Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Who is barack Obama?


Who is Barack Obama?

Hello, Rosemary. I was just sitting here contemplating our earlier discussion. You know how much I respect your opinion, so I'm up in the middle of the night contemplating what you had to say about Obama, and my reaction to his policies. Since you're generally so in touch with the mood of the people, as an after thought, I decided to run this response as this week's column - that gives me an excuse for being so long-winded.  You said:

"E, I don't think the President is trying so much to be a kiss-up to the Republican Party as he is trying to show that he cannot help it if the Republicans have decided they would rather be unprofessional and not fit to hold the offices they hold in Congress. Think about it. If he came down to their level, what would his credibility really look like? He's still trying to show that he's the President for everyone, no matter if some want to be ignorant. A lot of times people mistake kindness for weakness. NO, I am not looking at him through rose-colored glasses. I'm being realistic. He has a hard road to navigate, and his choices are bad and worst ."

Much of what you say is true, Rosemary, but that doesn't explain why he's circumventing not only the U.S. Constitution, but international law to give the Bush/Cheney regime a pass on their war crimes. He's betraying a serious case of American arrogance by declaring that we need to look forward, and not backwards. He's a constitutional scholar. He knows full well that's not his call. He swore to uphold the Constitution, and through extension, the rule of law.

So as much as I like the president personally, I can't ignore such a serious circumvention of the law, and blatant assault on American ideals. So I'm speaking out because I have a responsibility to speak out. It's not just government's role to uphold our values, that's the responsibility of each and every American citizen. We cannot just sit back and expect justice to prevail - we must raise hell to see to it that it does. And we must always give principle priority over politics.  If it were not for malcontents speaking out on principle, President Obama would be in a cotton field instead of the White House.

The man that I though I voted for, and supported so passionately, would be the very first to recognize that his failure to adhere to the rule of law in this matter diminishes America. He'd understand that his failure to act creates a class of people who are above the law, and sets an ominous precedent that will allow future demagogues to act with impunity against both the American people, and the people of the world. Who's to say that the next group of tyrants won't start by rounding up 'suspicious' Muslims, then Black Muslims, then Black people? Why shouldn't they - we've set a precedent saying they can do it with impunity.  Obama is supposed to be protecting us from that slippery slope, but instead, his proposed course of action is to look the other way for political expediency.  That's not a change I can believe in.

So some things are more important than worrying about providing political ammunition to the opposition. I'm more concerned about becoming so loyal to one man or ideology that we allow ourselves to be caught flat-footed like so many others throughout the course of history. I wonder how many families were destroyed by financial ruin after blindly opposing healthcare reform during the Clinton administration, for example, who put ideology and blind loyalty before common sense when some politician told them that healthcare reform constituted socialism?  Thousands I would guess. So if the Democrats were on their game, instead of anxiously caving in to the insurance industry, they would have gathered up some of these people and featured them in political commercials during this current debate.

Because yet again, the Republican leadership is using that very same tactic to manipulate their base. Yet again, they're manipulating the people who have blind faith in their leadership to promote the status quo. And once again, they're actively exploiting the concerns of their base over being displaced by minorities and having 'socialism' disrupt the lives that they've come to know - even though many of them can't even define socialism.

But while many of us on the 'left' like to make fun of these people as dim-witted (as I just did), I actively correspond with many people on the right, and they're far from ignorant.  The fact is, many of them are quite intelligent. It's just that they feel such a vested interest in refusing to accept the glaring reality before their eyes, that it's causing them to cling to a group who is blatantly acting against their best interest. And if we're not aggressively vigilant, the very same thing can happen to us.

Now don't get me wrong, I doubt very much that President Obama is a demagogue. I think he's a good man, and potentially, a great president, who's simply taking a course of action that I disagree with.  But then, the Republican base feels the same way about that people they support. But we can render this issue moot with a simple rule of thumb: We must never forget that we're dealing with politicians. We must always remember that their very profession centers around the manipulation of smoke and mirrors, which makes it incumbent upon us to always hold their feet to the fire - liberal and conservative alike.

We must never allow ourselves to become so blinded by what a politician is supposed to represent, that we ignore what his actions say he actually represents. History has taught us that we must ALWAYS judge ALL politicians on what they DO, not what they say - and that includes Barack Obama.

So just call me cynical, but I need a very important question answered: If we're willing to exhaust our treasury and sacrifice the lives of our youth to chase Osama Bin Laden for allegedly killing just under three thousand Americans, how does that square with president Obama casually waving off the fact that Bush and Cheney killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi men, women, and children as inconvenient to address?

I have a problem with that kind of 'justice', as every American should, because it was done in our name. So as much as I like President Obama, simple logic tells me if he doesn't have a problem with such a glaring injustice, I have to consider him a part of that injustice - an injustice that will never allow America to be completely safe.

This attitude that we have, and that President Obama seems to share, that the United States can walk away from the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people as simply 'collateral damage' is nothing short of American hubris. And I cannot be comfortable with any president that's willing to embrace such a philosophy, because as long as the lives of Iraqis are deemed unimportant, so is mine.

America needs to wake up. While we're demonizing the people of Asia and the Middle East, we need to recognize that we wouldn't even have a conflict with these people if we weren't meddling in their part of the world. They're not over here - we're over there.  How can I break into my neighboor's house, wipe out his family, and have my pockets filled with his possessions, then claim I was acting in self-defense?  There isn't a court in America that would accept such a defense.

So America doesn't have to spend trillions of dollars to protect our security. That money could be spent on educating our children, providing affordable healthcare, and revitalizing our infrastructure. All we have to do is 'just say no' to the military/industrial complex, and stop meddling in the affairs of others.

Thus, when I look at President Obama, even in spite of how much I admire him, I have to ask myself, "doesn't he know these things?" If he doesn't, we have a problem with his intellectual acuity; but if he does, we have a much more severe problem - why is he continuing to play a game that's causing the death and suffering of so many people around the world?

So Rosemary, when I speak of President Obama caving in to the Republican party, I'm not just talking about on the single issue of healthcare, I'm talking about caving in to the status quo - which is much more serious, and goes directly to the issue of his overall character. During the campaign he promised change. That leaves me asking, where, and when?

So yes, many progressives in this country are mad as hell, and not just over a frivolous partisan issue. They feel lied to. They know that Obama's not dumb. He knew exactly what message he was sending when he campaigned on change, and so do we - so we're going to hold him to it.

So while I reserve the right to criticize President Obama, it's not because I've turned on him, but because I'm pulling for him. I'm pulling for his integrity. I'm pulling for his intellectual honesty, and I'm pulling for his sense of global humanity to overwhelm political expedience.  In short, I'm pulling for the fact that he's one of those great men that just may need to be dragged up Mt. Rushmore.

Tell Gaddis I said hi.

Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

This Bears Repeating

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree

An Indictment against the Mainstream Media

I'd like to start by tipping my hat to Markos Moulitsas, founder and spiritual leader of the very popular website, Daily Kos, for setting that gasbag, Chris Matthews, straight. He also put Tom Tancredo in his place several weeks earlier, so I guess he's becoming something of a soft-spoken dragon slayer - What was wrong with pointing out that chicken hawk Tancredo claimed to be "too depressed" to fight for his country in Vietnam?

More recently - last week, in fact - Chris Matthews made the remark on his show, Hardball, that "I don't consider them [progressive bloggers] Democrats. I consider them Netroots. And if I see they vote in every election, or most elections, then I'll be worried. But I'm not sure they're regular, grown-up Democrats. I think a lot of these people are troublemakers who love to sit in the back seat and complain. They're not interested in governing this country. They never ran for office, they're not interested in working for someone in public office. They get their giggles out of sitting in the back seat and bitching."

So let's see, people who have never run for office, or are not interested in working for someone in public office are not grown-up Democrats. They're trouble makers who get their giggles out of sitting in the back seat bitching, and it worries him when he see them vote. What an arrogant and closed-minded, Washington beltway idiot. That pompus idiot casually sat there and wrote off most of America as children who bitch too much.

The irony is, the unmitigated arrogance of that statement is exactly what makes netroots and blogging sites like KOS and TPM so vitally important to America. Due to the many self-centered and closed-minded hacks like himself, the mainstream media has become all but irrelevant, and Moulitsas pointed that out, very adroitly, and much more diplomatically than I ever could have. He's the one who came off looking like an adult, responding to the immature and irresponsible rantings of a child.

Instead of indulging in insulting characterizations and name-calling (like I probably would have), Moulitsas, very calmly made his point through example. He pointed out that the following:

"In 2003, when Bush landed his plane in the aircraft carrier, and spoke in front of the banner that said, 'Mission Accomplished,' Chris Matthews had an entire show based on that event, and he said everybody knows that we won the war, except a few critics." Moulitsas went on to say, "Well, I was one of those few critics. People like me in the Netroots were some of those critics. And it turns out that we were right and the Beltway conventional wisdom was wrong. And once again, we're in a situation where people like Chris Matthews don't learn from these mistakes. They're trapped in this bubble and they think that they know better."

Bingo! That said it all, and he didn't raise his voice once. And he handled Tom Tancredo several weeks earlier with the very finesse. He literally ran Tancredo off the Ed Show, and again, without busting so much as a sweat bubble. The reason he doesn't have to raise his voice, is because he's confronting Washington hypocrisy with facts and courage - something that the mainstream media seems to have lost.

They've degenerated into cheerleaders with an unspoken agreement not to step outside the approved parameters of the status quo. Then Moulitsas is that guy who shows up at the dinner party with a crude but unyielding truth: "No, that's not a bad egg - somebody farted." That's who bloggers and are, and that's exactly what America needs.

On September 15, 2002–six months and four days prior to the Iraqi invasion--I published an article entitled "Would Bush's Saber Rattle as Loudly Against China?" in the Portland Independent Media Center (no one else would publish it at the time) that said the following:

Now that we've reached the anniversary of 9-11, I am consumed by one thought--in light of what I've seen over the past year I find myself much more afraid of Bush, Cheney, and Ashcroft than I am the al-Qaeda. While I understand that terrorists strike without warning to destroy life and property to promote their own agenda, it has become increasingly clear that Bush and his cohorts threaten to be even more destructive by attacking life, liberty, and the very foundation of this nation in the promotion of theirs.

Over the past year these conservative war mongers have been playing the American people like a fiddle. Now they want to sacrifice American lives for nothing more than their own political advantage. Just ask yourself, what does Saddam Hussain have to do with 9-11? Absolutely nothing. Evidence of that can be found in the fact that if Saddam had been involved in 9-11 the administration would have gone after him initially. So why is it suddenly so imperative that we invade Iraq now? I'll tell you why. Since Bush was unable to produce the head of Osama Bin Laden, he now needs another villain to take Bin Laden's place in order to keep his numbers up in the polls-- and if that means having to sacrifice a few American lives and ignite even more terrorist activity on American soil in the process, so be it.

It is a well known political fact that the American people tend to rally around the president when the country's at war. That's why the Bush Administration fell all over themselves after 9-11 to declare "a war against terrorism." And the American people reacted just as planed-Bush's numbers immediately went up in the polls. But now with the mystery surrounding the fate of Osama Bin Laden, the administration has found itself without a war to sustain those numbers, so now they have to create one.

While I'm not prepared to say that the Bush Administration allowed 9-11 to take place, it is clear that the timing of the 9-11 tragedy was without a doubt the best thing that could ever happened to Bush's presidency. Bush was a lame duck the minute he was sworn in. It seems that as soon as Bush entered The Oval Office the stock market began to falter and the economy started to weaken. And whenever he spoke, the next day's news was not so much what he said, but whether or not he got through the speech without falling on his face. In addition, his big tax cut that was touted as the key to boosting the economy turned out to be a bust, and he was so inept in dealing with congress that a Republican senator changed parties costing Bush control of the senate. As a result, when 9-11 took place, it was embraced by conservatives more like it was a football rally than the sober occasion that it was--thus, all the flag waving, ceremonies, and strutting about.

But where was all that bluster prior to 9-11? ABC News reported on May 16th of this year that the Bush Administration acknowledged that U.S. Intelligence officials informed President Bush weeks before 9-11 that Osama Bin Laden's terrorists might try to hijack a plane. It was also reported that Bush privately alerted transportation officials and security agencies, but other than that, simply sat on the information. The administration claims that the information they received was non-specific, but one would think that even if they couldn't determine exactly when and where the attack was going to take place, at the very least they could have warned the American people. If they had, maybe some of the people who died would have chosen not to fly-or possibly, chosen to leave their children behind. But no, this president who now claims to be so concerned with protecting our welfare that he feels compelled to launch an unprovoked attack against Iraq, was at that time more interested in the impact that warning us would have on the airline industry.

What the American people needs to understand is that the power elite in this country doesn't view the United States in the same way as its citizens. They see the United States as a huge corporation, with its various industries as its subsidiaries. They see American citizens, particularly the lower and middle class, as simply pawns to be cajoled and manipulated in whatever way is necessary to meet the goals of the corporation. Therefore, they didn't view the tragedy of 9-11 in the same patriotic way as the average American citizen. After the initial shock, they saw 9-11 in terms of dollars and cents. Ultimately, it was viewed as an assault on their corporate superstructure. Later they recognized that the incident could be used as a distraction for the American people, and still later, an opportunity to move on Middle Eastern oil interests.

So let there be no doubt, all of the flag waving, ceremonies, and patriotic speeches have nothing to do with 9-11; they are designed to whip the American people into such a frenzy that they're blinded to Bush's actual agenda. And that agenda includes the following.

1).Committing America (and American lives) to a war in order to get himself re-elected.

2).Taking control of Iraqi oil fields to benefit his friends in big business.

3).Keeping the American voter distracted from considering the ramifications of the recent corporate scandals.

4).Keeping the American people from recognizing how inept he is as president.

The rest of the world sees Bush's agenda for what it is, and the American people would too if they'd stop waving their flags long enough to consider the flag's true meaning. The American flag represents freedom and justice, not trying to dictate who should lead other countries. It represents the open debate of issues, not intolerance to any and everyone who disagrees with your point of view. It represents the guarantee of personal freedom, not the suspension of the Bill of Rights. If the American people would just stop to consider these facts, it would become clear that even while Bush and his conservative cohorts are frantically waving our flag, they are simultaneously waging war against the very values that the flag and this great country represents.

These issues can, and will, be debated ad nauseam, but the American people need only ask themselves two questions to put all of the administration's nonsense into perspective. First, would the administration be so anxious to go to war if we were talking about China as opposed to Iraq? And secondly, do we think that invading Iraq will make us more, or less safe from terrorist attacks? If we answer those questions honestly, it becomes clear that the administration is being disingenuous at best.***

Where was the mainstream media?  If a shade tree journalist sitting up in his den in the heart of a Los Angeles ghetto could see what was going on, why couldn't the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, CNN and all of the networks; Harvard, Yale, and all of the various and sundry Ph.D.s from America's great institutions of learning? Why couldn't the nation's think tanks, all of the nation's political scientists, and the United States Congress figure it out? The answer is, they had, then simply turned their backs and allowed our young people to march off to their deaths. The most irrefutable evidence of that? None of their children died.

Eric L. Wattree


Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everybody who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Healthcare: There was a 3 a.m. Call to the White House, and No One Answered


Healthcare: There was a 3 a.m. Call to the White House, and No One Answered

President Obama is in trouble. How do I know? Because as one of his biggest supporters, even I'm beginning to wonder if I got too caught up in the hype. While I'm still excited over the historic significance of his presidency, the gathering threat that he may be remembered as an ineffectual kiss-up to the Republican Party is beginning to tarnish its luster.

That should come as very bad news to the president, because if a supporter of my unfettered loyalty has begun to wonder about him, that means that tens of millions of others are thinking along the same lines. And based on his atrocious handling of both the Republican Party and the healthcare debate, he only has himself to blame.

In the real world, it's not enough to have good ideas and the eloquence to express them, one must also have the backbone to wield power in order to bring those ideas to fruition - that's the reason for seeking power in the first place. But the president doesn't seem to have the capacity to do that - wield power, that is. He seems to yearn for a utopia in America where everybody is holding hands singing Kumbaya. We need a little realism here - make that, a lot of realism.

The president seems to harbor this burning desire to be loved by everyone. If that's all he wanted he should have become an entertainer instead of a politician. In politics, the people are looking for a father figure who is fair, but also bad enough to protect them from harm, and President Obama is not demonstrating that capacity. In fact, from what he's shown so far, he seems to be more adept at taking the coward's way out. Everyone knows the type - the kind of guy that's always running up to the bullies trying to become their best friend so they won't get beat up.

No one wants a president like that, no matter how much they like him. The people want someone that makes them feel secure and protected. Sure, Obama is very intellectual and contemplative, but you can't think your way out of an ass wiping when a bully's determined to do it - I know that for a fact, because I've tried it with very little success.

The irony of Obama's presidency is that if he fails in his first term - and if he continues the way he is, he will - it's not going to be because he wasn't cultured enough, or intellectual enough, but because he's not ghetto enough. Just turn on your television and try to find a show without someone being busted in the head. You can't do it, because Americans respect people who are willing to fight for what they believe in.

If he had just a little more ghetto in him he would have thrown Lieberman to the wolves thirty seconds after he took the oath of office. If he'd done that, the other Liebercrats who are currently blocking healthcare reform would have had second thoughts about the consequences of bucking his initiatives. Americans don't want to be led by Jimmy Stewart; they want John Wayne, a benevolent bully.

The people want the kind of president who's willing to tell congress what he wants, draw a line in the sand, then make it clear to every legislator that they buck the will of the American people at their own peril - then setup a special task force in the White House dedicated to nothing but educating the people with facts and figures about the self-serving motives of the legislators trying to circumvent their will.

Why shouldn't the people know about the connection that Joe Lieberman and his wife have with the insurance industry? Provide the people with that information, then let him go before the cameras and try to look sincere. If the White House had that kind of operation, Liebercrats and Republicans alike would have to check their closets before they decided to buck the president.

But instead, Obama's acting like that Black cop that we in the Black community know so well - the one who's so sensitive about being accused of coddling Black people that he goes out of his way to be more insensitive than his colleagues. That's exactly what Obama is doing to his base. He's so fixated on appeasing the Republican base that he seems to be totally ignoring his own. As a result, he's turning a blind eye to why he was voted into office in the first place.

But what's so unfathomable is that as intelligent as Barack Obama is, he seems to be forgetting that, unlike that Black cop, he has to come back to the community to be reelected - and if he doesn't spend the next three years undoing the damage that he's done to his image, never mind the possibility of losing to a Republican, he may even lose the right to run again in the primaries.

The president seems to working under the assumption that being an aggressive advocate for the people is bad politics, so he's adopted a strategy of trying to win by not losing. That explains why he's pointedly avoided specifically identifying what he wants in a healthcare bill. He seems to feel that by drawing a line in the sand, every element of the bill that's shot down thereafter constitutes a personal lost to him.

The fact is, that's true, but that's what's called having the courage of your convictions. That's why you fight, and fight hard. But he seems to have adopted a strategy of if I don't fight, I won't have to bear the embarrassment of losing, which by definition, fails the people who elected him.

This is not the time to indulge in political vanity - save that for the next election season. This is where the rubber meets the road. Now's the time to put all the pretty rhetoric aside and fight for the people who believed in him, and gave him their vote in the belief that he would fight to protect their interest. But I'm very sorry to say, that he's failing to do that, to the sincere disappoint of millions. He promised "a change that we can believe in," but what we're getting is the same old status quo that we thought we voted out of fashion - politicians first, then the people . . . maybe.

Mr. President, I have never dreaded writing any article more than I have this one. All of my instincts are screaming for me to hang in there with you, but the facts won't allow it. Every time I go to write a sentence trying to justify you're actions, I think about an email that I received from a young lady regarding my column. She simply said, "I really hope you're researching the stuff you say in your column, because I don't know much about politics, so I rely on you for my information." So while I would love to give you the benefit of the doubt, Mr. President, my first loyalty must be to people like that young lady.

So, you need to man up, Mr. President, as we say in the 'hood. You're looking weak and indecisive: You're allowing people from your own party to thumb their noses at you, you're putting thirty thousand of our troops in harms way in order to chase one hundred Eastside Crips in Afghanistan, and you're fighting to pass a healthcare bill that forces the public to by in, but without a public option. That, in essence, constitutes paying a windfall ransom to the insurance industry in order to protect your image.

But you still have time to change your course of action. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. The Republicans are not going to like you regardless to what you do, but by deciding to go for broke in defense of the American people you might still have time to salvage your image in the eyes of your base.

But your window of opportunity is very narrow indeed. At the rate your image has declined in this first year since you took office, if you don't do something fast - and I mean very fast - by this time next year you're gonna be typecasted as a weak and ineffectual president, both at home and abroad. At that point you'll be no more than a caretaker for the next two years until you can be voted out of office. Because believe me, none of your base, including myself, is going to support having a president kiss up to the Republicans for another four years.

Mr. President, I'm convinced that you're a good, intelligent, and well-meaning man so I'm still pulling for you. But what I've related to you here is what many of us call, the actual factuals.

Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Happy Holidays, From Caesar and the Progressive Network


I'd like to introduce you to a young man known to those of us who know, love, and support his tremendous talent, as simply, Caesar.

Happy Holidays!

I rarely use this site to discuss anything other than politics, but in a sense, bringing Caesar to your attention is a political issue, because his life represents the very epitome of self-sacrifice in pursuit of integrity.

As you've just seen, Caesar could very easily take his rightful place among the very top world class entertainers. But unfortunately (from my point of view) he's chosen to reject the many opportunities that come his way in order to protect a musical tradition. So he actively resists efforts by the music industry to, in his words, "exploit the arts for a fast buck."

We've had many arguments over this issue. I took the position that he's denying the world a great talent. I argued that it would be better for everyone involved if he'd simply play along until he gained the clout and exposure to go his own way. But he demolished my argument with one very simple question: "Isn't that exactly what you condemn our politicians for doing?"

Touche, Caesar.

It was no surprise that Caesar was able to handle my argument with such aplomb, because there's much more to him than just his voice . He's a very intelligent and multifaceted individual as well.
Born Irvin R. Caesar in Chicago, Il in 1965. He attended Percy L. Julian High School, where he played guitar in the jazz band, and at the same time, he played football, basketball, and baseball. The football team won three Chicago city championships, and he was captain of the team in his senior year. After graduating from high school, he went on to play Outside Linebacker for Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., where he also received a degree in Business Management.

Inheriting a sense of purpose from his father, also name Irvin Caesar--who was a political activist during the sixties, and worked very closely with Vice President Hubert H. Humphry--after obtaining his degree, young Caesar went on to work first, as a Procurement Officer and then Operations Manager for American Manufactures in Houston, Texas. The company provided humanitarian assistance to over 40 countries around the world. Then he went to Islamabad, Pakistan as a contractor for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). He worked to provided humanitarian assistance to Afghan rebels, who were then at war with the Soviet Union.

To our benefit, this young man's intelligence, background, and depth of experience didn't go to waste. You can hear every bit of his intellect, compassion, and commitment to humanity literally dripping from every note he sings. You don't simply hear this young man, you experience him.
And ironically, Caesar was born the very same year that Nat King Cole died. So while I've never been one to wax metaphysically, when I listen to this young man's velvet tones, I can't help but wonder if perhaps, Nat decided that he wasn't quite done.

Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Friday, December 04, 2009

Cheney Certainly Didn't 'Dither' During Vietnam - He Hauled Ass


Cheney Certainly Didn't 'Dither' During Vietnam - He Hauled Ass

Where is Dick Cheney's shame? And where is the shame of the people who are supposed to be covering him?

Dick Cheney is walking around demanding that we place our troops in harm's way like a veteran who begged for combat, then won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service. The way he's strutting around, lecturing America and saber-rattling for war, one would never know that when the nation called for him to serve, he ran like a weasel on high potency steroids to avoid military service - and the mainstream media is just as gutless for not pointing that out.

What's passing for the press in this country has proven without a doubt, that they've literally degenerated into a group of glorified ambulance chasers. They've been staked out under Tiger woods' toilet seat for the last week trying to get an exclusive on Tiger's sex life.  At the same time, they're completely ignoring the most pertinent news in the nation - a draft dodger and former CEO of a major military/industrial corporation pressuring the president to rush our troops into harm's way.

Why isn't the media holding Dick Cheney accountable for his deplorable hypocrisy? Why aren't they holding Cheney accountable for anything? I can think of several questions that the media should demand that Cheney answer every time he sticks his head out of his undisclosed rat hole.

What were the "other priorities" that he claimed was more important than America when he sought, and received, five (5) deferments from battle when it was his turn to fight? What hardships were those deferments based on? Were they more important than the hardships in the lives of men who responded to the nation's call, then fought and died? Who approved Cheney's deferments, and were they valid?

Was it just a coincident that his daughter and fellow chicken hawk, Liz Cheney, was born virtually nine months to the day after the selective service declared that married men would be called for duty, but married men with children would remain deferred? The rules of deferment was changed on Oct. 26, 1965. Liz was born on July 28, 1966 - nine months and two days later. Cheney got his final deferment Jan. 26, 1966 - because his wife was pregnant. Now there's some sexual prowess worth looking into.

In addition, considering the nation's sacrifice in both lives and treasure, isn't it worth investigating who was involved and what was discussed in Cheney's "secret meeting" prior to the Bush administration taking us to war in Iraq? Who decided to award no-bid contracts before going into Iraq? And who decided what corporations would receive no-bid contracts, and what criteria was that decision based upon? And here's a question that just begs to be asked - didn't they consider it a conflict of interest that Halliburton, the corporation that Vice President headed before entering office, was awarded the largest no-bid contract in Iraq?

The mainstream media also seemed to have been out to lunch regarding the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Isn't that treason? So why was it handled so casually by the press? Revealing the identity of a CIA agent is the very height of treasonous irresponsibility for any citizen, and the fact that it could be done by the Vice President of the United States is simply unfathomable. When that incident took place it should have alerted every citizen of this country that instability reined in the Bush administration and virtually anything was possible - oh, but sounding that alarm is the job of a responsible and diligent fourth estate is it?

We have a very serious problem in this country when citizens have to depend on late-night comedians to put the shenanigans of our government into perspective. Renowned newsman Edward R. Murrow once said that "A citizenry of sheep begets a government of wolves." I wonder what he'd say about a press filled with ostriches with their head in the sand?

Murrow would immediately recognize that even the most informed citizen relies on the press to sound the alarm when government goes astray. The founding fathers depended on that as an important element of keeping America free. That's exactly why the freedom of the press was incorporated into the nation's founding documents. But what passes for the press today has gotten so caught up in the economics, egocentrism, and self-service of our political environment, that they've become next to useless on the issues that really count. They seem to be afraid of angering a demagogue by asking him the most fundamental, and obvious questions.

Even though our troops were dying under the nation's mandate to capture the people responsible for 9/11, Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) alleges that the Bush administration purposely allowed Osama Bin Laden to get away so they'd have an excuse to invade Iraq. The congressman said: "That was done by the previous administration intentionally, letting Bin Laden get away. They knew that if they captured Al Qaeda, there would be no justification for an invasion of Iraq." He went on to say, "There's no question that the leader of the military operations of the U.S. called back our military - called them back from going after the head of al Qaeda."

So why isn't all hell breaking loose in the press? Why isn't that all we can hear about on every channel, and the headline of every newspaper? In other words, why isn't it being given the Michael Jackson treatment? Instead, all we can hear on every channel is how many women tiger Woods is allegedly sleeping with, and whether his wife went after him with a putter or a nine iron.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm just as nosey as anyone else about whether or not a billionaire who's the most recognized sports figure in the world can get a girlfriend. But I prefer my national news not being preempted by such frivolity. I can wait to get that information on the Wendy Williams Show (How you doooin', girl?) - and I'm virtually certain that most Americans agree. Well . . . maybe not, but that's grist for another mill.

Edward R. Murrow brought an end to the grip that Sen. Joe McCarthy's hypocrisy had on the nation with just one commentary, and one commentary by Walter Cronkite essentially spelled the beginning of the end of the Vietnam conflict. These journalists provided a valuable service to the American people. But the electronic commentators now on the air are so self-aggrandizing and prop-laden that they lack the dignity and clot necessary to get the attention of the American people - and the few true journalists who are left, are treated like field hands. 

While CNN does make an effort to maintain some semblance of journalistic standards as far as they go, they are just as guilty as the rest of the networks of failing to pursue issues of vital importance to the nation. And I wouldn't even mention Fox in a news context, since they're clearly nothing more than a public relations firm for the Republican Party, but they're significant because their appeal to the very worst within us is what's responsible for dragging down the journalistic standards of the electronic news media as a whole.

A perfect example of that can be seen in the programing of MSNBC. The network has great talent on their staff, but they've lost credibility by allowing themselves to be reduced to spitball fights with Fox in order to gain ratings.

Take Keith Olbermann, for example. He's a great talent, but his talent doesn't come close to matching the size of his ego. When I watch Olbermann I get the feeling that the news is secondary to showing how witty he can be. On the surface Keith's antics may seem harmless enough, until one tries to imagine either Murrow or Cronkite throwing copy at an imaginary window, or quoting people in the news in cartoon-like voices. It's only then that one begins to recognize how far downhill we've come.

Okay, maybe it's just fun and games, but when you play games with serious issues like a politician blatantly lying to the American people about healthcare, or the meaning of torture, or about a competing network purposely misleading the American people, you leave the impression that the offense can't be all that serious, otherwise, you wouldn't be joking about it. So they contribute to the perception that lying and corruption is nothing to become alarmed about - it's just the way the game is played.

So in that regard, their behavior is just as irresponsible and damaging to our society as Fox News.

Eric L. Wattree


Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Role of Poor, Minorities, and Middle Class in the New World Order


The Role of Poor, Minorities, and Middle Class in the New World Order

The phrase "New World Order" says it all. But in our blind naivete' and the belief that "it can't happen here," the vast majority of American people believe the phrase refers to the reshuffling, in terms of importance, of the various nations around the world. We fail to understand that the change is much more profound than that. The new world order not only applies to a geo-political reshuffling among nations, but the reshuffling of the internal economic structure within individual nations as well.

That means that as the world moves from many separate national economies to one global economy the class structure of the various nations of the world must be adjusted to accommodate the new state of affairs. In turn, that means that the high standard of living enjoyed by the American middle class since WWII can no longer be sustained in an economy where many of America's competitors are paying their workers less per week than many of us spend on lunch per day. That accounts for why American jobs are being outsourced to other countries, and Walmart, one of the largest retail corporations in the world, has based its business model on purchasing most of its merchandise from China in order to undercut the price demands of its competitors.

Walmart is a microcosm of the revised American business strategy under the new world order. One can look at Walmart's business model, and the socioeconomic profile of its employees, and see exactly what direction American business, and our society, is headed as a whole.

Walmart's business strategy is to hire easily replaceable and low skilled employees who are at, or very near, the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. It then takes advantage of their precarious economic condition to squeezes every dime of profit out of the company's operation . They aggressively fight organized labor to hold down employee wages and benefits, and deny their employees anything approaching affordable health-care. That, essentially, is the American business model under the new world order.

Business is no longer a friend of the American people. Where business was once our partner in a symbiotic relationship, it is now a predator to consumers and employees alike. Our parents could pull into a gas station and a guy in a white shirt and bow tie would run out to check their oil and water, then put air in their tires as he pumped twenty-two cents a gallon gas into their tanks. I know - gas is no longer that cheap, but what happen to the service?

It was once considered unseemly for a woman to have to pump gas - I don't think my mother even knew how to operate a gas pump. But now it's become so routine in our culture that if you're a passenger it's no longer politically correct to even offer to pump the gas for a woman ("What, you think because I'm a woman I don't have sense enough to squeeze a nozzle?"). Now my mother would not only have to pump her own gas, check her own oil, and put air in her tires, but they'd make her pay extra for the air. Think about that. They charge us for air!

The reason for that is greed. When the United States had a thriving industrial economy one class complimented the other. Labor was well paid and given the security of knowing that they had a job for life, so they had the confidence to purchased goods that the corporations produced. 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 remain competitive with countries that pay their workers just above slave wages, corporations have to squeeze every penny and every concession out of the labor class that they can get. And since the heads of these corporations must make huge profits to justify their unconscionably oversized bonuses, they prey on their workers by undercutting their benefits and outsourcing the very jobs that the economy is dependent upon to sustain the corporation, and the nation. But since these corporate heads live from bonus to bonus and only think about themselves, they never stop to consider the negative impact of their irresponsible behavior on the economic viability of the nation.

So when Wall Street or the Fed announces that the economy is thriving, they're not talking about the American economy as a whole - they're only talking about the monetary return of the investor class. A thriving economy means they're successfully squeezing the American worker to the limit, and gouging the consumer of every penny that he can afford to part with - and a few that he can't. It is that kind of greed and irresponsibility that led to last year's economic disaster, and nothing has changed.

In the global economy of the new world order, corporations no longer need the American worker to sustain their profits. Now that they can outsource their labor, and purchase and sell their goods overseas, the American worker is no longer a partner in the corporation's viability. the worker has now been relegated to the status of field hand. The only time they need us is when they want to tap the treasury for our tax dollars to pay off their gambling debts.

And this is the very same group that the Republicans and Liebercrats are trying to protect. This is also the group that the wingnuts are fighting so hard to keep between them and their doctors. There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that the Republicans are protecting the very same insurance industry that victimized us in Wall Street bailout. They took our money, now they're using it to block affordable healthcare for the American people.

They were paid billions of dollars by large corporations to cover corporate gambling debts. AIG accepted corporate funds, knowing that they didn't have the resources to cover the debts if the corporations got into trouble. Then when the corporations rolled snake eyes, AIG simply turned to the American people and said, you've got to cover these debts, or else. We and our clients are much too big to be allowed to fail.

An article in Wikipedia points out that "The AIG Financial Products division headed by Joseph Cassano, in London, had entered into credit default swaps to insure $441 billion worth of securities originally rated AAA. Of those securities, $57.8 billion were structured debt securities backed by subprime loans." So not only did the American taxpayer pay off this insurance company's debt, but we paid off a debt that originated in another country.

Now your money is being taken once again, but this time, they're taking YOUR money, to pay YOUR representative, to block an attempt by President Obama to stop them from cutting YOUR throat in a time of crisis, just like they did the corporations on Wall Street. But there's one very big difference - you and you're family are not too big to fail, so without the benefit of a robust healthcare reform, you're simply gonna bite the dust - and with the corrupt and able assistance of many of your very own representatives.

I'm sure that many are going to call me a crazy socialist, and continue to tear up as Boehner, Lieberman, and the various other demagogues shuffle out and look into the camera with the solemnity of the pope. But just remember, when they tell you that they're fighting for truth, justice, and the American way, the real truth is so glaring that sometimes it slips through in some of the most unlikely places. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) said the following:

"So this may be an audacious suggestion, but I would suggest we put aside the health care debate until next year, the same way we put cap and trade and climate change and talk now about the essentials, the war and money."

So there you have it - "war and money." That just about sums up your place in the new world order.

Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Why is Healthcare Reform Too Expensive, While the Sky is the Limit For War?


Why is Healthcare Reform Too Expensive, While the Sky is the Limit For War?

I find it extremely curious that the very same people who are jumping up and down about leaving a debt on our children by providing affordable healthcare are willing to send the country into bankruptcy to dispatch that very same generation of young people to their death in Afghanistan. It's also curious that we only heard perfunctory grumbling from these people when we spent $700 billion to bailout Wall Street, but now that it comes to spending money on a stimulus plan to help the average American, all hell is breaking loose.

The GOP's behavior in this matter should make it clear to any reasonable observer that the Republican Party is ideologically oppose to doing anything to help the poor and middle class. The reason for that is when it comes to bigotry, they're a step ahead of the American people . Since they deal primarily in dollars and cents, they've come to recognize that mere racial division is no longer sufficient to accommodate the economics of the new world order. The greed of the beast must now be fed with the greater numbers found only in class.

In order to compete effectively in a  global market, America can no longer afford the luxury of a thriving middle class - at least, one as large as the American people have come to expect. So the class system in the United States is rapidly being realigned.  That accounts for why the educational system and unionism are under attack. It also explains why undocumented workers are being allowed to flood into the country in unprecedented numbers. These people are not sneaking in - they're being herded. 

If the powers that be in the United States really wanted to stop illegal immigration, they wouldn't even have to touch the borders. All they'd have to do is arrest anyone who housed or hired illegal immigrants, but that's not conducive to their game plan. The leaders of the Republican Party and their corporate benefactors  are working diligently to get as many undocumented workers into the country as possible in order to undermine the wages of the American middle class, while the xenophobic tendencies of the Republican base is just as strongly dedicated to keeping them out - legal or not. So it's going to be quite interesting to watch the GOP try to resolve that conflict once their base begins to recognize they've being manipulated.

And yes, it's going to be just as interesting to watch you Teabaggers and such have to face that reality, because the fact is, the leaders of your party have already come to the conclusion that in order for the United States to compete in a global economy where the competition's workers work for mere pennies a day, it is absolutely necessary for the United States to grow an undereducated and hungry workforce.  They need a hungry underclass to both feed their war machine, and work for their corporations for whatever crumbs they decide to throw your way.

So the fact is, Teabaggers, if you don't wake up real soon, you're going to have to change your name to the Apple Peddlers to accommodate your new status - and I guarantee you, when that happens, taxes are going to be the very least of your concerns.  If your party gets its way, before long you're about to get a crash course in what it means to be Black in America, and then some.

So before you attend your next tea party, you need to give this matter some serious thought, because you're already being used in the very same way that the Confederacy used Black soldiers during the Civil War - like worthless cannon fodder. The only difference is, you've been given a megaphone to brag about your stupidity.

Now, you may want to write me off as being ridiculous, but think about it. Did the Republican Party promote demonstrations or give illegal "news conferences" to whip you into a frenzy when they gave the world's largest windfall to those who harass you every month over your mortgage and credit card debt?  Absolutely not - and that's in spite of the fact that Wall Street spent part of your money wining, dining, and passing out huge bonuses to themselves. So why are they doing it now, when it comes to helping you and your family?  And worse yet, they now have you blindly fighting against healthcare for your own family in order to protect the assets of the very same people who just robbed you on Wall Street. How dumb can you get?

What makes it more "socialist" to help you and your family than it is to help the rich and theirs? Yet, when President Obama suggested that it was time to help the average American, many of your Republican "representatives" started frantically looking for ways to refuse the money. In fact, Gov. Rick Perry became so incensed over the prospect of helping the people of Texas that he even brought up the possibility of seceding from the union.

Now I ask you, when have you ever heard of a politician becoming fighting mad over having money thrust upon him? That alone should send up a huge red flag for anyone with eyeballs. It just doesn't make sense - that is, unless the politician's interest is diametrically opposed to the people he represents, and that's exactly the case with respect to the Republican Party.

The Republican base is in deep denial. You're like a wife who catches her husband in bed with another woman. Then as the wife stands there in shocked disbelief, the husband hustles his lover out of the room, then casually looks at his wife and asks, "What woman?" He then goes on to convince his wife that she can't believe her lying eyes; that he only rented the room because he intended to call her for a romantic night of passion. Then after hearing his explanation, his wife wants to believe him so badly that she allows herself to be convinced that she imagined it all. She then apologizes for being so silly and falls into his arms, and a soaking wet bed.

While that's a well worn comedy skit, that's exactly what's happening with the Republican base. It should be clear to anyone with any kind of common sense that the Republican Party is aggressively working against your interest. But you want to believe your version of reality so badly, that you're willing to make love in a previously soaked bed.

That's why we call you wingnuts. Because it's nothing short of amazing how the GOP can get you to turn out in droves, and on the verge of insurrection, in order to prevent President Obama from shepherding in legislation that would prevent the insurance industry from cutting your throats. You've allowed yourselves to be convinced that blocking guaranteed healthcare for your families is in your families' best interest - and that's in spite of the fact that the families of the politicians you're listening to are comfortably enjoying that very same healthcare that they're claiming will lead to America's destruction.

Even though an audit by the Congressional Budget Office indicates that healthcare reform would actually lower the national deficit, you're allowing the GOP to convince you that the cost of protecting your families is too much of a burden for America to bear. But how does that square with the fact that in the very next speech these very same politicians are urging President Obama to send an additional forty thousand of your sons and daughters to possibly die in Afghanistan, at a cost of a million dollars per soldier?

So, pardon my terminology, but this is clearly a case of wingnuts seeing only what you want to see. You need to open your eyes to the fact that the GOP has but one agenda - regaining power. That entails two things - satisfying the coffers of their corporate masters, which entails picking your pocket; and sabotaging President Obama's effort to bring you relief, which entails making sure that you and your family are miserable for at least the next four years.

Your willingness to accept, in fact, promote this nonsense leaves many to believe that you either have less than an animal's sense of self-preservation, or that you hate the idea of Obama being in the White House so intensely that you're willing to throw both your families, and America, under the bus to ensure that he's not successful. That suggests that you're at best, merely stupid, but at worst, both stupid and racist - which, of course, is synonymous.

But don't feel alone, because you're not the only ones who need to wake up. If president Obama escalates the war in Afghanistan, we're going to hear clinking champaign glasses all over GOPland, because Republicans know better than anyone that the war in Afghanistan is a no-win quagmire just waiting to happen.

Dick Cheney is pressuring Obama into Afghanistan as a lobbyist for the war machine. If this man had any character at all, after his cowardly behavior during the Vietnam War, and his atrociously inept performance during his eight years in office, he should be ashame to face the American people. But he has no shame, and he's more than willing to give YOUR all to enrich the coffers of war machine.

While Cheney is a coward and was inept in office, he has a genius for destruction, and he's become fixated on trying to destroy President Obama. He knows that once Obama commits to escalating the war in Afghanistan the president is going to have a huge liability in the 2012 election. He also knows that an escalation of the war will waste badly needed resources that we could use to improve the economy. But most diabolical of all is that Cheney knows that escalating the war will leave the president having to account for the lives of your sons and daughters who are happily walking around today getting married, having children, and planing their future. He's depending on them not being around in 2012.  After that, Bush's disaster in Iraq won't look quite so bad. So again, Cheney is pushing for your kids to be used as cannon fodder to better Republican chances in the 2012 election.

Thus, the president needs to realize that it's easy for Cheney to pull for the war. He and his cohorts aren't contributing one thing to the war effort, so it's a win-win situation for them. Their kids are safely at home, they reap windfall profits, they make the president look weak to his base for caving in, and they take the Iraqi disaster off the table for the 2012 election.

So while we share differing political views, I'm pulling for the lives of your children, and I hope the president does the same. I'm hoping the president realizes that only the insane tries the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. As an intelligent man and student of history, he simply has to recognize that we've tried the exact same thing, using the exact same rationale, in both Vietnam, and Iraq, and they've both turned out to be utter disasters. All we've gotten in return is a hemorrhaging treasury, and bulging cemeteries.

Candidate Obama promised us change, and the most profound change that he can provide us at this point in history is fewer mourning families. I hope he recognizes that as long as this nation continues to treat our troops like pawns instead of people who love their lives, and have hopes and dreams for a future, all other change is merely superficial.

So as the president deliberates his course of action in Afghanistan, I'd like him to ponder two questions on behalf of us all. The first: What decision would he make on Afghanistan if he knew with certainty that his own daughters would be the very first casualties in an escalation of the war? In such a case, I'm virtually certain that he'd decide that the effort wasn't worth the cost. And the second question is, what makes the lives of our children of any less value than his own?

If the president can answer those two questions honestly, his course of action should be clear.

Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

The Filibuster: A Platform for Prima Donnas to Obstruct Democracy


The Filibuster: A Platform for Prima Donnas to Obstruct Democracy

It's time to get rid of the filibuster in the United States Senate. The filibuster is a senate rule where if there is less than sixty votes on any issue, any one senator can hold up the people's business by blocking the issue from coming to a vote before the full senate.

The movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," with Jimmy Stewart, portrays the practice in its most charitable light. There, Jimmy Stewart's character uses the filibuster to prevent legislation from being enacted against the people by a corrupt political machine. But in reality, the filibuster is virtually always used to obstruct legislation beneficial to the people in favor of a corrupt or malevolent status quo.

In 1957 Sen. Strum Thurmond (Sen., S.C.) filibustered to obstruct the 1957 Civil Rights Act. Then in 1964 a group of Southern senators mounted a filibuster in an attempt to obstruct a vote on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which included anti lynching legislation. And just recently Sen. Joe Lieberman threatened to filibuster to prevent healthcare legislation from coming to a vote in order to protect the greed of the insurance industry - and that was in spite of the fact that a full 68% of the people who voted him into office stood firmly in favor of healthcare reform.

The filibuster is symbolic of the many ways that Americans are being manipulated by the encroachment of an increasingly insidious class system. Thus, the time has long since past for the American people to rediscover the necessity of keeping tight reins on governmental power.

It is absolutely incumbent upon us to strip individual politicians of the tools to hold badly needed legislation hostage for their own personal interest. Not only is it undemocratic to allow one senator to override the will of the people and the majority of the senate, but recent history has clearly demonstrated that politicians are much too self-serving, irresponsible, and corrupt to be vested with such tremendous power.

In an article in Slate.com, it was pointed out that Joe Lieberman's opposition to healthcare reform came only one day after the insurance lobby released a report attacking it. Slate also pointed out that Lieberman's home state of "Connecticut is home to 72 insurance companies, including Aetna, a major player in the health-insurance industry whose PAC and employees have this year given Lieberman $65,200." As a result, Lieberman didn't blink an eye before throwing his constituents under the bus.

So while Joe Lieberman didn't follow through with his threat to filibuster healthcare legislation, it certainly wasn't because he prayed over the issue and suddenly found God. Lieberman didn't follow through with his threat for the very same reason that seems to generally motivate his machinations - self-interest. First, he wants to keep his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee in the senate, which the Democrats allowed him to keep even after he turned on them in the 2008 election. And secondly, the pressure for him to fall into line became much too intense for his cowardly heart to take. His threat to filibuster the legislation was designed to pull other Democrats onboard, but when he failed to do so, he lacked the character to stand alone.

President Eisenhower pointed out in his speech on the military/industrial complex that "Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together [emphasis added]." That also applies to every other area of American governance. But due to the under funding and concerted attack on our educational system, we're rapidly losing that essential characteristic, which is absolutely necessary to maintain the viable democracy that was established by this nation's founders.

Over the years America has become increasingly hostile toward education and the pursuit of knowledge in general. In fact, many of our politicians have started to actively demonize education in much the same way that they demonized the term "liberal" in the sixties. The educated members of our society are now often referred to as "elitist." The hostility of our politicians toward education stems from the fact that the demagoguery of control and manipulation cannot thrive in a knowledgeable society. A knowledgeable society would immediately recognize that one man should not be able to obstruct public policy.

So they've mounted a brutal attack on our educational system by trying to starve it to death. Those who are entrusted with the nation's most valuable asset - the intellectual development of our nation's youth - are denigrated, paid like paupers, and relegated to among the lowest tiers of our society, when they should be at the top. And while other countries are guaranteeing a higher education to all who are qualified, the children of the poor and middle class in the United States are being arrested for demonstrating against college tuition being raised far beyond their ability to pay.

This is not by accident. Our educational system is being purposely undermined so the American people can be easily trained, like Pavlov's dog, to respond to emotional cues rather than rational thought. In that way, corporate manipulators like Joe Lieberman, Fox News, and the Republican Party are left to define, for the people, what's in their best interest. It allows the likes of Rush Limbaugh or a Glen Beck to instruct them in when it's appropriate to become outraged.

That leaves the nation in a very precarious position, because now, instead of loving America, and American ideals, the people have been conditioned to vest their love and loyalty in individuals. We currently see the effect of that in the people's response to Sarah Palin on the right, and President Obama on the left. While certaintly not equating the president with Sarah Palin, the point is, many people have confused their love for individuals with patriotism, and the character of that "patriotism" is determined by the character of the individual. That's extremely dangerous, especially since these people lack the education to reflect back on WWII.

The problem is, in order for American citizens to truly love America, they have to know what it is about America that's worth loving. But due to the attack on our educational system, we've spawned a generation of Americans who know absolutely nothing about American traditions, nor ideals. That's why they so easily accept torture, and the invasion of privacy as though it's business as usual. That's also why they so casually accept the fact that there's a class of people who are obviously above the law. That's what they see in American life, and they have no other frame of reference or educational background to inform them that having a class above the law is un-American. As a result, we have a constant chipping away of American values.

While part of President Eisenhower's warning was "make no assumptions," those of us who do have a knowledge of American ideals have made the false assumption that a knowledge of America's traditions are so fundamental that it's common to all Americans. But the fact is, it's not. There's a large segment of our population who don't know what it means to be an American. Thus, it's not necessary for corporate controllers to take away our rights, we've become so ignorant as a people that we're fighting one another to give them away - and don't make the mistake of thinking that applies to only the least of us.

Our military personnel all get a crash course in what it means to be an American, but what of the corporate and political class? The politicians tell us that we're at war. That used to mean that the entire country pulled together to sacrificed equally to defeat the enemy. But how many sons and daughters of the political or corporate class have died in this war? That's right - not one.

Yeah, I know. We have a volunteer army. But if America is in such a life and death struggle, why aren't the rich and political class urging their children to volunteer in the name of patriotism? I'll tell you why - because the pride of the founding fathers has become so remote that the rich and powerful now see patriotism as pedestrian. These people have learned from their parents - Dick Cheney, for example - that the pride of patriotism is nothing more than a tool to manipulate the masses.

Why isn't the super-patriotic Liz Cheney driving a truck in Iraq? The simple answer is, because she sees it as beneath her station. She feels that there are "little people" to do that sort of thing. Her job is to be a cheerleader.

Thus, we've become the victims of our own ignorance, and it's time to set that straight before it's too late. And the only way that we can restore ourselves as "we the people," is by reasserting ourselves over the lofty and arrogant by stripping then of their political power. And the very first step in that process should be regaining control of congress, and stripping these prima donnas of the right to filibuster the will of the American people.


Eric L. Wattree

Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Murder Inc, and the New World Disorder


Murder Inc, and the New World Disorder

At first blush, one would think that the Republican Party is making much ado about nothing with their staged outrage over the decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his 9/11 conspirators in the U.S. Federal court. Considering the macho stance that they generally take against Al Qaeda, one would think they'd say "bring it on", and be anxious to drag the conspirators back to the scene of the crime to face the consequences of their horrific act. After all, being forced to answer for their crimes before the people of New York represents the epitome of poetic justice.

But all of a sudden these swaggering chicken hawks seem to be trembling in their boots at the mere thought of bringing these terrorists on American soil to face justice. That's quite a curious reaction from this group - not just that they're afraid, but that they'd be so freely willing to admit it. Ordinarily they'd die before they'd admit being afraid of terrorists. So something is definitely afoot. Something has to be terribly important to these conservatives for them to risk being seen as cowards - especially since there's actually nothing to fear. But as usual, whenever one is uncertain about Republican thinking, you simply follow the money.

These people aren't afraid that trying the 9/11 conspirators on American soil is going to place the United States in jeopardy. After all, if terrorists are going to attack us in retaliation for putting their cohorts on trial, it doesn't matter where the trial is held. Even if the trial is held at Gitmo, they're not going to attack Cuba, they're going to attack the United States. So what's the real deal?

The Republicans are actually concerned about perception. They want to prevent these terrorists from looking like the common criminals that they are at any cost. They're afraid that will cause the American people to wake up and recognize that we could save billions of dollars a year by letting law enforcement go after these people.

Thus, by insisting on a military tribunal, the Republican Party is protecting the perception that these people are military combatants. That will both protect the war industry, that continues to feed from America's trough to the tune of billions of dollars a year, and keep the American people from recognizing what a wild goose chase they had us on for seven years.

If Osama Bin Laden didn't exist they would have had to invent him in order to sustain America's most thriving industry - the war machine. The most clear evidence of that is the fact that if the Bush administration had continued its efforts in Afghanistan immediately after 9/11, they would have had Bin Laden by now. But instead, while on the very threshold of victory over the Taliban, they did an about face to engage in the much more lucrative Iraqi campaign - and to this day, they're still trying to find reasons to justify that action.

The fact is, they knew they couldn't justify the expenditures they were seeking by engaging a gang of criminals. They needed a government to fight to justify their greed. In addition, since the Bush administration was made up of oil men, Iraq's oil fields were irresistibly seductive. The fact is, as any thinking person should know by now, Bush wasn't engaged in a war on terror. His war was on the United States treasury. Bush even admitted at one point that,"I don't think about Osama - he is irrelevant." Oh, really? Then what is relevant?

With all of the treasure and manpower that we spent in Iraq, we could have surrounded Bin Laden, cut off his escape routes, and simply closed in on him. If Bush had done that Bin Laden would have been dead by now. It simply strains credulity to believe that the entire United States military can't run down and capture a group of thugs - especially since they knew where they were hiding. But Bush couldn't do that, because that would have destroyed the war machine's cash cow. They needed Bin Laden out there to scare the American people into giving up their rights, keeping Republicans in power, and emptying their piggy bank.

Thus, this so called "war on terror" has been a farce from the very beginning. Nations go to war against other nations, not criminals. By declaring war on individuals who don't like us, they're guaranteeing that we're going to be at war forever, since every time we kill an innocent "non-combatant," we create more enemies. But that's exactly what the Republicans and their war machine want. They have just as much of a vested interest in waging war as General Motors has in selling cars.

As one of his final acts of office President Eisenhower warned us about these people. He said, in part:

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military/industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

"We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

President Obama should take counsel from his Republican predecessor and bring this nonsense to an end. No one was more of an authority on the war machine than President Eisenhower. After all, as the commanding general of the allied effort during WWII, he created the war machine, and he had an intimate understanding of the thinking and character of the men who ran it. Thus, his warning to the American people.

Using the United States military to go after a few terrorists is like trying to swat flies with a sledge hammer. We're wasting both lives and treasure, and the carnage that we're leaving behind is creating more terrorists than we're killing. So President Obama should allow the CIA to go after the top people in Al Qaeda and simply cut off its head. We should then pull our troops out of Afghanistan, then deploy enough troops in Pakistan to assure the security of their nuclear arsenal.

Finally, and just as important as going after Al Qaeda, the president should remember his oath of office and allow the rule of law to take its course with regard to Bush, Cheney, and the rest of their cronies. Al Qaeda can only do peripheral damage to this nation, while Bush and Cheney have struck at the very pillars of America's soul.

We cannot protect America by sacrificing our values. If we allow that to happen, Bin Laden has won. So let us not allow the collapse of the twin towers to become a metaphor for the destruction of American ideals.

Eric L. Wattree
Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Teabaggers Want their Country Back - Preferably, Circa 1860


The Teabaggers Want their Country Back - Preferably, Circa 1860

I just saw another one of those videos. You know the kind - the ones that Fox "News" love to show of the clueless teabagger with tears in her eyes, complaining that she wants her country back. These sound bites are designed to tug at our heartstrings, but they have just the opposite effect on me. What I see is a social bigot who thinks the world is about to come to an end because Barack Obama is the president instead of the White House butler.

The complete irony of that clip is the fact that, that very Black man that she's complaining about is actually the one who's trying to give her a country that she can call her own, while the Republican that she's crying to secretly looks upon her, and her kind, as ignorant trailer trash that's only good for contributing to their wealth and power, pumping out babies that they can grind up in their war machine, and making a fool of herself in their staged videos. The man can barely disguise his disgust as he's looking at her.

I find myself making the very same point article after article, but what else can I do when such a large part of the population has been so thoroughly brainwashed that they can't see what's right before their eyes? Let me amend that. I think they can see it, but they refuse to recognize a reality that they don't want to accept.

Not all, but many of these people know that it's driving them crazy that a Black man is in the White House. But since it's no longer socially acceptable for them to be blatantly racist, they have to disguise their racist attitudes by couching them in other issues with a wink. "It's not that I hate that Black man in the White House, it's just that I hate everything he represents, even if what he represents directly benefits my family." These people are indulging in a classic example of cutting off their nose to spite their face.

One might argue that many people were also against health-care reform under President Clinton, and he was White. That is true, but they hated Bill Clinton, liberalism, and the Democratic Party almost as much as they hate Obama, because all three advocated the "slippery slope" that led to Obama.

The GOP is very good at marketing, and they mounted a brilliant campaign to demonized the word "liberal" in the political lexicon. During the sixties they mounted a campaign against liberalism by equating it with the push for civil rights, being "soft on crime," and promoting welfare - which was politispeech for coddling Black people. Then by repeatedly combining these concepts, the word liberal became associated, at least, in the uneducated mind, with "those who coddle Black people, who are criminal, lazy, and want to take your money while they sit on welfare and take drugs." Through the use of that tactic the GOP successfully turn the word liberal into now, what is essentially, a racial slur.

So it's no wonder the Teabaggers are up in arms. As far as they're concerned, the country is being run by a criminal (who's probably taking drugs in the White House), who wants to take their money so he can set up lazy Black people to lay-up on welfare and have babies at their expense.

Many of these people have been programed all of their lives to believe that propaganda, so that Mindset is as much a part of them as their religion - and the Republican Party is continuing to reinforce that belief with every sound bite. So in short, with every teabag rally, the GOP is purposely trying to incite insurrection.

Am I overstating my case? Is it possible that the GOP is legitimately concerned about the plight of the American people? I don't think so.

The Republicans have become so blatant in their attempt to manipulate the people that they've become predictable. I did an experiment. Right after I heard about the Fort Hood shooting I rushed to Twitter to record my prediction that GOP supporters were going to find a way to twist the facts to involve President Obama as part of their demonization campaign:


Let's see how long it takes for the Republicans to try to twist the Fort Hood Shootings into a political attack on Obama. 12:39 PM Nov 5th from web.

The next day's entry:

Yesterday I said let's see how long before wingnuts blame [the fort Hood] shooting on Obama. Well... http://bit.ly/uLhxS, 6:31 PM Nov 6th from web.

Just as I predicted an article was published in the WorldNet Daily, a publication founded by arch conservative, Joseph Farah, claiming that the shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, was an advisor on President Obama's transition team. But of course, it was a lie. Nidal simply attended a conference hosted by George Washington University. He had absolutely nothing to do with the Obama transition team.

And Farah's not just some blogger who didn't get his facts straight. He's a life long "journalist" and long time conservative operative. Prior to founding WorldNet Daily, Farah was executive editor of the now defunct Los Angeles Herald Examiner, and later, the editor of the Sacramento Union. While at the Union, he persuaded Rush Limbaugh to write a daily front page column. He also collaborated with Limbaugh on the book, See, I told You So, in 1994.

Farah is also a prominent birther, who's quoted as saying, regarding the birther's claim that President Obama wasn't born in the United States, that "It'll plague Obama through out his presidency. It'll be a nagging issue and a sore on his administration, much like Monica Lewinsky was on Bill Clinton's presidency," and, "It's not going to go away, and it will drive a wedge in an already divided public."

So there you have it - not in my words, but in the words of a prominent conservative operative. The Republicans' primary agenda is not to pull the people of this country together in order to weather two wars, the loss of homes and jobs, and the deepest recession since the Great Depression, but to "drive a wedge in an already divided public."

What a fine bunch of patriots, these Republicans. Every time the word "America" comes out of their mouths, it makes me want to throw up.

Eric L. Wattree
Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's Time for America to Stop Claiming to be a Great Nation, and Start Becoming One


It's Time for America to Stop Claiming to be a Great Nation, and Start Becoming One

I want to begin this article by thanking Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her responsible Democratic colleagues, and one Republican, for standing up for the American people in their historic passage of the health-care bill in the house. I've bitterly criticized Speaker Pelosi in the past, and I'm still smarting over her "impeachment is off the table" stance during the Bush administration, but she stepped up to the plate in a very big way in this, the most significant legislation that the house has pasted in a generation. So thank you, Madam speaker.

But that said, now is the time for progressives, Democratic supporters, and all citizens who care about a congress "of the people" to also step up to the plate - not by weeping and begging the Liebercrats in the Senate to do what's right by the people, but by showing them the consequences of not doing so.

The American people have been so disengaged for the past generation or two that all of our threats, negative polls, and protestations are hitting what has become a tin ear in congress. It has become clear that when many in congress have to choose between the best interests of the people and the possible loss of corporate largess, the people's interest will come up short every time.
Joe Lieberman is a prime case in point.

After being forced into a corner, Lieberman has publicly thumbed his nose at a 47% margin in favor of a public option in health-care by his own constituents - and that's after they dramatically saved his career in the 2006 election. Even after what Lieberman did in the 2008 election to the Democratic voters who supported his vice presidential bid in 2000, that sets a new standard in unconscionable ingratitude, even for him.

Not only has Lieberman indicated that he's going to use "his power as one senator" to defy the will of the people who sent him back to the senate, but he invited other Democratic senators to join him. This blatant act of treachery towards the people MUST be roundly and publically slapped down by ALL of the citizens of this nation if "we the people" expect to remain at all relevant. Our failure to do so is to sign off on a precedent that effectively changes the very character of America - from "we the people," to "we the sheep."

Lieberman's treachery has brought America to the proverbial fork in the road. Historians will one day look back and define this one act as the point in American history where either the American people finally stepped up to the plate to re-take control of their government, or where America surrendered to corporatism and became just another corpo-banana republic.

Thus, it is not enough to simply criticize Joe Lieberman as just another self-serving politician. His treachery strikes so directly at the heart of the character of this nation that it is incumbent upon the American people to ensure that his name, and his ilk, lives in infamy in the annals of American history. His treachery must be used to draw a line in America's sand, just like with Benedict Arnold, to let all future demagogues know that they cross it, not only at their own risk, but at their GUARANTEED demise.

So as I pointed out in an earlier article, since a senator cannot be recalled, the citizens of Connecticut should add a scarlet letter to Lieberman's name by passing a state resolution apologizing to the American people for sending such a man to the senate, and demanding that he resign. Then the Democratic Party should strip him of his chairmanship of the Committee on Homeland Security, and banish him from the Democratic caucus. Thereafter, if the Republican Party chooses to embrace him, they will also clearly define who they are, and what they represent.

Thereafter, the people should turn their attention to the 39 other Libercrats in house, as well as those in the senate. We've got to make them understand that the people have spoken. The American people want comprehensive health-care with a public option - period. So as far as we're concerned, all of the arguments against it are nothing but meaningless distractions designed to protect the insurance industry to the detriment of the American people.

We must come together to make it clear to every American that all of the Liebercrats in the house and senate are clearly reading from a prepared script. They complain of "government-run health-care." Medicare is also government run. Do they want to abolish that as well? Lieberman complained that "the cost is too great," and he didn't want to do that to America, but did he worry about the costs, in both monetary and human terms, when he advocated the invasion of Iran?

If it was up to Lieberman, we'd not only be involved in two, but three wars. He and his fellow Liebercrats had absolutely no problem with that, nor did they have a problem with voting to fund the senseless and totally unnecessary war in Iraq. They funded that "off budget," because it greased the pockets of the military/industrial death machine.

But only now, when the "pedestrian" concern for American lives are the issue, do they rediscover their fiscal responsibility. But of course, that couldn't possibly be because it entails taking money away from their corporate patrons in order to benefit the average American:

Was cost an issue when congress voted themselves a $93,000 increase in "petty cash" . . . each, then a month later gave themselves an additional $4,700 raise? And let us not forget, that they did this while their constituents were suffering the loss of homes and jobs, and the country was in the midst of the deepest recession since the great depression.

Was cost an issue during the Bush administration when these "fiscal conservatives" committed to building an embassy in Iraq that's rivaled only by the Vatican in terms of size and opulence? It's by far the largest embassy in the world, built on 104 acres of land, and it has been estimated that it's going to cost a billion dollars a year just to maintain.

Their concern for fiscal responsibility also seemed to come up missing in action when, according to a Post article, the Defense Department's inspector general says that the Pentagon "cannot account for almost $15 billion worth of goods and services ranging from trucks, bottled water and mattresses to rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns that were bought from contractors in the Iraq reconstruction effort." And the article goes on to indicate that "The Pentagon did not have the proper documentation, including receipts, vouchers, signatures, invoices or other paperwork, for $7.8 billion that American and Iraqi contractors were paid for phones, folders, paint, blankets, Nissan trucks, laundry services and other items."

The article also points out that "the inspector general found deficiencies in accounting for $5.2 billion of U.S. Payments to buy weapons, trucks, generators and other equipment for Iraq's security forces. In addition, the Defense Department spent $1.8 billion of seized Iraqi assets with "absolutely no accountability." Where was their concern for America's fiscal vitality then?

It's time for the American people to stop whining, complaining, and threatening. It's also time for us to stop simply accepting the status quo as "just the way things are." While it is true that it is the way things are, it is only that way because we allow it. So it's past time for us to stop allowing it, and start taking immediate action against these disingenuous, self-serving rogues.

We shouldn't say another word to these foot-dragging senators. Even before they get the chance to vote, we should start organizing to get rid of all those senators threatening to vote against comprehensive health-care, right along with Lieberman and his 39 cohorts in the house.

A great nation protects its citizens, so it's time for America to stop claiming to be a great nation, and start being one.

Eric L. Wattree
Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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