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Name: William Rivers Pitt
Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 57,861

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Seems I've got to have a change of scene...

P.S. Play this loud.

"Head shots, head shots."

"Now if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms comes to disarm you and they are bearing arms, resist them with arms. Go for a head shot; they're going to be wearing bulletproof vests. They've got a big target on there, 'ATF.' Don't shoot at that, because they've got a vest on underneath that. Head shots, head shots. Kill the sons of bitches."

-- G. Gordon Liddy, on broadcast radio, 26 August 1994

Dear right-wing moral outrage people: fornicate yourself with an iron rod.



Regarding the two NY cops, let me get this entirely straight...

Some asshole shoots up a school and kills a pile of kids...and I lament the event and bring up the excessive preponderance of guns in our society...and I get accused of politicizing a tragedy.

Some asshole shoots two cops, and the former fa-chrissakes Governor of New York says "Sickened by these barbaric acts, which sadly are a predictable outcome of divisive anti-cop rhetoric of Eric Holder and Mayor de Blasio" because people are peacefully protesting excessive police violence...and that's NOT politicizing a tragedy?


I have said it a thousand times, and will likely have to say it a thousand times again until the lesson takes hold for all to hear:

The single greatest political strength of these right-wing fuckwits is their utter and complete lack of shame. They will say anything - literally anything - if they think it will move the ball a few yards down the field in their favor.

Comprehensively nauseating.

The Beginning of the End of the Cold War

A Cuban flag flies over a street in Havana, Dec. 19, 2014. President Barack Obama’s restoration
of diplomatic ties with Cuba this week has snatched a major cudgel from his critics and potentially
restored some of Washington’s influence in Latin America. (The New York Times)

The Beginning of the End of the Cold War
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Saturday 20 December 2014

I was walking home from grammar school one day beneath the bright blue ceiling of a late September afternoon. My street lay across the top of a hill and enjoyed a commanding view of the Brighton neighborhoods leading into downtown Boston. A storm was out to sea east beyond the city, and the clouds towered in the distant sky. At some point I looked in that direction, and stopped dead in my tracks, because one cumulus formation seemed the very definition of a mushroom cloud, and a trick of light and distance made it appear to be right over the city. I ran all the way home, terrified.

One night not long after, I was looking out the windows that faced the city. The distant buildings were beautiful in the evening light, but as I watched, a bright dot appeared in the sky. It was solid, unblinking, and moving fast toward downtown. My breath caught, and my hands tightened on the windowsill as I waited to be incinerated by a wall of nuclear fire.

One could, I suppose, chalk it up to the overactive imagination of a boy. The cloud above the city was just that, and not the aftermath of a nuclear strike. The light streaking toward downtown was a helicopter, or a plane headed for Logan Airport, and not a missile carrying destruction in its nosecone. But for a child mired during his formative years in the Reagan-era hysterics of the Cold War, a boy conditioned to listen for the sirens that could erupt at any moment to announce onrushing nuclear doom, these little hallucinations were daily fare. Living in constant low-grade fear of the possibility that "The Day After" would one day no longer be televised fiction was, as it turns out, the price of doing business.

These memories have been much on my mind as I watch these new and frankly remarkable developments unfolding between the United States and Cuba. My generation missed that whole show completely - the Cuban Missile Crisis happened nine years before I was born - and people my age are required to be students of history to understand what all the damned static is about in the first place. Read every book, watch every old white-knuckle black-and-white news broadcast from that time, however, and in the end those who did not go through that particular period are still left blinking in confusion under wrinkled brows: What's the big deal? Why did this take so long?

Answers: Serious human rights concerns, the politics of Florida and its Electoral College votes, and the lingering grip of the Cold War itself - the embedded policies that came from it, and the enduring influence of those who miss not only the simplistic binary polarity between "good" and "bad" it represented, but also the astonishing taxpayer cash spigot it provided. The reasons why the world has seemingly gone utterly and completely berserk in the years since the Berlin Wall came down are due in massive degree to the acts and actions of powerful nations during the Cold War, but there is a certain breed of cat that misses those days anyway, because the bright definitions at play helped the world make some semblance of sense. Plus, of course, dudes got mad paid.


The Soviet Union may be gone, but the Cold War never really ended. This is a nation that needs an enemy, and beneath the bright blue ceiling of another September day thirteen years ago, a new one was established. Our haywire economy requires a state of permanent war; we lost it for a time when the Wall fell, but found it again when the Towers fell. The savage irony is that those Towers came down thanks to the chesswork of Cold Warriors who thought they could control the beast they created in Afghanistan in their desire to undo the Soviets. By any measurable standard, the United States of America, its people, its politics and its profiteering ethos stand as a bent monument to that era, which never really ended, but only metastasized into the so-called "War on Terror."

Yet the generations-old war against Cuba - which Castro won, by the way, hands down - appears to be coming to an end. This has to be a good thing, has to be made into a good thing, has to count for something beyond an opportunity for table-pounders to raise their voices and yell about Communists from the close end of the long, echoing corridor of history. The president is to be commended. At a bare minimum, we will soon hopefully have one less thing to argue about.

The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/28122-the-beginning-of-the-end-of-the-cold-war

Castro won.

There's going to be a lot of shouting over this, because a whole lot of people can't seem to grasp one simple fact: Castro won this fight. He outmaneuvered every American president he faced, repelled an invasion attempt, thwarted serial attempts to undermine his government, and even survived a flurry of ham-fisted CIA assassination attempts.

Is he a nice guy? No.

Did he win? Yes.

Get over it. It's done.


"I Don't Know What to Do With Good White People"

I Don't Know What to Do With Good White People
By Brit Bennett

Wednesday 17 December 2014

I don't know what to do with good white people.

I've been surrounded by good white people my whole life. Good white people living in my neighborhood, who returned our dog when he got loose; good white teachers in elementary school who pushed books into my hands; good white professors at Stanford, a Bay Area bastion of goodwhiteness, who recommended me M.F.A. programs where I met good white writers, liberal enough for a Portlandia sketch.

I should be grateful for this. Who, in generations of my family, has ever been surrounded by so many good white people? My mother was born to sharecroppers in Louisiana; she used to measure her feet with a piece of string because they could not try on shoes in the store. She tells me of a white policeman who humiliated her mother by forcing her to empty her purse on the store counter just so he could watch her few coins spiral out.

Two summers ago, my mother showed me the welfare reports written about her family. The welfare officer, a white woman, observed my family with a careful, anthropological eye. She described the children, including my mother, as "nice and clean." She asked personal questions (did my grandmother have a boyfriend?) and wrote her findings in a detached tone. She wondered why my grandmother, an illiterate Black mother of nine living in the Jim Crow South, struggled to find a steady job. Maybe, she wrote in her loopy scrawl, my grandmother wasn't searching hard enough.

This faded report is the type of official document a historian might consult if he were re-constructing the story of my family. The author, this white welfare officer, writes as if she is an objective observer, but she tells a well-worn story of Black women who refuse to work and instead depend on welfare. Occasionally, her clinical tone breaks down. Once, she notes that my mother is pretty. She probably considered herself a good white person.

The rest: http://jezebel.com/i-dont-know-what-to-do-with-good-white-people-1671201391

An incredible, uncomfortable, important article. Read it.

Question submitted by WilliamPitt

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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."
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