Name: William Rivers Pitt
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 56,479
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 56,479
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"We won't be the last political party to overplay our hand. It might happen one day on the Democratic side. And if it did, would Republicans, for the good of the country, kind of give a little? We really did go too far. We screwed up. But their response is making things worse, not better."
- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
You feckless bag of fuck.
Posted by WilliamPitt | Tue Oct 15, 2013, 04:36 PM (127 replies)
I am a huge fan of Matt Taibbi, but he's really kinda blown it with this one. He's essentially arguing that the Democrats and President Obama have to save the Republicans from themselves for the sake of the country. He does not, however, explain how this should be done, what specific policy giveaways should be gifted to the GOP to do it, and seems completely oblivious to the eternal damage that will be done to the country not only by the giveaways the GOP seeks, but by the terrible consequences to be faced if political hostage-taking is demonstrated to be a successful bargaining tactic.
Sorry, Matt, but this right here is a pretty Epic Fail.
Democrats Must Stop Ted Cruz's Hollywood Ending
Posted by WilliamPitt | Fri Oct 11, 2013, 05:13 PM (1 replies)
Trucker protest hits Beltway but causes no major delays, authorities say
No major traffic delays were reported on the Beltway during Friday’s morning commute, police authorities said, despite a protest by about 30 tractor-trailers and pickup trucks against what organize describe as excessive government intrusion.
The trucks initially were traveling in the right lane of the Beltway, keeping pace with other traffic — around 40 to 45 miles per hour, due to the wet road conditions, said Virginia State Police spokesman Corinne N. Geller.
At one point, four tractor-trailers started driving side-by-side, across all four northbound lanes of the inner loop. That caused traffic to slow to 15 miles per hour. State police troopers stopped the vehicles and “warned them not to impede traffic,” Geller said. The drivers were not issued tickets and allowed to “proceed on their way.”
There were no other major incidents reported as a result of the truck protests, she said. Minor delays were reported near the truckers at Route 236 in Annandale at the Braddock Road exit on the inner loop, but it was unclear from traffic cameras if the slowdown was due to the truckers.
The rest: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/va-state-police-trucker-protest-launched-on-i-95-north-vehicles-head-toward-beltway/2013/10/11/c8049b7e-3266-11e3-89ae-16e186e117d8_story.html
Comment from a friend: "The fact they are protesting the government on an INTERSTATE HIGHWAY makes me tingle with derp."
Posted by WilliamPitt | Fri Oct 11, 2013, 11:39 AM (10 replies)
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) (Photo: Gabriella Demczuk / The New York Times)
Supply-Side Jesus and the Death of Shame
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed
Thursday 10 October 2013
The single greatest political strength of the modern Republican Party is their utter and complete lack of shame. They will say anything - literally anything, no matter how delusional or self-contradictory - if it gets them what they want, or at least deranges the political debate in America enough to keep the other side from getting what it wants. I have written or spoken those words more than a thousand times in the last twenty years. It is a bedrock principle for me, one of the core underpinnings of my political world view. It has been true ever since the rise of Ronald Reagan and the injection of Supply-Side-Jesus evangelical Christianity into electoral politics and fundamental American economics. Every time I say it, and every time I write it, it is truer than it was the last time.
Wait, it gets better: the following day, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Republican House Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the latest in a long line of conservative snake-oil salesmen peddling the Supply-Side-Jesus version of an economic plan. In this iteration, Mr. Ryan unctuously offered up the "Grand Bargain" once again - Chained CPI, means testing for Medicare, tax cuts for rich people and corporations, lather, rinse, repeat - as a means to end the impasse in Washington.
Nowhere in Mr. Ryan's op-ed, however, was to be found any mention of defunding the Affordable Care Act. This was, in all likelihood, a deliberate attempt to hew close to Speaker Boehner's preposterous pronouncements of the day before, and assist the Republican pivot away from the defund-Obamacare fight (which had already failed, and which was slightly less popular with the public than scabies) toward the new and nifty idea that the whole thing was about the debt all along.
Bad idea, brother. Conservatives all over the North American continent rose up in high dudgeon to denounce Mr. Ryan and his plan because it failed to include the defunding of the Affordable Care Act, because it's all about defunding Obamacare, except it's not, even though it is, but let's say it's not, because that polls better.
And while all this fuss and feathers was taking place, this: Senator Ted Cruz, who with each passing day appears more and more to be the likely product of a test-tube combination between a dented egg from Phyllis Schlafly and the weakest sperm Joe McCarthy ever produced, hates the very idea of socialized medicine. He did that little faux-filibuster to tell you about it. He has aired ten billion commercials about it. He has raised all kinds of money railing against it. He geeked up the House Tea Party caucus to fly face-first into a windshield because of it.
Except, when pressed by Michigan Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow on the issue of government-provided medical benefits for soldiers and veterans, Mr. Cruz was suddenly all for that version of the version of socialized medicine he has been very publicly hating for a long while now.
Their greatest strength, for years and years, has been their utter lack of shame. Their ability to say or do anything, and hypocrisy take the hindmost, has vaulted them into the position they hold today in American politics.
Except now, I believe at long, long last, the wheels are finally coming off this particular wagon.
The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/19341-supply-side-jesus-and-the-death-of-shame
...and a short tutorial on Supply-Side Jesus for the uninitiated:
Posted by WilliamPitt | Thu Oct 10, 2013, 10:22 AM (5 replies)
(Image: Troy Page, t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Mr. Wright, Roger Blackwell, rscottjones, tadfad)
Boehner, Obama and the Triple-Dog Dare
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed
Tuesday 08 October 2013
...and here we are, not just because John Boehner can't control his caucus or because a few lunatics think leveraging the health of the world's economy on a political argument is sensible conservatism, but because the planet suffers the existence of people like Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), who doesn't actually believe the debt ceiling even exists, because la la la la la la la he can't hear you, so there.
Or is there more to it?
I have two theories on how the endgame of all this plays out, and both lead to the same place. First and foremost, if the Republicans in Congress are well and truly as deranged, disorganized and demented as they clearly appear to be, then that's it. We're going to blow the debt limit, shattering the global economy in one fell swoop, leading immediately to fire and brimstone coming down from the skies, rivers and seas boiling, forty years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes, the dead rising from the grave, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, and mass hysteria.
Or maybe, just maybe, they're full of shit, and they know it, and they don't want you to know it, so they tripled down on their crappy hand during a Sunday talk show loud enough to scare everyone within hearing distance into thinking they just might be crazy enough to do this thing, so give them what they want.
The GOP's shutdown/default talking points pivoted away from defunding the ACA and towards "debt reduction" only scant nanoseconds after that Times story on Friday hit the racks. Ever since, right-wing publications like the National Review have been giving long, luxurious backrubs in print to the idea of folding the so-called "Grand Bargain" - screwing Social Security with a chained CPI, screwing Medicare with means testing, etc. - into the shutdown and debt limit negotiations. John Boehner doing a wild-eyed version of a hostage-taker in the movies who waves a gun and screams, "I'll do it man don't think I won't do it now put the money in the bag," fits cozily into this scenario.
They wanted to defund Obamacare, and they lost, and they know it. Now, thanks to the fact that they are frightening everyone, they want the prize they've been seeking since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/19312-william-rivers-pitt-boehner-obama-and-the-triple-dog-dare
Note: that bit about dogs and cats living together and mass hysteria is very clearly from "Ghostbusters." The Truthout article has "mass hysteria" hyperlinked to a Youtube video of that portion of the movie, but DU's hyperlinking process either isn't working or doesn't like YouTube clips, so I wasn't avble to recreate it here.
Posted by WilliamPitt | Tue Oct 8, 2013, 03:01 PM (2 replies)
(Photo: Max Whittaker / The New York Times)
Half the Republicans You Know Are Insane
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed
Thursday 03 October 2013
If I may, I would like to go over some figures with you regarding the current situation in America. I know numbers are boring and often perplexing in the main - I was an English Major, so if you put a pistol to my head and demanded I do long division, the pistol would have a better chance of coming up with the right answer before you painted the wall with my literature degree - but these numbers, I think, speak volumes, and have an unfortunately dramatic bearing on the state of modern American politics.
Public Policy Polling did a survey on the preponderance of belief in conspiracy theories among American voters, and the results are telling. For example, a question was posed about whether the respondents believe the Obama administration is coming to take their guns away, and 62% of Republicans answered "Yes." If you know five Republicans, that means three of them believe this, and a fourth has doubts. This, despite the fact that no gun legislation of any impact whatsoever has shadowed the president's desk since he took office.
When asked if they believe that Mr. Obama is secretly plotting to remain in office when his term expires, 44% of Republicans answered "Yes." If you know five Republicans, that means two of them believe this, and a third is halfway convinced. This, despite any supporting evidence whatsoever, and the fact that the man will be arrested and detained if he tries to enter the White House again after the inauguration in January of 2017.
When asked if Muslims are working to implement Sharia Law in America - the harshly medieval seventh-century Islamic code best represented by the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Wahabists in the ranks of al Qaeda and (shhhh) a significant portion of the rebels in Syria - 44% of Republicans said it was true. If you know five Republicans, once again, two of them believe this, and a third is halfway convinced. Um...how? Where? In what way? Because women can now get free contraception and gay people have the same rights as you do? You think the Taliban is down with that?
Is the US government secretly staging "false flag" mass shootings all across the country in order to blame others and distract the country from their gun-grabbing, office-staying, Sharia-implementing ways? A full 26% of Republicans believe this, so if you know five of them, one is convinced of this, and another is well on his way. I'm sure all the left-leaning folks who believe that 9/11 was a Cheney-orchestrated "inside job" are thrilled to know their gospel has been co-opted by people who think 26 children were massacred in Connecticut so Mr. Obama could give everyone's guns to the Syrians, because that makes sense, too, apparently. Or something.
In short, and not to put too fine a point on it: if you know five Republicans, two of them are around-the-bend crazy, and a third needs a stern talking-to. That's not a majority, but it is pretty much half the crowd, and is a definite majority every time the crazy two convince the third to go their way, you know, just in case.
The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/19201-half-the-republicans-you-know-are-insane
...the article goes on to explain why these nutbags swing so much weight in American politics. Read on.
Posted by WilliamPitt | Thu Oct 3, 2013, 10:22 AM (21 replies)
House Speaker John Boehner after a vote for a spending bill at the Capitol Building in Washington, September 30, 2013.
As House Republicans hope to triumph in their push to repeal, or at least delay, the Affordable Care Act, the distance
between the House and the White House has never seemed greater. (Photo: Doug Mills / The New York Times).
The Fundraising Message That Ate America
By William Rivers Pitt
Tuesday 01 October 2013
He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money.
- Benjamin Franklin
On Monday afternoon, with a government shutdown looming, more than 200 disabled Americans swarmed the Longworth House Office Building in Washington DC and demanded that Speaker Boehner abandon his party's ongoing attempts to screw them over by defunding the Affordable Care Act.
He ignored them, of course.
And the government shut down at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time on Tuesday.
At exactly, precisely the same time as the Affordable Care Act activated itself.
GOP Rep. Peter King of New York, who generally spends all 365 days of the calendar year inventing new and interesting ways to sound like a crazy person, spent Monday imploring his fellow crazy people not to shut down the government over a law they had no chance of thwarting. There was a breath of hope in the hours before the shutdown hit that King and others might band together to pull their party back from the brink, but when push came to shove, their little insurrection managed to gather exactly six votes.
When Peter King is the voice of reason in your party, you have traveled to a strange and scary sector of deep, dark, cold space.
As I am not beloved by the denizens of the far right, I am not on any of their fundraising email lists...but I am going to assume that Republicans all across the country have spent the last 48 hours watching their in-boxes fill up with JESUS IS LORD COMMUNISTS AND SOCIALISTS WANT TO TAKE YOUR GUNS AND FETUSES OBAMACARE IS A TROJAN HORSE FOR SHARIA LAW KENYA BIRTH CERTIFICATE HILLARY CLINTON GIVE US MONEY OR GOD WILL MAKE YOU GAY WHAAAAARGARBLE messages.
Because money. Period, end of file, turn off the lights when you leave...oh, wait, they're already off.
That's why I think this happened, and it started a while ago. Certain influential Republicans in the House and Senate, along with the outside groups that sustain them, figured out that slapping "Repeal Obamacare!" into a direct-mail fundraising message was better than winning the lottery, so they kept at it, and kept at it, and kept at it, and O my Lord, how the money rolled in...until the monster they created stomped out of the laboratory and began tearing up the joint.
And so here we are, smack dab in the middle of the most irrational, damaging, stupid, reckless, feckless fundraising drive in the history of currency.
The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/19158-the-fundraising-message-that-ate-america
Posted by WilliamPitt | Tue Oct 1, 2013, 11:10 AM (11 replies)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill
after his speech in Washington, September 25, 2013.
(Photo: Gabriella Demczuk / The New York Times)
Green Eggs and Derp
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed
Thursday 26 September 2013
"This is like taking a history class from Abbott and Costello."
- Charles P. Pierce, watching Ted Cruz on the Senate floor
Green Eggs and Ham.
A sitting Senator with degrees from Princeton and Harvard, who once announced to his law school classmates that he would only study with graduates of Princeton, Harvard and Yale, came within a hair's breadth of creating a quantum singularity of irony on national television by comprehensively failing to comprehend the moral of a very simple children's story.
Green Eggs and Ham is not a dense tome. Its moral is not impenetrable. One assumes Mr. Cruz grappled with knottier themes and theories during his foray through the Ivy League. And yet there he was, standing on his hind legs like an actual human, thoroughly blowing it for all to see. Americans, he said, "did not like green eggs and ham, and they did not like Obamacare either. They did not like Obamacare in a box, with a fox, in a house, with a mouse."
No. No, no, no, no, no. The point of the story is simplicity refined: how do you know you don't like something if you have not even tried it? That's it, that's all. Since this Dr. Seuss story was first published in 1960, four-year-olds all across the nation and the world have managed to apprehend the depth and breadth of the theory after one single reading. Yet despite all the fancy East Coast learnin' he enjoyed, the world watched the point sail over Mr. Cruz's head, rebound off the far wall, ricochet off Corner Guy, and sail out the window to die a sad, lonely death by drowning in the reflecting pool.
He stopped talking after 21 hours, and our short national nightmare was finally over. In the aftermath of the Ted Cruz "filibuster" that wasn't a filibuster - he went to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hat in hand to get permission to do his little verbal lapdance on himself - absolutely, positively nothing had changed. The votes are still scheduled for later this week, cloture passed 100-0 with Ted's vote included, and you will find a piece of the One True Cross before you find a Senate Democrat willing to defund the president's health care law or give Mr. Cruz the 60-vote threshold he seeks.
It was, in the end, nothing more or less than a day-long fundraising pitch to the wing of the Republican Party that vacuums quarters up from between their couch cushions to send to any officeholder who feeds their rabid anti-Obama jones. These are the same people who have been getting pumped by the party for their pocket change for decades with images of Hillary Clinton and fetuses, brown people crossing the border, Jesus, and ATF agents grabbing guns. These people have been the useful idiots of the GOP for years now, a reliable cash cow so long as they hear what they want to hear within their Fox-fed bubble, and Ted Cruz is now their new avatar.
Yet for that same Republican Party that has done so very well for so very long feeding the ignorance and hatred of its base, the Ted Cruz fraudabuster has become a moment of truth. No one in their right mind thinks that speech was anything other than a colossal humiliation of not only the speech-giver, but of the party he purports to represent. It is not every day that the troll under the bridge broaches the broad daylight and sprays his derangement into the air for all to see and hear, but there was Ted with his bare face hanging out, giving a clinic on just how preposterous the modern Republican Party has allowed itself to become.
The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/19066-green-eggs-and-derp
Posted by WilliamPitt | Thu Sep 26, 2013, 10:13 AM (8 replies)
A sitting Senator with degrees from Princeton and Harvard fails to comprehend the moral and message of a children's book.
He should have read this, too.
Radical Reading: The Progressive Dr. Seuss
By Peter Dreier
Truthout | Op-Ed
Thursday, 28 February 2013
"Generations of progressive activists may not trace their political views to their early exposure to Dr. Seuss, but without doubt this shy, brilliant genius played a role in sensitizing them to abuses of power."
On Friday, March 1, tens of millions of children and their parents will be reading Dr. Seuss books as part of Read Across America Day, sponsored by the National Educational Association (NEA) in partnership with local school districts and some businesses. The NEA, which started the program 16 years ago to encourage reading, was smart to tie the program to Dr. Seuss, who remains - more than two decades after his death - the world's most popular writer of modern children's books. Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904–1991) - Dr. Seuss' real name - wrote and illustrated 44 children's books, characterized by memorable rhymes, whimsical characters and exuberant drawings that have encouraged generations of children to love reading and expand their vocabularies. His books have been translated into more than 15 languages and have sold more than 200 million copies. They have been adapted into feature films, TV specials and a Broadway musical. He earned two Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, and the Pulitzer Prize.
What few Americans know is that, despite his popular image as a kindly cartoonist for kids, Dr. Seuss was also a moralist and political progressive whose views suffuse his stories. Some of his books use ridicule, satire, wordplay, nonsense words and wild drawings to take aim at bullies, hypocrites and demagogues. He believed that children's books should be both entertaining and educational. His most popular children's books included parables about racism, anti-Semitism, the arms race, and the environment. His books consistently reveal his sympathy with the weak and the powerless and his fury against tyrants and oppressors.
Many Dr. Seuss books are about the misuse of power - by despots, kings, or other rulers, including parents who arbitrarily wield authority. His books teach children to think about how to deal with an unfair world. Rather than telling them what to do, Geisel invites his young readers to consider what they should do when faced with injustice. Generations of progressive activists may not trace their political views to their early exposure to Dr. Seuss, but without doubt this shy, brilliant genius played a role in sensitizing them to abuses of power.
The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/14765-radical-reading-the-progressive-dr-seuss
Posted by WilliamPitt | Wed Sep 25, 2013, 10:31 AM (17 replies)
From the Solidarity March going down Broadway from Union Square to Wall Street, New York City,
May 1, 2012. (Photo: erin m )
TPP in the USA Is Why We Occupy
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed
Thursday 19 September 2013
The second anniversary of Occupy Wall Street came and went on Tuesday with a fair degree of introspection in the socially conscious corners of social media. What did it mean? What did it accomplish? Is it over or just beginning?
More than a few voices suggested the whole thing was nothing more or less than a body-odor ego trip for righteousness junkies looking to lord it over their less-invested activist counterparts. For some of the people in those very large crowds, I'm sure that characterization is true; shake a tree full of activists, and a few rotten gourds are sure to fall and splatter.
The excellent author Rebecca Solnit, in a Facebook post on S17 rebutting those who would spurn the whole thing as a giant waste of time, explained like a songbird in full voice what Occupy was, is, will be, and what it accomplished:
Please assess how many Occupy encampments there were - one UCLA estimate was 400 in California alone during the height in late 2011 - and then quantify how in those myriad locations in the USA and other countries (including Germany and New Zealand) many people were served how many free meals, how much free healthcare, how many libraries were set up, how many people found solidarity, a new way of doing things, a sense of possibility...
...how many debtors found support for their afflictions, how many homeless people found space to exist for a while, how many foreclosures were successfully protested, how many students rethought the loan racket, how much was done by the stalwarts at Occupy Sandy to provide food, clothing, medical supplies, solidarity, organizing, and support for those devastated by the storm...
...and how many times did the mainstream media use language Occupy created, and how many laws and elections were shaped by the terms Occupy dictated, and without Occupy would the president have just said, "Because even though our businesses are creating new jobs and have broken record profits, the top 1 percent of Americans took home 20 percent of the nation's income last year, while the average worker isn't seeing a raise at all. In fact, that understates the problem. Most of the gains have gone to the top one-tenth of 1 percent."
It didn't do everything but it did a lot. But much of what it did can't be quantified, because it was a change in people's sense of self, of civil society, of possibility, an experience of direct democracy, an articulation of what is wrong with the economic system, a mingling with people from very different walks of life, an open dialogue, a moment of terror for the bankers and rulers, and so much more. I was changed, and for the better, and I am not alone.
The trade pact known as the Trans Pacific Partnership is wending its way to existence with the express approval and muscular push of the Obama administration. This has been happening for a while now, and almost entirely in secret, because if people knew what it entailed, they might, you know, Occupy.
Let's see...TPP favors banks over people, companies over workplace safety and the environment, coal and oil over alternative energy sources, major agribusinesses over local farmers and local produce, the absolute end of "Buy American," as well as the end of laws protecting even the most anemic minimum wage, product safety...and here's the best part: if corporations feel like governments are encroaching on corporate power and "rights" in these matters, they can sue those governments in specially-created tribunals. NAFTA has similar tribunals that have levied hundreds of millions of dollars in fines; under TPP, the rights of corporations to sue for "damages" is massively expanded.
TPP is the point of why Occupy came to exist in the first place, the distilled essence. If this deal happens, it will be the final triumph of the legal fiction known as "corporate personhood," the fraud that gives your 14th Amendment rights to a faceless, unassailable company with billions in assets and the will to use them in our already-septic political system. With this "trade" pact, they will be able to stretch those rights globally, nationally, regionally, locally, and literally right down your throat.
It sounds like a bad Batman plot. It isn't. The president thinks it's a fine idea.
While you still can.
The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/18931-tpp-in-the-usa-is-why-we-occupy
Posted by WilliamPitt | Thu Sep 19, 2013, 06:23 PM (35 replies)