I don't know what you did today, but I stacked wood. Lots of it, and I'm only a quarter done.
See, I spent the better part of forty years living in various parts of Boston, hemorrhaging money out of every pocket and every pore because living in Boston is like losing the lottery, every day, a little at a time. It costs fifty bucks just to walk out the front door in that town. It's my favorite place in the world, don't misunderstand me - if, in the fullness of time, I find myself living on Neptune, I will reply, when asked where I'm from, "Go Red Sox" - but gadzooks, is it pricey.
So I got married, and then my daughter came along, and all of a sudden, spending a massive pile each month between rent, utilities, food, gas and the occasional new shirt seemed excessive after baby expenses were added to the mix. Long story short: it was time to go. After a flurry of packing and a caravan of friends with large trucks, we found ourselves in a wonderful house at the far end of five miles of dirt road, embraced by New Hampshire forest that seems to have no end.
Which is why I spent today stacking wood. The furnace here is half oil-burning, half wood-burning, and a quick check on oil prices combined with some very simple math convinced us that we will save eleventy zillion dollars this year by deploying the wood-burning portion of the equation as soon as is feasible...and so, a few days ago, a couple of very large trucks dumped four cords of wood into the back yard in a giant, untidy pile.
Today, I stacked wood. I pulled on my rawhide gloves, fortified myself with some fine Irish whiskey, and built a proper cord: 4 x 4 x 8, part exercise program, part architecture project, part geometry problem, wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow, until it was high and tight and just right. You could hit the stack I built today with an Exocet missile, and the missile would go running to its mother with a bloody nose.
One log at a time, this way and that, this way and that, with plenty of space left for it all to breathe, until there was at the end a structure made from sweat (and a little whiskey) I could be proud of, and could go to school on to build the other three that were waiting to be formed out of the untidy pile in the yard. I would have gotten a start on the second cord, but the sun dove out of sight like it did something wrong. It was the first time in my life that Daylight Savings Time actively pissed me off.
The nifty thing about work like that, in the cold, northern air, is the time it gives you to think.
There I was, rolling the wheelbarrow to the woodpile, filling it up, toting it over to the spot I picked to build the cord, unloading it one splintery log at a time, being careful with each placement to find the right spot for each log, so that each individual piece would strengthen the main, and then going back to repeat the process, and again, and again, and again, until I had constructed something that was beautiful because it existed, strong because of how it was made, and a perfect good because it would sustain my family even in the darkest of days.
This is politics, I realized as I laid down the last pieces of that first part of the process. This, right here, is power.
The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/19833-william-rivers-pitt-decisions-are-made-by-those-who-show-up
Posted by WilliamPitt | Tue Nov 5, 2013, 11:33 AM (8 replies)
Boston is celebrating the World Series win with a Duck Boat parade through the city today.
When the Duck Boats reached the finish line of the Boston Marathon, they stopped. One player got out with the World Series trophy and placed it on the finish line with the "617 Boston Strong" shirt the team has carried with it since the bombing.
Two million people were silent.
Posted by WilliamPitt | Sat Nov 2, 2013, 11:38 AM (42 replies)
PFC Josh Stein, 22, a double amputee rehab patient, lost his legs to an explosion in Iraq in 2006. (Getty)
VA Stops Releasing Data On Injured Vets As Total Reaches Grim Milestone
By Jamie Reno
International Business Times
November 01 2013
The United States has likely reached a grim but historic milestone in the war on terror: 1 million veterans injured from the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. But you haven't heard this reported anywhere else. Why? Because the government is no longer sharing this information with the public.
All that can be said with any certainty is that as of last December more than 900,000 service men and women had been treated at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics since returning from warzones in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that the monthly rate of new patients to these facilities as of the end of 2012 was around 10,000. Beyond that, the picture gets murky. In March, VA abruptly stopped releasing statistics on non-fatal war casualties to the public. However, experts say that there is no reason to suspect the monthly rate of new patients has changed.
VA ceased to disclose this data despite President Obama’s second-term campaign pledge that his administration would be open and transparent. Absent information about the number of soldiers that have sought government medical help and about the types of injuries they had, policymakers, Capitol Hill and health care professionals may be hamstrung in making decisions about funding for crucial veterans' health programs and the treatments and diagnostic tools that should be researched and targeted. The reliability of future military strategies could be in jeopardy as well.
VA's actions are "a gross injustice to veterans and the taxpaying public," says Anthony Hardie, a Gulf War veteran and veterans' advocate who has testified before the House Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Hardie suggests that Congress should tackle the problem, perhaps even legislatively, noting that withholding the data "reflects a VA pattern of abuse and lack of transparency."
The rest: http://www.ibtimes.com/va-stops-releasing-data-injured-vets-total-reaches-grim-milestone-exclusive-1449584
The article tags President Obama, because of course it does...but I think a special thanks to George W. Bush is in order as we encompass the awful reality of one million Americans scarred by his wars.
As for the civilians? Meh. Remember, "We don't do body counts."
Posted by WilliamPitt | Fri Nov 1, 2013, 09:31 AM (21 replies)
(Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)
Making Sport of Veterans for Profit and Ratings
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed
Wednesday 30 October 2013
The Boston Red Sox are on the verge of winning the World Series for the third time since 2004, which, for fans of the team, is the sports equivalent of seeing Halley's Comet three times in one decade. The last two times the Sox won the title, they were on the road in St. Louis and Denver respectively. Tonight, if they win, they will have secured the championship at home in Fenway Park for the first time since 1918.
I am a Red Sox fan, a sports fan in general, and I make no apologies for it. Quite a lot of people in my neck of the political woods look down on sports, and on sports fans, with considerable disdain. This is, to no small degree, completely understandable; Howard Zinn once noted that America would be a far better place if the people followed the news and policy with the same detail-driven zeal they follow sports. The guy who calls a talk radio show demanding that the government keep its damn hands off his Medicare can turn on a dime, call a sports talk show, and remember the batting average of the guy who played shortstop for the Knobville Derptastics in 1947. The ability is there. The disconnect is astonishing.
That having been said, I am an avid sports fan for a couple of reasons: 1. The drama that can unfold during a really good game leaves even very good fiction and film in deep shade; and, 2. I'm allowed to have a diversion. Frankly, I need one. People who hate sports and call it frivolous would have me spend 24/7/365 tearing my guts out over all the ills of the world, but you know what? I give at the office, every day and twice on Sunday. Sports, for me, are a vitally necessary escape. Without them, I would have started firebombing years ago.
So I will watch tonight. All the horror and sorrow and rage and woe is always waiting for me when the last out is recorded and the last second ticks off the clock. If sports do not make me entirely forget these things, they allow me to at least put them down for a little while. The fact that I choose to make a small space in time for a game helps me pick it all back up again. It is, in its own small way, a balm.
At least, that was the case until this particular World Series began. You see, the series is being broadcast on Fox. Beyond the fact that listening to the game commentators Joe Buck and Tim McCarver is the broadcasting equivalent of scraping fingernails across the chalkboard of my soul, beyond the terrible camera work and ghastly graphics, is what they have been doing to war veterans during the seventh-inning stretch of every game.
Fox, along with mega-sponsor Bank of America, has been "honoring" the veterans.
Fox, which did more than all the other networks combined to pour American soldiers into the meat-grinder of war by ginning up support for the invasion of Iraq, which coddled every lie-spewing Bush administration official to make damn sure that war happened, which spread every piece of propaganda they could find to make sure that war kept going and going and going, and which now works hammer and tong to promote politicians whose life's work involves stripping service members of benefits duly earned in blood and pain, is "honoring" the veterans during every game.
Don't try to tell me the sports division is different than the news division, by the way. Fox is Fox is Fox, period. They all get their paychecks from the same place, and are therefore party to the galling hypocrisy of it all.
Fox's sidekick in this gruesome charade: Bank of America, which, along with a handful of other monster banks, illegally foreclosed on the homes of thousands of American service members while they were fighting and dying overseas. In 2011, Bank of America paid out tens of millions of dollars in a settlement with the soldiers whose homes they stole, and now, they are "honoring" those same soldiers during the games.
Retired Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Michael Zacchea served in Iraq. He was awarded the Bronze Star, and later the Purple Heart for wounds he suffered in Fallujah. Upon returning home, his life very nearly collapsed in a frenzy of aggression, violence and madness, and he was later diagnosed with severe PTSD and traumatic brain injury.
Lt. Colonel Zacchea knows everything there is to know about that war and its horrific aftermath, and today sits on the Board of Directors of the advocacy group Veterans for Common Sense. I asked him what he thought of Fox "honoring" veterans during the World Series.
Ever the Marine, he did not mince words. I quote in full...
The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/19701-making-sport-of-veterans-for-profit-and-ratings
Posted by WilliamPitt | Wed Oct 30, 2013, 10:09 AM (8 replies)
My dearest Lola:
You were born in Boston on Opening Day. The TV was on in the delivery room, and you came howling into the world just as the Red Sox plated their eighth run in what would be their first win of the year.
Your dad is an advocate, an activist, but more than anything else, a chronicler of the times. It is, more often than not, a brutal line of work; to bear the task of recording the stuff of nightmares that has become our daily gruel makes for a lot of sleepless nights.
So your dad is also an avid sports fan; he puts down all the horror and woe and rage and madness that is the world and carves out a small space in time for a game, because it helps him pick all that back up again after the last out has been recorded and the last second ticks off the clock.
Sports have already left a deep impression on your life. You were born on Opening Day, and one of the first voices you heard, after the doctor and your mom and me, belonged to Jerry Remy, who was calling the game on the television in the corner.
On your fifteenth day, a pair of cowards let loose two bombs at another sporting event, the beloved Boston Marathon. I had never missed a Marathon Day in my life until then; that was the first time I wasn't right down where it happened. I was home, because of you, so maybe you saved me from having to see the horror of aftermath. Maybe you saved my life.
Five days later, you slept soundly as our neighborhood echoed with the distant sound of gunfire, explosions and sirens, as the two cowards who bombed the Marathon were run to ground. When the last one was caught the following afternoon, you heard the neighborhood roar in exhausted relief.
We watched the Stanley Cup finals, you and I. The better team won, which wasn't us, so in a tiny little way, you got a taste of one of your birthrights: Boston sports heartbreak. You weren't around for the gluttony of victory Boston has enjoyed since 2001, so starting with a loser makes you something of a throwback, which is good for perspective and excellent for integrity.
You were born on Opening Day, and almost exactly seven months later, the Red Sox are on the verge of a third World Series title in nine years. You won't understand this, but for older Sox fans like your dad, three championships since 2004 would be the sports equivalent of seeing Halley's Comet three times in one decade.
You won't be awake for it if it happens, of course, but do not worry. We will watch the highlights on Sportscenter, your favorite TV show, like we always do every morning.
Your favorite show is Sportscenter. Your favorite toy is a little football. Every time you drop it, we say "Fumble!" and you giggle and coo and reach for it again. You were born on Opening Day, and have already seen so much of the good and bad and terrible that has been part of Boston sports since you came to be.
You will grow up to be and do what you please. I know you will do good as you choose to. I think, however, you will be like your dad, and carve out a small space in time for a game to help you put down your burdens, if only for a little while.
A few months from now, we will celebrate your first birthday, on Opening Day.
I love you with all that I am.
Posted by WilliamPitt | Tue Oct 29, 2013, 11:07 PM (11 replies)
Terrible tally: 500 children dead from gunshots every year, 7,500 hurt, analysis finds
About 500 American children and teenagers die in hospitals every year after sustaining gunshot wounds — a rate that climbed by nearly 60 percent in a decade, according to the first-ever accounting of such fatalities, released Sunday.
In addition, an estimated 7,500 kids are hospitalized annually after being wounded by gunfire, a figure that spiked by more than 80 percent from 1997 to 2009, according two Boston doctors presenting their findings at a conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics, held in Orlando, Fla.
Eight of every 10 firearm wounds were inflicted by handguns, according to hospital records reviewed by the doctors. They say the national conversation about guns should shift toward the danger posed by smaller weapons, not the recent fights over limiting the availability of military-style, semi-automatic rifles.
“Handguns account for the majority of childhood gunshot wounds and this number appears to be increasing over the last decade,” said Dr. Arin L. Madenci, a surgical resident at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and one of the study’s two authors. “Furthermore, states with higher percentages of household firearm ownership also tended to have higher proportions of childhood gunshot wounds, especially those occurring in the home.”
The rest: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/terrible-tally-500-children-dead-gunshots-every-year-7-500-8C11469222
Because freedom and shit.
Posted by WilliamPitt | Mon Oct 28, 2013, 12:54 PM (40 replies)
I really have to say I think it's great that Fox has taken time to profit off of "honoring" America's veterans during these World Series games, seeing as how Fox News worked so hard to feed so many thousands of soldiers into the meat grinders of Iraq and Afghanistan...again, for profit.
You really want to honor our veterans, Fox? Send Rupert Murdoch and the rest of his henchmen out to home plate, have them get on their knees, and let them beg for forgiveness from the shades of the men and women who can't do something so simple as watch a baseball game because they're dead in wars your network promoted as if they were a fucking game show.
Fuck you sideways, Fox. The only thing you honor is ratings, and I will literally thank God out loud the day Major League Baseball un-fucks itself and finds another network for these great games. The troops deserve far, far better than the saccharine bullshit "honor" Fox is peddling.
Posted by WilliamPitt | Sat Oct 26, 2013, 10:53 PM (62 replies)
(Photo: via Shutterstock)
The Powerful Pornography of the Gun Fetish
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed
Friday 25 October 2013
Over the weekend, hundreds of gun-rights activists descended on the Alamo in Texas to lament how hard it is these days for gun-owners in America. The crowd was regaled by luminaries like Alex Jones, who dispensed his gibberish with the proud fervor of someone who has taken to heart the old adage, "There's a sucker born every minute," because he knows he's getting paid no matter what he says. "If it's a war they want," he roared again and again as the day wore on, "it's a war they'll get."
Maybe I am desensitized at this point, but after another week of stories about dead children, I find myself most bothered by this thing at the Alamo, for it represents the distilled essence of the ongoing, blood-sodden catastrophe that is this nation's terminal fetish for guns in all forms. They really do think they are under siege, and see themselves standing post on the walls of their own fictional Alamo, facing down hordes of Obama-programmed FEMA soldiers who carry the banner of the UN and seek to take their guns before instituting Sharia Law across the land.
Under siege? It would be funny if it wasn't so completely lethal. It is almost like a magic trick: a pack of dangerous, dim-witted blivets who drape themselves in camouflage and masturbate relentlessly to "Red Dawn" on a nightly basis sprawled on a pile of NRA leaflets while clutching an AR-15 in their other hand have figured out a way to become an untouchable class in American politics, even as the blood and brain matter of children swells past their ankles and up over their fatted calves.
It is, perhaps, the most remarkable trick ever turned in modern American politics. A few bottles of Tylenol are poisoned in 1982 and kill seven people, and the country erupts, and Tylenol is scourged from every shelf in the land, and new safety measures are swiftly enacted. More than three hundred million guns kill tens of thousands of people on a yearly basis, however, with gun and ammunition sales going through the roof every time a mass slaughter happens, and the nation barely twitches.
Somehow, these sad, sorry, pathetic, weak, soulless, gutless sacks of shame have not only insulated themselves and their deadly little hobby from the normal procedures of civilized society that take place when a mortal threat is exposed, but have giddily convinced themselves that they are, in fact, the real victims in all this. They can, and do, sell guns on Instagram and evade any and all background checks or other firearm laws, yet somehow they are being crushed under the bootheel of tyrannical governmental overreach.
Several weeks ago, two gun rights groups - The Second Amendment Foundation and The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms - scheduled an event called "Guns Save Lives Day" for December 14th, the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre that took the lives of twenty children, six school staff members, and the shooter himself. Last week, the organizers moved the event up a day to the 15th, so as to challenge anti-gun groups "not to hold political events in favor of gun control" on that sad anniversary, or something.
To be clear: they originally scheduled "Guns Save Lives Day" to fall on the anniversary of Sandy Hook, where 27 people died because of guns. The event, and the ghoulish timing of it, were noted in the press, and out there for all to see.
Nobody in Washington DC said a word.
That, right there, is power.
The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/19620-the-powerful-pornography-of-the-gun-fetish
Posted by WilliamPitt | Fri Oct 25, 2013, 10:22 AM (24 replies)
Posted by WilliamPitt | Wed Oct 23, 2013, 12:10 AM (12 replies)