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

Journal Archives

So, let's see now...

...we deposed Mossadeq in favor of the Shah and got the Iranian Revolution and the Ayatollah Khomeni...

...we sold missiles to the Ayatollah and got 241 dead Marines at the Beirut airport...

...we armed and trained the mujeheddin in Afghanistan and got the Taliban, al Qaeda and a crater in New York where two tall buildings used to be...

...we supported Saddam Hussein to the knife and got two wars (or one big, long war depending on your perspective), millions of casualties, a shattered military, a shattered economy and theater-wide depleted uranium poisoning out of it...

...and the Syrian opposition, for the most part, makes Osama bin Laden look like a Sunday School teacher from Nebraska by comparison...

Fuck it. What could possibly go wrong?


Obama ready to expand covert aid to Syrian opposition - report

The used car salesman strikes again

"Moreover, Russia has pointed to America’s decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy. Now, it is true that the Iraq War was a subject of vigorous debate not just around the world, but in the United States as well. I participated in that debate and I opposed our military intervention there. But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people and a fully sovereign Iraqi state that could make decisions about its own future."

- Obama, in Brussells, yesterday

An amazing amount of bullshit in one paragraph. We ran roughshod over the international community to get that war going. If an invasion and ten-year occupation isn't annexation, then nothing is. We totally, totally grabbed their resources, because the oil was supposed to "pay for the war," as I recall...and there were gas lines in Iraq for years after the invasion, because we were sitting on their oil like it was our own private piggy bank. And as for the state we left Iraq in, thousands upon thousands of people have been killed in the sectarian strife we left behind. They aren't making decisions about their future. They're running for their damned lives.

The used car salesman is trying to sell the lemon that was the Iraq war in order to avoid sounding like a hypocrite about Russia.

Utterly nauseating.

So let me see if I've got this straight...

The signature piece of legislation offered by the President of the United States - the one he chose to pursue in all-out fashion - says that no one with a pre-existing condition can be denied coverage. This new requirement inspired millions of people with pre-existing conditions to barnstorm the ACA website to get that guaranteed coverage. But the entire process remains - deliberately and by design - under the complete control of the insurance companies, who will happily take your money and offer "coverage" for your pre-existing condition, but deny coverage for the deadly-necessary medication needed to treat your disease. You can get a cheap doctor visit and a cheap scan to see how your disease is progressing, but you can't have the medicine needed to treat it, and that's called "coverage."

But this isn't the president's fault.

His plan, his legislation, his advocacy, his "signature achievement."

Not his fault?

Gotcha. The buck stops over there. Or something.

Being really angry about it? Definitely my fault. Do I feel bad about that? Nope.

P.S. some of you folks have holes in your hearts. I wish there was medication for that, but even if there was, you probably can't get coverage for it.

Thank you for your patience, your call is important to us, please continue to hold.

The Eternal Scott Brown Campaign

Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass. in the middle, and Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev on the left.
(Photo: Talk Radio News Service / Flickr)

The Eternal Scott Brown Campaign
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Tuesday 18 March 2014

I don't think I'm breaking any new ground by saying Godfather III was not a good movie. It had all the potential in the world, and we really wanted it to live up to its namesakes, but it just didn't get the job done. It did, however, have one line for the ages, delivered by Michael Corleone after yet another assassination attempt, when he had to face the fact that all his efforts to legitimize his family had fallen to dust once again: "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in."

This is how I am feeling about Scott Brown right now.

I lived in Boston for forty years, and Scott Brown landed on my face after Ted Kennedy died in 2009. State Attorney General Martha Coakley declared her intention to run for his seat in the special election slated for January of 2010, and Scott Brown - a Republican who had served six terms in both the state House and Senate - won the GOP primary against perennial clown candidate Jack E. Robinson to earn the privilege of facing Coakley.

No one thought he had a chance - a Republican taking Ted Kennedy's seat? - but a few things happened in relatively short order to upend the whole process. First, Coakley seemed to think the seat was hers by right, and pretty much didn't bother to campaign. Second, the nascent molecules of what eventually coalesced into the Tea Party saw a once-in-a-lifetime chance to stick it to old-guard Democrats (Kennedy's seat held by a Republican!) and flooded Brown's campaign with cash. Third, and most important, it was a special election on a cold, rainy night in January. Turnout is low enough for midterm elections as it is, but on this night, I think maybe fourteen voters bothered to go to the polls, and nine of them were Republicans.

Add it all together, shake it up, and you've got instant landslide. For the first time since God wore diapers, Massachusetts would be represented in the US Senate by a Republican. I managed to wedge my way into the Dalton St. Marriott ballroom for the Coakley "victory party," and if they had been handing out nooses as freely as they were handing out booze that night, there would not be a single living Democrat left in the Commonwealth.

This was my first Scott Brown campaign.

My second Scott Brown election came two all-too-short years later, because there is no gravity: the Earth just sucks. See, Ted Kennedy died midway through his six-year term, so they had to have an election to fill his seat, but then they had to have another election in 2012 when Ted would have been on the ballot for re-election, and so Scott Brown had to run again, and for the second time in two years, we were smothered by Vote For Me Because Of My Truck commercials from Scott Brown, lather, rinse, repeat.

...except, this time, Mr. Brown was forced to encompass the superior intellect of Elizabeth Warren, his Democratic opponent, and he was forced to encompass the fact that it was 2012, a presidential election year, which meant voter turnout would increase by orders of magnitude. By the time they finished hosing the blood off the walls, Elizabeth Warren was shopping for lodging in the nation's capitol, and Mr. Brown was taking a law firm gig while doing occasional turns on Fox News.

This was my second Scott Brown campaign. My second in two years.

The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/22536-william-rivers-pitt-the-eternal-scott-brown-campaign

The Answer Is Turnout: Vote, You Jackass

(Photo: Tom Arthur)

The Answer Is Turnout: Vote, You Jackass
By William Rivers Pitt
BuzzFlash at Truthout | Op-Ed

Saturday 15 March 2014

My mother is an official for a town nearby, and this past week was a voting week on what are called "Warrant Articles," which is New Hampshire-ese for ballot initiatives and budget proposals. The town she works for has a small but very vocal and very active contingent of Free Staters who believe in conspiracy theories like the UN is seeking to take over the town by way of Agenda 21. They show up at every town meeting, and always always always always vote.

...and they win, more often than not, because the people with their heads screwed on right don't bother to summon the energy to raise their hand once a year. The Agenda 21 people are a small segment of the populace, but they always show up.

Bill Clinton, in his first inauguration speech, said, "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be fixed by what is right with America." One of the things that is right with America is your right to vote, and when I hear people say voting does not matter, does not make a difference, it makes me want to tear my teeth out.

Math: the coocoobirds who think dinosaurs don't exist because they aren't mentioned in the Bible comprise, give or take, about 12% of the voting population in America. They are a small minority within a minority party. When only 50% of the voting population shows up to vote in a presidential election year, that 12% doubles to 25%, because those 12%-ers go to the polls even if it is raining live jaguars outside...which means any right-wing candidate who says the right things about Jesus, fetuses and guns is halfway to the 50.1% needed for victory before they put their pants on come election day. To call that an enormous advantage is to devalue the definition of "enormous."

...and in midterm elections - the ones that decide the entire House and a third of the Senate - turnout tends to sit somewhere around 35%, which means that 12% dead-bang guaranteed turnout actually flexes to about 40%. Which explains the current House of Representatives pretty succinctly.

So don't don't don't don't just don't you dare tell me that voting doesn't matter. That is a heaping crock of lazy crap. In point of fact, the decline this nation has endured over the last fifty years, the empowerment of the moneyed few over the many, and the rise in power of Taliban Christianity, exactly and precisely matches the dwindling turnout numbers on election day...which, by the bye, has a direct relationship to the "lesser of two evils" candidates you holier-than-thous refuse to turn out for. If you don't like your choices, it's because you didn't make a choice in the last election, and the one before, and the one before. Nature, and politics, abhor a vacuum. If you don't like what has filled it, non-voter, find a mirror and stare into the eyes of the reason why.

If you don't vote, you are responsible for this. If you vote, you can fix this. I have a fever-dream involving 80-90% turnout across the board in two consecutive elections, midterm and then general. Such a one-two punch event would change the country overnight, and these candidates you can't stomach would scurry back to the dark corners they came from. That kind of turnout would obliterate the power of money in politics in one fell swoop.

The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/william-rivers-pitt-the-answer-is-turnout-vote-you-jackass

Obama, the CIA, and the Limits of Conciliation

Obama, the CIA, and the Limits of Conciliation
By Charles P. Pierce

Friday 14 March 2014

It is not too much of an exaggeration to say that, in one very important way, the president has lost control of his own government. The current constitutional crisis between the CIA and the Senate committee tasked with investigating its policies regarding torture during the previous administration has only one real solution that is consonant with the rule of law. Either CIA director John Brennan gets to the bottom of what his people were doing and publicly fires everyone involved, or John Brennan becomes the ex-director of the CIA. By the Constitution, this isn't even a hard call. The Senate has every legal right to investigate what was done in the name of the American people during the previous decade. It has every legal right to every scrap of information relating to its investigation, and the CIA has an affirmative legal obligation to cooperate. Period. The only way this is not true is if we come to accept the intelligence apparatus as an extra-legal, formal fourth branch of the government.

That is the choice that the president should give Brennan. Right now. This morning. Nobody is asking for the release of tracking data regarding the current operatives of al Qaeda. This information is being withheld because, during the late Avignon Presidency, the CIA repeatedly broke the law in its treatment of captives and it did so with the blessing of the highest reaches of the American government. That the president has not done this yet -- indeed, that he seems to have thrown his support behind Brennan -- is not merely a mistake, it is a demonstration of the practical limits of the political appeal that got him elected in the first place.

Increasingly, the election of Barack Obama seems to have functioned more as an anesthetic than as an antidote to the criminality of his predecessor's government. His message of conciliation allowed the American people to forget what they had allowed a cabal of bureaucrats and fantasts to hijack their government in the chaos and terror following the attacks of September 11. The president offered the country, as I wrote at the time, absolution without penance. And he put that philosophy into action by declining right at the outset to prosecute, or even to thoroughly investigate, what had been done. What we are seeing today is the final limit to looking forward, and not back. The CIA, and the rest of the intelligence apparatus of the country, was not reconciled to democracy. They were not brought properly to heel and the American people were not forced to confront the consequences of the terrible abandonment of self-government that, at its worst, the intelligence community represents.

The rest: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/obama-cia-john-brennan-031414

Emphasis mine.

Chris Christie and the 9/11 artifacts

I have taken a real slow burn to this, for two reasons: 1) No matter how many times Rachel Maddow covers the Chris Christie bridge scandal on her show, I am incapable of summoning the requisite number of smaller fucks required to comprise one full fuck to be given. They just aren't there; and, 2) While 9/11 is and will always be vividly with me, it is fair to say that the horrible swelling around my heart and soul has abated somewhat.

...so when I heard that Chris Christie gave away chunks of the 9/11 wreckage to political cronies he wanted endorsements from, my immediate reaction was double-barreled: It's Christie, so I don't care, and 9/11 was a long time ago.

But then the slow burn came on. This dog-ass piece of shit was peddling cemetery pieces for votes. I wonder how the NY firefighters feel about this, as the flash-burned DNA of their comrades may very well be imprinted on those twisted chunks of metal he handed out like Halloween candy. I wonder how the NYPD feels about it. I wonder how the first responders, who may very well have coughed and heaved the beginnings of their eventual deaths from the poisoned air onto those artifacts as they sifted the dust and rubble for bonemeal to identify for the families of the bereaved, feel about that.

I know how I feel about it. For a lot of us, 9/11 was one of the worst days of our lives, and came to be the gateway for many terrible days to come. For some, however, 9/11 is a corpse to be humped for all it is worth. George W. Bush humped it, Dick Cheney humped it, a whole slew of people in Congress jumped on the train...and now here's this fuck, still humping that corpse for votes.

What a scumbag.

Revealed: Chris Christie gave pieces of 9/11 wreckage to his cronies as gifts

In Memory of Bartcop: Seedcorn, Pioneer, Patriot

A little late with this, I know. I heard of his passing on Friday, but today was the first available writing slot. Thanks again, Bart. - WRP

In Memory of Bartcop: Seedcorn, Pioneer, Patriot
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Tuesday 11 March 2014

The work an unknown good man has done is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground green.

- Thomas Carlyle

If there was any single event that pushed me into chronicling politics in America - in combination with the Reagan years, the Bush Sr. coda, the 1994 midterm election calamity, and the rise and fall of Newt Gingrich - it was the impeachment of President Clinton. Beyond the gaudy opportunism of it all, the hatred for the sake of hatred practiced by the Republicans in an all-too-eerie preamble of the last few years, was the absolute and utter collapse of any semblance of journalistic integrity on the part of the "mainstream" news. Smoke had been pouring from the engines of big-time journalism for years at that point, but it was the Clinton impeachment that finally crashed the plane into the mountain. The wreckage has been there ever since, rusting in the sun.

And so, sixteen years ago, I took to my keyboard and wrote what I thought and gave it away to anyone who might be interested in publishing it. Very few were, but there was one guy who decided to put me out there, and for me, that's where all of this began. His name was Terrence Coppage, he lived in Tulsa, and his website was Bartcop.com.

Back then, our correspondence was about the impeachment, the ultimate failure of same, the odious antics of Rush Limbaugh, bad journalism in general, the 2000 presidential election, and the general state of derangement evident within the GOP. Looking back, it almost seems quaint...until the evening of December 12, 2000, when the Supreme Court handed the White House to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and unleashed 2,922 days of mayhem at home, mass murder abroad, and brazen theft all around.

It is difficult now to describe the sense of full-spectrum horror many of us dealt with in the aftermath of that despicable ruling. The entire "mainstream" news establishment - print and broadcast alike - bent their combined will towards convincing the country that "this is an orderly transition of power...an orderly transition of power...all is well..." when a whole lot of us knew down to our bones that it was anything but...and then 9/11 happened, and then Iraq happened, and everyone who wouldn't or couldn't swallow the line of nonsense being peddled came to feel perfectly insane.

It is no understatement to say that Terrence Coppage and Bartcop.com salvaged my sanity, and the sanity of many others. David Allen, co-founder of the forum Democratic Underground, said it best: "Back in the days when there was no 'liberal blogosphere' or 'netroots'; there were only 'anti-Bush websites.' Before DU there was Buzzflash, Smirking Chimp, and BartCop. That was pretty much the entire liberal presence on the internet." Those sites, along with Media Whores Online and later DU, were a lush oasis in a desert of bad information and blind hyper-patriotism.

But in truth, it all began with Bartcop.com in 1996. Terrence Coppage raged every day against the lies being peddled by the Right, against the lapdog media that empowered and protected them, and by publishing comments, articles and emails from regular everyday folks, he gave us a voice we would not otherwise have had. Terrence Coppage helped teach us to think clearly during those dark days when clarity was hard to come by. A fairly impressive list of now-known bloggers and commentators - Digby and Atrios leap immediately to mind - earned their stripes through Bartcop, especially after Salon's Tabletalk started charging for participation. He was the seedcorn, a true pioneer, and even though he probably pissed off every segment of his readership at one time or another by way of his brashly-stated opinions, there is not a single voice within the online Left community that does not owe him a debt.

Coppage was, in his way, the Charlie Parker of liberal bloggers. Every saxophone player who has followed Parker is blowing notes Bird had already blown better. So it is with Bartcop; he was playing those changes before the rest of us had our pants on.

The rest: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/22376-in-memory-of-bartcop-seedcorn-pioneer-patriot

R.I.P. Bartcop: The passing of a modem, a smart mouth, and the truth

R.I.P. Bartcop: The passing of a modem, a smart mouth, and the truth
By Tom Boggioni
Friday, March 7, 2014 20:57 EST

Way back in the dewy early days of the Internet, back when it was still the World Wide Web and people actually prefaced a website address by saying “W-W-W”, there were not many places that were readily available to rage against the machine, indulge in the growing art that came to be known as ‘snark’, and generally vent at the world.

For some there were bulletin boards or listservs, where like-minded people congregated and traded stories and quips and information that was gleaned from between the lines of what eventually became known as the ‘Mainstream Media.’ Speaking for myself, a cheery group of us lived daily on Salon’s Table Talk, which you might say became the training ground for more than a few “somewhat popular bloggers.”

And then there was Bartcop.com.

Bartcop was a snarky, no-holds barred, riotous – at times mean-spirited, but never untruthful – oasis of hilarity and vitriol, where politicians and a compliant media were called out for their bullshit. Along with Media Whores Online (‘The Horse”), no journalist was ever again safe from having their stories fact-checked online and then held up to ridicule.

The rest: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/03/07/r-i-p-bartcop-the-passing-of-a-modem-a-smart-mouth-and-the-truth/

He was a pioneer, and an inspiration.

"I've been thinking about pronia - the opposite of paranoia..."

“I’ve been thinking about pronoia – the opposite of paranoia – the belief that the world is in a conspiracy for your well being,” May explained. “We assume that when we turn on the tap, someone is making sure the water is clean. Maybe this magical naive thinking is kind of necessary for a civil society, but we can’t assume that the world is out to help us when that is not in the self interest of the people in charge.”

How grassroots organizing came to the rescue in West Virginia’s water crisis

Simple, profound, and my new favorite word.
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