Friday, November 27, 2009

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eric L. Wattree

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

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Filibuster: A Platform for Prima Donnas to Obstruct Democracy


The Filibuster: A Platform for Prima Donnas to Obstruct Democracy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Eric L. Wattree

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

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Murder Inc, and the New World Disorder


Murder Inc, and the New World Disorder

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Teabaggers Want their Country Back - Preferably, Circa 1860


The Teabaggers Want their Country Back - Preferably, Circa 1860

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

The next day's entry:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sphere: Related Content

Friday, November 06, 2009

Could GOP Leaders Possibly Believe Their Own Rhetoric?


Could GOP Leaders Possibly Believe Their Own Rhetoric?

Is it possible that Republicans truly believe that President Obama is both a socialist, and a fascist, who wasn't born in the United States, and that providing affordable health-care to American families is a plot to destroy America? Could they possibly believe that Dick Cheney kept America safe, or that George Bush was protecting the American way of life? And is it possible that they consider their incendiary rhetoric simply innocent speech, and don't recognize that during this time of severe hardship they could very easily incite insurrection within the country? It's not likely.

Thus, it is way passed the time for anyone who truly loves America to realize that the Republican leadership is a threat to our way of life - and as always, I want to emphasize the huge distinction between true conservatives, and those currently running the Republican Party.

The current Republican leadership is a vastly different breed than anything we've ever seen in America before. Even during the Civil War, though wrongheaded, the insurrection of the South was led by people who truly believed in their ideals. But this group of insurrectionists have no ideals. This is a group that is perfectly willing to tear America apart for no other reason than to promote their own power and personal greed. In short, they're nothing less than common thugs engaged in a nationwide protection racket against the people of the United States.

In the recent contest in New York's 23rd Congressional District, we just saw that, contrary to Reagan conservatives' eleventh commandment of "Thou shall not speak badly of another Republican," that this group was more than willing to eat their own, against the will of the vast majority of Republican voters for what they consider "party purity." Where have we seen that before?

And the mere fact that the GOP is willing to espouse outrageous propositions, then use incendiary rhetoric to incite reactionary wingnuts to try to shove their agenda down America's throat, clearly demonstrates how dangerous the GOP has become as a political entity. It shows that they hold the intelligence of the American people in absolute disdain, and that they believe that propaganda, if repeated often and loudly enough, will overwhelm America's common sense. And again, it also betrays a chilling and grossly irresponsible willingness to throw America under the bus in an attempt to regain power during a time when the country needs solidarity more than ever.

The GOP has left President Obama with two wars, the worst financial decline since the Great Depression, and a national infrastructure that is literally falling apart. Yet, instead of responsibly stepping up to the plate to help find viable solutions for the hardships they've left on the American people, they're indulging in obstructionism, the protection of fat cats to the detriment of the average American, and the incitement of social bigotry through the use of subliminal messaging. These are clearly the actions of people who are totally devoid of any sense of Patriotism.

While the GOP claims to be fighting for "small government," that's transparently not the case. The fact is, while they want a government too small in its oversight capabilities to regulate their corruption and greed, they were more than willing to violate the law to ensure a government that was expansive enough to spy on American citizens. And while they claim to want lower taxes, they only want lower taxes for fat cats and corporations, while they fight to ensure that those very same corporations are allowed to, literally, "tax" the average citizen out of life and limb, by inflating the price of gas, food, housing, health-care, and every other staple of American life. So even if they do fight for lower taxes, it's only so they can transplant those funds from government coffers to their own.

They also claim to believe in state's rights, but they're only for a state's right to deprive the citizens of any rights that the corporations failed to abolish at the national level. That accounts for the proposed amendment allowing states to "opt-out" in the event that a public option is passed to health-care. The right to block affordable health-care at the state level would be their final opportunity to protect their cash cow - the insurance industry.

But the key to selling their bogus claims is dependent on deluding the American people into thinking that a huge grown swell of Americans support their fraudulent point of view. The GOP tries to do that by whipping some of the most undereducated people in the country into a frenzy, and then promoting raucous demonstrations as photo ops. By doing so, they're betting on the fact the American people are so dumb that they don't realize that with a population of 308 million people in the United States, it's easy for Fox News to squeeze enough people into a television screen to make virtually any issue seem like they have a ground swell of support from the masses. But through the use of that technique, one can even show a ground swell of support for child molestation.

There are 686,515 registered sex offenders in the United States. If the GOP could turn out (excuse the pun) all of those sex offenders before a camera, they could use that photo op to make the case that these sex offenders represent a majority of the American people. And that's exactly what they're doing, but instead of using sex offenders, they're enlisting Fox News to gather up every social bigot and wingnut they can find to squeeze before the camera.

It's time for America to wake up (liberal and conservative alike) and put a stop to these people. They're gradually chipping away at American ideals and replacing them with their own. In eight short years they've amended the American ideal that torture is un-American to read, "Well, that depends;" that America should only invade a sovereign nation in self-defense to, "Unless we don't like them;" and that all Americans have the right to privacy and due process under the law to, "accept if some bureaucrat decides that ain't cool."

The behavior of the GOP suggests that they believe the following:

1."The great masses of the people will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one."
2. " I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator . . ."
3."The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force."
4."The [Republican party] should not become a constable of public opinion, but must dominate it. It must not become a servant of the masses, but their master!"
5."Sooner will a camel pass through a needle's eye than a great man be 'discovered' by an election."

All of the above quotations come directly from Adolph Hitler and his book,  Mien Kampf.

So this is not just an exercise in hyperbole. It is essential that Americans take this assault on our way of life seriously. It is incumbent upon all Americans - again, both liberal and conservative - to look back at how far we've drifted away from our ideals during the Bush era. Even Bush himself said, "I have no problem with a dictatorship. Just as long as I'm the dictator." Just imagine the kind of firestorm that would result if President Obama said something like that.

So if you're a liberal, consider the gross assault that the GOP mounted against our constitution and civil rights. If conservative, consider the GOP's reckless waste of the nation's resources as they passed billions of dollars out to their cronies without a shred of accountability. And at the same time, they were forcing our troops who were wounded in battle to pay for their equipment left on the battlefield, and requiring them to pay for their own meals while lying wounded in the hospital. And this, by people who, almost to the man, moved hell and Earth to avoid their own military service. Dick Cheney had five (5) deferments.

And their agenda? Here's a note to Rush Limbaugh from Rep. Michele Bachmann before her anti-healthcare rally, as reported by "We'll have a meet-up at the Capitol steps and then the insurgency begins."

So it is past time for all Americans to put their differences aside to fight an internal enemy that is much more insidious than Al Qaeda. It's time to recognize that it CAN happen here - and if we don't wake up soon, it will.

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, November 02, 2009

Could Obama Fall Victim to a Change We Can't Believe in?


Could Obama Fall Victim to a Change We Can't Believe in?

At this point Obama's presidency could go either way - he can either become one of the greatest presidents this country has ever known, or go down as an exciting experiment that went bad. It's all up to how he handles the expectations of Independents.

The biggest problem that Obama currently faces is becoming a victim of his own effectiveness. During the campaign he raised the nation's expectation so high that just being a good president won't do. He promised a change that we can believe in, which led many of us to believe that he intended to trash the way business is done in Washington, but that promise seems to be totally inconsistent with what seems to be his irrepressible desire to hold hands and sing Kumbaya with the very Republican leaders from which we wanted a change.

This has fueled the growing suspicion by many that both parties are beholding to the same cabal of power, and only feign having differing philosophies toward governance. That suspicion lies very close to the surface for many Independents - after all, that's why they're Independents in the first place.

And President Obama hasn't helped himself in that regard. For a man who is ordinarily so politically astute, even before he became president he did a curious flip-flop on the FISA issue. According to, on October 24, 2007, Bill Burton of the Obama campaign indicated, "To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies." But by June 20, 2008, Obama issued a statement reversing his position, indicating that our national security needs were more important than his objections.

That deeply disappointed many Independents, since a citizen's right to sue a telecommunications company for invading his or her privacy in violation of the law has nothing to do with national security. Those are the very constitutional rights that we're trying to keep secure. But while many Independents have kept that in mind, at least Obama had the integrity to take that stand prior to our making the decision on whether or not to vote for him.

But then once he was elected President, Obama made another curious statement with regard to the criminal activities and alleged war crimes committed by the Bush administration. In spite of the fact that there are strong allegations and prima facie evidence of torture, and some of the most unconscionable violations of the Geneva Convention since the Nuremberg trials, President Obama stated that he wanted to move the nation forward, and not look back.

Many Independents have two problems with that. First of all, President Obama seems much too willing to move forward with regard to the fat cats, while lower-ranking personnel are rotting in prison. That's in direct conflict with the American ideal of equal justice under the law. And secondly, since most of these atrocities were committed against the citizens of other nations, it is the height of arrogance for us to be "the deciders" of whether or not those responsible should be held accountable. That also runs contrary to American ideals, and the concept of "a shining city on the hill."

And now we're talking about sending thousands of more troops to Afghanistan. The question is, why? The nation has yet to be provided with a reasonable explanation of why we should be meddling, once again, in another country's internal affairs. One would think we would have learned something about the futility of that by now. It's a recipe for disaster.

There's only two legitimate reasons to have our troops in that part of the world. The first is obvious - to make damn sure the nuclear missiles in Pakistan don't fall into the hands of Al Qaeda. The second reason is to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice. So why can't we simply pull out of Afghanistan and deploy enough troops in Pakistan to protect the missiles, then let the CIA and law enforcement deal with Osama? That way we save both treasure and lives, and we're not creating more enemies for the United States by killing innocent people.

But many Independents suspect that there's another agenda afoot. Actually, Cheney's giving it away. Independents recognize that Dick Cheney has absolutely no integrity, so when he gets passionate over an issue we know to follow either the money or power. Thus, many Independents suspect that what's actually behind Cheney's insistence that we go recklessly rushing into Afghanistan has much more to do with Halliburton's bottom line than it does America's best interest. And while Obama has shown himself to be an excellent president in many ways, his one shortcoming - and a shortcoming that may very well bring him down in the end - is his tendency to try to appease the stupidity and greed of the GOP.

The President needs to recognize that there is nothing he can do that's going to make him acceptable to the GOP - that is, unless he agrees to appoint a Republican vice president, then resign. By now it should be clear that even while he's asleep, the GOP is trying to hatch plans to destroy him. So by spending more time thinking about them than he is his base, he's playing right into their hands.

I mentioned power as one of the reasons that Cheney's trying to rush the president into Afghanistan. I wonder if the president has considered the fact that Cheney just might be trying to get him to make the same kind of mistake in Afghanistan that the Bush Administration made in Iraq in order to take the Iraq issue off the table for the 2012 election? If during the 2012 campaign America is bogged down in Afghanistan with the useless death of thousands of U.S. troops, all of a sudden, Bush, Cheney, and the GOP won't look all that bad. The president should think about that possibility, since the machinations of Dick Cheney makes Machiavelli look like a trainee.

On the other hand, if the president would have the CIA go after Osama Bin Laden (through the use of intelligence, instead of blindly shooting at rocks), then pull out of Afghanistan, and make an agreement with the government of Pakistan to help them protect their nuclear arsenal, he'll be looking pretty good in 2012, and he won't have the deaths of thousands of U.S. troops to have to justify.

And he'd look even better if he allowed Attorney General Holder to do his job with respect to the Bush administration's war crimes. First, he'd firm up his base by restoring their confidence that he stands for the rule of law, and he would also allay the fear that he might be a puppet, controlled by some powerful cabal.

Another upside to that is that once Holder begins his investigation into the Bush administration, there's absolutely no doubt that he's going to find criminality, cronyism, and corruption seeping so deep within the GOP that Republicans will be so busy snitching on one another, and covering their own asses, that they won't have the time to plot against either him, or the American people.

Now, THAT, would be a change that we could believe in.

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