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Profile Information

Name: William Rivers Pitt
Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 58,179

Journal Archives

They Knew, They Lied: ExxonMobil and Climate Change

(Photo: Los Angeles Smog via Shutterstock)

They Knew, They Lied: ExxonMobil and Climate Change
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Thursday 16 July 2015

Between 1956 and 1964, Bell Laboratories produced a number of television specials titled "The Bell Laboratories Science Series." The topics ranged from an examination of the Sun, to human blood, deep space, the mind, the nature of time and life itself. The programs were produced by Frank Capra, whose films include It's a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, so the production value of the series was notably superior. Even 30 years later, schools all across the US were still showing these Bell Labs films to students.

In 1958, a chapter in this series titled "The Unchained Goddess" was broadcast. The topic was the weather, and it starred Richard Carlson and a USC professor named Dr. Frank C. Baxter. At one point in the program, Carlson asked Dr. Baxter, "What would happen if we could change the course of the Gulf Stream, or the other great ocean currents, or warm up Hudson Bay with atomic furnaces?" The "atomic furnaces" bit is a quaint throwback to the atom-crazy 1950s, but the response given by Dr. Baxter is what makes this particular film notable.

"Extremely dangerous questions," replied Dr. Baxter, "because with our present knowledge we have no idea what would happen. Even now, Man may be unwittingly changing the world's climate through the waste products of his civilization. Due to our release, through factories and automobiles every year, of more than 6 billion tons of carbon dioxide - which helps air absorb heat from the Sun - our atmosphere seems to be getting warmer. It's been calculated that a few degrees rise in the Earth's temperature would melt the polar ice caps, and if this happens, an inland sea would fill a good portion of the Mississippi Valley. Tourists in glass-bottomed boats would be viewing the drowned towers of Miami through 150 feet of tropical water."


The ocean is coming. Many very smart people have been warning us of this for seven decades. As for the people who bent their shoulders to the task of denying this inexorable tidal truth for so many years that could have been spent checking and averting this looming disaster, well ... I hope their cash can act as a flotation device. They believe themselves to be so powerful, but the ocean brooks no challengers.

For the rest of us: the aftermath of lies. The tobacco companies tried this denial number, and it killed millions of people. The lies of ExxonMobil and the cohort of energy companies who paid through the nose to deny the damage they were doing may well have cashed the final check for life on Earth as we know it. They knew. They lied. How many will die for their profit margin? How many have died already?

Mind the tides. The brutal reality of consequences is coming up the beach.

The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/31885-they-knew-they-lied-exxonmobil-and-climate-change

What I Think of George W. Bush

Regarding his wounded veterans fundraiser fee ...

(Photo: Muddy Waste via Shutterstock)

What I Think of George W. Bush
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Tuesday 14 July 2015

I think of mud, but that doesn't work, because mud is just wet soil, and wet soil is fertile. Good things grow in mud, and so I apologize to mud for making the comparison, even though it was only in my head a scant moment.

I think of oil, of scum, viscous and stinking like a fetid scrim across a Northeastern pond that has literally been shat to death by geese who stay the year round because the idiots who live beside what once was bucolic splendor feed those geese throughout the winters, and so the geese never fly south in their iconic wedge formation, but instead stay, and eat balls of begged Wonder Bread, and defecate into blue goodness until it becomes a green and murky gloom.

I think of rot. Of deep odor. Of a smell so overwhelming it becomes a sound in itself, a buzzing, a roar, a perfect maelstrom of helpless vomit and swimming eyes, of shaking hands and splintered nerves, of sightless pupils staring up from the gyre of shredded bodies birthed by war, of viscera lying in the dust of the road beneath the pitiless sun next to the shrieking orphan, the howling widow, the fatherless boy who in his wrath collects the dropped rifle and holds it tight to his narrow chest in a perfect pledge of vengeance.

I think of mud, and scum, and rot, and death, of the deep wheel of rage and revenge that has been unleashed even as it turns, I think of the futility before it, and the greed behind, I think of malice aforethought, of punishments so richly deserved but as yet unlevied ... and in doing so, I think of George W. Bush.

The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/31859-what-i-think-of-george-w-bush

Patriot Act. Iraq War. Keystone XL. Wall Street.


Freedom abrogated, unjust war, environmental destruction, economic justice.

Four of the most important issues of our time.

Candidate Clinton: wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong.

There's a thread here with people defending not only her vote in favor of the war, but the war itself.

I really don't know where I am any more.

The Business Is Death, and Business Is Good

A Navy Super Hornet aircraft refuels over Iraq. Over the holiday weekend, US forces launched
38 air attacks in both Iraq and Syria. Refugees are seeking an escape from those detonations.
(Photo: Staff Sgt. Shawn Nickel, US Air Force; Edited: JR/TO)

The Business Is Death, and Business Is Good
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Wednesday 08 July 2015

An Iraqi fighter plane was returning to base on Monday after a sortie against ISIS militants when a large bomb it carried was deployed - cause yet undetermined - and obliterated several houses in an east Baghdad neighborhood. The latest butcher's bill tallies at least 12 killed in the explosion, including women and children, along with at least 25 more wounded.

Also on Monday, Iraqi forces endeavored to fight their way to the gates of Fallujah, a major city under the control of ISIS. Vast swaths of Anbar Province, which includes Fallujah, have been under the control of the militants for months in this ongoing multi-civil war our wars created, and this action represents the Iraqi Army's first attempt to retake the city and the territory at large since last year. Note well: Iraqi forces want to simply make it to the gates, not take the city. That attempt comes next, if they succeed in getting that far, in what is likely to involve horrific house-to-house urban warfare.


There are those who say, "These people in DC haven't learned a damned thing."

Sure they have. They learned how to destroy, displace and plunder - right on live TV - while frightening people into line as they simultaneously peddle globally the unimaginably lethal warfare hardware that guarantees the next round of cash-register bells will keep on ringing, and ringing, and ringing. This isn't a Republicans vs. Democrats thing. This is Welcome My Friends To The Show That Never Ends, and if some bodies bleed out into the sand or dust or mud, well, that's the price of doing business.

The business is death, and business is good.

The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/31763-the-business-is-death-and-business-is-good

"Jared's Pants Dance Challenge" - yes, this is a thing

Yeah, so you may have heard that Jared Fogle - the Subway pitchman - has been sucked into a kiddie porn investigation, and had the authorities in his house pulling out boxes.

On the Subway website there is a "Kid's Section," and one game you can play in the Kid's Section is called "Jared's Pants Dance Challenge."

Seriously: http://www.subwaykids.com/kids/games/PantsDance/index.html

Yeah, they should probably take that down.

When the Night Erupts in Brilliance

(Photo: William Rivers Pitt)

When the Night Erupts in Brilliance
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Saturday 04 July 2015

There is a long stretch of dirt road in a corner of southwest New Hampshire that seems to be made of different time. Should you happen down its shaded way this time of year, you'll encounter an odd sign on a warped plywood board leaning against an ancient oak tree. "BUKOWSKI'S NORTH," it reads, an homage to the downtown Boston bar my friends and I shared while whittling our nights away over strong beers and stronger fellowship.

Every year, for years, I dust the winter off the face of that old sign and lean it against the tree, braced by a rock older than God. That sign reminds my visiting friends to slow down, to stop, and park either in the small cut-out or along the road itself. There is a driveway, but it is more of an air pocket than an entrance, a steep dive down to a small log cabin that sits on a lake. The pure blue beauty of the place - the porch, the ripples on the water, the wind, the scent of the trees and the quiet thunder within the soul evoked by the deep green all around - has a wonderful way of ... well, of doing what it does.


John Adams, in a letter to his wife Abigail regarding this day wrote, "I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance." We have yet to be delivered, and we have such a long way to go. Yet all is not darkness, and reaching for the light is an effort that yields its own rewards. That road, such as it is, never ends.

In the meantime, I will be at my daughter's great-grandfather's cabin in the warm company of old friends this weekend. There's a guy on the other side of the lake with one of those floating docks that is anchored 30 feet out in the water. He fancies himself a fireworks expert, and has repeatedly proved it year after year, and every Fourth he stacks that dock with vivid pyrotechnics ... and then, just as the sun fades and the stars appear, he lights the fuse, and the night and the surface of the lake erupt in brilliance.

I can't wait to see what he has in store this year. Happy Fourth of July, all. Let freedom ring.

The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/31712-when-the-night-erupts-in-brilliance

This guy ... this is the guy.

Samuel Whittemore joined the Revolution on April 19 1775 at the age of 80. Oiled his guns, muskets, sharpened his sword, and went to Concord ... where he was shot in the face by British regulars, stabbed with a bayonet, and beaten to the edge of death, but not before he killed three of the bastards.

He recovered, and lived another 18 years.

We make 'em tough up here in New England. Happy Fourth of July.

A Letter to My Sublime Allies on the US Left

"Dismal"? Rancid"?

Shut the fuck up.

We may not all get along every minute of the day - hell, we go at it talon and tooth, because we mean it, and because it's important - but that bloodletting actually happens to be the point of the exercise, a point lost on those who demand and expect and require lock-step adherence to a particular brand.

Here's what: No more wars based on lies, no more torture, no more bloated "defense" spending, protect the environment, spare us your fossil fuels and pipelines already, fund education, fund Social Security, fund Medicare and Medicaid, regulate the finance industry so far up their asses that the bump on their throat is the nose of the regulator, put the Wall Street/Banker thieves in prison, pave the roads, fix the bridges, and everyone deserves a damn job. Oh, P.S. Stop shooting unarmed Black men for no reason, put the tanks away, actually protect and serve, and while you're at it, dismantle the prison "industry."

Dismal? Rancid?

Shut the fuck up.

Confederate flag removed from Fort Sumter (!!!)

(AP) -- CHARLESTON, SC (WACH) - Fort Sumter has removed the Confederate flag, following an order from the National Park Service Thursday.

The National Park Service ordered all confederate flags and merchandise to be removed from all parks that are under direction of the NPS.

The South Carolina state flag was also taken down and the USA flag is the only one that remains flying on site.

Fort Sumter was the site where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.

The rest: http://www.wach.com/news/story.aspx?id=1223967#.VZHOqEaVARU

Justice Delivered: A Week That Changed a Nation

Demonstrators react after the ruling in the case of King v. Burwell was announced, outside the
US Supreme Court in Washington, June 25, 2015. The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President
Obama's health-care law may provide nationwide tax subsidies to help poor and middle-class people
buy health insurance. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)

Justice Delivered: A Week That Changed a Nation
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Monday 29 June 2015

"And Lord, we lifted over the delta, feelin' alright,
carried together on the broad, unbroken back of the blues."

óRebecca Meredith

A couple of weeks ago, I was on a planet called Earth, a citizen of the United States, and a prisoner of sorry judgments levied by fools whose political existence is funded through the extravagant largesse of those who sup on hate and greed.

That was my Earth, and my country, and if I despised the manner in which the pieces of what passes for "culture" and "justice" and "government" came together like a jigsaw puzzle left out in the rain, at least I recognized it. It was familiar.

...and then something like last week happens, and all of a sudden, I don't know what planet I'm on anymore. In a small space of days, this nation's highest court confirmed that everyone can get health insurance for a fee, tore a large chunk out of the federal "three strikes" criminal sentencing law, saved the Fair Housing Act of 1968, and gifted all the people of this nation, which prides itself on freedom, the actual freedom to marry as they wish. This particular portion of a long-enduring prohibition that finds its justification in Bronze-Age Biblical morality, and presumes upon that dusty premise to dictate the letter of the law, was ended before noon on Friday.

It didn't go over easy. After the ACA ruling, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee, both of whom are GOP presidential candidates, each erupted with spittle-flecked rants about the "tyranny" of "un-elected judges" making decisions on cases brought through due process of law to the bench. Justice Antonin Scalia was so despondent over the ruling that he declared words no longer have meaning, and the governor of Mississippi accused the whole thing of being a "socialist takeover" of the United States.

The "un-elected judges" bit deserves some attention, because we're all going to be hearing more of it. When the Supreme Court decreed that comprehensive political bribery and corruption by way of unfettered campaign contributions was the law of the land, via their Citizens United decision, no one puled about "un-elected judges." When minority voting rights were eviscerated, there was nary a peep about "un-elected judges." Now that gay people can legally bind in love and commitment, however, those "un-elected judges" are suddenly intolerable.

"In order to provide the people themselves with a constitutional remedy to the problem of judicial activism and the means for throwing off judicial tyrants," wrote Ted Cruz in the National Review, "I am proposing an amendment to the United States Constitution that would subject the justices of the Supreme Court to periodic judicial-retention elections." Bobby Jindal, for his part, actually managed to out-fail Mr Cruz. "If we want to save some money," he said, "let's just get rid of the court."

Talk about temper tantrums.


Make no mistake whatsoever: All that ails us as a nation has hardly been cured. The oppression endured by the LGBTQ community has not been undone by this ruling. Also, the president is still pushing the ruinous Trans-Pacific Partnership with full vigor, and will likely get his way, even as "assistance" for workers who will be "trade adjusted" out of their jobs has yet to come to a vote, and thanks to Mitch McConnell could be permanently shelved.

The filthy bomb-in-waiting Keystone XL pipeline looms, even as fracking pollutes the aquifers. The business of making war still dominates a federal budget that would be better spent on infrastructure and education. The Wall Street and banker brigands who robbed us blind walk free, as do the torturers from the previous administration. People - men, women and especially children - die before the barrels of guns every single day.

The Supreme Court, on Monday morning, veered back into the right lane by limiting the EPA's ability to restrict the spewing of mercury and other deadly pollutants into the environment. "Writing for the court," reported the Associated Press, "Justice Antonin Scalia said it is not appropriate to impose billions of dollars of economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits." Res ipsa loquitur. The thing speaks for itself.

In another Monday morning decision, the Court ruled that midazolam - part of the cocktail that delivered several death-condemned prisoners to a tortured, horrifying end in three states - is just fine and dandy. Not everyone agreed. "Under the courtís new rule," wrote Justice Sotomayor in dissent, "it would not matter whether the state intended to use midazolam, or instead to have petitioners drawn and quartered, slowly tortured to death, or actually burned at the stake."

The screamers will scream, and the stompers will stomp, and it will all be unrepentantly ugly. For whatever reasons, there has always existed a certain permutation of human who must have theirs, and take yours, and deprive more even as they scorn those others for that deprivation. Living that way is lucrative, clearly, but certainly not moral in any sense I have ever been given to understand.

... but despite it all, it feels as if the Earth I thought I knew tilted a tiny bit on its axis last week, just a wee bit closer to the healing light of the sun. Case in point: A woman named Bree Newsome climbed the 30-foot steel pole that flies the Confederate flag on the grounds outside the South Carolina capitol building. When she was halfway up, police ordered her to stop, but she refused, and kept climbing. She pulled down that flag, returned to Earth, and was arrested. The flag was eventually restored, for now.

Even so, that happened.

Heroes exist. You may even be one of them.

The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/31629-justice-delivered-a-week-that-changed-a-nation
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