Saturday, January 26, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE, SR.
PASS ME A ROCK--
IT'S LUNCHTIME IN THE COUNTY JAIL
Why is it that we have to pay Ben Bernanke millions of dollars to bring in a truckload of Ph.D.s just to tell us that we're hurtin'? And even then he won't give us a definitive answer - "Ah, Well, it's beginning to look like we just might be edging, or, tiptoeing, as it were, towards the outer fringes of an exceedingly mild recession - a teeny-weeny one I assure you - but we can't be absolutely certain of that at this time." Who is he trying to lie to - certainly not the American public - people are outside the hall throwing rocks at the police so they can go to jail in time for lunch.
All these so-called "experts" have to do is glance up from their spreadsheets at the people selling apples outside their window to know we're in a recession. And why are they looking so shocked - what did they expect when gas rivals the price of pumping Chavis Regal in our tanks? (Actually, I wish it was Chavis Regal - I have to get drunk just to get up the nerve to fill my tank). But they say a downturn in the economy is a fertile opportunity for innovation - and they're right. If I had two dollars to rub together I'd open up a gas station with slot machines as gas pumps and make a killing. My customers could drop five dollars in the pump and if they got three cherries they'd get a free tank of gas. Remember, you heard it here first.
But seriously, have you ever wondered why all of these so-called experts, with all their advanced degrees are always nine months to a year behind the people when it comes to seeing the obvious? We spent hundreds of billions of dollars and lost countless lives invading Iraq when even Willie the wino predicted Saddam didn't have weapons of mass destruction. And do you remember when I told you about a year ago that trying to sell Gucci bags in a homeless shelter was a ridiculous fiscal policy? Well, now the economy is saying I was right and the experts were wrong - again.
The only reason I'm not banging on Harvard's door to demand an honorary degree is because it didn't take a rocket scientist to predict this downturn. Bush's fiscal policy is not so much a policy as it is a scam - and they know it. Using my Gucci bag analogy, what sense does it make to continue to give Gucci a tax break to make handbags to sell in a homeless? The homeless can't afford to buy them. Even Gucci knows that it doesn't make sense, so why should he use that money to hire more people to make handbags that he can't sell? So he's not going to take that money to retool - he's going to either buy himself a Ferarri, or pocket that money as profit. The only way to get Gucci to hire more people to make more handbags is to give the tax breaks to the people in the homeless shelter so they'll have money to spend on Gucci's bags. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to see that - but of course, I'd never accuse our president of being a lowly brain surgeon.
Granted, I'm not an economist, but it seems to me that what we're dealing with here, are two economies. We have one economy that applies to the investor class, and another economy that applies to the labor class (labor, meaning anyone who depends on a job for a living, regardless of whether they're blue collar , or in management).
When the United States had a thriving industrial economy, one class complimented the other. Labor was well paid, so they were able to purchased goods. That allowed the companies that sold the goods to prosper to the benefit of the investor class. But now in a global market, in order to both remain competitive with countries that pay their workers just above slave wages, and also sustain their greed, the investor class have to squeeze every penny and concession out of the labor class to achieve their profit margin. So in essence, whenever Bush announces that the economy is thriving, he's not talking about the American economy as a whole - he's actually telling the investor class that he's successfully squeezing the American workers to the limit. You see, since we have a global market now, they no longer have to worry about the American worker making enough money to purchase their goods, they can sell them overseas. So now the American worker is no longer a partner, he's simply a field hand.
That dichotomy in our economics explains why our politicians can't seem to get a handle on illegal immigration. As I pointed out, in order for American business to compete in a world with countries that produce goods with workers who work for just above slave labor, America must respond in kind. That is the purpose of illegal immigration - it's being used to undermine the middle class in this country. Having a viable middle class has become cost prohibitive in this country.
We're being told that illegal immigrants are only being used to do the jobs that American workers don't want, but that's not true. Illegal workers are being used as electrical workers, in construction, as truck drivers, upholsters, mechanics, etc. - and in the process they're placing an undue strain on our healthcare and educational and systems, driving up the cost of housing, and having a negative impact on our entire social infrastructure.
Thus, we need to have a national referendum on how to address the illegal worker issue in this country. We need to take it out of the hands of the politicians, and follow the will of the American people. We've got to make up our minds what we want to do. If we're going to grant illegal immigrants immunity, then, let's do it. But if it's the general consensus of the American people to send them home, then we've got to become serious about that as well, by passing laws with teeth - laws that make it unattractive for illegal workers to come here in the first place -then follow those laws to the letter.
We've got to stop fooling around with this issue. The longer we straddle the fence, the more people we're going to have to deal with, and the more convinced they're going to become that they have a right to stay. If we sit on our hands until they start to think of the United States as home, we're going to have a revolution on our hands if we try to change course - and if you think we have a lot of illegal immigrants now, just wait until their children start having babies.
So if we truly want to stop illegal immigration, we have to stop playing games and trying to be politically correct. We have to start passing tough laws, and strictly enforcing those laws: Fines of twenty thousand dollars per offense for anyone who hire or house illegal immigrants, and the seizure of assets for any offense thereafter; a year in jail on first offense for anyone caught in the U.S. illegally, and a felony on any offense thereafter; make it impossible to enroll a child in school without proof of citizenship; withhold all social services, with the exception of emergency medical services, and then pass a law saying that any child born of an illegal parent is also illegal, even if that child is born within the United States. Laws such as those would take away any incentive for anyone to cross the border illegally. That would also contribute to our security as well, because then we can assume that anyone trying to cross into the United States illegally is doing it with malevolent intent.
That may sound strange coming from me, because anyone who read my writings regularly know that I've agonized over this issue for sometime and I've flip-flopped on it at least once before. In fact, about six months ago I wrote an article in support of illegal immigrants, indicating that they are the indigenous people of this land. But I have a policy of going wherever the facts lead, and while I desperately wanted to arrive at a rosy scenario regarding illegal immigration, the facts refused to cooperate and only portrayed an image of social devastation.
The consequences of having millions of people flooding across our borders into the U.S. will have a devastating impact on our children and grandchildren. Therefore, in my opinion, we should assist illegal immigrants in addressing their grievances with their own governments in the same way that the Black community has done in the United States. While my heart sincerely bleeds for the plight of illegal immigrants, I simply cannot give them priority over my own grandchildren - that would go beyond being compassionate, it would be stupid. It would also play right into the hands of globalists who are trying to corral labor in such a way that it undermines the American middle class.
But we shouldn't take our anger out on the illegal immigrant - they're only pawns in this scenario. We should reserve our anger for the corporatists who are pushing those pawns. We should press our government to pressure Mexico and other countries of origin to address the plight of their poor. That should be one of our top national priorities, and we shouldn't elect any politician who isn't committed to that initiative, and vote out any politician who waffles on it. We must also direct our anger, our dollars, and our votes, against any corporation, and all politicians, who allow conditions to exist that force people to leave their home in order to feed their families. We must pin these politicians down, and let them know that we know what's going on, and if they don't fix it, we're going to see to it that they lose their jobs long before we lose ours.
We must also take immediate steps to see to it that American corporations don't think they can follow Dick Cheney's Halliburton to Dubai, and then think they're going to sell their goods or services in the United States. We need a worker's Bill of Rights that says if you want to ship your jobs overseas, you can sell your goods over there as well. If you're an American company, you must be headquartered in America, pay your fair share of taxes in America, and use American workers. If you're not willing to do that, we'll find someone who is.
Of course, many are going to call us protectionists--but as Miles Davis said, so what.
Eric L. Wattree
Friday, January 18, 2008
BENEATH THE SPIN ERIC L. WATTREE, SR.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE
I can feel the quiet hum of greatness, in the air. Can you feel it, America—that roaring silence that befalls the land just prior to a significant event; the way the birds fall silent and a gentle breeze rustles the leaves just as a lone figure appears on the horizon?
“I wouldn't be running for president today without the women in my life . . .” My grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who raised me, while rejecting the bigotry that might have torn other families apart . . . my mother, Ann Dunham, "the kindest, most generous spirit I have ever known," who died of ovarian cancer while she was in the "prime of her life," acquainting me with "what it's like to see a loved one suffer because of a broken health care system"-- between jobs when diagnosed, and uncertain of her health care coverage. And my wife, Michelle--"balancing her role as a mother with her responsibilities at work."
It sounds like Obama is pullin’ out all the stops, and if he pulls it off in Iowa, then New Hampshire, it’s no longer a race—it’s a strut down Broadway, confetti and all.
This is an exciting moment in our history, and we’re extremely fortunate to be alive to witness it. It’s a moment in American history where the wisdom, integrity, and honorable itent of this nation’s forefathers has allowed them to, literally, reached back from the grave before the entire world, to rescue this nation from tyranny, on the very eve of its destruction.
Can you feel it, America? I can literally, feel, the strength of this young man’s greatness . . . in the air.
Remember, you heard it here, first.
Eric L. Wattree
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
|BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE, SR.|
WHY DO WE FIGHT THE N-WORD THEN SUPPORT AMERICAN GANGSTER?
THEY'RE BOTH SAYING THE SAME THING--NIGGER
.Why are we flocking to the movies and spending our hard-earned money to support American Gangster? And why did Denzel Washington, a brother that has brought so much pride to our community, even agree to make such a movie? We could ask the same question about Training Day as well. Both of those movies, along with much of the fare that's regurgitated over BET, are not only primers for dysfunction among Black youth, but they also serve as lucrative commercials being broadcasted throughout the world advertising the gross stupidity of Black people. Then after we've received all of that negative publicity–publicity that would cost a corporation billions of dollars to purchase-- we don't understand why we can't get any respect, and why the police stop us whenever they see us anywhere near "civilized people."
It's hard to understand how a brother of Denzel's character could even be involved in a project that reflects so badly on the Black community. But after giving it careful thought, I think I've come up with an answer: Black people, including Denzel, have become so accepting of this kind of character assassination that it has become routine, so he never gave it a second thought. That is the very reason I had a problem with the campaign against use of the n-word. The Black community has been so brainwashed over the past 40 years that we've developed a mindset that is hyper-sensitive to the superficial, while the status quo is left carefully unmolested (the source of that brainwashing is grist for another time–at book length). While we're being distracted, and jumping up and down over the n-word, people are being paid zillions of dollars to produce commercials in the form of movies being broadcasted around the world that say, "Look at how these in**as live"–and we're supporting it! Come on, people, wake up!
While I generally defer to the sensibilities of brothers and sisters who have an aversion to the "n-word", it's not a happy concession ("N-word"--I feel silly even writing such a foolish euphemism). As a writer, words are simply tools to me, and every tool has its purpose. Like a mechanic, I select whatever tool is necessary to best express the concept I'm trying to get across, so I feel like I'm being robbed of a valuable tool of my trade–and for what? From my point of view, the word "nigga" represents any person, of any race, who takes pride in his stupidity. So as I see it, as long as we allow ourselves to get all worked up over a word, while at the same time, we all but ignore our kids killing kids in the street, grown men turning twelve year olds into whores, and half the community flocking to the movies, and PAYING, to watch commercials about our stupidity, the word "nigga" is being prolifically under-utilized.
The best way to avoid being called a nigga is to rise above the definition. You don't hear anyone calling Barack Obama, Colin Powell, or the late Johnnie Cochran a nigga. There's a reason for that. You see, any racist who would call any of these brothers a nigga is then faced with the task of demonstrating that he's superior to them, and very few people can meet that standard. If some racist pointed to Obama and told his son, "You see that guy over there–he's a nigga." His son would probably look at Obama, then look at his dad, and say, "Daddy, I think I want to be a nigga when I grow up."
So we need to shake off our brainwashing, and start focusing on the substantive issues in our community, because our behavior indicates that our most tenacious shackle is attached to our mind. We in the Black community need to ask ourselves a series of very simple questions, and answer them honestly. We need to ask ourselves, do we truly want to elevate our community out of its current condition, or not? Do we want to bring an end to the epidemic of kids killing kids in the street, or not? Do we want our community to become known for producing excellence, or not? If we're satisfied with producing misery, dysfunction, and crime, then fine—we're doing an excellent job of that. But if it's truly important to us to produce doctors, lawyers, scientists, and scholars, our current behavior indicates that we're either lying to ourselves, or living in a deep state of denial.
What we're doing to our children is comparable to holding a sirloin stake up before a starving man, then telling him to just say no. How can we expect our young people, many of whom have known nothing but deprivation all of their lives, to make the necessary sacrifices to become scholars, while we flock to the movies in droves to applaud a guy who literally soaked himself in riches by way of crime? Why should our young people waste their time in the pursuit of excellence, when they can fake it with the flamboyance of wealth derived from crime? After all, their mothers, who they sincerely want to impress, can't seem to tell the difference, and their fathers would be walking on air, because they're wearing their caps sideways themselves.
So our community is sending out a grossly inconsistent message. On the one hand, we become insulted when we get on an elevator and ladies pull their purses close, yet we wholeheartedly support our community being portrayed as a cesspool of crime to people all around the world; and while we say that we're Black and we're proud, instead of addressing those issues that allow people to call us niggas, we'd rather take the shortcut of trying to abolish the word–which makes us look even more ridiculous, since the more we say we hate it, the more useful the word becomes. And finally, with our starstruck attitude towards crime, criminals, and criminal behavior, how can we tell our young people to "just say no" to a fantasy that we can't resist ourselves? So we need to sit down and get our priorities together–and fast.
I want to end this tirade by pointing out that while I mentioned Denzel, it is not my intent to drop all of this in his lap. The brother has always been, and I'm sure he always will be, one of the bright spots in the Black community. But I hope he'll recognize in his future endeavors that he's got too much clout and believability to do movies like Training Day and American Gangster without having an impact on our community. He should be doing movies that lift up the community and inspire our young people to excellence, like Great Debaters, the other movie he did this year.
In that movie he tells young Black students to "Do what you've got to do so you can do what you want to do." That's the message that young people need to hear. But it'll be interesting to see which one of the two movies will do best in the Black community. Unfortunately, my money is on American Gangster–and that's a damn shame.
Eric L. Wattree