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Name: William Rivers Pitt
Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 57,615

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Late October, distilled.

This Nation of Cowards

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at a news conference on Ebola in New York, October 24, 2014. The governors of New York and New Jersey on Sunday stood by their decision to require medical workers who had contact with Ebola patients in West Africa into quarantine, despite deep concerns about the impact it might have on fighting the epidemic and the lack of clarity about exactly how the plan would work.
(Photo: Katie Orlinsky / The New York Times)

This Nation of Cowards
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Tuesday 28 October 2014

It is likely that most of us, myself included, will live out our entire lives and die without ever meeting someone who willingly and purposefully volunteers to spend their vacation thousands of miles away, tending to people with diseases that make the talking heads on CNN and Fox want to hide under the bed. Kaci Hickox, a nurse from Maine who graduated from Johns Hopkins, is one such person.

In 2010, Hickox traveled overseas with the organization Doctors Without Borders to treat people suffering from yellow fever, one of several trips she made with that organization. Until last Friday, she was in Sierra Leone for a month, spending her vacation time helping to treat people infected with Ebola, the virus that has been burning through western Africa at an unprecedented rate. Kaci Hickox went to one of the most unstable countries in the world to help fight a deadly disease because someone had to, and so she raised her hand.

On Friday, she came home to a timorous nation of cowards.

That same day, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo teamed up with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to establish a mandatory 21-day quarantine for any health workers returning from West Africa. When she landed at the ironically-named Liberty International Airport in Newark, she informed an immigration official that she had just returned from Sierra Leone, and was immediately hustled into a room. For the next several hours, she was questioned harshly by several people wearing bio-suits without being told exactly what was going on. According to her, nobody seemed to be in charge.

One man whose gun was visible under his bio-suit, in Hickox own words, "barked questions at me as if I was a criminal." After several hours passed, she was brought to University Hospital in Newark in a speeding sirens-blaring lights-flashing caravan of eight police cars. Upon arrival, she was stuffed into a quarantine tent with scant furniture, a port-o-potty and no shower, and was informed that this would be her home for the next twenty-one days.


"The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny," Aesop tells us. These days, the tyrant will justify that tyranny by playing to the fears of the people. Kaci Hickox is but one example of a nation that has entirely surrendered to those fears, both real and imagined, because those fears are a facile way for TV networks to get ratings, and for politicians to get coverage by stoking those fears, which creates more fear, which generates ratings, which makes political careers. Lather rinse repeat.

This is what happens in a nation trained to be fearful by a media and political establishment which profits from that fear. We have seen it with terrorism, and with WMD in Iraq, and Bird Flu, and "They're coming for your guns," and immigration, and now ISIS, and in so many other moments as well. Now, it is Ebola, which is dangerous to be sure, but not to the point that we explode the Bill of Rights, again. For the record, it seems the CDC would seem to agree.

This is what happens to an ill-informed populace which is not taught to be strong, and fair, and true to the ideals of their founding, but is instead convinced by the very entities tasked to protect and inform them that they are, actually, about to die at the hands of this week's bloviated threat.

This is how a nation of cowards is made.

Mission accomplished.

The rest: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/27090-this-nation-of-cowards

"Plague Ship": Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Charles P. Pierce

As long as there have been human beings, there has been epidemic disease. As long as there has been epidemic disease, there has been panic. As long as there has been panic, there have been heroes who stand in the middle of it, heedless of the blind terror, and beat it back through the sheer force of their humanity.

And as long as there have been human beings, there have been human beings with power over other human beings. As long as there have been human beings with power over other human beings, there have been governments. And as long as there has been epidemic disease, and as long as there has been panic, there have been human beings who have the right combination of rancid ambition and foul cowardice who come into the government and seek advantage from the panic and, therefore, from the epidemic disease itself. There have always been human beings who are heroes in the face of epidemic disease. And there have always been slaves to their own worst instincts.

Kaci Hickox, meet Chris Christie.

Kaci Hickox, meet the inexcusable Andrew Cuomo.

Kaci Hickox, meet the know-nothing poltroons of the American conservative movement.

Kaci Hickox, meet the bland, desperate inmates of the mainstream media.

The Red State gang and the rest of them can't help themselves. It's like asking camels not to spit.

CNN can't help itself because it already has fired up the logo and the doomy music. Sorry, Malaysian Airlines 370. You're on your own now, wherever you are.

The epic rest: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/Big_Chicken_And_The_Hero_He_Captured

The Japanese had comfortable accomodations in the internment camps, too.

If you stretch the word "comfortable" to the breaking point.

No shower. No books. No television. No radio. No choice for Kaci Hickox.

"National security." "National emergency."

Tyranny will always find an excuse for its tyranny.

When you allow government officials to "quarantine" people in an atmosphere of fear, hysteria and political pressure, nothing good ever comes of it. George Takei can tell you all about it.

This could have and should have been handled much better, and when Kaci Hickox gets her multi-million dollar judgment after suing over her treatment, I will raise a toast to her.

And P.S., when you stomp on people who put themselves on the line to help other people in danger zones, pretty soon no one will be willing to help.

Video interview I did the othjer day on Bush, WMD, Iraq and ISIS

For your viewing pleasure.

Well, I am officially a New Hampshire voter.

On my 18th birthday, I registered to vote in Massachusetts and never missed an election. Last year, I moved my family to New Hampshire, and today, went down to town hall and registered to vote.

Not long after I moved to New Hampshire, friggin' Scott Brown followed me here so he could run for Senate against Jeanne Shaheen. I had the privilege of voting against Brown in 2010 and 2012. A week from Tuesday, I get to do it again after enduring my third Scott Brown campaign in four years, which is basically a hate crime, because God obviously hates me, because I have been afflicted with this chuckleass on a permanent basis for four straight years. I even fled the state and couldn't escape.

Well, Scotty, your ass is mine in ten days. I devoutly hope with every fiber of my being that I will never, ever hear from you again.

Upon which we ruminate on Ebola, bowling balls, and messing with The Jesus

I posted the following image:

...with the caption, "How Not to Catch Ebola," in honor of the NYC doctor who has inspired the latest media frenzy. Of course, I was scolded: "Not funny. Ebola is killing people."

Upon which I replied:


"Ebola is killing people." So is cancer and AIDS and Parkinson's and diabetes and cigarettes and fracking and oil...

...and, by the bye, so is the very computer you're scolding me with: when you're done with it and chuck it, it will wind up in a town in China, where it will be rendered for its parts and then burned, the toxic waste from which will kill children, but only if they're lucky enough to die without being born with horrific birth defects from the pollutants from the computer you used to scold me. Look it up if you don't believe me; dealing with discarded American computers has become a cottage industry in dozens of Chinese communities, and the process is laying waste to the populace where it's being done. Thanks to the thing you used to scold me.

Are you wearing clothes? Like as not, the tag at your neck has the name of the kid who died to make your shirt.

Ever give a beloved a diamond? Have you any idea of the bloodshed involved in dragging that rock out of the ground?

Got a cell phone? Do you have any idea how much butchery is involved in controlling the mines needed for the basic components involved in your ability to send a text?

Welcome to being an American.

All I have is gallows humor with my left hand, and my effort to change all this with my right hand.

Go scold someone else. Thanks.


Take it to heart.

P.S. If you haven't seen "The Big Lebowski" yet, I despair for you. Rectify that situation at speed, because this aggression will not stand, man.

Eight-year-olds, Dude.

How To Stop Ebola

Don't do this:

If you don't get it, I recommend "The Big Lebowski" the next time you go movie-shopping.


Post: Show me someone who would be turned off voting due to a negative email, and I'll show you someone who never intended to vote in the first place

Reply: Same thing with someone who would be turned off voting due to negative posts on a web site

-- DUer Doctor_J

...for the Win.

Here in NH, I am keenly looking forward to voting against Scott Brown for the third time in four years, because he followed me North a year ago, and I desperately want him to go away.

If you think the critical posts I and others have offered recently are an effort to suppress turnout, you're missing the point with genuinely comic velocity.

Or, in short, what Doctor_J said.

The True History of Blowback in One Sentence

The infamous Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor,
Hawaii, December 7, 1941.
(Photo: Paul Walsh)

The True History of Blowback in One Sentence
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Thursday 23 October 2014

Since you're probably wondering why the Canadian Parliament was shot up and your friendly neighborhood police officer is driving a tank and your savings account is a sad joke and your road is littered with potholes and you can't find a job and three of your friends who joined the Army to pay for college died in Iraq and Afghanistan and two others have brain trauma from IED explosions and won't ever be the same and your tap water is flammable and the ocean is coming for your home, well...

...let me introduce you to the concept of "blowback," which author Chalmers Johnson explained as "another way of saying that a nation reaps what it sows," which basically means that when you punch someone in the face, odds are very good that you're going to get punched back, and maybe they land that counterpunch, or maybe they don't, but that fist is going to come whistling at your face, count on it, and if it misses, there is always another fist, curled and hard and ready to fly...

...so let's talk about blowback, the story of which began seventy-three years ago at Pearl Harbor, when we were attacked by the Japanese Empire, and the United States entered the war in Europe and Asia simultaneously, and President Roosevelt endeavored to manufacture the Reich and the Empire out of existence, and placed the American economy on a wartime footing to do so, and in the fullness of time, it worked, and the war was over...

...but actually, it never ended, because the manufacture of war materiel made the manufacturers rich beyond the dreams of avarice, and they began to exert influence over American politics, and then FDR died, and Harry Truman took the big chair, and then George Kennan, the American Ambassador to the Soviet Union, wrote what has come to be known as the "Long Telegram," in which he described the bedlam of Stalin and Soviet intentions, and Truman along with a bunch of other people read it, and it scared the cheese out of them, and so the National Security Act of 1947 was passed, making America's economic wartime footing a permanent thing that endures to this day, and thus the Cold War was born...

...which was bully news for the weapons manufacturers who got rich on WWII, because now they were indispensable as a matter of policy, "national security" assets, and before long, tank after tank and warship after warship and nuclear missile after nuclear missile and bullet after bullet and rifle after rifle and bomb after bomb rolled down the production lines, each and every one paid for with tax dollars collected from an American populace which was led to believe this was all vitally necessary because the readers of Kennan's telegram decided the thing to do was to make sure everyone felt threatened because a fearful populace is easily controlled...

...and so the Cold War unfolded, and in the words of Stephen King, O my Lord how the money rolled in, because conflict for conflict's sake became the operational ethos in Vietnam and Laos and Cambodia and Africa and South America and Central America and especially in the Middle East for decades, and in the process of this multi-generational permanent state of conflict the weapons manufacturers became wealthier and wealthier, and more and more powerful, and exerted that power on the body politic of the United States to such a degree that they eventually began purchasing the news media brick by brick, so the people would hear day after day how the corporations who profit from war are actually keeping them safe and stuff...

...and this went on and on, growing and expanding, even to far-flung places like Afghanistan, where big brains like Zbignew Brzezinski decided in 1978 to give the USSR its own Vietnam, and began a process that Reagan eventually took over to underwrite the Mujeheddin, who took on the Soviet Union and learned, with the help of American money and American weapons and a CIA ally named Osama bin Laden, how to take down a superpower, which they eventually did before metastasizing into the Taliban and al Qaeda...

...because Brzezinski's original plan was to arm, train and fund anti-Soviet fighters in Pakistani religious schools to destabilize Afghanistan and dare the Soviets to invade, and that plan was executed, and it worked, and the word "Taliban" when translated means "Religious student," so congratulations, Zbignew, for kicking the pebble down the hill that turned into an avalanche which came in the fullness of time to deprive the New York City skyline of two very tall buildings and the thousands of people who were in them on a perfect blue Tuesday thirteen years ago...

...which led, of course, to another decade of war after all the other decades of war that came on the heels of Pearl Harbor and the National Security Act, which has in this brave new moment led to ISIS, as well as a dementedly paranoid United States that doesn't blink at cops dressed and armed like soldiers while driving tanks down Main Street because OMG TERRORISTS YOU GUYS...

...lots more here: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/27000-the-true-history-of-blowback-in-one-sentence
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