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Name: William Rivers Pitt
Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 57,534

Journal Archives

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."


But we "knew that already."

Gotta look forward, don'tcha know.

William Rivers Pitt | They Belong in Prison, Not on TV

I am SO PLEASED the "Eaten by an anaconda" thing turned into a giant Failburger.

I am SO HAPPY this turned out the way it did.

There are not enough electrons on the internet to adequately explain just how brain-murderingly stupid this whole "I'm going to get eaten by an anaconda on television" thing was, but let's start here: Say you were successful, fuckwit, in goading the snake into devouring you. HOW THE PRECISE FUCK WERE YOU PLANNING ON GETTING OUT? Wait for it to poop, like, next month?

I'll tell you how: they would have to cut the thing open, thus killing an absolutely magnificent miracle of nature so you and your asshole TV buddies could fill an hour of broadcast time.

But nope, the snake just decided to beat the shit out of the guy and live to fight another day.


Anaconda Tries to Kill Dumb Human Who Wanted to Be Eaten Alive

Seventy-three years of war.

Seventy-three years ago today, Japanese forces bombed the American fleet at Pearl Harbor.

We have been at war for every single one of the seventy-three years since.

...and someone's getting paid for it. It ain't you, or me, but that's fact.

Question about police violence, Black citizens, and President Obama

Question: How much do you think the dramatic rise in police violence, especially against Black people, has something to do with America's latent racism that has been brought roaring out of its cave by the fact of a Black president? I'm not thinking that's the whole answer, of course - we were a racist nation before January 2009 - but it seems as if it's gone into hyperdrive since then.

Seems pretty straightforward to me, but it also seems like the elephant in the room no one is talking about. Thoughts?
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