Wednesday, November 28, 2007




Have you ever noticed how much easier it is for some people to see the faults of other’s than it is to see their own? I was listening to one of my neighbors talking to my wife one day. She was gossiping about another neighbor. She said, "Girl, she is the nosiest woman I’ve ever seen. I was watching her out my bedroom window the other day. The gas man pulled up, and she was peeping through her drapes trying to see whose house he was going to." It was all I could do to keep from laughing in her face. Here she was, peeping at another woman peeping, then calling the woman she was peeping at nosy–and she completely missed the hypocrisy in that. But that’s the way people are, and not just older people. I first became aware of this flaw in human nature when I was in the kindergarten, believe it or not. We had just finished eating and it was nap-time. I wasn’t sleepy, so I was spending the time eyeballing the room, when suddenly I heard Katrina Millsap saying, "Miss Kikuchi, Eric’s got his eyes open." Katrina was a beautiful child, but even then I recognized that a career in brain surgery was definitely not in her future.

I referred to this blind spot as a flaw, but as I’ve gotten older, I now realize that it’s not a flaw at all—actually, it’s an example of God’s compassion, and his grace. While it’s necessary for us to recognize our flaws in order for humanity to improve as a species, in order for us to both gain that knowledge, and at the same time, maintain our sense of self-esteem, God had the good sense to allow us to recognize human flaws, but only as reflected through others. That’s yet another example of the genius of God’s design. If we saw our own shortcomings with the clarity that we see the shortcomings of others, we’d be so self-conscious and depressed that we wouldn’t be able to hold our heads up. That’s why I taught my kids to always remember, before you point your finger at others, you should smell it first. Well, the fact is, I just sniffed my own finger, and I don’t like what I smell.

Every week I sit up in the comfort of my den and point my finger at Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Democrats in general. I accuse them of sitting back and allowing Bush and Cheney to drag this country through the mud with impunity. In spite of the fact that I wrote an article entitled "Don’t Preach Me a Sermon, Live Me One", every week, just like a preacher, I come to this page with a sermon about how cowardly our representatives are, and how they’re selling the people out by putting their political careers ahead of what’s in the best interest of the people. That’s been very easy for me to do, because I don’t have anything to lose. But now I’m faced with a situation where I do have something to lose, and the ramifications of actually having to live the sermon that I’m so quick to preach.

The fact is, I’m not one of those people who’s been afforded the luxury of just kicking back and making a comfortable living through my intellectual productivity. I’m, literally, a man of the people. I have a 9 to 5 just like you—if you’re one of the lucky ones. When I’m not sitting on my high horse, I work for a government agency--an agency that the people of this country are intimately dependant upon. Yet, in spite of all my holier than thou pontification, I’ve sat back and watched that agency cut your throats on a daily basis—and needlessly, just so a handful of bureaucrats can save a dollar, look good on paper, and pad their bonuses that measure into multiple thousands of dollars. As I pontificate, I’m watching millions suffer for the benefit of a few. But I do have a defense. There’s a difference between my not speaking out and congress not speaking out—because in this case, we’re not talking about Pelosi’s job, we’re talking about mine.

I’d been very successful in keeping this hypocrisy in that comfortable blind spot that our minds reserve for such matters. Then, a couple of things happened, that for some reason, shock me out of my comfort zone. First, a gentleman called me who was very distressed over the hardship he’d sustained as a result of our reckless failure to follow through on a service that should have been routine. Then on that very same day, a citizen was distressed enough to take the time to come up to the agency and request to speak with a specific supervisor. Thereafter, the supervisor was paged to the window, by name. But this particular supervisor just happened to be in a discussion with a friend at the time. I noticed that while she was being repeatedly paged, she was laughing and talking, and didn’t even look up. They continued to page her for 15 minutes, until finally another supervisor responded. But by that time it was too late. The person got tired of waiting and left.

It was clear to me why the supervisor didn’t respond, I had discussed it with her manager the day before. She knew that the shortcuts she was taking to save money, and the way she was running her unit was causing the public a severe hardship, so she’d made it a point to avoid speaking to the public at all costs. She’d made it a personal policy to avoid taking ownership for her purposeful irresponsibility.

I decided at that point that the situation was unconscionable, and something had to be done. I could no longer hide behind the fact that I was repeatedly referring these issues up the chain of command. But what should I do? What’s more important, my livelihood, or my self-respect? That’s a hell of a dilemma. In theory, my course was clear, but the consequences of reality are much more biting than the ethical abstractions that I discuss in my columns. But if I relegate my punditry to the realm of simple abstractions that are impractical in the real world, what’s the sense of even writing? So I was caught. The very same logic that I’ve always been so wedded to had come back to bite me. The bottom line was--either I should act on the courage of my convictions, or I should shut up.

In the end, however, there were two things that ultimately determined my course of action. First, everything I do is documented and archived for my grandchildren. When my grandchildren get old enough to want to know who I was as a person, I don’t want them to have to depend on anecdot al accounts, I want them to have a written record of who I was, so they’ll know what I stood for–and I want the record of this incident to show that character counts. I want them to know that I consider character as one of the most important things in life—in fact, so important that I’m willing to fall on my sword to get that message across. When they’re reading this account, I want them to know that while riches, honors, and positions can be given, and/or conferred upon you by man, no man, or institution, can confer or take away, your wisdom, knowledge, and integrity. So seek to enhance those qualities, and protect them dearly. Because in the final analysis, that--and only that--is the measure of a human being. If you keep that in mind, you'll never be intimidated by any man.

The second thing that has determined my approach to this matter, is my firm belief that everything that happens, happens for a reason. When I was growing up I fell victim to all of the corrupting influences that this society has hoisted upon our community. As a result, I was less than an ideal student. Due to the influence of drugs, a troubled home-life, and the many other distractions in the Black community, I only got snippets of an early education, but I’ve learned to trust those snippets, because they’ve served me well. Thus, I see it as more than a coincident that I just happened to be wide awake the day that they taught civic responsibility. The odds against my not only showing up at school, but being fully alert, the day my civics teacher quoted Edward R. Murrow as saying "A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves", were tremendous. That coincident alone was enough to convince me that these people just weren’t meant to get away with what they’re doing to this community.

So I emailed the head of the agency (a Black man, I’m ashamed to admit) and described to him what took place with his supervisor, and suggested some changes that needed to be made. He got back with me, and we set up a meeting in his office. He invited the area manager, and we discussed, basically, what I’ve pointed out in this article. The area manager indicated that I should have gone through the chain of command. I responded by pointing out that the problem is in the policies that’s being put into place at the top, so the chain of command wasn’t the solution. In fact, the chain of command is part the problem, because it’s giving the those at the top layers of the bureaucracy others to hide behind. What’s been happening is the agency would cut corners irresponsibly, and do everything it could get away with to save money, then when all hell starts breaking loose as a direct result, they’d go into damage control mode and act like they’re shocked at what was going on. They would then pretend to address the issue by replacing the manager, who was simply following instructions. Then when things cooled they'd put that same manager back in place, or in many cases even promote him.

We’ve had six (6) managers in the past year and a half as a result of that kind of scapegoating. That not only avoids truly addressing the problem, but makes things worse, because everybody is on a continuous learning curve. It also breeds inefficiency, because as soon as a manager puts his policies into place and begin to get a feel for the unit, he’s replaced. In addition, it lowers employee morale, because the employees are constantly having to adapt to new people, and new ways of doing things. The only way that things are going to change is to remove plausible deniability from the people at the top. They need to be held accountable for their actions. So I pointed out during the meeting that if they didn’t address the issue that I was going to take the matter to Congressman Henry Waxman, Chairman of the Government Oversight and Reform Committee—and I meant it (reference my article on never trying to fight half a fight–once you commit, go for broke).

That meeting took place two weeks ago. The head of the agency requested that he be given a couple of weeks to address the issue, but I think he’s just pressing for time (he’s due to retire at the end of the year). Since the meeting a lot of pressure has been put on me—I was sent home for a week without pay, I’m no longer allowed to address public complaints, (which was my job for the past eight years), and I’ve been relegated to doing menial assignments. They’re also saying I’m not a "team player." But the fact is, I’m the ultimate team player—they’re just on the wrong team.

America is indeed under siege, but our greatest enemy can’t be defeated by the valor of our troops. This most insidious enemy that American faces can only be defeated through millions of acts of courage by millions of ordinary citizens–because America’s greatest enemy is within.

So stay tuned for further developments. The head of my agency thinks he’s going to get away clean by going into retirement. That may or may not be true. But while he may get away with his bonuses and his tidy little retirement, I can guarantee you one thing—if he doesn’t fix this situation before he leaves, he won’t get away without everyone in this community knowing how he cut their throats. And mark my word, when the citizens he was trusted to serve find out what they’ve endured for no good reason, they’re gonna be mad as hell.

Eric L. Wattree

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Monday, November 12, 2007





It's amazing that the American people can't see what's going on right under their noses. We were smart enough to put a man on the Moon, yet we're too dumb to realize that we're letting an absolute fool lead us over the side of a cliff. How can we have so many so-called experts and scholars in this country and not see that?

I hate to base an article on a personal attack, but how can I not when dealing with a situation like this? George Bush has been a failure at everything he's ever done--it's a matter of public record. Every business venture he's ever been involved in has been a disaster. Bush's father has had to make coming to his rescue a way of life--in fact, George Senior tried to send Howard Baker in to rescue his presidency from the Iraq disaster, but George wouldn't listen.

George W. Bush has never earned anything in his life. His father has given him everything he's ever wanted on a silver platter--from the opportunity to play CEO, to an easy way out of fulfilling his military obligation during the Vietnam War. Even his presidency was a gift that he didn't deserve, and that has been the story of his life.

In 1974 Bush went to a Super Bowl party hosted by writer, Hunter S. Thompson. When Thompson was asked if he recalls whether or not Bush used drugs at the party, Thompson was quoted as saying, "I can't be expected to remember what every drug-addled yuppie hanger-oner who wanted to get close to me during a football game twenty-five years ago digested. There were so many dope fiends milling about, I don't remember what some Yalie named Bush, whose father was a factotum in the Nixon Administration, was doing. But he strikes me as the sort of person I would have thrown out of the room. A rich, beer-drunk yahoo with a big allowance who passes out in your bathtub. ... I don't want to become the Deep Drug Throat. ... I won't do it." Yet, now we trust this guy, who ducked out on his own military obligation, with the lives of young Americans troops. We've got to be out of our minds.

This time, Junior's not just playing CEO with other people's money--this time he's playing with the lives of young Americans. He's treating the lives of our sons and daughters like their toy soldiers. He's playing with the very future of the United States, and quite possibly, the world. It is beyond incredible that the future of the entire world hangs on the whim of this overindulged, pouty little brat, but that's exactly where we find ourselves.

This man was warned that the invasion of Iraq would destabilize the Middle-East. He was told that Saddam Hussein didn't have any weapons of mass destruction, and while he was far from a nice guy, he was necessary to maintain order in Iraq. They told him that Saddam saw al-Qaeda as a threat, so he kept them out of Iraq, and he was also warned that it was Saddam that kept the ambitions of Iran in check. But what did he do with all of that information? Instead of going East into Afghanistan after Osama, he went North into Iraq like a bad out of hell after the oil--and he was in such a hurry to get there that he wasted the lives American troops by leaving their protective equipment behind. That's not a leader-that's a fool.

But maybe that's what we deserve, because even as our troops continue to die--and our military is being destroyed, and our treasury is being looted, and our grandchildren are being saddled with debt--we still listen to those who tell us that we must trust the judgement of our commander in chief--this man who has already demonstrated the worst judgement of anyone who's ever even walked past the White House. And worse yet, we're even considering electing other fools who continue to support his policies. If we don't become realistic and get away from this Hollywood screenwriter's vision of the world, in the rosiest scenario we're going to end up goose-stepping and speaking Chinese, or at worse, blowing up the entire planet, because blowing up the planet will be our only option.

Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, Bush's former top commander in Iraq, has pointed out that it's going to take, at least, a decade to reconstitute our military even now, and the situation is getting worse every day that we spend in Iraq. We've already ravaged out treasury, so where are we going to get the money to do that? And in the meantime, much of the money we do have is going to China, and China is spending that money, according to our Pentagon, in an "unprecedented military buildup." In addition, they've involved Russia in war games, learning to work as a team.

And beyond that, when you consider the anger that was generated in this country when three thousand of our citizens were killed during 9-11, can you imagine the animosity that we've generated in the Middle-East as a result of the hundreds of thousands of deaths that we're responsible for in Iraq? We're also making the very same mistake in Pakistan with Musharraf that we made with the Shah of Iran. In spite of our shallow claims of supporting democracy, we're clearly trying to stuff our puppets down other people's throats--but it didn't work in Iran, and it's not going to work in Pakistan. All we're doing is creating, yet, another enemy--but this enemy has nuclear arms.

Thus, our entire world strategy is arrogant, foolhardy, and completely wrong-headed. Instead of strutting around threatening people like a clumsy idiot, we need to be doing some fence-mending--because I hate to tell you, America, but if we have to become involved in another conventional war, anywhere in the world, we're going to be in a world of trouble. The rest of the world knows that--we're the only ones that still seem to be in the dark about it.

Rome once ruled the World, but now they're just that place next to the Vatican. The very same thing can happen to the United States--and will, if we don't wake up. So as I pointed out in my last column, we need to cut our losses--and now. Bush and Cheney got us into this mess with their selfishness and unmitigated greed, so we must not only distance ourselves from their crimes, but we should also impeach them, arrest them, and then offer them up to the world community for war crimes. Thereafter, we should extend our most sincere apology to the people of the world for all of the destruction we've allowed them to commit in our name. Then once that's done, we should attempt to find a resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian issue in an evenhanded manner.

I realize that sounds unthinkable to many Americans, but that's only due to the arrogance of believing we're above the law--but that's what we're trying to get away from, aren't we?

Eric L. Wattree, Sr.

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Friday, November 09, 2007




If there's anyone left who doesn't realize that the people of this country have become totally irrelevant to our alleged "representatives", the recent Democratic maneuver in congress NOT to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney should be an eye opener.

In spite of the frontal attack on our constitution and the dangerous state of global instability created by the incompetence of the Bush/Cheney administration, not only are Democrats in congress ignoring their constituent's clamor for the removal of George Bush, but actually fought off a Republican supported vote for a debate on the impeachment of Dick Cheney.

After a vote of 251-162 favoring Rep. Dennis Kucinich's resolution for a debate on Cheney's impeachment, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) moved to have the resolution sent to the House Judiciary Committee where the issue is expected to languish and die. The parliamentary maneuver was initiated by the Democrats for the expressed purpose of avoiding a debate on the impeachment of Dick Cheney. After the vote, Hoyer was quoted by Paul Kane, of Capitol Briefing, as saying, "The speaker and I have both said impeachment, either of the president or the vice president, is not on our agenda."

Not on OUR agenda? Next to President Nixon's statement that "If the president does it, that makes it legal," that's one of the most arrogant statements I've ever heard a politician make. What about the people's agenda? Who does Hoyer think he and Pelosi are to totally ignore the will of the people of this country? They are in direct violation of their oath of office to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign AND DOMESTIC" (emphasis added). The oath says absolutely nothing about if it happens to be convenient, or, whether or not it's on your agenda.

Another volume has to be added to the encyclopedia just to list all of the laws this administration has trampled on, yet, Speaker Pelosi says "impeachment is a waste of time." Is it really a waste of time to protect and defend the United States Constitution, Madame Speaker, or do you really mean it's inconvenient, and you're afraid you may hurt your chances of being re-elected?

Pelosi goes on to lists all the issues that's more important than "wasting our time on impeachment"--being careful to list all the things that the polls indicate that the people are most interested in. But nothing is more important than impeaching Bush and Cheney.

The primary reason that both Bush and Cheney needs to be impeached is to draw a line in the sand. If President Ford would have allowed Nixon to go to jail during Watergate, and we would have impeached Reagan for treason after selling arms to Iran, we wouldn't be where we are today. When we allowed those politicians to walk away from their crimes with impunity, we set the stage for Bush to take government corruption to the next level.

Now, as a direct result of our failure to act decisively in those matters, the Bush administration has been allowed to pushed this country closer to a dictatorship than it's ever come before--spying on private citizens without warrants, signing statements that essentially tell congress they'll follow the law only when it's convenient, the suspension of habeas corpus, etc.

We are closer than most of us are willing to admit to having to worry about being dragged out of our homes in the middle of the night. If Bush decided to cancel the next election in response to a "national emergency" , one third of this country would support him--and don't forget, Giuliani already floated the idea in New York after 9-11. So if we let them get away with this, the next demagogue is going to take things a little farther--and the only place left to go at this point, is to turn America into a full blown fascist republic.

Bush and Cheney should also be impeached in order to restore the dignity and respect that the United States once enjoyed in the world community. By allowing these two to get away scot-free with all of the death, destruction, and mayhem that they've unleashed on the world, we're, in effect, ratifying their behavior. We'd be telling the world that we approve of what they've done in our name. If we do that, America is through as a leader of justice and democracy in this world.

Therefore, if the United States ever want to regain its former stature in the world, the people of this country must not only distance themselves from these monsters, but impeach them, then arrest them, and then offer them up to the world community for war crimes. And thereafter, we should extend our most sincere apology to the people of this planet for all of the destruction we've allowed the Bush administration to commit in or name. That is the one and only way that the United States will ever again be safe from terrorism, and the only way it will ever regain its former stature in the world community. And If Speaker Pelosi doesn't recognize the truth of that assessment, she's not only much too naive to be Speaker of the House, but much too dumb to be in congress at all.

This is a bizarre situation. The checks and balances in this country have been thrown completely out of kilter. Have you ever wondered how Bush could be so arrogant, while at the same time, so vulnerable to impeachment? Have you ever wondered how no atrocity, act of stupidity, or indignity against the American people seems to have political legs against him? The reason for that is due to the total selfish irresponsibility of our politicians, the concept of the loyal opposition has been completely corrupted.

When General Ricardo Sanchez came out against Bush and said, "In my profession these types of leaders would be immediately relieved or court-martialed", I thought Bush was through--but there he was, like he was at 98% in the polls, vetoing healthcare for poor children, with our congress obediently caving in.

At first, I thought it was the fault of the news media that these issue were not kept before the American people, but now I see the light--Bush is allowed to get away with all these things because Pelosi and this Democratic congress aren't pursuing these matters. They've become Bush and Cheney's Blackwater--they're determined to protect him from impeachment at any cost. No wonder Karl Rove was allowed to retire--Bush doesn't need him anymore--Pelosi has replaced Rove as Bush's most valuable asset, and if her constituents aren't lemmings, she should pay for it with her political career.

It's time for the American people to take this country back--it may be our last chance. It has become abundantly clear that we've moved into a new era. Current events clearly demonstrate that it's no longer about Black against White, or Jew against Gentile--it's about the rich and powerful, against the less rich and powerless. That's the only way that you can explain what's going on in Washington. It's about power protecting power.

Now, I'm not predisposed to embracing conspiracy theories, but I do have faith in my "lying eyes." How can the loyal opposition justify refusing to impeach the most unpopular, incompetent, and corrupt president and Vice president in the history of this country? They can't--it defies all logic. Pelosi can try to justify it anyway she likes, but it just doesn't pass the sniff test. I could (almost) see it if Bush and Cheney were popular politicians like Bill Clinton at the time of his impeachment, but according to the polls, Cheney couldn't even gather up two-thirds of his immediate family's support. So what's going on here?

If Pelosi is willing to be dragged through the mud for bucking the will of the American people to protect Bush and Cheney, whose agenda is she conforming to? One might say she's afraid of a possible backlash as a result of pursuing impeachment. But shouldn't she be even more afraid of angering her constituents? So if she doesn't fear the wrath of her constituents, the most liberal constituency in the country, whose wrath does she fear more?

Think about that.

Eric L. Wattree, Sr.

Los Angeles Sentinel

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007




When our founding fathers established this nation, they embarked upon one of the most noble experiments in the history of mankind. But when they compromised the basic values of their highfalutin rhetoric to allow slavery and the inequality of women to exist, they also compromised the very foundation upon which this nation was built.

As a direct result of their shortsightedness, our founding fathers set a precedent for hypocrisy that's been passed down through the years to become a festering malignancy, and currently threatens this nation's viability. People like George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove have seized upon that initial hypocrisy for their very existence, and now clearly represent a rot in the body politic that can be traced directly back to the founding father's.

If it were not for this nation's tradition of embracing its written creed with a wink, 97,000 Black voters wouldn't have been disenfranchised in Florida during the 2000 election. Had that not occurred, George W. Bush would never have been appointed president, and our constitution wouldn't currently be under attack.

So while our forefathers indeed left us the blueprint for the most grand social experiment in the history of mankind, it is now up to us to perfect it.

Eric L. Wattree, Sr.

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Sunday, November 04, 2007




I just have to scratch my head when I see how we're squandering away the rights that people fought so hard to provide us. Some of us are floatin' around here acting like Martin's dream was about nothing more than the right to chase White girls--that seems to be one of the few things that some of us appreciate about the sacrifices that were made for us. What's really sad, however, is that one could make a very strong argument that we were better off under Jim Crow. At least then we stuck together, we had to--we were herded together like cattle. But in spite of that, we seemed to have had stronger family units, more entrepreneurs in the community, and a dream of someday doing better. But now, many of us have become lost in hedonism--if it's not sexy, entertaining, or make us feel good, we're not interested in it. I expect National Geographic to show up any day now to document how forty year old "men" are walking around wearing baseball caps turned sideways, the fathers of kids they've never met. It's amazing-- we got a little taste of freedom and went stone nuts!

Many of our more successful Black people have issues as well. Let's look at some of our Black businessmen and politicians, for example. People have died to make their way of life possible. Past generations have faced vicious dogs, Billy clubs, fire hoses, and even the noose to place these people in the positions they're in today. A generation of Black people have faced all manner of hardship in the hope that if we could just get the right to vote, we could come together and vote Black politicians in office who could then help to make all of our lives a little better. But they never even dreamed that someday we'd have the opportunity to vote for a Black man to be president of the United States--and with widespread White support. Can you imagine what these people would say if they could see our Black businessmen, pundits, and Black politicians running up to the front of the crowd, waving White folks off (even White Southerners!) Saying, "No, no--he's not ready yet;" "He's too young;" or "He doesn't have enough experience?" Can you imagine them telling Martin, who gave his life at 39, that Senator Obama is too young to be president at 46; or telling Martin we need to vote for Hillary--who was a Republican and working for Barry Goldwater when Martin was marching on Washington? While I'm sorry Martin is gone, I'm glad he never got to see what some of us have become--it would be kinda fun to hear what Malcolm would have to say, however.

It is extremely important that we recognize that we are at a crossroad. For once--and quite possibly, only this once--Black people have the power to determine the direction that this country will go. If every Black person, just this once, would pull together, we could elect a Black man PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES--that's OF AMERICA, people. Now, think about this: WE HAVE BLACK PEOPLE CAMPAIGNING AGAINST THAT! Are they crazy!!? We simply cannot let this opportunity slip through our fingers--we can be fools about something else later, but not this! We have the opportunity at our command to not only save Black people, but to save All of America--and wouldn't that be ironic?

Just take a minute to think about what having Obama as president would mean--what it would mean to the self-esteem of your children, what it would mean to your own self-esteem. Think about what that would mean to the self-esteem of every Black person on the face of this Earth. If Obama is elected president, the very next morning, your child would be able to say, for the very first time, that I can be whatever I want to be--and he or she would be able to say it with conviction. Attitudes towards Black people would immediately begin to change--especially if Obama becomes the kind of president that I'm sure he will be. After all, how can you love and embrace your leader, and hate his people? How can you respect your leader, and not develop a respect for the people from which he's come? It would be a new beginning for America, because the American ideal would no longer be an experiment--it would have finally lived up to its promise.

So what's wrong with these Black businessmen, clergymen, and politicians who say they can't support Senator Obama!!!? I don't care what their alleged reason, if they turn their backs on Obama, they're not just turning their backs on a man, they're turning their backs on Black people as a whole--they're turning their backs on our children, and on the pain and suffering in our history. They're also turning their backs on our future--on Black souls yet unborn. So if they turn their backs on Obama, we should also turn our backs on them.

What do we need with leaders, preachers, and businessmen who don't have sense enough to know what's in the best interest of Black people, and who hasn't learned the importance of sticking together? How can they lead, when they haven't learned to follow? How can they show us the way, when they're headed in the wrong direction? But I guarantee you, our ancestors would recognize these people. These are the offspring of the very same people who said we couldn't run away from the fields, because, "Who gon be left to pick Mr. Charlie's cotton? He's been good to us. If we leave, he'd be ruined!" That's their mentality. They have more loyalty to Hillary's ambition than they do to their own history--they've been raised that way. But here's the biggest irony of them all--if Hillary wasn't his wife, I'd be willing to bet everything I own, that even Bill would be supporting Obama.

Let us not forget that some of these very same people who say he lacks experience--in spite of the fact that Senator Obama has more experience in elective office than Hillary or any of the other front runners--asked for our vote when they didn't have ANY experience at all the first time they ran for office. Now all of a sudden they want to become deliberative. Well, maybe we should become deliberate the next time they want our vote. And maybe we should tell some of these businessmen who claim that Obama's not ready, that we're not sure that their new businesses are ready to compete with Wal-Mart.

If someone wanted to come into the community and gerrymander some of these districts to bring in more White voters, these very same Black politicians, who are so casually turning their backs on Obama, would be going to court and having a fit--and the reason they'd be having a fit is because they depend on the support of Black voters to keep them in office. That shows you what hypocrites they are. How can they depend on Black voters to support them, then turn their backs on Senator Obama? But these people are so self-serving that they don't even see the hypocrisy in that.

Finally, I want to make it clear that I don't ordinarily advocate that Black people vote exclusively along racial lines. One should vote for the best qualified candidate. But Senator Obama is, in fact, the best qualified candidate, by any indicator. Therefore, I'm certain that the importance for Black people to rally around Obama won't be lost on the White citizens of this country. Surely they'll understand the symbolic importance of this election to Black people, and the nation as a whole. I'm sure they'll fully understand that when we walk into that voting booth in the coming election, we'll be walking in there with Martin, and all this nation's founding documents, to be co-signed and ratified; and when we walk out, we'll be leaving all of our shackles behind. I'm sure the White citizens of this country will understand that--in fact, they seem to understand it better than some of us.

Eric L. Wattree, Sr.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007



When retired Lt. General Ricardo S. Sanchez came to address the Military Reporters and Editors Luncheon in Washington D.C., he came with a purpose. He said he came to speak on behalf of the eight hundred troops that had died under his command in Iraq. He'd read the biography of each and every one of them, so he felt like he knew them personally. So he had no intention of watering down his message to assuage the feeling of either the press, or the prima donna sensitivities of the Washington establishment. In short, he didn't come to hobnob--and he certainly didn't come to take any prisoners.

Anyone who truly admire the military had to love this spectacle--a three star general, in full battle mode. He stripped off his stars, came down in the field, and showed those Washington chicken-hawks exactly what it meant to have their asses chewed up and spit out by a real general. All the souls in Arlington Cemetery had to be standing at attention, saying, "Well, it's about damn time!--Sir."

He started by leveling his guns at the press, and spoke with an unequivocal decisiveness rarely seen in Washington. He told them that he'd witnessed "--the worst display of journalism imaginable by those of us that are bound by a strict value system of selfless service honor and integrity." He pointed out how the press blaze inaccurate information across the headlines, then when given accurate information, they would correct the story in small print deep within the paper--if they corrected it at all. He said that instead of searching out the truth, they went for sensationalism in order to get headlines. He also said that they were motivated more by self-serving aggrandizement than by a search for the truth. He pointed out that they measured their individual worth not so much by keeping the American people informed, but rather, how many stories they could write that made headlines. He also indicated that their mistakes and agenda driven biases are contributing to a corrosive environment, and that they were too willing to be manipulated by "high level officials" who leaked stories. He then went on to say that the uninformed and speculative reporting characterized by the media is becoming the Industry standard.

He then turned his guns down range towards the politicians. He said, "There has been a glaring, unfortunate, display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders." Then he ask of congress, "Who will demand accountability for the failure of our national political leaders involved in the management of this war? They have unquestionably been derelict in the performance of their duty. In my profession, these types of leaders would immediately be relieved or court-martialed."

As the general spoke, my mouth dropped wide open. I, literally, could not believe my ears. I expected him to be blunt and plain-spoken, but, while I'm not a historian, it sound to me like he had come closer than any American general has ever come to suggesting that the commander in chief be impeached, and his cronies put on trial.

Regarding the war, the general pointed out that "Since the start of this war, America's leadership has known that our military alone could not achieve victory in Iraq. Starting in July 2003, the message repeatedly communicated to Washington by Military commanders on the ground was that the military alone could never achieve 'victory' in Iraq."

Again I was shocked. That didn't square at all with what Bush has been telling the American people. Bush said he's been following the recommendations of his commanders on the ground. If what General Sanchez says is true, that means that Bush has been lying to us for the past four years. Yeah, I know, what else is new? But actually, that is new--because now we have inside conformation that Bush has been lying. It also suggests that Bush has been knowingly allowing American troops to die for no reason whatsoever--no reason, that is, other than the opportunity for his cronies to prosper from the profits of war.

The general was also blunt about the current condition of our military, and what that means to our national security. He pointed out that "A critical, objective assessment of our nation's ability to execute our national security strategy must be conducted. If we are objective and honest, the results will be surprising to all Americans. There is unacceptable strategic risk."

What he's telling us is if we knew the shape our military is in, we'd be scared to death--and this comes at the worse possible time. Bush and his cronies are so strategically inept, and so blinded by their greed and war profiteering in Iraq, they are completely oblivious to what's going on in the rest of the world. Our military readiness has been so severely damaged in Iraq that we've allowed ourselves to become vulnerable to other countries--specifically, China and Russia.

It was reported last week that Russian bombers have been spotted flying near the Alaskan border for the first time since the end of the Cold War. It was also reported last week that Russia is developing a new nuclear missile system that can defeat the U. S. defense shield. Where are we going to get the money to counter that initiative--we've blown it all in Iraq. So, if the Russians are successful, we're completely vulnerable--our nuclear capability will have been neutralized, and our military won't have the capability to repel a conventional attack. According to General Sanchez, "America must understand that it will take the army at least a decade to fix the damage that has been done to its full spectrum readiness."

With that, I'll allow General Sanchez to close this article:

"Too often our politicians have chosen loyalty to their political party above loyalty to the constitution because of their lust for power. Our politicians must remember their oath of office and commit themselves to serving our nation and not their own self-interests or political party. The security of America is at stake and we can accept nothing less. Anything short of this is unquestionably dereliction of duty." Think about that as you listen to your favorite political candidate evade the truth.


I wrote the above article the same day General Sanchez spoke out agaist the gross incompetence and corruption of our government, fully expecting all hell to break loose. I was convinced that now that the American people knew the truth, heads were gonna roll. When I went to bed I felt like I did on Christmas eve when I was a kid--I couldn't sleep I was so excited with anticipation. Then the next morning I jumped up to cut on the news, anxious to see the demonstrations in the streets. I even turned to Fox News to see how they were handling the people's anger, and the public outcry. But to my shock, disbelief, and dismay, they were running a story about a young girl in a dispute with a neighbor over her using chalk to draw on the sidewalk in front of her building.


Eric L. Wattee, Sr.

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