Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Messenger

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE


The Messenger

He stepped from the mist,
eloquent and bold,
a message from our forefathers
and the dreams they foretold.

He spoke of honor and courage,
and the ideals we embrace,
the trials left before us
that he assured us we'd face.

Poised for greatness
against enemies of yond,
but oblivious to within
from those we were warned.

Peace and civility
is his motto and plan,
convinced that such tactics
will appeal to all men.

But brilliance aside,
and with respect to his creed,
he's not fighting mere men,
and corporations don't bleed.

Eric L. Wattree
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)

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, January 27, 2011

Obama Supporters vs. Cheerleaders

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

Obama Supporters vs. Cheerleaders

There are two types of people who support President Obama. There are his supporters who want to see him be a success, and then there are the cheerleaders who simply go along with everything that he does and deeply resent his supporters who don't.

The president's supporters understand the importance of remembering that in a representative democracy the president, and all politicians, are elected to serve the people, and not vice versa. They understand that all politicians are employees, and their primary job is to represent and protect the interest and principles of those who hired them. Thus, when we place the importance of any one man above our own principles, we create a dangerous situation by corrupting the intent of our founding fathers, and turning the democratic process on its head.

Cheerleaders on the other hand, tend to be followers - or loyal subjects, as it were. Instead of thinking for themselves, they tend to fall so deeply in love with individual politicians that they depend on those politicians to think for them. That's exactly what the founding fathers sought to avoid, because it creates a political class free to wheel-and-deal without any oversight. It also sets the people up to be demagogued, where politicians cease acting in the people's best interest, and begin to place their own interests before that of the people who elected them.

That's exactly why this country is dysfunctional today. We've embraced a cheerleader mentality that's made it much easier for the people to be exploited by special interests. Under the current paradigm, instead of special interests having to con an entire population, they simply have to corrupt a small handful of men. That explains why money is the life's blood of our political system.

Thus independent thinking Obama supporters play an important role in Obama's presidency. Much like the checks and balances of our three branches of government, actively vigilant Obama supporters prevent him from straying too far off track. Cheerleaders, on the other hand, tend to forget that no matter how well-meaning, Obama is isolated in Washington. He can't simply go out on the street and get a feel for what the people are thinking like we can. He has to rely on the advice of the political establishment, and much of that advice is tainted to meet the establishment's agenda.

As important and as brilliant as President Obama is, in Washington, D.C. he's in the position of a billionaire confined to a harlot's den. He's getting a lot of advice from a lot of  very seductive people, but much of that advice is designed to enrich those who are giving him the advice. It is up to those who truly support him, therefore, to keep him focused, and help him to navigate a totally corrupt environment.

George W. Bush's more sensible supporters found that out the hard way. Had they not allowed themselves to become cheerleaders and completely drowned out by Washington's special interest groups, vice-president and military/industrial lobbyist, Dick Cheney, wouldn't have been able to destroy Bush's presidency. Bush himself seemed to recognize that in the end. That's why he refused to pardon Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, and became estranged from Cheney toward the end of his presidency.

So it's very important that Obama supporters speak out loud and clear, so they won't be drowned out by Washington's special interests. In the final analysis, we're the only ones he can depend on to tell him what he needs to hear, as oppose to what's convenient for him to hear.

As Edward R. Murrow pointed out during the McCarthy era, "A citizenry of sheep begets a government of wolves." That's as true for presidents as it is the public at large. It is incumbent upon all Obama supporters, therefore, to speak out when they see him veering off course. By doing so, we protect our president from Washington's wolves, and prevent him from becoming a part of the flock.

As we've mentioned before, sometimes with even the greatest of men, we must drag them up Mt. Rushmore kicking and screaming.


Eric L. Wattree

wattree.blogspot.com
Ewattree@Gmail.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)

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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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Is Sarah Palin More Dangerous than the Average Guy in the Hood?

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

Is Sarah Palin More Dangerous than the Average Guy in the
Hood?




Date: January 15th, 2011
Name: Caroline Miniscule
Subject: Is Sarah Palin more dangerous than the average guy in the hood?
Comment: I don't think so.

"If you read all the information that is coming out about the loon who attempted to murder Giffords, you find out he was mentally unstable for some time. He could just have easily been set off by watching a WWF wrestling commercial, that shows steroid-pumped guys stomping people on the ground, breaking chairs over peoplels' backs, and so on. Or he could have been lstening to rap music which disses women and advocates the killing of police officers."

Writer's response:

Caroline,

You're either being disingenuous or you're incredibly naive. The fiscal conservatives (the corporatists) are using their army, the social conservatives (social bigots), to gain control over this country by any means necessary - and that includes insurrection. So by failing to speak out against this tactic Obama is allowing these factions to insert fascist rhetoric into the national debate, a tactic designed to both desensitize the American people to the thought of political violence, and to provide the GOP with plausible deniability.

You indicated that the "loon" who committed the shooting was mentally unstable so he could have gone after anyone. But he didn't. He was stopped by a police officer on the way to commit his crime who he could have killed, but he didn't. He passed by several locations closer to his home where he could have killed people, but he didn't. He went directly to a Democratic function to commit this crime.

Yes, he was unstable, but that's exactly who the corporatists are trying to incite with their inflammatory rhetoric to commit their crimes. Just since your comment California  governor, Jerry Brown, has been threatened with a specific day that he's going to be killed, and in Spokane, Washington a bomb was planted along the path of the Martin Luther King Day parade route. Coincident? I don't think so.

I'd also like to take a moment to debunk the myth being widely spread by the corporate media that merely mentioning the Nazis in response to what's currently going on in America is irresponsible and beyond the pale. That's total nonsense and is in direct contradiction to another adage that states that a crazy person is one who does the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. Thus, the corporate media is literally asking us to embrace insanity.

Demanding that we never mention Nazi tactics in relation to current conditions in this country not only demands that we totally ignore the experience that we gained from the most horrific period in world history, but also assume that there will never be another group comparable to the Nazis in the future.

So what if the comparison is valid and some contemporary faction in the nation is, in fact, comparable to the Nazis? What should we do, simply ignore them just to adhere to some arbitrary maxim? I'm sure they'd love that. Thus, on its face, the adage is a stupid rule of thumb  - and the only reason we've accepted it is because we're being reprogrammed out of our common sense, and our ability to be independent thinkers.

So we should actually be asking ourselves the following: 1). Who's promoting this nonsense? 2). What is their motive? And 3), what methods are they using to get us to so sheepishly buy into it?

But let me save you the trouble by answering those questions for you. It's being promoted by international corporatists in order to completely takeover the United States political system. They are systemically reprogramming us by destroying our educational system, and then using their corporatemedia to whisper in our ear from the time we wake up in the morning until the second we go to bed at night - and not only through the news media, but through televison programming, commercials, the entertainment media, our politicians, and even our brainwashed peers.

Less than a week after the FCC approved the Comcast takerover of MSNBC Keith Olbermann, one of the strongest advocates of progressive views left in broadcasting was fired. Could this be the beginning of the FOXification of MSNBC under Comcast?
*

*
Clear evidence of the insidious impact that the corporate media has had on our thinking is, I was told by many in response to my previous article, President Obama's Flowery Arizona Speech, that it would have been inappropriate for the president to voice political views at a memorial service. That's another adage that's mysteriously crept into our collective psyche. How did it get there?  It's certainly not a part of our history.

During the memorial services for the children killed in the Alabama church-place bombing Dr. Martin Luther King's said,"These children - unoffending, innocent, and beautiful - were the victims of one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity."  I'd call that a pretty forceful political indictment.

So in answer to the question posed, yes, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and many others are very much more dangerous than the average guy in the hood, and  President Obama's reluctance to speak out against them is clear evidence of that. 
*

Eric L. Wattree
wattree.blogspot.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)

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, January 14, 2011

President Obama's Flowery Arizona Speech

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE 

President Obama's Flowery Arizona Speech 


It is indeed interesting to see how all of a sudden the corporate media and the GOP have come together to praise the president's Arizona speech - even FOX News. After two years of calling him a communist, a friend to terrorists, a fraud, and a liar, the GOP has finally found a reason to praise him. The reason they're praising him, however, is because, yet again, he's allowed GOP criminals off the hook.

Now the GOP says this is no time for partisan politics, but when have we ever known any situation in the past, regardless of its gravity, that the GOP considered beyond partisan politics? They didn't consider the threatened collapse of the world's financial system above partisan politics, neither do they consider the loss of homes and the unemployment of millions of American citizen above partisan politics - and we still have Republicans riding 9/11 for political gain nine years after the fact.

So the true reason that Republicans want to hold the Arizona shooting up as being above partisan politics is because they know full well that they're guilty of creating the inflamed political environment that led directly to the tragedy taking place. Thus, what there's actually no time for is flowery sentimental speeches in lieu of decisive action.

This tragedy should be used to weed out a national cancer. That would be the greatest tribute that we could pay to it's victims. But President Obama's speech - as touching as it was - was an attempt to treat that cancer with an over-the-counter antiseptic, when what we need is radical surgery.

The president needs to recognize that the GOP is run by corporatists. These very same people are responsible for killing over a million Iraqi citizens, so they could care less about flowery speeches, nor, do they care about the life of one 9-year-old little girl. They have a corporate and political agenda to promote, so the life of one little girl is meaningless to them. They look upon her death as merely collateral damage. So the minute this uproar subsides it will be business as usual.

But President Obama doesn't seem to recognize that. He insists on adding sugar to strychnine so it won't taste so bad going down, then bringing us together in a rousing chorus of Kumbaya to ensure it's administered in a civil manner. He seems to be completely oblivious to the fact that the poison is still going to kill us in the end.

It's beginning to look like President Obama's not going to see the light until these people are goosestepping through Times Square - and I'm saying that as a moderate progressive. Recently elected GOP local chairman, Anthony Miller, on the other hand, could see the writing on the wall. He saw it so clearly, in fact, that he resigned his post - and he was in the GOP inner circle. So why can't the president see the light?

According to The Arizona Republic, Anthony Miller, "a 43-year-old Ahwatukee Foothills resident and former campaign worker for U.S. Sen. John McCain, was re-elected to a second one-year term last month. He said constant verbal attacks after that election and internet blog posts by some local members with Tea Party ties made him worry about his family's safety." The article goes on to say, "Miller told state Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen he was quitting: 'Today my wife of 20 yrs ask (sic) me do I think that my PCs (Precinct Committee members) will shoot at our home? So with this being said I am stepping down from LD20GOP Chairman...I will make a full statement on Monday.'" Three other party officials also resigned.

In addition, The Telegraph reported as far back as November 2008 that "The Secret Service warned the Obama family in mid October that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Mrs Palin's attacks. Michelle Obama, the future First Lady, was so upset that she turned to her friend and campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett and said: 'Why would they try to make people hate us?"' The article indicated that, "[Palin's] attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling "terrorist" and "kill him" until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric" (Sarah Palin blamed by the US Secret Service over death threats against Barack Obama ).

So wake up, Mr. President. Part of being an effective leader is knowing when the time for talking is over and it's time to take decisive action - and being an apologists for domestic enemies of the state doesn't meet that test. You're inaction is allowing fascist rhetoric to become a routine part of the political debate, and that's not a good thing. This nation needs to confront the issue of inflammatory and insurrectionist rhetoric head on.

This kind of behavior simply cannot be tolerated in a free society. While the United States Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech, along with that freedom comes responsibility. Thus, nowhere in the Constitution does it guarantee the right to be criminally negligent.

At times like this I wish you'd spent more time in the 'hood. Then you would have immediately recognized these people as classic bullies, and understand that appeasement is not going to work. The more you give a bully, the more emboldened they become - ask Neville Chamberlain. So stop making excuses for these people and step up to the plate, because the very last thing we need in this recklessly hostile environment is a president trying to be a nice guy - and you can ask Jimmy Carter about that one.

Eric L. Wattree
wattree.blogspot.com
Ewattree@Gmail.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)

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, January 12, 2011

Anyone Who can't See that the GOP is Purposely Provoking violence is an Idiot

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

Anyone Who can't See that the GOP is Purposely Provoking violence is an Idiot



It was my intent to do part IV of my Common-Sense Plan to Save the Postal Service, but in light of the senseless shooting committed by Jared Loughner in Arizona on Saturday, January 8, and the grossly disingenuous response by the GOP, I felt that I would be unforgivably remiss if I joined much of the weak-kneed press in failing to point out that anyone who doesn't recognize that this shooting is a direct result of the GOP's irresponsible and concerted campaign of violent rhetoric is either a fool, complicit, or blind.

Let us look at the facts. Every since President entered office the GOP has been engaged in rhetoric specifically designed to provoke the unstable, feeble-minded, and radical elements of this society. In spite of the fact that President Obama has a birth certificate on file in Hawaii, and a Hawaiian newspaper carried an announcement of his birth, right-wing birthers insisted that Obama was not a United States citizen, and thus, held the office of the presidency illegally (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DlTgrMCxPg&feature=related).

In addition, the New York Post even went so far as to publish an assassination cartoon of Obama, portrayed as a monkey, being shot by a policeman. I pointed out the following in my article, The Assassination Cartoon:


"I'm all for freedom of speech, but there are limits. Along with freedom comes responsibility, and the New York Post demonstrated the complete absence of responsibility with the publication of their cartoon depicting the assassination of the President of the United States.

"While freedom of speech and expression are indeed a cornerstone of American democracy, it is against the law to shout "fire" in a crowded theater - and with good reason. It is necessary for a free society to protect itself from those who don't have the common sense to recognize that what they consider funny, or a practical joke, can get people killed. Thus, even in a free society it is sometimes necessary to jail a free citizen for behavior that amounts to criminal stupidity. While I'm not an attorney, I think they call it criminal negligence.

"That is exactly the rationale that should be used to prosecute, and jail, all those responsible for the publication of this criminally ill-considered cartoon. Most of the criticism that's being lodged against this cartoon seems to have more to do with its incredibly poor taste. But it's one thing to be petulant, immature, and bigoted - we expect that from ultraconservative extremists. But when you begin to advocate the assassination of the President of the United States, you've crossed the line - a line that separates the merely stupid, from that which is criminal.

"That cartoon literally sent a message out to every deadbeat, bigoted loser in the country that they can finally make something of themselves. They can finally find purpose in their previously miserable and lackluster lives by assassinating the President of the United States. Thus, what the New York Post is calling a meaningless joke is actually a clarion call to every bigoted fool in the United States. It says that there are people in this country who will consider you a hero if you bring violence against the president - and they know it. Can you imagine the hue and cry coming from Republicans if the New York Times had run a cartoon depicting the assassination of Ronald Reagan?

"The mere thought of perpetrating violence against the President of the United States shouldn't even be a part of the public discourse. It serves to desensitize the public to a possibility that should be unthinkable in a civilized society. But history has clearly demonstrated that one of the most lethal weapons in the conservative arsenal is subliminal suggestion - along with suggestions that aren't so subliminal - such as, liberals are aligned with drug dealers, criminals, and welfare cheats; Obama sympathizes with people who hate America and "pals around with terrorists"; and anyone who is against spying on American citizens, torture, or the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent people is un-American. Now we have this, and they're complaining, "What's all the uproar about? It was just an innocent joke."

Since I wrote that article in February of 2009, the Republican rhetoric has only heated up, with Republican congressman, Joe Wilson, of South Carolina calling the president a lie during a presidential address to a joint session of congress, Republican governor, Rick Perry, of Texas alluding to seceding from the union, clearly a statement designed to whip up revolutionary sentiment.

In addition, during the 2010 midterm election, Sharron Angle, Republican candidate for the U.S. senate from Nevada, suggested to her supporters the possibility of relying on "Second Amendment remedies," and allusion to armed insurrection against the government. Sarah Palin told her supporters, "Don't retreat, instead, reload." Palin also put up a "crosshair map," and one of the targets on that map was Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the congressperson who was shot in the head critically wounded during last Saturday's shooting. Eighteen people were wounded and six are dead, including U.S. District Judge John Roll, and 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, the granddaughter of former pro baseball manager Dallas Green.

Now the Republicans are asking, what did we do?  Well, I'd like to answer that question, and without any of the wobbly-kneed equivocation that I'm hearing in the corporate media.

You and your corporate cronies are doing everything you can to keep the American people undereducated, miserable, frustrated, and divided.  And to insure that condition, in spite of record corporate profits, you're sending American jobs overseas, threatening to starve the unemployed, and obstructing everything that president Obama and the few responsible politicians are trying to do to provide relief. Then you're stirring the pot with inflammatory language in an attempt to incite insurrection in order to promote your own selfish political agenda. That's what you're doing, and it should be clear to anyone with eyeballs.

These people need to be held accountable.

Eric L. Wattree
wattree.blogspot.com
Ewattree@Gmail.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)

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, January 09, 2011

A Father's Pride

Beneath the Spin * Eric L. Wattree
 
Raising Your Children is the Most Important Thing You Do in This Life
*
A Father's Pride
*
Eric L. Wattree, Jr.
*
HOWLING WINDS
.
As I watched my son, dapper as they come, walk down our walkway and into manhood,
what I remember most was the howling winds. I'd seen such winds before, but never like this - my old foe was pulling up trees by the roots,
.
So I watched, but I watched alone.
.
As the winds raged on and the mighty palms bowed, a single leaf from our Winter-bare ficus tree
held tough against the ferocious storm. It fought valiantly against the angry gale, as though hanging tough Just to witness the changing of the guard,
.
So I stood, but I stood alone.
.
Like that solitary leaf, all my life I've fought the ferocious winds, and now they’ve returned, this mighty foe, poised to seize the hopes and dreams of my only son,
.
So I cringed, but I cringed alone.
.
Then, posterity glanced back, squared its shoulders, and beat back hopelessness as it
trudged through fields of ivy. Then it spread its wings and rode those howling winds
over yonder mountaintop,
.
So I wept, but I wept with a crowd . . .
*
 
23 April 2002

MEMORANDUM FOR OFFICER TRAINING SCHOOL SELECTION COMMITTEE

FROM: 92 SFS/SFO
2 E. ARNOLD STREET
FAIRCHILD AFB, WA 99011

SUBJECT: Recommendation for Staff Sergeant Eric L. Wattree

1. I wholeheartedly concur with Staff Sergeant Wattree’s request to attend Officer Training School. He represents the enlisted ranks with the highest standard and will bring that dedication and professionalism to the officer corps.

2. Eric continues to lead a stellar military career; his enlisted performance reports speak for themselves. His leadership and experience, especially in contingency environments, remains a vital asset to our unit and wing. As one of my primary Phoenix Raven team leaders, he’s propelled to the forefront of all major deployments throughout the world. He’s repeatedly secured aircraft and crews, supporting a wide variety of missions, in the most austere and terrorist-ridden environments where security is severely inadequate. The diversity of these missions never limited SSgt Wattree’s capacity to adapt to each situation. For this reason, Eric was selected as our 2000 Outstanding Phoenix Raven Member of the Year and the 2001 Air Force Reserve Component Airman of the Year for the 92d Security Forces Squadron.

3. Whether operating under peacetime or contingency operations, Eric easily assumes control and tackles every situation with meticulous tenacity, a quality highly desired in our Air Force officers. Requested by name, Sergeant Wattree, provided security for presidential Banner missions throughout Greece, Peru and Viet Nam. While deployed to Afghanistan, he flew numerous combat missions in our nation’s pursuit to eradicate terrorism through Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Additionally, he provided round-the-clock force protection for aircraft in other high-threat environments including Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Oman.

4. Sergeant Wattree motivated his personnel during the worst conditions and raised the level of esprit de corps to integrate personnel from other Air Force specialties into a cohesive team. His leadership, integrity and devotion to our Air Force play an integral part in our future leadership. Eric has what it takes to become a commissioned officer and earns my full support to attend Officer Training School.

FRANK HELLSTERN, JR., Captain, USAF
Operations Officer
*
Kai and Eric, Jr.
*
I NOW STAND FIRM
.
I now stand firm. My conviction of the power of knowledge is the platform upon which my podium rests. I stand firm, strong, and now free. Free of anger. Free of self-delusion. Free of the folly of empty vanity, and free of the pernicious bane of meaningless pride without substance.
.
I stand free to look upon the eyes of other men, reflecting dignity over sorrow, and accomplishment over pain; I stand with a burning passion, fueled by the very flame that forged ancestral shackles,with a deep sense of pride and a pride that flows deep.
.
I now stand erect. The steel that once degraded my father, that chained him in bondage to this bitter Earth, now reinforce my character, making me more, rather than less; and the blood and sweat that once drenched his brow, now rage with resolve and a sense of purpose within my burning breast.
.
I now stand as a new being - neither simply African, nor simply American, but a hybrid forced to transcend the sum of my parts; no longer simply African, since being torn away from the African motherland to suffer and toil in the fields of America, and more than simply American, after being forced to be more than simply American just to survive within the bowels of this prosperous land.
.
Thus, I stand now armed - armed with the wisdom of deprivation, the courage of my conviction, and a deep conviction of my courage; and fortified - with the confidence of a survivor, the empowerment of knowledge, and a ravishing hunger for greatness.
.
I now stand the product of love, struggle, and sacrifice; a witness to man's inhumanity to man, and a monument to the hopes and dreams of a million slaves.
.
I now stand embraced by my creator, as God now smiles upon my people.
.
Yes, I Now Stand Firm.
Firm, Black, and Free.
*
The Grandbabies
*
POPPI'S DREAM
*
.
Well, Taylor,
Well, Trey,
You’re on your way,
To add to the Wattree Clan;
It’s my conviction, not hope, you will surely both,
Add a page to the sojourn of man.
.
You’ll be loved and nurtured to take your place,
In this world that you now belong;
And when we’re through, we trust both of you,
Will help make our people be strong.
.
You’ll be taught that knowledge is the key to life,
And to harvest its essence you’ll strive;
Then combine that knowledge with the wisdom of Solomon,
To help see our people survive.
.
Think not of what is politically correct,
Seek to be independent of thought;
For group-think, indeed, is not thought at all,
But that of which fools are wrought.
.
Embrace truth over all as your clarion call,
Make integrity your moral code;
And when life’s so tough you think it’s too much,
Allow God to relieve your load.
.
Make the God you trust the God of your heart,
And not the God of man;
For the God of man is man himself,
And only just when it suits his plan.
.
And look to the note that your poppy once wrote,
A withered vine ignored as benign;
Make my words come true, what I said of you,
And make my legacy whisper through time:
.
“Neither scholar nor the head of state,
The most common of men seems to be my fate;
A life blistered with struggle and constant need,
As my legacy to man I present my seed.
.
More fertile, more sturdy, they both than I,
This withered old vine left fallow and dry;
The nectar of their roots lie dormant still,
But through their fruit I’ll be revealed.”
.
Love,
Poppi
*
THE BILL CLINTON AWARD FOR SCHOLARSHIP
OUTSTANDING STUDENT OF THE YEAR 
KIWANIS CLUB OF RIALTO 
 *
Who is Nani?
She is a wonderful, god given blessing to my life. Without this woman I probably wouldn't be the successful young lady I am to this day. She is one of the main people who motivates me to do my absolute best at everything I do. I think about her every second of the day and she will never leave my memory. I must thank her for the endless love she's given me, and for watching over me all these years... Rest In Paradise Nani and Happy Mother's Day ♥
Your Grandaughter,
TayTay ♥
*
Look what we did, baby!
*
Eric and Valdie Wattree
UNTIL DEATH DO US PART -
AND BEYOND.
WE DID IT, BABY.
*
Rita - My very dear friend.
(Val would have loved you, and I'm sure she does now)

Eric L. Wattree
Http://wattree.blogspot.com
Ewattree@Gmail.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)
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, January 02, 2011

A Common-Sense Plan to Save the Postal Service Pt. III

BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE

A Common-Sense Plan to Save the Postal Service Pt. III

As pointed out in part II of this series, the forty-year experiment of trying to provide mail service by using the principles of private enterprise has led to the postal service becoming so corrupt and inefficient that it's no longer able to perform its primary mission, delivering the mail. Much like what took place on Wall street, the profit motive attendant to the principles of private enterprise has overwhelmed the agency's mandate to provide a public service. The agency's old mandate has now been replaced by the primary mission of enriching it's top executives. That, in turn, has led to a culture of employee abuse, poor customer service, and the looming demise of the agency itself. Thus, in our previous article we advocated the abolishment of the "pay-for-performance" program for the agency's top executives. As we see it, that's an essential part of any hope to save the postal service.

The pay-for-performance program was initially put into place based on the widely held assumption that outrageously higher pay would draw a higher caliber of executives, but there is absolutely no evidence that there is any correlation between greed and competence. In fact, our recent experience with the postal service, and on Wall Street, seems to suggest that just the opposite is true. Thus, a more accurate rule of thumb should be, any person who places more emphasis on wealth than character is not smart enough to be trusted.

If the executives that we entrusted to run the postal service were actually worth the money that they were being paid, surely they should have recognized that the agency's nearly 600,000 employees and the goodwill of its customers are the agency's most valuable asset. Yet, the very first thing these executives did to offset the agency's losses was to undermine them both. Even as these executives enriched themselves with unprecedented perks and salaries, they began to excess, downgrade, and literally steal from their employees, and did everything they could to make it harder for their customers to mail a letter - including removing collection boxes. And if that wasn't enough, they then began to penalize employees for waiting for an elderly or disabled customer to bring a letter to the door.

The postal board of governors should consider putting people in place who are less interested in enriching themselves than they are in the personal challenge of problem solving. With that approach maybe they'd get someone who would recognize that it's human nature to to work harder for a person who one respects, than one who makes it impossible to avoid punishment. Longstanding behavioral research shows that even rats work harder for reward than the do punishment.

In addition, a truly innovative executive would recognized the motivating power of being a part of a winning endeavor. An executive with that kind of insight would undoubtedly have come up with the idea of dividing the various work-floors into groups, and having each group elect their own leader. Then the various groups could compete to meet the unit's goals in productivity, attendance, safety, efficiency, customer service, etc. The groups' ongoing scores could be posted on a bulletin board, then at the end of each quarter the winning groups could be recognized, rewarded, and given certificates of appreciation to go into their personnel files, which could later be used for upward mobility.

Another advantage of such a system would be, since each group would have its own leader, if there's a problem within the group, the supervisor could discuss it with the group's leader to address. That would minimize confrontations between employees and management, save on grievances, free up supervisors for other tasks, and help to identify the natural leaders within the organization. Most important, however, is it would give the employees a sense of self-direction, raise employee morale, and the peer pressure attendant to internal competition would be vastly more effective in enhancing productivity than employee harassment. In short, the employees would begin to work with the postal service, instead of against it.

An insightful executive would also have recognized that one of the biggest drains on postal revenue is simply getting the routes put up for delivery. Due to the misguided impact of excessive downsizing there are literally thousands of unassigned routes across this country on any given day, and in many cases these routes are being put up by employees who aren't familiar with them. This leads directly to miscased and misdelivered mail, and a delay in getting the mail processed. So it should be obvious to any executive focused on his job that every case in the postal system should conform to a uniformed pattern.

Currently the routes are setup to conform to the way they're delivered on the street. This results in a hodgepodge of numbers and streets going in every direction. So to an employee who's unfamiliar with the route it looks like a Chinese crossword puzzle, and they require a several-day learning curve to get a handle on it. That's a tremendous drain on postal revenue.

All routes should be uniformed in the way that they're setup in the station, then pulled down according to the way that they're walked on the street. That way, a new carrier only has to figure out the route once, when he's pulling it down, instead of every time he picks up a letter.

The routes should be setup in the natural way that the human brain organizes information. Larger streets should be at the top of the case, and smaller streets at the bottom. And everything on the case should go from low to high, with even numbers first, then odd. Then in order to pull the route down the way that the mail is delivered, the swings should be numbered and color coded - blue if the addresses go from low to high, and red if they go from high to low. If the cases were setup that way, anyone would be able to walk up to any route and put it up with no problem - it would be easier on the DPS machines as well, because machines don't like confusion.

There are literally thousands of things the postal service could do to make its operation more efficient, but unfortunately, as my kids used to say, many of these high-paid executives are "stuck on stupid." They never saw a problem that cutting their employees' throats wouldn't fix.

Eric L. Wattree

wattree.blogspot.com
Ewattree@Gmail.com
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)

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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