Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lofty Ideals are Only as Meaningful as the Backbone that Supports Them


Lofty Ideals are Only as Meaningful as the Backbone that Supports Them

Is it just me, or is anyone else curious about how the GOP managed to suspend the United States Constitution, thrust us headlong into a costly and unjustified war, ravage the global economy, and destroy America's moral credibility throughout the world, while the Democrats, even after being handed the White House and a huge majority in both houses of congress, can't even manage to pass a healthcare bill that would benefit every family in America?

If like me, you've been curious about this issue, scratch your head no more. The answer is screaming at us right before our eyes, but like the angry medicare recipient boisterously demonstrating against socialism, we simply refused to believe our lying eyes.

The fact is, while it is clear that the Democratic party desperately needs to get its act together, there are two issues in particular that need to be addressed immediately. The first is that there are too many Republicans-in-drag on the Democratic side of the isle. These people have been playing both ends against the middle for years, and their unconscionable treachery is destroying the party. They keep a constant tug-of-war going that makes Democrats seem indecisive, and cause the American people to doubt the resolve of the Democratic party for its own initiatives.

But the debate on universal healthcare could be a blessing in disguise in that regard. It's a debate that so clearly separates what's in the best interest of America from the greed of private interests that it's forcing the hypocrisy of these self-interested politicians to the forefront.

America's healthcare is one of those seminal issues - like civil rights, social security, and the G.I. Bill - that clearly delineates the difference between the Democratic and Republican agendas. Thus, it can, and should be used to separate the wheat from the chaff, and flush out those so-called Democrats who pay lip service to progressive principles while working subtly in the background to maintain and protect the status quo.

Healthcare provides the Democratic party with an excellent opportunity to reveal, and then openly rid itself of its dead weight - and it is essential that the party do just that, just as Democrats had to weed out the Dixiecrats during the civil rights movement. So instead of begging, whimpering, and compromising for the vote of politicians who have already been bought and paid for by the insurance companies, Democrats should stand firm and force these turncoats into the open.

These Bluedog and conservative Democrats serve no useful purpose other than helping their Republican conspirators to dilute the Democratic agenda. They're also disillusioning the Democratic base. As a result, they're having a weakening effect on the party that far exceed their numbers. So the DNC needs to take a page from the Republican playbook and use the primary system to replace these neo-crats with Democratic candidates who are loyal to the party and Democratic principles.

While the GOP is atrocious when it comes to governing, there are none better when it comes to keeping their troops in line. That's why even though the Republican base has dwindled to it lowest numbers in years, recent polls clearly demonstrate that they're still destructively effective. The reason for that is quite simple - they stick together. And they stick together because they all know that any member who falls out of line will be targeted for removal in the very next election.

As progressives, most Democrats are wedded to independent thought, so they tend not to want to adopt the Republican tactic of forcing members to toe the party line. But the GOP is using the Democratic party's idealism against them, so if the Democratic Party wants to survive in this cut-throat political environment, they're going to have to get use to adding practical political tactics to their lofty ideals.

As distasteful as this jingoistic practice is, tactically, there's a lot to be said for it. After all, in spite of the fact that the GOP has dwindled down to a regional party, its diminutive wingnut base has managed to remain in firm control of the nation's political dialogue. In fact, the Democratic party seems to be more concerned about them than it is its own much larger Democratic base.

It's time to start playing hardball. If the DNC fails to take immediate action against these thinly veiled Republicans, and start running loyal Democrats against them, it's not only going to perpetuate the neo-crats' rebellious behavior, but these so-called "Bluedogs" and conservative Democrats are going to bring the entire Democratic party to its knees. After all, there's a lot of money to be had in being a rebellious Democrat in a Democratically control congress.

Which brings me to the second issue that needs to be addressed - backbone.

For the most part, President Obama was elected based on his rousing oratory, his ability to lift the American spirit, and his inspirational ideals. But if we look back through history we'll find that while the American people will eagerly embrace these characteristics initially, what they respect most is strength. We're a scrappy bunch - we always have been, and we always will be. So while rousing oratory will often bring a tear to the eye, in the final analysis, here in America lofty ideals are only as sturdy as the backbone that holds them up, and President Obama needs to learn that lesson in a hurry.

Being from Chicago one would think that he would have already learned that, but obviously he hit the windy city a little too late in life. But Michelle grew up there, so I sure she's telling him nightly that while patting your enemy on the back has its place, kicking them in the ass is also appropriate on occasion. That's what the American people want to see in a leader, and we only need glance at history to see their attitude in that regard.

History will one day look back upon Jimmy Carter as a president who was ahead of his time. Actually, he was a very good president. He came very close to establishing peace in the Middle East, he was one of the smartest presidents we've ever had, and he was genuinely a nice guy. It was the latter that brought him down, however. He was too nice, and the American people saw that as a weakness.

The issues the GOP use to bring down Jimmy Carter had no more to do with him than the fall of the Soviet Union had to do with Ronald Reagan. Yet, while Ronald Reagan was clearly incompetent, and should have been both impeached and jailed on several issues, many remembered him as a great president. On the other hand, Jimmy Carter served with competence, honor and distinction, yet he's remembered by many as weak.

It was all about image. Ninety-nine percent of the American mystique involves image over substance, and the Ronald Reagan mystique is based on pure fluff. Reagan is remembered fondly for one reason, and one reason only - he reminded the American people of John Wayne. That was his function, and that was all he was required to do - remind America of a silver screen fantasy that bore no relationship to reality. On the other hand, Jimmy Carter is remembered as weak because he was a nice guy, he tried to do what was morally correct, and he represented reality - something that America is determined to escape at any cost.

The American people don't want reality - they want to live in a fantasy. They don't want to hear about the bestial brutality of what it took to wipe out close to an entire population of Native Americans; they want to hear about the Manifest Destiny, and how God wanted them to take this land. And they don't want to hear about the gross immorality of slavery; they want to talk about American exceptionalism as that shining light on the hill that serves as a beacon to all of humanity.

So if I could relay just one message to President Obama it would be the following:

Ok, Mr. President. You've shown me that you can be a nice guy. Now let me see you grab the GOP by the scruff of the neck and throw 'em out the saloon. That's what the American people are waiting to see. Sucking up to the Republican party is not helping your image at all. Have you ever seen Randolph Scott sucking up to the bad guys? America wants a gunslinger.

I know, Mr. President. Your ears are gonna look kinda funny in a Stetson. But that's all right, the American people will overlook that. Just hit your spot, get your lines right, and do what you got to do when the clock strikes High Noon.

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.

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, August 06, 2009



sweet patriot, square of jaw,
and demeanor of great command,
you fearlessly stand in defense of America,
and the savior of all God’s chosen men.

Anointed by God as his personal envoy
to all men, corrupt and blind,
and charged with the swift and brutal destruction
of all heathens of other kind.

You stand vigilant against all our enemies,
both foreign and imagined within;
You vigorously guard against all that is evil,
and all that you see as sin.

You define God’s needs and precious values,
in the most unambiguous tones,
and never once have you erred on behalf of truth,
to reveal “God’s values” as merely your own.

You lead our troops in fearless glory,
challenging Death to “Bring it on!”
Never thrusting your sword on the field of battle,
you fearlessly lead the charge by phone.

sweet patriot, square of jaw,
and demeanor of great command,
how selfless your will to guard America,
while hating the pillars upon which it stands.

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.

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, August 03, 2009

Healthcare: What’s So Wrong with Having Government Protection?


Healthcare: What's So Wrong with Having Government Protection?

Those in congress who are protecting the insurance industry from government intrusion are doing a great job - of protecting their campaign contributions. They've managed to so complicate the healthcare debate that many Americans have been completely blinded to what should be clearly obvious. There's only one issue in this debate - whether or not we want to entrust the healthcare of our families to an entity whose only goal is to provide service, or one that's in the business solely to make as much profit as humanly possible.

In order to see through the smoke and mirrors of this debate we need ask ourselves only a few very basic questions. First, do we really believe that the insurance industry is giving politicians $1.3 million a day just so they can protect our well being? Second, how have the insurance companies become so rich that they can afford to give away that kind of money? Third, if they're doing such a good job of looking after our interest, why do they fear that a public option will lead to a government takeover of the industry?

And finally, what's so bad about government-protected healthcare anyway? The government protects us with the police department, the fire department, the military, social security, and medicare. So why do we allow these things to be run by government? What do they have in common? The answer is very simple - they are all services that are much too essential to our well being to entrust to those whose single motive, and sole reason for being, is to make a profit.

Can you imagine what it would be like having to negotiate with the police department after having a child kidnaped. Imagine the police telling you, "I sorry but your daughter just turned eighteen, so she's no longer covered under your kidnaping policy." That's exactly what's happening to Americans on a daily basis regarding their family's healthcare.

The fact is, the so-called insurance industry is not an industry at all. An industry produces products. The insurance business produces nothing. It is made up of Wall Street speculators who take your money with the promise that they'll protect you from financial ruin. Then if something unforseen does happen, they spend much of that money trying to find loopholes to get out of honoring their agreement.

Their entire business model is based on the proposition that they can get more money out of you than they'll have to pay back. So they're not in the business of providing you with a service. On the contrary - they're in the business of taking your money, while providing you with as little service as possible. That's how they make a profit.

Now, with his healthcare reform, it is President Obama's contention that too many Americans are being denied services, and as a result, they're dying or losing everything they own just so these speculators can make money. He wants to bring that to an end.

In response, the politicians who the insurance companies are paying to deceive you, are screaming bloody murder - and since they don't have truth on their side, they've taken to lying to the American people.

If your representative is among them, instead of representing your interest, he's being paid by the insurance companies to lobby against you. He's trying to convince you that it's a bad thing for you to have the choice of a public option that would protect you and your family from loss of coverage if you're laid off your job, or having your insurance cancelled if a member of your family contracts a disease that the private insurance companies deem so expensive to treat that it cuts into their profits. In short, he's placing his seat in congress before the welfare of your family.

These politicians will often claim that a public option would place a government bureaucrat between you and your doctor. But the fact is, the healthcare plan that the president is proposing for you is the exact same plan that your representative and every member of congress enjoys, and I've never once heard a member of congress complain about their health-care.

In addition, they always conveniently fail to mention that with your current health-care you have a businessman, who's out to make a profit, between you and your doctor. You're rarely aware of what goes on between your doctor and your current insurance company, because your doctor simply won't prescribe a treatment that he knows the insurance company won't cover. But how many times have you gone to the pharmacy and had a generic drug suggested because your insurance won't cover the drug that the doctor originally prescribed, and wanted you to have?

In addition, we mustn't forget that the infamous AIG is also an insurance company. It was suppose to be insuring Wall Street against investment losses, and you see what happened there - AIG was so greedy for profits and paid so little attention to the precarious condition of its customers, that when Wall Street collapsed and AIG's customers came to it to cover the losses that they'd paid billions of dollars to insure, AIG simply said, "Sorry, we can't help you."

Thus, if the crooks on Wall Street can't trust the insurance companies, the average American family doesn't have a chance. And remember, even though AIG was founded, appropriately enough, in Shanghai, China, and was doing business and spreading its money all over the world, when it found itself in trouble it ran back to the United States to pick into your pocket, in order to get back on it's feet.

And that's not the worst of it. Once the American taxpayer did agree to help them to get back on their feet, they took much of our hard-earned tax money (while we were losing our homes and jobs) and used it to wine and dine company bigwigs at plush resorts, and pass out multi-million dollar bonuses to the very people who ran the company in the ground.

Now, these are the people that many of your representatives want to protect from a government takeover - never mind what's in the best interest of your family. And it is these very same people who have already robbed you of your tax dollars, that your representative want to see standing between you and your doctor, with calculator in hand. Of course he does, because the government is not going to contribute to his campaign.

So if your representative comes to you during this break and tries to feed you this nonsense, you should respond with just one sentence - "You're out of here in the very next election." You'd be entirely justified, since his support of the insurance lobby is irrefutable evidence that what he sees as his vested interest, is far removed from your own.

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.

FREE Animations for your email - by IncrediMail! Click Here!

Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Why is President Obama Losing Momentum in the Polls?


Why is President Obama Losing Momentum in the Polls?

President Obama is beginning to lose the politically essential enthusiasm of many independent voters. The primary reason for that is that he seems to be deviating from the message that got their support in the first place. During his campaign, candidate Obama promised "A Change that We Can Believe in," but now, President Obama's vain attempt to appease the GOP is only serving to water down the very change that he promised, and America expected.

We embraced Obama because we understood that many of the problems in this country was a direct result of the logjam caused by the endless feuding between the far left and right fringes of American politics. We had the sense that Obama wasn't a partisan player, so middle America rose up, put race aside, and selected him as a refreshing change.

And as president, Obama is indeed a refreshing change in that he's neither liberal nor is he conservative. He's a pragmatist, so unlike most, his thinking is not distorted by a one-size-fit-all, pre-chewed and regurgitated ideology. He assesses every issue on its own merit, and he bases his decisions on what he believes is in the best interest of America as a whole.

But ironically, it is that very pragmatism that's currently undermining his efforts.

Political pragmatism has led President Obama to mistakenly believe that the best way to resolve the nation's problems is through reaching out in bipartisanship to the Republican Party. That sounds good in theory, but it can only work if the Republican Party is acting in good faith, which it isn't.

The Republicans have no interest in bipartisanship - especially if it means helping to resolve America's problems. Their only interest is in undermining Obama's presidency, serving their corporate contributors, and stoking the flame of division among the social fringies in the Palin\Limbaugh wing of the party. Clear evidence of that is apparent in Sen. Jim DeMint's (R, S.C.) comment indicating that if they can block healthcare reform it will break Obama - never giving a thought to the negative impact that would have on the families of millions of jobless Americans.

So the president's good will is being used against him, and based on the latest polls, with increasing effectiveness. The Republicans are using his attempt at bipartisanship to water down his initiatives to point where they're close to meaningless, then voting against them anyway after he's compromised in an attempt to accommodate them.

The president's accommodating nature is allowing Republican nihilists to have their cake and eat it too. First, they're sabotaging his bills with so many amendments that they're rendering them ineffective. Then, if the initiative is effective, they claim that the only reason it worked was due to their amendments. But if it's ineffective, they tell the American people, "See, we told you he didn't know what he's doing."

As a result, the polls show that many Democrats and independents are becoming increasingly weary with what's beginning to look like Obama's incessant catering to the whims of the right. Many of the president's supporters are now openly saying, we might as well have a Republican in office if he's going to give them everything they want. And it's becoming harder to argue that point with each day that passes.

In spite of the fact the every member of the administration has sworn an oath to uphold the constitution, the Obama administration is doing a better job of protecting Bush and Cheney from accountability than they did for themselves, and it's absolutely unconscionable.

The Bush/Cheney regime mounted a blatant assault on the United States Constitution, caused the death and injury of thousands of American troops and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, and they committed war crimes so heinous that they have all but destroyed the reputation of the United States throughout the world - and all for the purpose of political and financial gain. So why are they walking around with impunity?

While one might argue that the president fully intends to address this issue, along with the matter of sexual bigotry within the military, his economic stimulus and healthcare reform is under attack, so it's simply impractical to also alienate the Bush apologists and homophobes at this time.

I don't think that argument stands up. The class of people who represent the homophobes and Bush apologists are going to be hostile to the president's initiatives regardless to what action he takes, or fail to take. So by failing to promptly address the mandate that got him elected, he stands to lose his base of support without gaining a thing. And further, if the GOP were kept busy trying to protect the Bush/Cheney legacy, they wouldn't have the time to distort the president's healthcare reform at their leisure.

But most importantly, President Obama is a constitutional scholar, so he should know better than anyone that it's not up to him whether or not these men are held accountable. Their accountability is dictated by the rule of law, and either a nation believes in the rule of law, or it doesn't. Thus, by turning his back on his responsibility in this matter, Obama is setting a precedent that tells the world, and posterity, that in America the powerful are above the law, and the rule of law is secondary to political pragmatism.

By taking this position he's placing the future of this nation in serious jeopardy. If Richard Nixon had gone to jail for Watergate, and Ronald Reagan had joined him for his excesses during the Iran/Contra affair and flooding our inner cities with drugs in order to finance it, the Bush administration wouldn't have dared to engage in the criminal activity that they engaged in.

The only reason Bush and Cheney felt free to mount an assault on our constitution is because a precedent had been set with Nixon and Reagan that the powerful was above the law. Now, with President Obama talking about "looking forward," that precedent threatens to be set in stone. If that becomes the case, what can we expect from the next generation of demagogues?

So it's understandable that the polls are beginning to show that many Democratic and independent voters are beginning to question the president's approach to this matter. It's nothing close to a change that we can believe in. As they see it, it is one thing to be a nice guy, but it is something altogether different to completely ignore the rule of law - even in an attempt to be pragmatic.

As Neville Chamberland learned after his warm and fuzzy moment with Adolf Hitler - it never pays to kiss a snake.

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.
FREE Animations for your email - by IncrediMail! Click Here!

Sphere: Related Content