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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